Thursday, January 29, 2009

Newspaper Across the Neighborhood

We found this photo, above, somewhere on the Internet. It does not look exactly like the home-delivered Pensacola News Journal, which we had to gather up this morning from all over the neighborhood.

It's cold here today, but not that cold.

We also know it doesn't look like our newspaper because (1) we didn't find that many pages, even after chasing across seven neighboring yards in our underwear; and (2) that pile of pages you see, above, is way too neat.

Ours looked more like it had already been used for yard compost.

So, we call "customer service" to ask for a whole paper to be delivered. Right?

"One will be delivered tomorrow," the lady on the phone says with a cheerful lilt in her voice. "We no longer offer same day replacement, except on weekends. We're trying to save on ink and stuff."

"Well, we do hope the newspaper survives, but --" we begin.

"Me, too," the lady interrupts. Suddenly, she sounds like she's about to cry. "My husband and I are trying to pay on a big mortgage. I can't afford to lose this job."

As we have said before, we don't know what it will take to save the newspaper industry. But we're pretty sure pissing off the diminishing number of subscribers isn't one of them.

On the other hand, pathos can be a surprisingly effective customer retention strategy.

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