Every morning, my husband G. and I have a breakfast ritual. He takes out his cinnamon and raisin bread from Crown Bakery, makes a big pot of coffee, does his stretching exercises downstairs with his orange juice and brings upstairs the Telegram & Gazette newspaper (for him) and the New York Times newspaper (for me.) I, on my part, have a half glass of orange juice, make a bowl of oatmeal or cook two soft-boiled eggs that I eat with a dab of Chinese oyster sauce (like my Dad had for his breakfast.) Our breakfast ritual is characterized by contented silence eating our breakfasts, rustling the pages of our individual newspapers and drinking cups of hot coffee.
Everything was fine until a few months before the holidays. More often than not, G. returned upstairs empty-handed. Sometimes the newspaper (which was guaranteed to be delivered by 7:30 a.m.) didn’t arrive until after eight o’clock, or sometimes not at all. I don’t know about you, but a half an hour is a long time to wait before putting slices of cinnamon raisin bread into the toaster just so you could eat and read at the same time.
It was obvious that we had a new delivery person who just didn’t care much about delivering the paper on time. For over two months and despite entreaties in person to get better service, nothing much happened to get back to a schedule that allowed us to have our breakfast and read the newspaper together. Then, a new delivery person came on board and things improved a little, even managing to get by the snow plows and deliver the paper on snowy mornings in this almost-record snowfall winter of 2014-15 here in New England. Then things started getting erratic again and yesterday, no papers arrived at all. G. called the T&G circulation line only to be put on hold for ten minutes and then spoke to someone with a foreign accent, blase as could be and not caring at all about either the wait time for being put on hold, nor G.’s complaint about missing papers. It was frustrating.
So, mid-morning, sans newspapers, I looked online and perused the “Contact Us” page of the Telegram and Gazette website. I wrote to the Director of Circulation, copying three managers working under him, describing the history of spotty deliveries and voiced a final “cri de coeur” asking for help to restore our equanimity at breakfast with papers delivered on time.
At eight p.m. last night, G.’s phone rang and it was the Director of Circulation at the T & G., a fellow with the initials A.S. They spoke for a brief time, I could hear the word, “Manila,” in response to where the complaint-line operator originated from. He gave G. his phone number in case we had future problems and offered up a two-week free extension to G.’s subscription.
This morning as I walked into the kitchen, I asked G. if the papers had come. Silence. Then, he said that there were copies of the paper that weren’t delivered yesterday, today’s paper and an extra one of the Telegram and Gazette. Plus, yesterday’s copy of the New York Times newspaper that wasn’t delivered plus today’s copy. Five newspapers in all had landed on our doorstep and lay on our breakfast table this morning.
Later, I wrote a thank-you note to A.S. for calling G. last night and for the newspapers delivered this a.m. His reply arrived immediately saying it was great to hear good news and to offer up his help if we needed it in the future.
This might seem like a long post to read about something as mundane as newspaper delivery problems. But if you enjoy the sound of newspaper pages being turned in the silence of a shared morning breakfast ritual to start the day, you’ll understand.