Since I’ve retired, I start off each morning by doing the same thing—reporting to the Northwest Florida Daily News that we haven’t received our newspaper. You may think this activity a bit odd, and I suppose you would be right. But I am at my wit’s end with this problem and I have a lot of time on my hands.

Let me start out by saying that last year, when our newspaper subscription came due and we found the rate had increased to over $500 a year, we decided not to renew the paper. Since our local paper was bought out by USA Today, the content has become unsatisfactory, to put it nicely. The paper gets thinner and thinner, and there is hardly any local news, anymore. Plus, we were being charged extra for “special sections,” like the best restaurants in Florida—none of which are anywhere near Valparaiso. (Why do I care about a great restaurant in Fort Myers?) When we opted not to renew our subscription, a customer service representative called to ask why. Hubby told them the price was way too much for the value of the product, not to mention the biased content and being charged for “special sections” that we didn’t want. The representative immediately offered us a “deal” for less than half of what they had billed us for to renew. Although the whole idea went against my ethical nature (soak the suckers who will fork out over $500 without complaining, but drop the price if the squeaky wheel squeaks), we agreed. After all, I needed bird cage liner.

So began the last year of hit-or-miss deliveries. At least once or twice a week, we missed a delivery. (Not to mention that Saturday’s edition was now online only.) Sorry, but online doesn’t cut it. Sitting at the computer reading the paper is work. Sitting at the breakfast table turning the pages is relaxation. Besides, it’s difficult to do the crossword puzzles online. And difficult to use the online edition for bird cage liner.

Then, for the last several weeks, we have had no delivery at all. I repeatedly called to register the complaint and was routed to an automated service to “press one” for this or that, while being assured “my call was very important to them and may be recorded for quality assurance.” What recording? I could never get through to a live person. Finally, I must have accidently pressed an unintended button and my call was answered by someone in a basement in India. (Okay, I later learned it was the customer service center in Columbia.) India, Columbia, whatever. The person who I could barely understand blew me off with an apology and assured me the problem would be fixed. I called the customer service center for the next several days, always with the same platitudes and always with the same results. In other words, nothing. One of the representatives told me the delivery was late due to weather. How she knew what the weather was like in Valparaiso, Florida (which was nice, BTW), I have no idea. Surprisingly, my late paper never arrived.

At my wit’s end, I called Columbia once more and told the “customer service representative” to cancel my subscription and refund the money for my unused subscription. She told me she would cancel my subscription, but it was not their “policy” to issue refunds. It was then that my religion went out the window. I told her I didn’t intend to pay for a service I didn’t receive and asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me the supervisor would tell me the same thing. I said I didn’t care. I wanted to hear it from her supervisor. She told me the supervisor was “busy.” We went round and round. She finally put me on hold (three times) while she supposedly talked to her supervisor. Eventually, she came back and said she would cancel my subscription and credit my Discovery. (Yes, she said Discovery.) I asked her why the problem had not been resolved in the first place, and she told me she didn’t know, as she was in Columbia. I asked if there was anyone in the U.S. I could talk to. She said no. (Some customer service!)

At this point, I knew what to expect and was not disappointed. In other words, nothing. My subscription has not been cancelled, nor have I received a credit on my “Discovery.” I found a place where I could register a complaint online and will probably need to get a new keyboard, as my angry fingers burned up the keys. I received a standard “we are sorry for your inconvenience and are working to resolve the problem,” blow me off response.

So, here I am. Every morning I call to report the missed delivery to the automated system which assures me they are sorry for the inconvenience, will register the complaint, and extend my subscription. Every day, when I go online to see when my subscription expires, it has not been extended. SIGH. At least this aggravation gives me something productive to do in the morning. But I am about out of old newspaper to line my bird cage. I don’t know what my poor bird is going to do.