Thursday, October 18, 2007


It rained again yesterday morning. Yes, this is getting monotonous, I know. This storm took my LA Times delivery man by surprise. There was no plastic bag to protect the paper and it was soaking wet when I went out to pick it up. I called the Times 800 number to request a new paper be delivered. An hour later I got a call from the delivery man himself saying that they had received over 200 calls and he had no more papers to replace the damaged ones. So he said my account would be credited.

Hmmpf! He knew it was raining when he threw the paper on my driveway from his speeding truck. With a little extra effort, he could have thrown it up under my porch roof where it would have stayed dry. But no... He preferred to let the customers complain and the Times take the loss. What a waste! A waste of all those trees and ink, too.

It reminded me of when I was 10 and my older brother had a newspaper route. It was a large route, although not 200 customers. So large that he needed help from me and later my younger brother to deliver the papers every evening. We rode our bicycles (in winter, in the dark) with the papers hanging in a bag from the handlebars. On Fridays, we had to ring every doorbell and wait for the customer to give us the $0.35 for the weekly subscription. If we were lucky, the customer would give us $0.50 and let us keep the change. We lived in an area of tenement housing which meant parking the bike and running up one or two flights of stairs at every house. We got lots of exercise. And our customers got great service—no wet papers.

Such a thing would not be allowed in today's world. It's not safe for our kids to be out riding their bikes after dark and going door to door. It's too bad because our kids not only lose a chance to make some money, they lose their freedom to roam and explore their world. A great learning experience.

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