Farewell, Newspaper Subscription!

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 mb-2014-10paperspoint 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.

18 thoughts on “Farewell, Newspaper Subscription!”

  1. I’ve never had a newspaper subscription, and they know better than to call and solicit me. They used to call and give me offers, but I would politely decline. The last time they called, the guys was rude – asked me where I got my news from. Kept prodding me, asking questions and basically telling me I was dumb for getting my news off the internet which likely was giving me false information. Normally I’d just hang up, but I wanted to see how rude he would get. Turns out, really rude….he eventually hung up on me (I was very accommodating and pleasant the whole time). I called and spoke to a manager, relayed what had happened, and then forcefully told him to take me off their call list, and their mailing list. I told him if I ever got a phone call from them again, the caller could expect to be berated until they hung up. If I got a piece of mail from them, they could expect me to return it personally to their office, with quite a bit of disruption. haven’t heard from them again. 🙂

  2. The reasons you describe – quantity of papers/week, quality, etc – are exactly the reasons I never started subscribing to the paper here when I moved back after college. Its just not worth it. Crappy reporting and the number of times it comes out per week doesn’t justify the cost. Plus I can read most of them at work since my office still subscribes to all the area papers.

  3. Part of me wants to just cut the expense, but the other part still enjoys the paper. I even take the business and sports sections to work to read during lunch. I know I can read the news online, but I like the physical paper.

    • That’s what I held on to for a long time, for me it was Sunday’s only, but after I basically went through every page and was done reading what stood out to me in 20 minutes, it hit me that those days are gone.

  4. I dropped the newspaper subscription many years ago. I too used to enjoy sitting there for a long time on a relaxing Sunday morning, reading the paper. However, that time has probably been replaced by blogging and online time spread throughout the week. There are only so many hours, and the paper doesn’t make the cut anymore for me. Like you, I certainly think subscribing is quite expensive.

  5. {sigh} Sadly, I came to the same conclusion about our local paper some years ago. The funny strips were no longer funny — all the good ones went away, and the rest were jammed together so you needed an electron microscope to read the print. News? What’s that? The Arizona Republic laid off its investigative reporters and was publishing mostly infotainment pap. And the circulation jerks…my god! They would actually call me on the phone and badger me as though I were some kind of a deadbeat BEFORE THE BILL WAS DUE.

    I do still get the New York Times. Although much of my news comes from online sources, I much, much prefer to read news in hard copy. As far as I know, the Times is one of the last papers still publishing actual news and still publishing a Sunday magazine. The Washington Post may still be OK, but I’ve heard it’s a wan shadow of itself. Ditto the LA Times. The Wall Street Journal, which my ex- and I used to have delivered, lost me when it was bought by Rupert Murdoch, who I expected would turn the thing into a crass tool.

    It’s a shame, and a real loss to the democratic process in America. But nothing lasts forever, I guess…

  6. This an article close to my heart. In another life I was a newspaper carrier….a very good one no less. In this neck of the woods the local paper used to basically turn over the delivery aspect of the paper to independent contractors. It was basically your own business. And like anything, you have good business folks and bad business folks. With incentives one could make a very good living and we seized the opportunity.
    Like you I am troubled buy the decline of the newspaper industry…..lack of content and “ninja pricing”. I just allowed my paper to expire and was mailed an outstanding offer…52 weeks of the paper…Saturday and Sunday…$9.99….Retail price of our Sunday paper is $2-$2.50 and the Saturday is $1… but they will bring it to my door for less than 20 cents a week?…I’m in…the check is in the mail…

  7. The internet has been pounding nails into the newspaper industry’s coffin for years and it’s not hard to see the end is close for many of the existing titles. News is now available 24/7 on TV and the internet, so as comforting as it may be to sit down with the Sundays over breakfast, sadly it must surely only be a matter of time before it’s a thing of the past.

    • The biggest problem is that the newspapers spent the first 5-10 years of the internet trying to fight it. Eventually they tried to adapt, but it was most definitely a case of too little, too late as many people moved on and weren’t about to move back.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. I used to love reading the newspaper daily, and now I’m down to just the Sunday paper, mostly for the coupons and sales circulars. The newspaper quality has gone downhill, the pricing has gone way uphill, and I’m too far over the hill to hunt for the paper in the street, the bushes, and anywhere else the carrier chooses to hide it.

    • At least in some of those places the paper might stay a little dry in a rainstorm. Our delivery people leave it right in the middle of the driveway….just in the right spot for the water to pour down the driveway during any amount of rain.

  9. I don’t generally read the newspaper, or watch the news because it’s information overload and generally just what a bunch of people who I’ve never met and don’t know what is important to me have deemed “newsworthy”. Anything that is big enough to be a must-know will be discussed at length by friends/family so I’ll find out about it and then just Google it. Read a very select couple of articles on it and be done with it!

  10. My husband is an AVID newspaper reader. The house used to get 2 or 3 papers a day and he would even ask take other peoples newspapers if we were out visiting. I kid you not! Finally we are down to just 1 paper (plus the free local ones) a week. The joy! He seems to be managing without them.

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