Friday, October 2, 2009

"Hello, newspaper office, may I help you?"

There were a few glitches with having our papers printed in Des Moines this week, following the closure of our press room. The biggest glitch happened at the post office, and to make a long story short, many subscribers did not get their papers on time. So they called to tell us about it. We have approximately 8,400 newspaper subscribers. At last count, at least 8,300 of them have called to complain.

Since our reception (i.e., phone answering) staff doubles as our circulation department, they weren’t available to answer the phone because they were ON the phone with various post offices trying to get the mess straightened out. From what I could tell, this was a lot like trying to put toothpaste back in a tube.

For some reason, the editorial staff decided we would help answer phones. This wasn’t so much because we wanted to be helpful but because the non-stop ringing was making us crazy. Crazier. Whatever. More accurately, it was the sports editor and me, the family/events/obituaries/columnist/feature writer, who decided to answer the phones. It’s not a good thing to turn editors loose on the public.

After the 10th phone call from a cranked off subscriber, I was becoming dangerously tempted to say what was really on my mind. (Big thanks to Renee, who inspired today's post.)

“We’ll send you your paper when we’re damned good and ready.”

“Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than sit on your butt and read the paper?”

“You are the only person in the entire world who didn’t get their paper today and we did it on purpose.”

“Is someone going to die if you don’t get your paper on time?”

“Wow! Really? You didn’t get your paper? Gosh, I wonder what happened.”

“What the hell do you expect me to do about it?”

“It’s a small town for heaven’s sake, you’ve already heard all the news in the bank, grocery store, feed mill, gas station, etc.”

“We’re flattered, but I don’t think your paper being late is a tragedy of epic proportions.”

“I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout deliverin’ newspapers.”

“This is the obituary department. Unless you’re dead, I can’t help you.”

“Didn’t you call last week and complain there’s never anything in the paper?”

“Oh stop whining already.”

“Get a life.”

“Let me put you on hold until someone who knows what’s going on is available.”


  1. I so understand the phone stuff. I may have to "borrow" some of your comments. Some I've already used. Hope it's a better week.

  2. "The number you have reached has been disconnected. To get the correct number, please read your newspaper." LOL