The End Of An Era And A Rant About It

This is a rather abnormal day here at the Smith household. We cancelled our subscription to the Los Angeles Times. We’ve taken the LA Times for nearly 50 years. We will miss the physicality of the morning paper. But despite our efforts to call attention to recurrent delivery problems, the service has deteriorated to the point where the pleasure of holding the morning paper has been surpassed by frustration with inconsistent delivery. And the Times customer service operation systemically doesn’t give a hoot when or if we get a paper. When we call to report a problem, the people are uniformly polite and seemingly helpful but the system does not allow them to keep their promises. Having to call them two or three times a week with at best random follow through isn’t much fun.
Print papers are in trouble. They are under ever increasing competitive pressures from online news among other things that are not in their control. But they can control their customer service. There is no reason for a less than 60% on time delivery rate over a several month period. Sorry, getting a morning paper at noon isn’t an on time delivery. Getting the wrong paper even in a timely fashion isn’t an on time delivery. Getting a soaked paper, not just occasionally, but every time it rains isn’t an on time delivery. Having someone tell you ever so apologetically that an already late paper will arrive within an hour and then not getting it at all isn’t customer service.