Wednesday, June 08, 2011


I stopped subscribing to newspapers and magazines many years ago. No time to read the stuff…accumulated as garbage much too quickly…always, always, always a problem with reliable delivery.Wife recently wanted to subscribe to the local paper. I said no. She said yes. I said, then you handle all the problems…I refuse to spend any of my time dealing with it. Things went alright for nearly a year…reliable delivery…no other issues…a single, simple transaction.

Have you noticed in your area, the move to charge separately for the TV guide? Wife wanted to subscribe. I said no, look online if you must know what’s coming up. I watch DVDs and at most 2-3 different channels. The rest of the channels appear to me to be little more than for-pay delivery media for endless dumb commercials hawking stuff I don’t want.

Wife wrote one check for a year’s renewal of both the TV guide and the paper. She also included a tip for the carrier in her one check. Big the problems begin. Bank clerk receiving payment knows nothing about separating the payment into 3 different accounts. She gets credit for a 1.18933 year subscription to the paper…no TV guide…and screw the carrier...he gets nothing!

Wife gets no TV guide first week, paper comes O.K. Wife tries to dump her problem on me. I remind her of our agreement and of my original admonition about the goddam subscriptions. She is pissed… me. She calls the paper’s “circulation dept.” which I imagine consists of maybe a pair of disinterested ex-Big Mac flippers named Doris and Misty.

Of course you know the torture involved in calling anyone for service these days. Wife endures it, getting angrier by the moment. After 20-30 minutes, she reports that Doris assured her that all is “taken care of” and we will see the correct delivery starting the next day. Next day…no paper. Next weekend…no paper & no TV guide. Wife is distraught. I can’t resist reminding her …. wife goes ballistic—I’m grinning—wife really explodes then. Rage brings on the waterworks, etc.

This morning I decide to betray my resolve to let her suffer with her decision to ignore my advice not to subscribe. I submit an online “circulation problem” form. Within minutes I get an email response from Doris saying that our account has been credited for the missing paper and an email notice has been sent to the carrier. However, I see nothing in Doris’ cryptic 10-word note that gives me any confidence that we will see a paper tomorrow (forget about today, folks), so I call Doris. I get her sidekick, Misty…Doris doesn’t want to talk to me, but I can hear her nattering in the background.

Misty’s obvious indifference to my missing paper and raging wife quickly tells me that there will be nothing forthcoming from this conversation except a couple of emails and maybe a paper tomorrow, maybe not. Wife just wants to scrap the whole thing and cancel the paper. I tell her that getting your money back from these kinds of enterprises is much more difficult than getting them to do what they agreed to do in the first place…best to keep at them until they finally get things right even if that means a personal stop into their office to speak with the “big boss”. Visits with "big bosses" of a screwed up dis-organization can be amusing, especially when they try to explain and defend the indefensible. A very few really pointed questions usually have these hapless creatures cowering in a corner.

To hell with the money, wife says. No, says I. That’s really what they want you to do—give up and go away. That way it’s all WIN for them…you can’t convince me that there isn’t some beady-eyed manager behind all this incompetence who designed things this way! Well, tomorrow’s another day…we shall see.

The last straw for me came many years ago when I let a newspaper subscription lapse after an extended period of shoddy delivery issues. The fart kept throwing the paper after the subscription ran out and the paper billed me for the additional papers I hadn't ordered that they threw anyway. I called only once to straighten that one up. They sent me a late notice for the papers they threw that I had not ordered. Then they threatened to send it to collection. That was the last time I ever subscribed to a daily newspaper…until now. Some things never change and many people simply aren’t worth dealing with.

Day 2: No paper. Sent another e-form complaint...Doris will send a paper right over...guess what? Still no paper.

Day 3: No Paper. Sent copies of useless email string to Publisher, Assistant Publisher, and one other honcho--Paper delivered to front door step within 10-minutes. 15 emails generated on this subject in past 3-days...wife had nothing to do with any of them. It's in Dilbert's lap again!.

Day4: A PAPER! Alert the media!

Day 5: A PAPER & A TV GUIDE! We may be on track now.

Any wonder that I stopped subscribing to these things decades ago? Life is just too short to spend on stuff like this and the fun of reducing dolts to jelly lost its appeal long ago--it's become too easy and it's repetitive, hence predictable and boring.

P.S. If Doris were clean in this I would have expected an unsolicited email from her either checking on delivery or apologizing for their lapse and causing us inconvenience. However, no word from Doris tells the story well enough.


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