For more than a year, when I arose at 430 in the morning, I was thankful that there was a pale green plastic bag on my doorstep containing the San Jose Mercury News (the Merc) to help me began my day. About two months ago, it started arriving after 7, and I wondered why. When it did arrive I also wondered why it sometimes landed on the lawn or in the bushes.
At 455 on this Thanksgiving Day morning when I opened my front door there was the familiar pale green plastic bag but it looked far larger than any I had seen before. I lugged the hefty bag to the dining room table and unfurled its contents. There were two separate, rubber band encased sections; the first had nineteen separate items and the second had a mere fourteen. I meticulously searched through each and every item and to my dismay I couldn’t find the newspaper, only advertising inserts proclaiming the virtues of shopping early for fabulous Black Friday sales.
The earliest beat Black Friday opening was for three of what we used to call drug stores who were open all Thanksgiving day. I wondered why Walmart held off ruining Thanksgiving for its employees by waiting until 10 on Thanksgiving night when other more benevolent retailers waited until 4 AM Friday for their own “door buster” or “early bird” specials. By that time, it will be too late to rescue any of 43 million birds that will be devoured today across our great land.
The bulging insert don’t wait winners were jcpenney with one seventy-two page entry, tied with Macy’s with two inserts of 56 and 16 pages, Sears totaled 68 pages in two inserts, and Kohl’s added a 60-page one. As usual, all of Kohl’s models were wearing their forced smiles as they leaned to the left or the right. None was able to stand up straight and I wondered why. I also wondered why there wasn’t any model who was within fifty years of my age.
Since it definitely would not be me doing the shopping, I wondered who would be one of the estimated 152 million people hurrying off with inserts in hand in the middle of the night. These perhaps guilt-laden individuals would be in the forefront of the masses participating in the annual frenzy known as holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation is hoping that they at least spend the predicted $465.6 billion during the season to help retailers feel jolly.
At 755 AM, I saw the newspaper person pull up again in his beige Jeep and I met Dan and wondered why the paper started coming so late. At first he had to learn his new route with 500 customers who subscribe to either my hometown paper the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which I never read, or the Merc or to both.
Both newspapers are part of the same media group and the Merc is delivered from their plant about 40 miles to the north. When the Sentinel was acquired, the group disposed of all of their printing presses here. It is now printed by another of the group’s newspapers in Monterey, some 40 miles to the south and it is delivered to Dan nearly two hours later than before.
I don’t envy Dan and his early morning work but it’s better than not having any source of income. I doubt if he will be occupying anything in the early morning other than his Jeep early every day for as long as he can.
Wonder Who Is In Charge?
Along with advertising inserts, every Thursday the Merc has a section called “eye” which is labeled as their Entertainment Guide. In today’s 32-page “eye” dated November 24, 2011 there are advertisements for everything from musical shows, concerts, plays and movies coming up during the holiday season. A one-third page one that caught my eye was for a grill promoting several different events. On November 11 2011 they were presenting Rhythm District, the next day, November 12, there was wine tasting on the afternoon and a concert that night for Southern Rock with the Beach Cowboys, followed by Vegas Nights on November 19, 2011.
It is obvious that this advertisement ran much earlier this month and you might wonder was it someone at the grill or at the newspaper who forgot to withdraw the advertisement after the events were over.
The I’s Have Id
I doubt if it is the same person or persons who proofread an advertisement that once ran (or ran once) in national magazines in the 1970s with a headline that proclaimed that Chevrolet was the car for “Amerca.”