Woodworking: Is consistent newspaper delivery asking for the moon?A few months ago I wrote about being a paperboy back in the 1940s and how tough it was to get stiffed when a customer left town without paying.
By: Dave Wood, columnist, River Falls Journal
A few months ago I wrote about being a paperboy back in the 1940s and how tough it was to get stiffed when a customer left town without paying.
Since then I’ve been continually one-upped by everyone in town. I love getting one-upped because it usually provides grist for this writer’s mill.
Years back a bunch of faculty members at Augsburg sat around a coffee table and told each other how poor we were when we were growing up.
I thought my story was pretty good until the athletic director, who grew up on Minneapolis’s “Snoose Boulevard” (Cedar Avenue), chimed in.
“We were so poor,” he recalled, “that my mother made gravy out of wiener water.”
Talk about thin gruel! I’ve used his story in countless columns, and I just did it again.
I’m happy to announce that the winner of the paperboy one-up contest was recently won by Lee Nelson.
I ran into Lee at the South Fork Café. He commented on my paperboy column and said, “I think I can do you one better.”
How so, Lee?
“When I was a kid, I had a paper route in Westby. This one customer wrote me a check for a week’s worth of papers….”
I’m not certain how old Lee is, but I would suppose a week’s worth of papers during his childhood would be about 35 cents.”
“….And the check bounced,” Lee recalled.
These days I subscribe to three newspapers: The Journal, which I deliver myself; The Pioneer Press, which comes to my door with startling regularity; and the Star Tribune, where I toiled for many years, which comes whenever the deliverer feels like it.
Recently, the Pioneer Press folks wrote me and said that they would deliver their paper to my doorstep on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for two years for two dollars. No, not two dollars a week. Two dollars for TWO YEARS.
It’s a pretty terrible newspaper these days, but at least it’s something to read, much better than nothing to read, which is the way the Star Tribune operates. I pay regular price for the Star Tribune.
Unfortunately, the Star Tribune’s deliverer in River Falls is the worst paper deliverer in Christendom. And that covers a fairly large area.
I recently put a hold on the newspaper while we spent two weeks in Arizona and California. When I returned home on a Saturday, friends told me they noticed the papers piling up on the porch, which they dispatched post haste.
Were the papers from St. Paul?
No, they were the Star Tribunes, which was supposed to begin delivering again on Sunday.
I woke early, hoping to read some news about home. No Star Tribune. Just the Pioneer Press, for which I pay 1.92308 cents per copy.
So for the umpteenth time I call Star Tribune circulation, slightly hot under the collar, but I politely explain my situation. Someone named Pam or some such says she’s very sorry and will issue a complaint to the River Falls route manager.
I asked if I could have the deliverer’s name and number so that I could strangle him or her personally. Pam or some such says she can’t do that, but that she’s very, very sorry and will register the complaint.
The poor service continues and for a while I figure the Star Tribune stopped publishing a Sunday paper, when it was even unavailable at Dick’s Fresh Market.
The daily gets there once in awhile and almost always resides in a snowdrift or a bush in our front lawn.
So for the umpteenth and one time, I call circulation. I get Greg, a friendly fellow.
He says there’s no record of my complaints. But he will register one right away.
No one called.
To add insult to injury, I notice in both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press classified section, the companies are desperately advertising for route deliverers in western Wisconsin, with salaries that range from $400 to $1,100 per month. And they don’t even have to make the collections (for obvious reasons).
And I thought the country was in the wake of a great unemployment crisis.
Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.