Sixteen days, a new record

Dennis Warden

Community newspapers rely on the United States Post Office to deliver our publications to subscribers both near and far. While a vast majority of subscribers are local, within 10 miles, you may be surprised at how many readers we have who live 50 to 60 miles away, or in another state.

The Gasconade County Republican has subscribers in Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, California, Arizona, Illinois, Virginia, as well as Colorado, Utah, Florida, Ohio and more. You get the picture.

You could say we are in a symbiotic relationship with the USPS. Without the post office we could not reach customers outside our local communities. In most small towns the local newspaper is the post office’s largest customer. Between our shopper, The Ad Mart and our two newspapers, The Republican and The Advocate we spend over $5,250 each month on postage.

The truth is we need each other to function properly and survive.

In order to receive the fastest service and the lowest rates possible from the post office our newspapers are sorted not just by town and zip code, but, where there is more then one subscriber on a postal route, the papers are sorted by the order that the carrier delivers them.

Every Wednesday both newspapers arrive between 9 and 10 a.m. by truck from our printer in Washington. Usually by noon we have labeled all the papers, placed them in special tubs for their town or state and delivered them to local post offices in Owensville, Rosebud, Gerald, Belle, Vichy,
and Vienna. This is done to speed up local delivery.

All our newspapers are at a sorting facility in either Columbia or St. Louis on Wednesday night.

If you are a subscriber outside the above six communities you know that many times it takes more than a couple of days to receive your paper.

According to the USPS, periodicals originating in mid-Missouri should be delivered anywhere in Missouri within three days — that would be Saturday. Most of the mid-west and east coast should receive their papers in four days. 

Last Friday I received a call from long time subscribers Calvin and Ginny Laboube. They live in Fenton, just 64 miles from Owensville. Based on the map program from my iPhone it takes one hour and 13 minutes to drive to Fenton.

The Laboubes call from time to time to let me know when they receive their paper in the mail. Usually they are calling with bad news. This time they had both good news and bad news. 

Last Friday, April 13, they received their April 11 edition of The Gasconade County Republican — good news, only two days. Here’s the bad news. On Friday they also received their March 28 edition. It took 16 days. I believe this is a new record. The scary part is I bet that they were not the only ones who had to wait 16 days for the March 28 paper.

Sixteen days to cover 64 miles. That is 4 miles a day. Again, according to the USPS, in 15 to 16 days they should be able to deliver our newspaper to Alaska.

In my opinion I should get a refund from the post office. They don’t see it that way.

I have two questions.

First where was the Laboubes newspaper from March 28 to April 13? My bet is that it was sitting at the sorting facility in St. Louis. Interestingly, that is where most of our delivery problems originate. 

The second and more important question is this: if the post office can deliver the Laboube’s newspaper some weeks in two to three days why does it often take a five to seven or more days?

The Laboubes, like many subscribers within a short drive of our towns, read the newspaper for the advertising as much as the stories. They are interested in finding out what events and sales are happening so they can make plans for the weekend. That is of no use when it takes a week to receive the paper.

Be aware that your local post office and carrier are not responsible for the late delivery of any of your mail. In many cases they’re our neighbors and friends. When the local post office receives your newspaper or letter they deliver it to you that day.

Slow mail is one of the reasons we have a web site, A full version of The Republican is available online Wednesday afternoon to every subscriber at no charge. If you need help getting the on line paper call us at 573-437-2323. For anyone interested, we have an online-only subscription available.

If you are not happy with the delivery of your newspaper, be assured that we are doing everything we can to speed up delivery. 

We take this very seriously. Can call us anytime at 573-437-2323.