By DAVID GREEN
This won’t come as a surprise to many Observer subscribers, but delivery of the newspaper is getting worse. We gauge this by the number of complaints received and the array of states where the complaints originate. Complaints are up, and they’re coming from regions that we hadn’t heard from in the past.
Florida and California have long been the source of most complaints. That’s where delivery has always been a problem. But recently a reader from Virginia says she won’t renew her subscription. Delivery is far too slow to make it worth her money.
Mississippi, Arizona—even as close as Illinois—readers are telling us the papers arrive late, they come out of order, sometimes two issues arrive on the same day.
We don’t enjoy the angry phone calls, especially after we do our job of labeling a paper and placing it in a postal bag for delivery. At that point, it’s all beyond our control. In the past, however, at least we’ve had the option of instigating a “publication watch” in which postal workers track the delivery of a paper to determine the source of a problem.
The last time we tried that, the form returned to us shows that the Feb. 15 edition of the Observer reached a California subscriber March 24. The March 8 Observer reached its destination April 5. The accompanying letter stated:
Attached are the results of that watch for your review. Unfortunately, there are no specific indications as to why your publication is being delivered erratically however the local post office will continue to keep an eye on it.
We were offered no explanation and given no suggestion for better results. Apparently, bad delivery is now just business as usual. This is what we must expect from the U.S. Postal Service.
News stories have pointed out the financial troubles of the postal service as revenue is lost to e-mail. Our suggestion to readers is one that will also adversely hit the bottom line of the government’s mail service. If delivery is a problem, ask us for an electronic subscription and bypass the mail.
Register at our website (http://statelineobserver.com). If you’re already a subscriber, you are entitled to download the paper in PDF format to your computer. With this option, you can read the paper the day it hits the newsstand and it even looks better than ink on newsprint.
Three subscribers have given up the print edition entirely and read the Observer entirely at the computer. We know this isn’t what many readers want, but for some it’s time to weigh your options: slow delivery that’s getting worse in many areas or giving up on newsprint through the mail.- July 6, 2006