I could tell how strongly Raj Sood felt about his late deliveries from Smiths News by simply adding up the words he sent me. (It’s a journalistic thing; we live by word count.) His email was 829 words and his two attachments, representing letters ‘To whom it may concern’ to Smiths were, respectively, 1,232 words and 559 words - or 2,620 words in all.
To those of you used to doing money sums rather than word counts, that’s getting on for a month’s-worth of two of my fortnightly slots added together.
So, you can take my ‘word’ for it that he was severely ticked off.
To summarise his main complaint: late deliveries to his store in Yate, Bristol, and the newsboys already gone home left two options. “Either return the papers to Smiths News, or do all the rounds myself to keep my customers loyal. In the past I have exercised the second option, but with increasing costs it is becoming very hard to keep this great British tradition of newspaper delivery business alive,” writes Raj.
He concludes with a pertinent question: is there any form of compensation for his expenses incurred while filling in as delivery boy?
Since I assumed that Raj was unaware of the complaints procedure now in place via the Press Distribution Forum (PDF), I forwarded his email to Dorothy King, who administers the process.
She sent him the forms to register his complaint and also went directly to Smiths. I’ve seen the emails flitting to and fro and know that Smiths has now been in touch with Raj and the problem is on its way to being resolved.
Meanwhile, I am left wondering - does anyone cough up compensation? Or as the highwayman used to say while upholding another great British tradition: stand and deliver! (In other words, it’ll cost you.)