My mother, in her 80s, cancelled her Times subscription after months of having to dig the paper out from under her car. The worst incident was the day that the paper was wedged so firmly under the right front wheel that we thought she hadn't received it at all. There was also the week that she dug up and watered part of the driveway's grass strip in order to reseed it: she roped off that section and flagged it so it would be visible in the early-morning darkness, and still they managed to throw her paper right in the middle of the mud.
Both of these incidents occurred weeks after I first contacted the VIP desk to complain about the initial delivery problems (perhaps the acronym stands for Very Insistent Pests, although the VIP "mission" is, theoretically, resolving issues like the ones I just described; in fact, the woman with whom I first spoke enthusiastically assured me that "if it gets to this desk, it gets taken care of"). Despite countless phone calls from me and various promises from them, they did absolutely nothing. Although this was obviously a physical burden on my mother, they seemed completely unconcerned and unable to make even the smallest cooperative gesture.
When I called to cancel (while I've also experienced the Manila connection, this time I reached someone in Minnesota), I clearly explained my reasons. Nevertheless, the check my mother received for the balance of her subscription was made out to her estate.
I cannot remember even one day when the Times was not a necessity in our household, so perhaps you can imagine what it felt like to cancel a subscription of more than five decades' duration. I doubt, however, whether that would have any meaning for the VIP people or most others at the Times now.
No doubt you'll be inundated with similar stories, but I couldn't resist adding my bit.
Thank you for your excellent blog.
Got a chuckle from Marc Litchman's dealings with the Time's circulation dept. I am another one of those who receives calls from their annoying telemarketers. I thought those were supposed to cease with the advent of the "Do not call" list. Anyways, after a half a dozen calls to complain about the free samples and coupons that were torn from my Sunday paper when it finally arrives at 7:30AM (or 2 hours after the Daily News arrives, with samples and coupons), I finally was connected with customer service (an oxymoron if ever there was one).
This was the first time that I had been on hold for less than 10 minutes and also with someone who I could understand. They promised a replacement paper within a couple of hours and sure enough, one was delivered promptly. Although it was the same guy who cut the sample from my paper in the first place and who obviously doesn't use that sample razor that he must have thousands of. He snarled his way to the front door and slammed the paper on the porch, all the time muttering to himself. I await his Christmas card with the handy envelope asking for a handout so that I will know where he lives too when he comes back to try and burn my house down.
David R. Diaz