Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Little delivery elves and order takers downsized and outsourced?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As far as I can see, reports of economic recovery and easing of unemployment are greatly exaggerated.

I don't mean to alarm small children, but it looks like even St. Nick has downsized his operation. This year, he managed to deliver a dark chocolate orange to my younger daughter's shoe. She's 19, and St. Nick saves the bigger rewards for younger people, which is as it should be.

But that's all. I'd hoped to find a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on my doorstep. But alas. Either St. Nick or the newspaper company has gotten so lean that it's having trouble fulfilling its subscriptions.

I still love a hard copy paper. And I've long been a subscriber. But I fell behind in paying my invoice. In the old days (half a year ago), I'd remember or someone would call and remind me, I'd pay, and there'd be no "disruption of service."

No longer. Now, delivery stops, along with ability to use your  your online account. You can get to it, but you can't do anything when you get there.

Even before I became a slacker customer, the system always kicked me out somewhere along the way of completing the order. Then I'd call on the phone, and a nice lady would say, "Oh honey, I know. People always have trouble with that." She'd do some magic and it would work, finally. Or I'd give her my numbers, and the next day, voila: a paper at the door to accompany coffee in the fine old tradition.

I'd tried, really I had, to rectify the situation about a month ago. After 20 minutes of frustration in trying to pay up online, I picked up the phone. A recorded voice informed me, "There are approximately 25 callers ahead of you." Too long to wait: I decided to manage without a paper.

Then last Sunday, a chirpy young woman at Pick 'n Save offered me a free paper and reduced subscription rate -- A deal not to be passed up. "It'll take 5 days to get the order started," she warned me. I paid for 6 months (less whatever I owed) and took the free copy.

It's been 7 days. No paper. I'm not sure why it takes so long for one computer to pass the information along to another computer. In the old days, you'd talk to the nice lady, and somehow the information got sent to the carrier the next day.

I don't know a lot about business, but I'm pretty sure that unless you're dealing in high end products that cater to the elite, you don't want to make it hard for people to buy your product.  And you want them to be happy about the experience of buying it as well as liking the product itself.

I'd have gladly paid more money directly to the Journal company for my subscription.  And they wouldn't have had to give a cut to the marketing company hired to sell cut rate subscriptions.

But they might have to keep around a few more of those nice elves who just get the job done.

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