31 January 2009

Scab Rag

I have been fighting a battle for the last couple of weeks, a battle with a certain newspaper that I do not wish to receive, but which seems to be determined to make me recycle it on a daily basis. I'm usually a very even-tempered person, but this battle has had me starting each day aggravated and angry.

Let's start at the beginning of this story…

Some time ago, I had a weekend only subscription to the local English language daily newspaper. I valiantly fended off their every attempt to persuade me to buy the newspaper every day, as I really only had time to read it on the weekends. I had a few problems with non-delivery, but these were generally settled with a phone call, often with a credit to my account.

Suddenly, I started receiving the rag that haunts me. The English paper informed me that their newspaper is delivered by the delivery person from the rag in an arrangement that they have to share delivery services. While they seemed unable to consistently deliver the English paper only two days a week, they suddenly became extremely efficient at delivering their trash to my front porch seven days a week.

Phone calls to the English paper to stop it. Phone calls to the rag to stop it. E-mails to both. It took weeks to arrive at the end of the saga, but it finally stopped after I cancelled my subscription to the English paper, which I now go out and buy only on Saturdays.

Imagine my distress, then, to find that rag on my doorstep once again a few weeks ago. I thought it might belong to my neighbour, who I don't know, so I dutifully moved it in front of his door, sometimes even put it through the mail slot to remove it from the elements and to remove it from view. Then I noticed that on the occasions where he left his home before I did in the morning, he was moving it to my door, and I finally spoke to him about it. As it turns out, he is a unilingual anglophone, so it isn't very likely that he ever subscribed to that trashy publication.

I started calling them daily to complain about the unwanted delivery, and got assurances that it would stop. Two and a half weeks later, my days have been starting with aggravation, as I check for the rag, find it, and then phone them to put an end to the delivery.

I hatched a plot to find a way for it to cost them money — I would buy some large envelopes and mail each paper back to them with no postage on it and their address in the return position as well, or with no return address. Maybe postage due would make them take notice. I also threatened, yesterday, that I would stay up and confront the delivery person, an action from which they tried to dissuade me with more assurances that they would deal with the problem.

My first objection to this delivery is the lack of control over it. If I leave town for a meeting or for a vacation, the papers will accumulate, announcing my absence for anyone who might wish to rob me. Second, I am a total snob and this is not the unwanted paper that I could tolerate being delivered to me (it would be my very last choice of local newspaper to read, even after the free dailies distributed in the transit system). Third — and this reason arrived about a week ago — they are currently in a labour dispute (hence the 'scab' in my title) and I refuse to be associated with anything not produced by the real workers.

I was delighted this morning to look out on my porch and see only a little bit of snow and our joint bucket of salt for the steps (not very environmentally correct, but it keeps me from falling down the stairs and breaking a hip). Could it finally have worked?

***Breaking News***

Alas, no: the deliveries had not been stopped! There is the van of the delivery person stopping outside, and here I am getting agitated and getting my keys. I manage to get out the front door, barefoot and in my bathrobe, before he throws the paper and I stop him. He thinks he is delivering it to my neighbour, so I inform him that my neighbour is a unilingual anglophone and does he think that it is likely that he wants it? I'm sure I looked like a crazy person, but I'm hoping that worked.

Believe me, if it didn't I will be escalating, going postal (as in mailing them back).


madamerouge said...

I would lose my sh1t! :-) good luck

Ken Monteith said...

Well, it does seem to have worked. I came back in from my crazed dressing gown rant and laughed myself silly. And no papers since...