While I was in Korea, my home subscription to the El Paso Times expired. At first I thought, well, I’m a modern-day man, right? I should try to do like a lot of my friends and just get by checking their website and using their app.
But a week showed me what folly that is. It’s not that the Times is doing anything particularly wrong online (though the website is frustratingly slow and unorganized), the main problem is I just read so much less of the paper when I have to count on myself to click through everything.
When I have the newspaper at home, I go through each section, checking things out. Maybe I don’t read every story, but I read way more than I do online. In the newspaper, I’m likely to find something I enjoy in the business section, for instance. But scanning online, I never even think to click on the business link. I never make it that far. And on the El Paso Times app, all you see before clicking is the headline, so I end up skipping stories that in the paper I’d get sucked into by reading a few paragraphs. The Times has some good writers that can interest you once you get going, but when all I see is the headline, I often don’t click, and the writer never gets that chance.
So, I decided I needed the newspaper. I guess that makes me as much of a dinosaur as the newspaper. What can I tell you? I may have a blog, but I still love print.
The effort begins
So, on Wednesday, I called the El Paso Times customer service line, got the recording, and pressed “1” for those moving and new subscribers. For the next 10 minutes I listened to the music and recordings telling me I would hear from the next available agent, or I could leave a message. No one has answered the phone in 10 minutes, but I’m supposed to trust someone will listen to my message? It’s about 1:30 p.m., so I hang up, thinking maybe everybody is still out to lunch.
I then notice on the website that the department closes at 3 p.m. Seems a little early to me, but OK. I call at 2:15 p.m., and the same thing. This time I’m smarter and give up after only 5 minutes. It’s clear there is no agent there to become available.
You can subscribe through the website online, but the offers aren’t very good there, so I wanted to speak to somebody about getting a better deal. But on Thursday, I decided I should check their app. Surely there is a way to subscribe there, and maybe it has better deals.
But, nope. As far as I can tell, the El Paso Times has an app that offers you no way to attempt to subscribe. No way to even find the customer service number that is so useless. So they give you a free app, with free stories on it, and never even attempt to get some cash out of you. Doesn’t seem like a great business model.
Anyway, I thought maybe I’d have better luck in the morning. So, this morning, like a fool, I called El Paso Times customer service again. This time I stayed on hold for about 7 minutes before I gave up. I believe some folks in circulation were laid off in the latest round at the Times. Maybe they laid everybody off?
(It wouldn’t surprise me. The Times newsroom now has laid off every person in the opinion section. Yep, with Joe Muench, Charlie Edgren and even illustrator Nacho Garcia gone, our metro daily now has exactly zero people writing or editing the opinion page. No wonder you come to read this. At least there is one person writing and editing for this blog.)
I miss my El Paso Times. I’ll get home delivery again someday. I’m just not sure how.