New Jack City: Promises Not Kept by the Kansas City Star

Why does my local newspaper lie to me?

It’s Monday morning on Labor Day. My gym has delayed its opening hour.

So why not relax with a cup of coffee and browse my Kansas City Star.

Easier said than done.

That’s because an early check of my front lawn revealed that the carrier had apparently missed my house.

So when by 7:30 a.m. there still was no paper I did the obvious. I called the Star.

“I am sorry, did you not receive the paper today?” the automated agent asked.

No, I didn’t.

So after a few more prompts including my address the programmed agent asked whether I wanted credit for the miss out or a re-delivery.

I opted for re-delivery which the automated agent then confirmed.

Fat chance!

Here’s what transpired:

The 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon hours came and went—without any sign of my newspaper naturally.

So at 2:00 p.m. I called the Star’s automated agent again who then offered something along the lines of, “I see you’ve been having some delivery problems lately….”

Since the Star’s office was closed there was no opportunity to speak with a live person – I understood that.

My question is a simple one.

WHY assure subscribers of a re-delivery when they know damn good and well that there won’t be one?

During the Star’s better (i.e. more profitable) days of customer service one of their own people would take care of such miss outs and a replacement paper was delivered by one of their couriers. It would be at my home a couple of hours (or less) later.

However these days chances of a newspaper re-delivery are practically nil.

How do I know?

Because I have gone through the ritual many times during the past several years.

And every time I think circulation staffers have finally figured it out—here we go again.

No wonder I’m the only house on my block that still takes the newspaper…at least for now.

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6 Responses to New Jack City: Promises Not Kept by the Kansas City Star

  1. Kerouac says:

    “So why not relax with a cup of coffee and browse my Kansas City Star. Easier said than done. That’s because an early check of my front lawn revealed that the carrier had apparently missed my house.”

    – the state of customer service, a lack thereof more specifically; welcome to century 21 (and for an good long while previously, really.) Or perhaps they threw it on your roof, in the bushes or maybe in the gutter and down the storm drain (like a Royals pitcher, just can’t get it home/over the plate.)

    On the other hand, a different experience today re: another entity: purchased items delivered to your mailbox – on a Sunday – by way (their creator Bezos politics stink, but the customer service proves even lib’s having redeeming value, in small doses.) Maybe as Amazon is eating all the competition, someone will swallow the Star too, if for no other reason than, nod Cioran, “less for the pleasure of eating someone than for the pleasure of vomiting him.”

    Pile on the KC Star day, Kerouac notes that they have a recent habit censoring public comments… least those which do not agree with their positivity train/party line as to ‘how great the local pro football team is or will be’ in 2017. This when they don’t shut off comments entirely due the subject matter (not unlike the left out in Berkeley, CA example, who try & shut off all dissent/comments, otherwise.)

    Back to the local fish wrap, terms readership be no safe space to respond, ‘less your ‘in lockstep’ gig line is up to snuff. No matter that the post contains no bad language, and meets terms of service otherwise, shy warm fuzzies narratively applied copiously upon the local teams, Kerouac’s own experience proof positive that dissent disappears faster than one can proclaim, with certainty: ‘this is our year!’ Chiefs go the Superbowl; ditto delivery the Star your doorstep… or your driveway, at minimum.

    Ending with whimsy, sure miss the days a Joe McGuff, Bill Richardson, Dick Mackey, Tom Marshall, Dick Wade and Bill Vughan et al (and the KC Times, when two papers were indeed better than one.. so much for ‘progress’.)

  2. Goose13 says:

    As someone who does deliver the newspaper I can tell you this. You are right, there will be no redelivery unless they redeliver it with the paper the next day. Newspaper delivery use to be a full time job, no more. Doesn’t pay enough. I sleep for a couple of hours, deliver and go home for a 1hr to 2hr nap depending on the size of the paper (Monday through Friday) and go to my day job. They Star does not sustain itself on subscription. You might have a lousy carrier. Which is very plausible. Also, the carrier might not have your address in his list. We carriers call it an e-book. If the Star puts the information in wrong, it takes forever to get it correct. Vacation, not paid bill, moving, whatever the reason. They take forever to change. I have one address on my route that shows only Sunday paper but they get Wednesday to Sunday. The Star verified this a year ago and still haven’t changed it in my e-book. If I don’t throw them the other days, I get charged for the days I don’t throw them.

    My suggestion is ask the Star for the carriers phone number. Call him or her direct. I do that with some of my customers. That should fix it. Leave the Star out of it when you can.

  3. Libertarian says:

    Funny thing….just 10 minutes ago, a guy I work with said he just cancelled his subscription.

    Called in to say he would be on vacation last week, comes home to a pile of papers in his driveway, but they seem to have not thrown one yet this week. I think they screwed up on what week to hold off.

    The Star should just go ahead and buy its own coffin. Wont be long…..

  4. Rainbow Man says:

    The “greatest” generation loved newspapers. But let’s face it… Although they stepped up to the plate for WWII to get fed for free during the post depression and fight Germans… they were pretty backwards on tolerance.

    Most of the “greatest” I knew are dead now but they were largely racist across the board. But they loved those papers. I was a paper boy and dammit that paper had to be on time, dry, in the right place, and it didn’t matter if his boxer was in the front yard trying to dig his teeth into you.

  5. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    Jack, after a couple of years of not taking the Star for all of the reasons/problems you stated, we decided to give it a shot again last February. it was a 12 week subscription of Sundays and Wednesdays only. We received a phone call the Friday before the first Sunday paper was to be delivered to tell us it would start THAT week. Never showed up that Sunday so we called for re-delivery. Never delivered. next week, same thing except the re-delivery DID show up about 11:30am that morning. This went on for NINE weeks straight. NINE! Each time we called, it was the same song and dance. On the 10th week, we called and were told our subscription was being extended another 12 weeks due to the delivery problems. not that it justified what had happened, but it was something. Over the next 12 weeks, the paper was thrown about 50% of the time on Sundays and maybe 25% of the time on Wednesday. There were times when the Wednesday paper was actually thrown on Thursday. As if I needed 48-hour old news. I never made another call the whole time because I was just going to let it run its course and be done with it. UNTIL an invoice showed up to say we were delinquent on the previous 12 weeks subscription payment. While I had been as cordial as possible during the first 9 weeks of calling every Sunday, the last phone call I made to them was anything but. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty for unloading on the incompetent fools like they had taken my first born child. I still find it hard to believe that an organization that is BEGGING for customers in a dying industry could be some completely inept with something as simple as throwing a newspaper out a car window. Never, ever, ever again.

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