I've had a subscription to the Sunday paper for a number of years, and I finally admitted that I had held on for too long, and cancelled the subscription the other day.
I have had a subscription at various points, but it's been about nine years consecutive but it's time.
Reasons I Cancelled The Newspaper Subscription
- Price – The price has continued to go up. It goes up every six months, at which point I can call and get it lowered, but the way it works is that your deal slowly erodes. A customer service rep actually explained this to me. Say they have ten tiers of pricing. When you first sign up, you'll get the best tier. It'll expire and you'll pay full price. When you call in, they'll give you a discount, but only to the second tier. The next call will get you to the third tier, etc. After nine years or so as a subscriber, I was effectively out of tiers, and they will not drop you down on a current subscription, no matter who you talk to.
- Quantity – The Internet has ravaged subscriptions. This has led to layoffs, paper closings, and in our case, they only put out full editions of the paper three times per week. This is in Detroit, a pretty major metropolitan area. Although I always preferred to read the paper mostly on Sunday's, the three day per week cut never sat well with me.
- Quality – Along with the reduction in the days per week, the quality has gone down. The Sunday paper always meant a lot to me. I loved to just sit out on the deck (when it's warm) or on the couch, and spend a couple of hours with a few cups of coffee reading the paper. I realized that now I can go cover to cover in twenty minutes, barely half a cup of coffee for me. The number and quality of articles and sections has just been cut too significantly.
- Comics – I'm 40 but I still appreciate good funnies, and I realized that they've slowly stripped out my favorite comic strips one by one over the years. Basically, all that's left is Dilbert.
- Incompetent delivery people – I've not been happy at all with the delivery people that I've had. One guy got mad when I complained that there were some ads we weren't getting, and put a stack of them on my driveway after the second time I complained. The newest person doesn't realize that without extra protection, one flimsy plastic bag will not keep rain or melting snow, so anytime I wake up and it's wet, I can count on having to spread out the paper and wait for it to dry…
- My personal tipping point – I read an article in a recent edition and it was maybe the dumbest thing I've ever read in a paper. It was in the lifestyle session, so I get that there's some leeway, but it was about how she went to the mall and was in a store with another customer that was loudly chewing gum, so she left, except she took about 800 words to go through all that. It was honestly terrible. I was reading some of the online comments to see if I was the only one bothered by the fact that about half of newspaper writers have lost their jobs over the past 15 years, yet she's still gainfully employed, and someone said that unless you're paying for it, you don't have a right to complain. So, I figured I'll speak with my cancellation. (For the record, pretty much every person commenting felt the same as me, that it was a terrible article).
Without the article just mentioned, I probably would have cancelled sooner rather than later.
I Still Plan On Getting The Sunday Paper
But here's the thing, I'm probably going to still get the paper. Here's why and here's how:
- Why – The paper still has lots of coupons that we clip, and we generally save more than what we pay for the paper.
- How – I'll just get it at a gas station or drugstore or somewhere that sells the paper. With our pricing, we were paying $3.50 per week. The newsstand price is $2. I realize you pay a convenience fee for having it delivered, but it was just too steep. And, the fact is, there's probably not a single Sunday save for one with a major snowstorm, that we aren't out anyways. How hard is it to stop in and grab a paper? For $1.50 per week, that just means less of a break-even point for our coupon clipping.
At some point, I figure they may try to entice me back in. I would have to get back in at the bottom tier, and I figure you probably have to stay away for a few months before they'll get you back into that tier. Until then, it's been a good ride, but getting off the subscription train has been long overdue.