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August, 2007

  1. It All Starts with the Morning Newspaper

    August 4, 2007 by Ryan

    I have a theory.

    My theory deals with the overall happiness and productivity of our entire community.

    I haven’t concluded my research yet, but I suspect that before I am finished I will find that this theory even extends to the felicity and prospering of the nation, and possibly the world, as a whole.

    My Research:

    I have observed many workers at a variety of businesses who take a lazy approach to their duties. They fail to strive to accomplish their very best. They are lazy, unmotivated, and slothful. Those are attributes that I see in retail and food service professions often. It is almost as though I have come to expect this sloppy “service” at those places that offer a lower pay scale to their help.

    But even among some of my co-workers, and gleaning from some stories my wife has mentioned about her co-workers, there is a growing trend, even among those in the “professional” arena who are resistant to submit to the work that is before them, seeking instead to do what is easier.

    My Theory:

    It all starts with the local newspaper.

    All of this professional slackness and slow up is influenced directly by the delivery of the morning newspaper.

    My memories of childhood, not long ago, remind me that the newspaper was thoughtfully delivered to the front doorstep, or into one of those mailbox-like bins. They were folded, banded, and placed sensibly, with an attention applied for the elements and environment.

    I have read that at a time not long before mine, newspapers were “folded” and set with intent inside the screen door of the building. Such efforts would require that a delivery person walk to the door, offering the presentation of their product – the newspaper – in a professional and thoughtful manner to the recipient – the customer. Pride in the work, the product, and the presentation was taken by those who made the extra effort.

    Today, that kind of spirit is missing in action.

    I cannot determine with certainty, but I believe that my morning newspaper today is delivered via a car that drives down the street, and tosses a paper from the window of the moving vehicle, perhaps only slowing down slightly just before the toss is made. Often I find that paper has come to rest, after sliding some ways across the cement driveway, to the back of my car, ready for me to run it over if I forget that it is there. I can tell that it slid some because the plastic bag shows some wear from its journey scraping across the cement.

    More recently, and becoming more frequently, I see that the “delivery” of the paper has happened to only reach the public sidewalk. Fortunately, our society is lazy and unmotivated, else if anyone was walking on that sidewalk they might trod-upon or trip-up over the issues of the day.

    There have been a few times when I have found the paper was “delivered” to the public gutter, resting peacefully there in wait for waste water to flow its direction. I half wonder if “delivering” their product to the public gutter is a representation of how the writers, editors, printers, and advertisers feel about their work? Or is it simply the commentary of the delivery driver who could care less about his work, as long as he gets it done?

    Regardless of whose opinion is being expressed, if my day is greeted by the sloppiness of the American press (one of the greatest and most hollowed institutions, even granted special mention in the Bill of Rights), then how should I feel I as begin this day to make my contribution to the workforce?

    In review:

    A fantastic product, representative of the hard work and contribution of hundreds of people, is tossed from a moving vehicle with reckless abandon. I, the consumer, see that my purchase was handled with a low level of attention and care. How else, therefore, should I regard the product as I begin to consume it? And if that is the way I begin my day, then how should I go about my work and service to others?

    So now my theory is presented. It all begins with the morning paper.