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Dear Mike,

     There comes a time in the existence of all men that we must suffer great injustice, hardship, and humility. This time begins around three in the morning for Journal Sentinel carriers, and lasts every single day of the year. I have therefore made the inevitable decision to once again sever my relationship with the most feared, most hated, and most read monopolist of our city and state. 'Tis feared by those who would dare oppose it, hated by those who love fairness, and read by them all.

     Do you know what it's like to lie about where you work? Oh yeah, you must. Well, groovy chicks certainly do not dig a man who is a paper boy. Let's just say, for argument's sake, that I could handle the repercussions. The Journal Sentinel still does not compensate nearly as well as the supply of carriers would most certainly dictate. This results in a predictable rate of open routes instead of a waiting list of carriers.

     No other job in the universe boasts part-time (no benefit), every day (no vacation) employment. Those facts may not incriminate the Journal Sentinel in any way, especially since, I would guess, labor laws do not exactly apply to the paper. I'm not a lawyer or anything, but I would think that since the carriers own their own little businesses, the carrier would be responsible for both benefits and vacations. This would explain why carriers must find their own substitutes. So I wonder how a carrier can get fired. Ah, yes , simple termination of a contract.

       Furthermore, I must wonder about the accountability of the Journal Sentinel to the IRS. Most certainly the small business owners are accountable. Since I am also not a federal agent, forgive me if I am in error in thinking that the Journal Sentinel must surely  pay less in taxes by selling papers rather than employing people. Liberal political views of a company that operates like this must be questioned, I would think, since only money-hungry conservatives would avoid paying their fair share. Right?

     I may have been mistaken so far, but I am confident that the next assumption is truth. Small business owners cannot form a union. Am I right? That would be a bit of an oxymoron if they could. Business owners could maybe form a coalition or a trust, but a union? This enables the Journal Sentinel to do, well, anything, I think.

     Other details may seem ridiculous to mention, but that is where I excel. First of all, in subbing our own papers, we are not receiving a finished product from your corporation to our own. However, if the carriers are compensated for the subbing of papers, they necessarily become employees as well as business owners.... What if I, as an independent distributor, am not satisfied with the quality of the product and the way that product in turn represents myself?.... Complaints with "parts missing" on Sundays should not even be seen by carriers.... Can the Journal Sentinel tell an independent contractor exactly where a paper must be delivered so long as the customer receives a paper?.....  How about when the presses run late? I wonder if there is a way to be compensated for lost sleep, angry customers, or ruined lives!

     This just in! Rate increases by the Journal Sentinel for the New Year. Will you tell the people that prices for paper and ink are skyrocketing? What's in the paper, roughly 70% advertising? Likely more on Sunday, especially before Christmas. You can even allow unpaid accounts to linger because the advertisers still pay for expired customers to see their ads.  I'd wager that you could let the carrier have every cent from sales and still make an unbelievable profit. The Journal Sentinel takes back around 75% ($2.43) of the $3.20 each week and 85% ($1.25) of the $1.50 for the Sunday paper. Mere table scraps are left for the carriers.

     I do not take all of what I wrote too seriously, especially that part about ruined lives. I mean, only my social life was ruined as a result of my route.

     I do feel that the Journal Sentinel should treat its link to the customers with respect instead of contempt. You see, exceedingly powerful businesses and monopolies are bad, but you people may not be. Well, you may be, but that would be your own problem, and I would just hope Santa leaves a load of coal in your luxury car and steals your holiday decorations! In closing, I must wish that all your days are as bright as Mary Jo Meisner's smile, and in case you got this far (literacy is not necessarily a common attribute among newspaper employees), I quit!  


Brian Jaeger C12B J285