mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why the old media is going away...

I like to read the Baltimore Sun once a week. Not the part with the news, mind you, but the other stuff that makes the Sunday paper the Sunday paper - the coupons, the sales circulars, the auction section. One of the best things about the Sunday Sun is that it actually comes out on Saturday, giving a deal shopper like myself a heads-up in planning Sunday morning's shopping trip.

When I lived in the city, I didn't bother subscribing to the paper, because I figured that homeless people would steal it off my porch before I got to it. But now that I'm in the 'burbs, I figured I'd subscribe. It would seem stupid not to, since there was a promo with my change of address form for six months for ninety-nine cents a week for weekend delivery. Considering the paper is normally $1.75 just for the Sunday issue, and home delivery would mean I could read the paper without having to put on pants and go to the store, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Except for the fact that I never actually got the paper. I sent them an email, but never heard back. So I wondered why I wasn't getting the paper.

Until Friday, when I got my first bill. It didn't have my address on it - let's say that my address was 32 smith street. The bill said 2 smith street, and someone had written "not at this address" and the 3 on the bill. Which is interesting, since my neigbors didn't seem to have a problem taking my newspaper but didn't want the bill.

So I called The Sun. The woman I got after waiting for a CSR for 10 minutes was nice enough, but evidently dropped address numbers aren't a standard problem for The Sun and she didn't know what to do. She was going to put me on hold and talk to her supervisor, until I suggested that she just cancel the other subscription and sign me up correctly. So she did, but ran into other problems since my correct address was evidently still in the system with the people who used to own my townhouse. And then there were the complicated options - I wanted to make sure that I still got the promo rate, and there were a couple to choose from - which had odd combnations like wednesday, friday, sunday or thursday, friday, saturday, sunday. I just wanted the Sunday paper, so I didn't really care, but opted for the one that included Saturdays since I figured that I would at least be around on most Saturdays to actually possibly read the paper if I was board enough. She had some more issues getting the system to accept the changes, but finally got it to work.

I called from my work phone, which has a timer on it. Total time for the call? 22 minutes. Just to get one digit changed on my newspaper delivery address.

Much has been said lately about the decline of old, paper media as blogs and the internet take over newspaper subscribers. As I've said, there are certain things that newspapers are good for, like coupons or wrapping eBay items. But there are substatial costs - not so much in money as in time - with aquiring the paper. If I'm at home and want to check the news online, I can just fire up one of my computers and read it, but if I want to read a paper newspaper, I have to either get in my car and drive to 7-11 or deal with the Baltimore Sun's godawful subscription department. If it wasn't for being able to read CompUSA ads a day early and save $1 on hot pockets, I'd get all my news online.


At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just Baltimore. I've had delivery problems with newspapers in Grand Rapids, MI, Dayton, OH, and Atlanta, GA.


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