Sunday, November 23, 2008

On The Motives of the Paperboy/Woman/Man

For a certain kind of ex-New Yorker, the Sunday Times is a big deal. Now that I have a porch, I really look forward to stepping outside in my pajamas and scooping up the One True Newspaper. We've been getting delivery for about a year and a half; for most of that time, it was bliss.

Then, about six weeks ago, things fell apart. Two weeks in a row, the paper ended up not on our porch, but on the sidewalk. Dangerous. The Sunday Times comes rolled up in a plastic bag. It's the size and shape of a fireplace starter log, plenty big enough to launch a pratfall. And a lawsuit.

We figured there was a new delivery person on the route. We complained. The Times promised to fix it. They did, sort of. For the last month, no more sidewalk, but no porch either. Instead, the paper has consistently landed somewhere on the steps in between.

Now, this morning, the paper was back on the porch! Small miracle. Cynic that I am, I immediately assumed that the new, lousy delivery person was upping the service level in anticipation of a holiday tip.

Upon reflection, I've come up with some other possibilities. Maybe the pre-holiday timing is a coincidence. Maybe there were more complaints, and the new person was forced to start doing the job right. Or maybe there were more complaints and s/he got canned, or quit, and the new new person is doing it right. Or maybe someone was filling in for the original person for a couple of months; now she's back and doing her usual splendid job.

In the next few weeks, the delivery person will drop off the holiday card/tip solicitation. If the name matches last year's, I'll have the answer. If not, I'm left with my theories...the holiday card. That's where I had them.

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