Washington Post Playing on My Guilt?

Check out the footnote on a late notice I received from the Washington Post Home Delivery service. Note that Mr. Basa implies that he somehow will be hurt if I do not pay my Post subscription asap.

Is this for real? Does the Washington Post really expect Mr. Basa to make a living on a portion of my $2.30 per day payment? Might the Post pay much more than that for Mr. Basa’s services and his note be one more way to try and slow its declining readership?

Several run-around calls to the Post revealed little about driver compensation. Driver job ads reveal less. Calls to Mr. Basa revealed nothing – his phone was not answered.

Maybe you know more? Maybe you know the answer: How are Post delivery drivers compensated? And does my subscription payment matter?

17 Comments so far

  1. Victoria (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 11:20 am

    I can’t speak for the Post, but my son once had a paper route. He was responsible for collecting the money, and was paid a portion of what he collected. My guess is that it works pretty much the same. Most people that have paper routes have them as supplemental income because it’s not something you could do as a full time job. Just pay your subscription …

  2. Davin (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 11:59 am

    I’ve sometimes paid my POST bill a few dates late and never got a notice like this. Maybe it depends on your carrier.

  3. wayan (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

    The Post advertises its delivery jobs as full time, note the job ad copy:

    “The Washington Post is looking to contract with leadership-oriented individuals to run their own 7-day a week distribution operation. This business opportunity involves delivery and service to The Post’s customers, collections, record keeping, and soliciting new Post subscriptions to grow your business.”

    That says this isn’t a paper boy delivery route, but a full time job.

  4. Christopher (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

    I think you’re reading too much into it. I don’t think there’s a threat. One way you can avoid getting notes like this is by paying you bills on time.

    and finally, TWO DOLLARS!

  5. wayan (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

    Chris – that’s $2.30 per day, or $70 per month, not $2 total

  6. Victoria (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

    I have a feeling that it’s 2.30 per week, not day. If you are paying 2.30 per day for your paper, then you need to start buying it from the box on the corner.

    Also, if you read the job description, it is an independent contractor, who would employ several delivery people. Imagine if he had 1,000 people that did not pay their bills on time, and he still had to pay his delivery people. It’s a business and you should pay it on time just like you do your electricity, etc.

  7. Doug (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

    Use the Web, Luke.

  8. Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

    When I had a route as a lad, we went to pick up our papers from a truck, and paid for as many papers as we needed. The paper company got their money up front, and when I went to collect subscription fees, I got reimbursed and made any profit that I had coming. If the people didn’t pay, I got screwed, not the paper company.

  9. wayan (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 3:56 pm


    Its $2.30 per day, $70 per month, as I am paying for the convenience of home delivery. And my question is not about paying the bill or not – I already paid the bill.

    My question is how are delivery drivers compensated and does the payment (or non-payment) of a subscriber effect that compensation?

  10. Ninguna Persona (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

    Someone’s culturally deprived…

    “I want my TWO DOLLARS!!!”


  11. danny (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

    $2.30 per day? Someone is getting ripped off — haven’t you heard those Washington Post commercials on the radio with the Mr. N-something Johnson who repeatedly calls to ask how much his Monday paper is, how much his Tuesday paper is, how much his Wednesday paper is, and so on and so forth till Saturday, all to which the operator answers: free, free, free etc etc. You only pay for the Sunday paper (which is $1.50). I think the daily Wash. Post is 35 cents.

  12. wayan (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

    Danny, those are teasers to start subscriptions – they last only 8 weeks before its back to the higher rate.

  13. East Coast Girl (unregistered) on November 4th, 2006 @ 1:54 pm

    You are still getting ripped off. I have been getting the WaPo for years, 7 days a week, and I only pay $30.24 for 2 months service. And I have occasionally misplaced my bill and not paid until the following 2 month bill came around, and I NEVER got a nasty gram from my carrier, or any guilt trip notes to “Pay Up”. If you are paying $70 per month, I think a call to your local WaPo subscription office is in order to renegotiate your subscription.

    Daily —- 08/07-10/01 — 48 x 0.35 = 16.80
    Sunday — 08/07-10/01 — 08 x 1.50 = 12.00
    5.00% MD Sales Tax —- = 01.44
    Total Amount Due – = $60.48

  14. East Coast Girl (unregistered) on November 4th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    Sorry, I messed that up … the total amount due should be $30.24 — the $60.48 was the total for 4 months of service when I forgot to pay my bill the previous 2 months.

  15. angel (unregistered) on November 4th, 2006 @ 8:21 pm

    wayan, please double check. it has to be weekly. 2.30 a day sounds more like you’re out of town and getting it mailed to you. subscriptions are not that expensive. sorry.

  16. Ref_use (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 9:07 am

    I talked to someone who did home delivery (not paperboy and bike, but with trucks/vans) for the Baltimore Sun and basically how it works is what Kurt says, the people who do the actual delivery of the newspapers, pay for the newspapers upfront at a discount and collect at the retail price. The difference is their profit. I guess the newspapers want that profit back because my people tell me that the Sun took back the home delivery service to do it themselves.

  17. SJ (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 10:57 am

    Maybe you get one of those tshirts the homeless looking people offer on the corner of 18th and L that say “Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution”.

    Perhaps one of your supermodels can loan you the $2.30?

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