Being completely new to the Durango area after moving here, and living outside the city, I’ve been trying extra hard to make some friends, meet people, and get involved in the community. Of course a lot of this invovled the internet, even before I moved I was reading local blogs, following people on twitter, and even meeting people through other social networking experiments. I’m actually pretty impressed with how much I’ve been able to learn about the area and that I’ve been here two weeks and already made some friends thanks to the internet.
But I’ve been told that people here aren’t as up to date with technology as I’d expect coming from urban California. I was told to expect people and businesses here to be a year or two behind what I’m used to. At first I thought that was just people making fun of the local country folk. But things are a little different here as I learned yesterday.
I’ve been reading The Durango Herald (the local daily paper) online since before we moved. After moving here I decided I should support them a bit, and I really enjoy reading the paper version of the paper over a cup of coffee when I can, so I went to their website and subscribed to get the Sunday paper delivered. That was on a Monday and later that week, on Wednesday and Thursday the Herald was on our doorstep. I thought they must have got things confused but Friday and Saturday there was no paper so I figured they’d got it fixed. Then Sunday came along and I didn’t get a paper. I called the circulation desk (within their business hours) and left a message but got no call back.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt I decided I’d wait until the next Sunday to see if I got a paper before calling again. Well Wednesday came around and there was a paper on the porch again. Thursday too. So I called again and left another voicemail. Then I saw The Durango Herald on twitter. I sent a message and within minutes was talking to someone on the phone. He was really helpful and took my info down and said he’d have someone call me from the circulation department. So there’s some proof that some people do get it when it comes to technology. I don’t think anyone would have called me back if he hadn’t have gotten involved, I’d probably still be having problems and be trying to cancel my subscription Sunday after not getting the newspaper again. Well, a few hours later I got a phone call.
The woman on the other end told me that A 26 week Sunday only subscription is the same price as a 13 week Monday through Friday subscription. And when a subscription is placed via their website it doesn’t tell them which was selected and they in the circulation department have to guess which the customer wanted. Well in my case they guessed wrong. I was dumbfounded. I wasn’t quite sure if I believed her, I work in IT and hear the lies and excuses people come up with when it comes to technology, and it seems like such an absurd system, but she said she’d correct it for me.
Their website does have different product ID’s for the two different subscriptions, so I can’t imagine those product ID’s don’t come through to the person filling the subscription, but who knows. This is the paper/web company I’ve had to e-mail twice regarding their broken RSS feeds (which they fixed very quickly, but the second time was especially embarassing in my opinion as they were linking to entirely the wrong website, a result of copy code between two publications I’m sure).
I keep hearing about how newspapers are having trouble in the digital age, this seems like a perfect example of that.
Well, I just got done drinking my coffee and reading the paper I found on my porch this morning, so we’ll see if I get one delivered on Sunday like I should.
Update: I emailed Sam Rose the Online Services Manager for The Durango Herald about the problem with their website and he said they’re upgrading their online system and in the future this problem should be resolved. So apparently I was too quick to judge the woman in the circulation department. Their website really does make those on the recieving end guess as to what subscription option the customer has selected.