Another Reason to Hate Newspapers

Today, the scary frozen water fell from the sky. As snowstorms went, it was pretty mild, but since the new 4-5 inches was dumped on top of the existing couple of inches from last weekend, I figured I should clear the driveway. Plus, they say 12″+ this weekend! Little did I know the newspaper industry was laying in wait to screw up my day.

Our driveway is around 250′ long, with a pronounced downslope. It helps if it is not slippery. It helps because you don’t end up in the neighbor’s pine trees. Our insurance company appreciates my efforts, I am sure.

Now, back in 2001, when we had just moved in, we decided we needed a tractor to mow more than a snowblower to blow. Winters in Maryland are mild after all. Then in either 2002 or 2003 we got hit with 24″+. I shoveled the driveway out by hand over two days, but had purchased a big Ariens machine by the end of the week. Screw that.

So after lunch, I fired up the machine, took one stripe off going down, turned around in the street and started back up.

Screeech!

Stopped the machine, what the hell?

Some journalistic organization had thrown a free paper on my driveway. Wrapped tightly in plastic. Sucked into my snowblower it jammed the impellers to a fare-the-well. Took me nearly an hour to clear the jam with water, a chisel, a box-cutter, a hammer, and every four-letter Anglo-Saxon word I could think of. I was ready to go after it with my Sawzall by the end.

I don’t pay for any paper; I subscribe to none. I used to get the local weekly, but then they were bought by the Baltimore Sun and you couldn’t get a subscription without also getting the Sunday paper. I haven’t paid for a newspaper subscription in years and years. Yet every week these damn things show up on my driveway. Morons.

Thankfully it did no damage, and the orange machine of snow-doom cleared my driveway in another fifteen minutes.

But it is another reason to hate newspapers.

And it makes me feel more kindly to email spam, which has not damaged any machinery I own, at least to date.

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5 Comments on “Another Reason to Hate Newspapers”

  1. Mick Says:

    The Oregonian delivers a free advertising weekly every Tuesday. It is works well for laying down under mulch or topsoil to keep the weeds under control.

    • designbygravity Says:

      Ha! Every Wednesday when I take out the garbage I collect them up from the foot of the driveway and toss them. Makes me a little sad, but way more mad.


  2. I’ll bet those free newspapers are at least 80% advertising, which makes them cash cows for newspapers.
    One of the most closely guarded secrets in America is the true profit margin of your local newspaper. While they whine and moan about how tough things are, they’re likely still running double-digit profit margins. They HAVE to be given the staff cuts and other cuts they’ve made while shrinking the percentage of space allocated to news.
    I used to work in newspapers. I know what it takes to run one and you can’t have newspapers continuing to bleed red ink when they have skeleton staffs, have shrunk the physical size of their newsprint and are increasing the percentage of advertising space to “news.”

  3. sedwards Says:

    There’s an old house on Rte. 144 here just west of the Lisbon circle. It has a sign posted at the end of the driveway: “NO FREE NEWSPAPERS THANKS,” handwritten in a creepy serial-killer scrawl. I never see papers lying there. You might want to give it a try.


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