If there's one day when putting out a paper version of the newspaper is really important, it's Thanksgiving. Over at the Houston Chronicle, customer service rep Cathy Elizondo tells Hair Balls that the paper sells more advertising for that edition than any other day of the year.
Readers call the paper weeks in advance, Elizondo says, to make sure they'll be delivered an issue stuffed full of all those ads needed to gear up for Black Friday. In fact, Thanksgiving is such a big day for the Chronicle that deliveries are made to customers not scheduled to get a paper on Thursdays.
So when the deliveries were several hours late yesterday and readers started calling to complain, Elizondo says it was expected.
There weren't any technical problems, she says, but the size of the Thanksgiving operation just overwhelmed the delivery drivers. Elizondo didn't have any exact circulation numbers but estimated that an additional 250,000 papers were delivered, and one distributor she knows had about 500 extra stops to make.
Thanksgiving actually went smoother than anticipated, Elizondo says, and while she wouldn't elaborate on why problems were expected, we're guessing it's because the newspaper doesn't have the resources in these hard economic times to do things like pay extra delivery drivers for all those extra deliveries.
Hair Balls also left a message with Jim Newkirk, the Chronicle's reader representative, and we'll let you know if he gets back to us with anything to add.
- Paul Knight