— David Abel (@davabel) January 3, 2016
Anyone who’s delivered newspapers had to chortle a little bit over the weekend when the Boston Globe announced its reporters and employees would pitch in to deliver the newspaper because of widespread distribution failures.
With any luck, it would provide the reporters an opportunity to see the scandalous working conditions that would make a great newspaper story. Or, at the least, it would give them a new appreciation for the “daily miracle.”
In a switch of distribution companies, about 10 percent of subscribers aren’t getting their newspaper.
“In some ways our solidarity all-nighter was fun and bonding, and gratefully received by many subscribers,” reporter Sacha Pfeiffer said. “But I think most of us came away from the night shocked by how dire this problem seems to be, how long it will likely take to fix it, and how ill-equipped anyone at the distributor seems to be to improve the situation.”
Columnist Kevin Cullen said he hasn’t delivered a newspaper since he was 12.
He took two other people with him to help deliver the Sunday paper.
They gave us 273 papers and handed us a delivery route that appeared to have been prepared by someone under the influence of methamphetamine. The route wasn’t circuitous. It was circus. If you handed an Etch-a-Sketch to a really drunk guy and told him to turn the knobs, that’s what our route would look like.
We kept returning to Liberty Pole, up and down Pioneer Road and Patriots Way and Minuteman Road. In the course of six hours, Bella developed a severe aversion to Revolutionary War history. And she swore a lot. More than I swore. Which is saying something.
Unlike Bella and me, Teresa had the foresight to bring a flashlight along, which is pretty handy when you’re stumbling up a darkened driveway at 3 in the morning. We took turns using the flashlight to find the house numbers, some of which weren’t there, others of which were covered by wreaths and assorted seasonal decorations.
There is no question that if we had meandered around sections of Texas and Florida the way we did the yards of Hingham early Sunday morning, we would have been shot dead.
Two-hundred-seventy-three Sunday papers is less than a two-hour task for a halfway-decent newspaper carrier like the one you probably stiffed on a Christmas tip.
“Whatever they pay the delivery people, it’s not enough, and it’s more than a little depressing to think this debacle has been brought about by a desire to pay them even less,” he writes today. “Whatever I’ve tipped delivery people in the past wasn’t enough.”
Archive: In defense of the newspaper carrier (NewsCut)