Opinion

Carrier 101: How the paper gets to you, and how to make for a great delivery experience

When the bad weather starts to really hit home, that’s when nailing the newspaper porch delivery gets even more important.

This week marks the second anniversary of the Valley Record’s switch to home delivery. We used to go through U.S. mail, and the change brought new benefits and connections but also the occasional headache.

Ever wondered how newspaper delivery works? Consider this a brief lesson. Right now, the Record relies on 38 youth routes and 22 motor routes to get the paper to some 12,000 addresses. Every week, a small army of grown-ups and children, age 12 and up, form up on the Ridge and haul papers in Snoqualmie, Carnation and North Bend. Adults, including one college student, deliver papers by car in all communities—and there are only car routes in Fall City. The majority of delivery drivers do several routes, delivering anywhere from 600 to nearly 1,400 newspapers. The shortest car route is 22 miles. The longest is 73.

Youth carriers, who operate on foot, bikes and scooters—one boy rides a skateboard—deliver between 90 and 200 papers weekly.

All we ask that it be dry, readable and at your front porch by 6 p.m. on delivery day.

Of course, things don’t always go to plan. Kids and adults get sick, they get busy, they join new clubs or sports, or they just bow out. At times like this, we rely on substitute carriers, but it can be tough to ensure high standards when someone is new to a route.

If you miss a paper, the best thing to do is call in to our office on the day that it’s missing. Let us know, too, if only you or your neighbor, too, missed their paper. That helps us get an idea what’s happening on your route.

Ninety percent of the time, we’ll be able to contact your carrier, who will go back and deliver the paper that same day.

Also, if you’re going out of town for an extended trip and would like to halt delivery, you can call our office to set that up.

Sometimes, residents wait until three or four weeks have passed without paper delivery to let us know they’ve been missed. We’d prefer to know if a route has a problem as early as possible, within a day or so. It is best to fix these issues as soon as possible.

To do so, contact our office, tell us the issue, and your address; our number is (425) 888-2311.

For some of our carriers, delivery is a job like any other gig. But for our youth carriers, it’s a good way to learn the ropes of the world of work. Most carriers, teens included, understand that customer service is a big part of their income. They can be fined for complaints, so most are extremely diligent about delivery.

With free delivery, one might be tempted to consider that any service, even bad service, might cut it, but those of us with our names on the masthead, and, I expect, many who don’t see their names in ink, feel otherwise. We want to hold ourselves and our carriers to the same standards as any paid publication, indeed to the standards set over the Record’s 99-year history.

We need your help to do so. If you miss a paper, need a fix or have an issue, don’t hesitate or procrastinate. Let us know, and help us maintain high standards. Whether the rain falls or the snow flies, we want the paper that lands on your porch to be crisp, exciting and readable—never late or soggy.

And, to all the carriers working hard to ensure quality delivery—a hearty thank you, and a happy new year.

 

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