Remember my Kansas City Star story a couple days back?
The one where a newspaper staffer talked about all the cancellations the Star has been getting from people upset with not just the quantity and quality of their newspapers but the difficulties they’ve been having with the carriers who deliver them to subscriber’s driveways?
Think about it.
Not that long ago when you took the Sunday Star, it was a simple proposition – you got it all – the news, comics, sports, entertainment and advertising coupons. And it was a relatively simple, somewhat lucrative job for the carriers delivering the papers.
That was then.
These days those pickups and vans that scoot down your street in the wee, early hours have to sort through no less than four different Sunday newspapers before they throw them.
There’s 1) the standard issue Sunday Star; 2) the option that gets ye old TV book (remember that one?); 3) the option that comes with the now extra cost, full comics section and 4) an option to get all three.
There’s even a 5th option because some Star carriers also deliver, USA Today (the Star prints it). So there’s a lot of wee hours bundling confusion that can and does go wrong…and not infrequently apparently.
Take longtime Star subscriber, KCC movie and travel dude Jack Poessiger (I’ll call him by his real name Jürgen in honor of Germany’s playing for the World Cup title this Sunday).
“My previous carrier a year or so ago called me one time and was upset because I had called to complain so many times about not getting my paper,” Poessiger says. “And they charged him five bucks or something. So he asked me to please call him direct if there was a problem so he wouldn’t get in trouble. Well, I tried that for a while and he would deliver it, but that only lasted so long and I started calling the newspaper again.
“I got a new carrier last year, but about every other week, between USA Today and the Star, I miss either one or the other. A couple weeks ago I missed two USA Todays in a row.”
Even with the downsized newspaper and record high subscription rates, the Star is cheeping out on crediting subscribers who cancel their newspaper delivery while they’re on vacation or out-of-town on business.
“I put a vacation stop in for eight days while I was in Germany with my grandson, but they’re still charing me for the newspapers for the 8 days I was gone,” Poessiger says. “They don’t give you a credit the missed papers anymore. If you call them, you can either make a donation to some charity or they’ll bring you the papers you missed. I don’t want to read a bunch of two week old newspapers, but I don’t have a choice anymore.
“However USA Today still does give you a credit. So ‘ll get a credit for the USA Todays while I was gone. I argued with the consumer complaint agent at the Star about it, but it was kind of like pissing in the wind.”