Newspaper's here, it's covered in mud!
August 16, 2008 9:06 AM   Subscribe

How can I get my morning newspaper delivered closer to my door, and farther away from the street?

I've got daily paper delivery, and have had it at this location (in Central Illinois) for over a year. The other day, someone left the paper on my doorstep, which I'd like to happen more often -- usually, it's hanging out in the gutter on the street, or is in the strip of lawn in front of the sidewalk, where I put my recycling and trash bins out. Occasionally, it gets thrown onto the sidewalk, but it's never been on my lawn or on my steps, except for that awesome fluke the other day.

Is this normal? Where does your newspaper get delivered, and how can I get my paper delivered closer to my door? It's often wet and muddy because of the location it lands in. It also gets "stolen" more often, I think because it's just in the street or near my trash bins on garbage day and looks like, well, trash.

Is the fee that I'm paying for the paper (which is quite considerable, actually -- newspapers are expensive!) also going towards the delivery service? If so, I feel like I should have the paper delivered closer to my door, or at least not in the gutter. It doesn't help that most of my neighbors (who get a different newspaper than I do) get the paper delivered right to their doorstep, which leads me to believe that my request isn't too off the mark. What should I do?
posted by k8lin to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
This is an age-old complaint (so common that you see it in old comedies), but it's not right. Call the paper's circulation office and tell them you won't continue to pay for delivery if the paper is not on your porch.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:10 AM on August 16, 2008

Or, failing the 'stick' approach, offer your paper-guy a little annual bonus.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:19 AM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Yes you are paying for delivery. Yes you have to tip the guy.

They don't wrap the paper in plastic? My NY Times is double-wrapped in thick blue plastic.
posted by Zambrano at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2008

I agree with paisley henosis. Do you know your paper carrier? I know the age of paper "boys" (or girls) might be over, but when I was delivering them, the nice customers, especially those who tipped well, definitely got customized service.
posted by johnstein at 9:24 AM on August 16, 2008

Ask your carrier? We just cancelled after nine years of home delivery, because the price went up again and the quality is just not there any longer. Our was always delivered to the end of our driveway, and that seemed to be non-negotiable.

Anyway, my carrier used to put a Christmas card in with the paper around christmas time. The envelope that the card was in was addressed to him. Oh, I get it, I put a card/tip in here, stick a stamp on it and viola. I put a check and a post it note. I wrote 'Here are two tips for you. Tip one you can take to the bank. Tip two: when it rains double bag the paper.'
He got the idea.
posted by fixedgear at 9:24 AM on August 16, 2008

In my area, home delivery of newspapers is no longer performed by spunky bicycle-riding tweens with good pitching arms but by second-job-holding adults who fling the paper in the general direction of your house from their car window while they drive by going about 20mph. As a result, placement of the delivered paper has suffered. I used to be able to tip the tweens to encourage them to ride up my driveway and toss the paper near my door but the current car-going carriers are less influenced by an extra fiver on collection day (and also, collection day is another thing of the past as most papers now direct-bill for subscriptions).

Anyway, on the off chance you live in Mayberry, with a real paperboy who does his own route collection, you could try tipping him.
posted by jamaro at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2008

As an ex-paper delivererer, I must comment.

Paper delivery people get paid a pittance, and get no days off. Literally. If you work for Gannett, you work 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including Christmas and New Years. You're at the whim of the warehouse as to what time you'll actually get your papers, and its still up to you to get the paper to the customer on time. Otherwise, its a $10-$15 fine for you. Deducted from your check.

The paper carrier has to pay for bags.

That being said, the not-bagged-in-the-rain complaint is inexcusable.

The porch thing, unless you really really need it on the porch, as an ex-carrier I would ask that you not request it. Literally *every* customer, if asked, says yes to the porch question. Carriers have to deliver 130+ papers per night just to make ~$100 a week. Most carriers have 2 routes just to make it worthwhile.

If you porch everyones paper, your night doubles in duration.

I'm juss' sayin'.
posted by aleahey at 10:49 AM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

As someone who used to moonlight as a paper deliveryman, I'm not sure if I should tell you this, but if you request porch service, it will be noted, and your delivery guy should deliver it on the porch. It's quite likely there are already a handful on his route who he does this for. But yeah, it is a bitch for him. There's no magic paper-delivery device that can porch a paper from 50 feet at speed. He has to get out or have a ninja-like, deadly accurate throw. Your call.
posted by malapropist at 11:15 AM on August 16, 2008

My paper (Pittsburgh, right on the border of what still counts as city vs. suburbs) gets delivered to the end of my driveway. Right now I just get the New York Times; in the past I've had one of the local city papers as well, and they did the same thing. Where I grew up in suburban New Jersey, same thing - end of driveway. I always thought this was standard and would be very surprised (though pleasantly so) if my paper arrived on my porch instead.

I think it would be reasonable to complain if your paper is getting wet/dirty so that you can't read it, though. I think double-bagging is a more reasonable solution than having it placed on your porch, but it's certainly reasonable to expect something to be done so you can read the paper you're paying for.
posted by Stacey at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2008

Is your mailbox at the end of the driveway? If so, you can add a newspaper holder to it. You still have to walk to get your paper, but it stays cozy and dry. Or you may be able to find a stand-alone newspaper box, my parents have one they got right from the newspaper company, maybe ask your delivery person?
posted by platinum at 12:29 PM on August 16, 2008

If your paper is getting soaked, dirtied, or stolen, call and complain. Every day, if need be. You'll start getting your paper. (That said, sometimes I wouldn't really bother to get my paper until fairly late in the day, and it would have snowed or rained on it during the day. This was my fault, and I never complained about not getting my paper bagged when it rained at 11 am. Be reasonable when you complain -- carriers have to pay for plastic bags etc.)

I don't think you need your paper on the porch (though when I got my paper, it was always in front of my door, not in my driveway or even on the stairs to the door), but I do think that wanting it on private property instead of on the sidewalk is reasonable.

Make sure you're giving a tip to the delivery person. Most papers allow you to add on a tip to your monthly bill.
posted by jeather at 12:55 PM on August 16, 2008

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'm going to let it be for now. If it continues to bug me, I think I'll make a request that the paper be double-bagged in the winter, but I hate to waste twice as much plastic -- especially since the carrier pays for the bags. To clarify, although the paper does arrive in a bag every day, it's the wrong size for this particular newspaper (the New York Times) and is often ripped as a result, especially on Sundays, when the paper is three times larger than the rest of the week.

Also, thanks for the information on tipping. To clarify, I do tip, during the holiday season, but I was not aware that I could request a tip be added to my monthly bill. I may do that in addition to the holiday tip, especially if I make any special bagging/delivery requests. I know that it's a hard job (thanks in particular to aleahey for your comments, being a former paper deliverer) and I don't want to make it any worse -- I just want to read a dry newspaper in the morning.
posted by k8lin at 1:18 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Be careful what you ask for. Our previous delivery guy was so intent on "porching" the paper that he threw it right through our screen door.
posted by HotToddy at 5:19 PM on August 16, 2008

Since I don't read the paper every day, on those days I do, I enjoy walking to the corner to buy one, early in the morning while my coffee brews. All the delivered papers are in the driveways. I always toss 2-3 onto the porch. Good karma.
posted by TDIpod at 6:59 PM on August 16, 2008

Yeah, I'm with platinum. My parents also have a mailbox with an extra space for a newspaper. This way the paper stays dry, isn't denoted as trash, and the deliverer doesn't have to come up their driveway. I don't think the new box cost that much, probably less than whatever you would have to tip to induce "porch service." (I love that piece of paper delivery jargon that I have picked up from this thread!).
posted by bluefly at 3:58 AM on August 17, 2008

Sounds like a job for Christmas Box.
posted by Dr.Pill at 9:39 AM on August 17, 2008

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