The perfect delivery; it’s all about the timing

Trent Ernst, Editor


My eldest daughter, who turned ten this summer, has discovered capitalism.

Now, kids tend to get enchanted by cold hard cash at a very young age: look! Shiny!

But I’ve been trying to instill in Zoe some life lessons that she’s not getting in school about the exchange of services for capital and all that rot.

In short, she has a job.

Not just any job. She delivers the Tumbler Ridge News.

There are eight people who do this, some kids, some adults. Zoe is just one of our carriers, delivering the paper in the far southeast corner of town.

On her route there are 84 houses that get the paper.

Because she is only ten, she does not do it all by herself. I help out every week, as well as her friend and, more recently, her friend’s younger brother.

Last week, our quartet became a quintette, when my youngest daughter joined in the fun.

Ever tried getting a group of kids to do something? It’s a bit like the proverbial herding cats. (Wait, is that proverbial or metaphorical?)

In the last few weeks, we’ve got a couple of … I won’t call them complaints. More comments of an enquiring nature.

These comments were both along the lines of: “I used to get the paper on Thursday, now it’s showing up on Saturday. What’s the deal?”

Since most of our carriers are of a school age, I figured that there might be some other people wondering about shifts in the schedule that have happened over the last month or two.

(That paragraph, if you were paying attention, has telegraphed what I am about to say, but I will say it anyway, because that’s what I do.)

The thing that has changed in the last few months is school has started again. (Toldja.)

But equally important is that summer has ended.

And by summer has ended I don’t just mean summer holidays are over.

Let me explain. Two months ago, the kids were free all day, every day. When the papers arrived on their doorstep in the morning, they were able to insert the flyers and wrap them with an elastic band.

And yes, that’s the carrier’s responsibility. It isn’t all fun and fresh air. There’s a couple hours sitting around creating the bundles. (That’s what we call it in the biz: a bundle.)

I can’t speak for the other carriers, but our family, at least, tried to go camping on the weekends, which meant that we had to get the papers delivered on Thursday.

With the start of school, though, kids are no longer waiting eagerly on their front doorstep, waiting for the papers to arrive. No, they’re hard at work in school, and don’t get home until about three in the afternoon.

Even if they don’t have any homework (which they sometimes do), it takes a couple hours to bundle up all the papers, which means they’re ready just in time for supper.

Here’s where the second issue comes in. Because it also takes an hour or two to deliver the papers.

This week? The sun is setting at 6:30. In a month? It will be setting at 5:30. That doesn’t leave a lot of available daylight in which to get the paper delivered on a weekday.

If this were a daily? It would be “suck it up, princess and get out there.” But it’s not. It’s a weekly. And the stories that we write are going to be just as important on Saturday as they are on Thursday.

So we give our carriers the latitude to deliver the papers any time before the end of the weekend.

But what if you really want to know what’s happening in town?

Two options. The first is to pick up a copy of the paper from downtown (Shop Easy, The Inn, etc). The second is to read the paper online: