Being a newspaper delivery person is a tough, 365-day-a-year job.
Long, lousy early-morning hours of trying to find the right address in dark, inclement weather, keeping track of numerous starts and stops for vacations, adding new customers, keeping papers dry, etc., all add up to a difficult line of work.
As if the job isn't difficult enough, now the KC Star and other newspapers are implementing tough new guidelines for delivery folks that will severely penalize them for any complaints---whether valid or not. The complaints can also erase potential incentive bonuses (see below).
The Kansas City Star will be able to deduct up to $5 per complaint from its newspaper delivery agents/carriers due to new terms being imposed on them. It also will impact delivery of Investors Business Daily, Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Barron's and the Olathe Daily News.
Carriers today make about 8-10 cents per delivery. However, the new charges can result in a $5 penalty as a result of an "Aggravated Customer," "Wet Paper," "Not Started," "Not Stopped" and other instances.
"This is a blatant attempt to hurt those at the bottom end that are still suffering from the effects of last summer's high fuel prices," said a carrier who wants to remain anonymous.
"Many carriers have left, but many cannot afford to."
According to the carrier, a third party company was created to act as a go-between for The Star and several other financial papers (and most recently the USA Today). These other papers were being delivered by carriers that were making as much as 70 cents per daily copy, however, they are now delivered by The Star carriers for the same rate that they make for delivering The Star.
These kinds of policies (and layoffs) have gone into effect since McClatchy Company bought out Knight Ridder (including the Star) in 2006. Customer service was initially relocated to Georgia and then to India, which means carriers cannot let customers know of things like vehicle problems for bad weather.
"Please, if you can, try to work directly with your carrier," says the carrier.
"Remember they are out there in the middle of the night, often before the plow and salt trucks get to work. They also are the ones calling the police if they notice anything suspicious at 3 a.m."
Photo credit: Bottom Line Communications