pulp friction

As Aurorans start bunkering down and await the first real snowstorm a number of them are waiting for what this also brings . That being unread newspapers clogging up snowblowers.

Brought up at this week’s General committee meeting by Clr. Buck was the concern voiced to her by several residents about what can be done about unwanted and poorly delivered newspapers.

Papers clogging up snowblowers as documented on Ruth Butler’s site here: http://ruthbutler.net/blog/how-the-decline-of-the-newspaper-industry-crippled-our-snow-blower/ is only one headache. Newspapers delivered one after another piling up at a residence is a clear sign it is not occupied.

As the world goes digital it leaves one to wonder if the Era Banner in the business of delivering news or nuisance?

I was encouraged to watch Aurora Council take a pro active stance on this issue, unfortunately I didn’t get to hear the debate as the town’s poorly implemented General Committee video stream cut out, as it usually does.

If the debate was newsworthy perhaps it will be covered in a future edition of the paper. Let’s just hope that arrives before the next snowfall.

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4 thoughts on “pulp friction

  1. As a former Banner carrier from way back when, I see this as one of several scenarios that can easily be fixed without the town getting involved:

    1. Customer is on vacation for a short period of time:
    Most customers would let me know if they were going to be away from a certain day to a certain day. I would give them the option of me holding their papers for them or just not delivering (i.e. their paper went to the blue box).

    2. The customer doesn’t want the paper:

    If you do not want the Banner delivered, call the paper or better yet tell the carrier. The latter works better as the carrier doesn’t have to make the effort to deliver your paper and, better yet, the carrier still gets paid!

    3. Lack of mailboxes or effort by the paper:

    I never had a problem with this as a carrier because I lived in an established area with Canada Post door to door service. Thus, I had decent sized mailboxes to put the paper in to secure it for pick up. The paper would be folded in half, length wise, and put in the mailbox. For me, if there was mail in the box, I would pull it out and put it in the middle of the paper (i.e. on the curve of the front cover) to prevent the paper and mail from blowing away. It also makes 1 neat little package to pick up for the homeowner to take inside. Thus, this method will not work if a mailbox is not available.

    In newer neighbourhoods where Canada Post has cancelled mail delivery no mailbox at houses exist. This means the newspaper will be either elasticed or bagged and put on the door step by the carrier.

    But, more likely, the snow blower effect you are talking about is caused by another issue. Many routes are covered by either the paper itself as no carrier exists or carriers that have so many homes they don’t have the time to make a delivery. This leads to papers being delivered at all times of the day and night. Let’s say the paper is delivered at 10 P.M. and snows. This means the paper is dropped on the driveway and by next morning it is covered in the snow. The homeowner then fires up the snowblower and whamo! A scene like the picture you have.

    To finish up, I’ve also had issues with the newspaper as well. I wrote about The Banner’s sister paper in Richmond Hill several times on my blog here: http://www.michaelsuddard.blogspot.ca/search/label/The%20Liberal

    To solve the problem, customers have to contact the Banner’s circulation department and put through complaints and make recommendations (i.e. is there a safer spot the paper could be delivered?) to the paper. If that doesn’t work and the homeowner is not interested in the paper being delivered, ask the Banner to stop delivery. If this last part to doesn’t work, then approach the town By-law about the possibility of having the Banner charged with “Dumping” or “Littering”.

    1. I too was an Era Banner carrier, certainly a low point in the jobs I took on as a student. My experience was similar although in King we did not have door to door mail service and I ensured that all papers were bagged and walked up to the porch not thrown at the end of the drive.

      I think the biggest thing I object to as you have pointed out is “when no carrier exists or carriers that have so many homes they don’t have the time to make a delivery.” The paper needs to take responsibility for providing adequate distribution and not excuses. If they don’t have the time to distribute (which i call bullshit as they have already collected revenue to print and circulate the paper) then they should refrain from distributing it until they have secured the necessary resources.

      With respect to requesting a stop of delivery I have heard from several people that that doesn’t work and the paper returns, either because of a new carrier taking up the route or possibly the paper deciding to deliver the paper regardless so it can up its readership numbers.

      Your point about the town exercising a bylaw infraction with respect to dumping and littering seems to be most logical, it was my hopes that council with staff could simply approach the paper so that it wouldn’t come to that.

      1. A Footnote on how I became a carrier:

        I was an Era-Banner Carrier after a lady, the local delivery manager, approached a friend and myself who were playing outside on the street (yes, we played on the street, a Crescent at least, safely!) and asked if we were interested in delivering the paper on the street. I gave my friend first crack at it as it was his house we were at. He declined.

        For the next 10 years until University, I delivered the paper on my own street with only 1 complaint of non delivery of the paper. I still can’t figure out how that paper was missed.

        The only complaint I had about the paper was when they changed from dropping fully inserted paper in bundles ready to go and to having to insert flyers into the paper and then deliver it. This last move is what the Era-Banner continues to struggle with.

        At the time, I mailed a two page type written letter to the Distribution Manager explaining how the Era-Banner was now asking the carriers to do twice the work for same amount of pay.

        It is now wonder that the Era-Banner’s Carrier force started dropping in numbers after this change which I believe is still happening today. They simply cannot keep the carriers around like the used to.

      2. The insert thing was slimey, if it is still the case today their production method is severely flawed. I think they have about the same desire to retain carriers as they do readers. Total absence of leadership at that paper for the past 12 years.

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