By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Globe’s home-delivery problems continue

2009 photo (cc) by jtu

2009 photo (cc) by jtu

The situation with home delivery for Boston Globe customers doesn’t seem to be much better today. Judging from Twitter and other online comments, the only good news for the Globe is that people really miss their paper.

I’ve seen a few conspiratorial-minded commenters suggest that this is a deliberate attempt to get people to switch to digital. In fact, newspapers still make most of their money from print, especially on Sunday. Which makes the meltdown all the more inexplicable.

A few data points. A website called Customer Service Scoreboard reports that the Globe has received 193 negative comments and just one positive. The oldest comment goes back to 2010, and it’s certainly true that people aren’t going to check in to report that their paper arrived on time. Still, the top of the thread is loaded with comments from folks who haven’t received their paper this week and can’t get a response from the Globe.

In a “Note to Subscribers,” the Globe says in part, “This disruption is not unexpected, as the transition involves the hiring and deployment of approximately 600 drivers.” I find that statement surprising. Given the importance of getting it right, you’d think there would have been multiple meetings over many months beginning and ending with: “We can’t screw this up.”

The Globe‘s Beth Healy quotes chief executive Mike Sheehan as saying that, on Wednesday, only 5 percent of customers did not receive their paper in a timely manner. But look at all the zip codes where the new delivery service is still having problems.

Over at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), Boston University’s John Carroll tells Jon Keller that he has a message for Globe publisher John Henry: “Get in your car and start delivering some newspapers.”

Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub continues to track the story and post tweets. Comments are rolling in at my story from Wednesday as well.

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  1. The fellow who heroically delivered us the Globe and the Herald to our doorstep for years (even after Hurricane Sandy dropped a tree that cut off our entire neighborhood for three days) still delivers us the Herald. But’s that’s all we’re getting these days.

    I always figured we’d eventually become a one newspaper town, I just never expected it would be the Herald.

  2. People are beginning to feel they can give the Globe up. I’m with Dan Kennedy, Globe staff and brass should put people and papers in their cars and deliver them to furious customers.

  3. Tom Watkins

    5 days and no paper in Lynn. Home delivery is unprofitable for the Globe. Therefore, make everyone use the epaper!

  4. Katherine Fogarty

    I live about a mile from the Globe HQ. I have gotten no paper all week. It’s time for them to be transparent with this problem.

  5. Stan Baker

    We received the Globe on Tuesday. None before and none since.
    The delivery person that was “dismissed” did not fail to deliver all last winter which at the time we thought was amazing. In light of the current troubles he should be a candidate for the coveted “Freedom Medal”.

    • Katherine Fogarty

      I agree. My delivery person (also dismissed) got me my Globe at my front door all last winter. They deserve a medal (and their jobs back).

  6. Peter Holscher

    Well I’m at least happy that other reporters are talking about the issue as The Boston Globe has remained silent as to why i haven’t received a paper delivery all week. I think the advertisers should demand their $ back seeing no ones getting the paper and seeing their ads! Today I FINALLY received a generic email from the globe that they are sorry (took an entire week to say that!) and will credit me and to stop calling for assistance. So whats really happening is they are sinking under the staggering numbers of emails, phone calls and requests for live chat. Their version of hanging up on their customers. Unreal! I don’t want a credit. I want to cancel, but you need to talk to a live person to do that.

  7. Kit Nichols

    Paul Revere got to Medford no problem. The Globe, on the other hand, hasn’t managed to find us all week. Hard to imagine we are actually paying for this…coffee and donuts to the first Globe reporter who manages to track us down. (Hint: 6 miles north of Boston, guys! Just put a Spotlight team on it!)

  8. Eliot Putnam

    Until last week I was getting better home delivery service than ever before…on time, at my front door, worthy of a big holiday season tip. And then came the big new delivery system, and I haven’t seen a paper for a week. Oh, it was so nice of the Globe to send us two coupons with which to purchase the paper, should the new system have growing pains. I’VE MISSED A WHOLE WEEK OF PAPERS. And the telephone complaint line is always busy, and the paper does not answer e-mails, and if I go to a local store to buy the Globe they are sold out. Not a word from anyone, not a newspaper to be seen. This is an insultingly ridiculous situation.

  9. I find the whole thing very confusing. My Globe delivery got disrupted last Monday, but I was still receiving my NY Times. Starting January 1st, that got disrupted too. And when I called to request a “redelivery” yesterday, I ended up with a Globe. Today my request to the Times for a redelivery produced a Times, and a couple of hours later, there was a Globe at my door. One of the points I have been stressing to the customer service reps at both papers (asking them to pass it on up the command chain, as I recognize policy is not up to the reps) is that the papers should have a way of addressing a problem that lasts for days that does not require customers to call in on a daily basis. I do not think of making sure my newspaper subscriptions are honored as a hobby to which I want to devote a lot of time. But, to get back to my original point, it is unclear to me what the facts are behind the disruptions and the redeliveries, and it is unclear to me what accounts for why I’m getting what I’m getting (and not getting) and when I’m getting (and not getting) it.

  10. We don’t get the Globe but we do get the New York Times, and for the first time ever the paper did not arrive on three consecutive days – Jan 1, 2, and 3. Is there some overlap in the delivery services between these two papers?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Alan: What may have happened is that your delivery person was forced to choose. Ours went with ACI, so she is still delivering the Globe but not the Times. We did get a Times yesterday, but it was from a different person, separate envelope.

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