How the LA Times drove me mad (or madder)

I am a huge advocate of newsapers. But when the LA Times Marketing department kept calling me, I kept hanging up.

They called at the worst times and it became a game of seeing how fast I could disconnect the call: Hi, LA Times-. Click. Hi, LA Tim-. Click. Hi, LA-. Click.

Then one weekday a newspaper appeared on my driveway – unusual, as I only subscribe to Sunday’s paper. I once received the paper daily until this little invention called the Internet came along.

It must be a mistake by the carrier, I thought. Then another paper fell from the sky, and so on. And into the trash they went, unread, as each one contained yesterday’s news that I’d already read on my computer the day before.

It must have been ordered by one of the operators I hung up on, I realized. Kudos to him or her for the practical joke, which I couldn’t help but appreciate. Respect. You got me. You got me good.

So, I called the LA Times to tell them to cancel the paper I never ordered. When the rep connected, she told me I was receiving the paper as gift from the LA Times for being a loyal subscriber. I told her I didn’t want it and to cancel it. please.

Like a computer that doesn’t understand a command, she couldn’t compute the input of me not wanting a free paper. Can’t compute, can’t compute. After five minutes of back and forth, she transferred me to another operator who had the authority to cancel my free paper.

The second operator did everything she could to convince me to the keep the free paper. As I don’t like to get mad at polite, hardworking people doing their job, I patiently told her to cancel it. She held her ground and stated all of the great reasons I should keep it, ignoring my logic, pleas and, eventually, my crying like a baby.

At this point, I’d spent 20 minutes of my life in newspaper hell. So, I decided to cancel my Sunday paid subscription, which glitched her computer programming and made her admit defeat in trying to save two orders. After 25 minutes of my life wasted, she canceled the free paper and Sunday’s paid subscription, which put me in the doghouse with my wife, as she uses the grocery coupons.

Now this happened over a week ago. And I expected it would take a few days for the cancellation order to happen. However, each day I walk outside and guess what’s there – a newspaper. And it stares at me and speaks directly into my feeble brain and says in a soothing voice: Hello, I’m here, and will be forever. You’ll never get rid of me. Enjoy me. Read me. Kiss me. Burn me. Or, roll me up nice and tight and use me to beat yourself in the head.

My advice: Never hang up on the LA Times. You’ll be sorry if you do. I am.