Yesterday was a busy day for us, and not all of it was pleasant. In fact, part of it sucked. And we are still not sure how to resolve it.
We started the day wading through the usual stack of e-mails, many of them inquiries about the rally. Yes, we still have plenty of room for anyone who wants to come, and we have plenty of room for vendors, although we don’t have any vendor seminar time slots left. You can just show up and register when you get here. If you registered to arrive at the rally on Monday and have decided you want to come in on Sunday as an Early Bird, it’s no problem. You can just pay the $15 early bird fee when you register Sunday afternoon.
Once we got that all done we set off for the post office to pick up a bunch of the big plastic bins we use to put the newspapers in after we stuff them into their envelopes for mailing. The Garmin Nuvi GPS we use in the Explorer decided to make life a little interesting, so it tried to direct us onto the Marine Corps Air Station across the street from the fairgrounds. I knew we couldn’t go there, and I was pretty sure that the security folks at the gate with their M-16s probably weren’t going to be that impressed with where my GPS wanted me to go. So we had to turn around and find the post office, which is a couple of miles west of the fairgrounds.
We came back to the motor home long enough to dump off the mail bins and then set off again to Starlight Solar. Owner Larry Crutcher is a well-respected expert when it comes to RV electrical systems and solar power, and he’s going to be doing a series of seminars at the rally on RV batteries, solar charging, and related issues. I chatted with Larry for a while about his seminars and the scheduling, then decided I’d better let him get back to work while I did the same.
We have the Gypsy Journal printed in Allegan, Michigan and shipped to us wherever we happen to be at the time. In the past we used local newspaper printers wherever we were when it was time to publish a new issue, but that was problematic; too often we had to go to the bottom of the queue and wait while they took care of their regular customers, which is understandable, and many times the quality wasn’t what we expected. The folks in Allegan have always done a good job for us, and their pricing, even with shipping the papers across the country, is still in line with what some printers want to charge us for just the press room alone.
When I called the FedEx shipping terminal, the young lady told me we couldn’t pick the papers up until 4 o’clock, because there wouldn’t be anybody there to use a forklift to unload them until then. We got there right at 4 p.m. and the gates were all locked, so I called and she told me it would be another 20 minutes to a half-hour at least, because nobody else was there yet. I convinced her to let us in and told her if she would let me use a pallet jack I could unload the skid from the truck myself. She agreed with that, telling me not to hurt myself. Silly girl, you must not know Nick, do you? 🙂
I got the papers off the truck okay and we got them loaded into the Explorer, and I didn’t hurt myself or anybody around me in the process. I didn’t even break anything! Score one for the Nixter! But then everything went to hell.
Once we had the papers loaded and had left FedEx we stopped to check out the print run. I have no idea how they did it, because the files we sent them were correct, but somehow they omitted Page 2 of the paper, which has the table of contents and the subscription form on it, and instead put Page 6 in its place, and then, further into the paper, Page 6 is right there where it should be! Now what the heck do we do?
I can’t talk to anybody at the paper until Monday morning because they are closed for the weekend, and when I do, I don’t know what our options are. If they were to agree to reprint the issue and ship it to us, it would still be a week or so before we got it. That is just about the time the rally is starting. We would have no way to get all the envelopes stuffed and mailed during the rally, and if we wait until the rally is over we are right in the middle of our doctor appointments in Tucson. By the time we finally got them mailed out they would be very late.
Somebody suggested just having them reprint Page 2 and inserting them into every copy. That is a lot of copies to hand insert! Too many to be able to do. And even if we did, it could change the weight and increase the cost of mailing them, and what about the thousands of papers we and our readers drop off at RV parks around the country? They’d have that extra page falling out and making a mess. So anyway we go, we’re screwed. Like I said, it sucks.
I don’t know what we will wind up doing. Our only option is probably to send it out as is, and live with it. But it really ticks me off.
I’ve been around newspaper press rooms for most of my working life, and even in today’s high-tech age a number of people have to handle the papers as they come off the press, get bundled, and get ready to ship out. Not to mention the prepress people who do all of the make-ready work before it ever gets to the pressroom. Somebody is supposed to periodically check the copies as they come off the press, and they missed it too! How does that happen? We have been very happy with this printer in the past, and I hope this was a one-time snafu. But like I said, it still sucks.
Thought For The Day – Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.