Friday, March 9, 2012

No-No to toss The N&O on a wet driveway

Maybe it's another way for The News & Observer to drive its readership away from the printed edition and to it's Internet site, but to someone who prefers to hold the newspaper in his hands, flipping the pages for something interesting to read as well as to look at the advertising, the sight of the newspaper sitting in my wet driveway raises my ire. I know what confronts me.

When it is raining or has rained, and the newspaper, even in one of those (excuse the pun) "paper-thin" plastic bags, is on the concrete surface, I know, before I waddle out there in wind, rain, sleet, snow, cold of night, the newspaper inside its not-so-secure cover is wet. Sometimes it's soaked through and through and other times just a few pages. In either case, it's one of those irritating things that continues to happen even after calls to the newspaper's circulation department which is not at the newspaper office in downtown Raleigh, which is not even in North Carolina. Who knows where it is these days, but no matter where it is, the solution to the wet newspaper on rainy days is never solved.

And, it's such an easy fix. The carrier, not only an independent individual these days but a small business that now employees those early-morning travelers who drive throughout our neighborhoods tossing The New & Observer to its subscribers, may get word from the newspaper where to toss it, but that easy solution, tossing it on the lawn or in pine straw, never seems to get to the deliverer.

It happened again this morning, the second time in the last couple of weeks. It was raining; the drive way was wet; water was running down its slight slope. As I walked from the front door to the newspaper, I knew already what I would find. Not only was the side facing the concrete soaked, but the top side was wet. So much water had penetrated the plastic wrap that nearly the entire newspaper was drenched.

The ire was boiling as I informed my wife that we were once again the victim of ineptness by a representative of The News & Observer, and as I fished in the small change jar for 75-cents to buy a newspaper from the rack a few blocks away at the Grocery Boy Jr. Nancy began dialing for circulation to make a complaint. She talked to a representative who said the way the newspaper was delivered is not the way they tell their circulators to deliver the newspaper. They are supposed to toss it in the grass when it's raining or wet. Obviously, the carrier didn't get word, or part of it.

As I drove from our neighborhood to buy the replacement because there are no "re-delivers" by The N&O during the week, only on Sunday, I took my own survery of other newspapers delivered this morning. Of eight along the way, six were in the driveways (all wet), one in the yard and one in pinestraw. The latter two were dry, sitting above the running water. One lady, carrying her wet newspaper, displayed one of those disappointing, disgusted looks on her face.

The circulation representative said she would call the contracted delivery company and suggest they contact the paper tosser to keep this from happening again. But, if you have this problem, here's my suggestion: Call Jim Puryear, Vice President of Circulation for The News & Observer. His direct office number is 919-829-4727. Or send him an email. I think it's In any case, just bypass the call to the circulation department. Those calls fall on deaf ears.
IMMEDIATE FOLLOW-UP: Shortly after posting this espisode in the continuing saga of N&O delivery, I heard from Jim Puryear with whom I've contacted during other times of delivery-stress. He responded: "Thanks for the note.  We'll get with the contractor and will credit your account for today.  Please let me know in the future if you get a wet paper and I'll replace it.  I'm sorry this happened and the contractor can do better."

The N&O on the lawn not driveway!
Saturday morning, shine not rain, the newspaper was resting comfortably on the lawn. Same for my next door neighbor but in the driveway of another within eye-sight. More reports after the next rainy night and morning.


  1. Jim. The N & O is horrible. After spending all but 5 years of my life with a newspaper in my hands, I have let the subscription lapse. The delivery the past 8 months has been terrible. The editorial section is a complete and utter joke. The only thing I'll miss is A.C. I'll follow him online. Regarding the editorial page....why would you consistently (every day) write something that insults at least half your readership? No wonder the ship is sinking...

  2. As a former newspaper carrier I can only say that understand your ire, but You can't understand why this job is not even worth the effort. For every complaint You post carriers get a fine from $5 to $10 and the "agents" some times prefer charging the carrier than fixing the problem. By the way those plastic bags "thin as a paper" (HA! I hope so) are payed by the carriers so double bagging (the logical solution) is a difficult decision to take when you make less than 5 cents per paper and bags cost about 1 cent each...


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