I am the circualtion manager at a newspaper in New Jersey. This means that I have to deal with drivers, those people directly responsible for getting our newspapers to the stores, homes, sewers, etc. This may sound crazy, but older people who deliver newspapers for a living aren't always the most stable of folk. Luckily for me, most of my drivers are very good workers, and good people at that. But I ran into a little problem a few weeks ago that brought me to the conversation I became involved in today.
One of my drivers, let's call him Mr. Alcoholic, went on a drinking binge three weeks ago, never picked up his papers, and stole the money that he had already collected from the stores that was supposed to go directly to me. This is status quo in the field of newspaper drivers, so after I threatened to press charges, I finally got the money back, all in singles. I wore gloves as I counted it. But alas, our newspaper has a policy against going on drinking binges and stealing company funds, so unfortunately I could not allow Mr. Alcoholic to continue delivering our publication.
So I went through my files and I found a note from a woman who had called a few months back looking for work. I called her and left a message explaining that we had an opening. Three days later, when I had not heard back from her, and was getting desperate, I called her back again. This time she answered.
"Did you get my message?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said.
"So...are you interested?" I implored.
"Yeah, definitely." she replied.
Now obviously, my desperation prevented me from asking her why, if she wanted this work, did she never call me back. But whatever.
So this woman, let's call her Ms. Alcoholic, comes into the office to fill out the necessary paperwork. As she's filling out forms, she asks, "Does it matter that I have Lyme Disease?"
"Uhhh, not at all. I mean, it won't affect you from delivering the papers, right?" I asked.
"I don't think so."
"Okay, then it's not problem at all."
"You know what Lyme Disease is, right?" she asks.
"Yeah, I'm familiar with it."
"It's when you get bit by a tick, and then you get Lyme Disease."
"Ummm, yeah. I know."
I needed two forms of identification from Ms. Alcoholic, and I was shocked to discover that she actually had a license that was not expired. Her other ID, because she had no bank, ATM, or credit card, was her birth certificate, which it turns out, I should have kept for collateral.
I thought it was going to be a good marraige, our newspaper and Ms. Alcoholic. But I guess I should have seen it coming. After she delivered the papers that week, and got paid, I never heard from her again. I tried to call numerous times, but to no avail. I hope she enjoyed the money. Maybe she spent it on Lyme Disease research. Or Vodka.
So yet again, I was out a driver. But I had a plan. I had this one woman driver who already had a small route with us, and I discovered that she had just quit her route with another newspaper. So I called her up and asked her if she wanted the extra work.
"Uhhh, maybe," she said. "Ya know, I'd like to put you in touch with my ex-husband 'cause he was looking for work, but he just got his leg removed the other day."
"Oh, yeah," says I. "That'll definitely make delivering the papers a little tough."
(Side note: When dealing with newspaper drivers, one tries not to ask such petty questions like, "Really? What happened to his leg?" Trust me. You don't want to know.)
"Oh no," she replies. "He can drive okay. He just can't get out the car."
"Yeah well, as you know, a lot of times you guys have to get out of the car to bring the papers into the stores, so that's gonna be a little tough."
"Yeah, I hear ya'. But ya' know what? I'll take that extra route, and then when Billy gets his peg-leg, I'll hand it over to him."
"Okay, great. I'll be here on Monday if you want to come in. I'll print out your new route and you can check it over and see if you have any questions."
So today came, and the woman never showed. So I called her up. At 3:00p.m.
"Hello? Oh - I'm sorry did I wake you up?" I asked her.
"Uh, yeah, that's okay. I was just laying down for a bit."
"Oh, sorry. Listen, I was just wondering why you didn't come in today to check out your new route?"
"Yeah, sorry about that. I was planning on coming in tomorrow. You see I'm goin' through menopause and when I get my period I bleed all over the place. I just didn't feel like leaving the house like that, coming over there, and bleeding all over the place."
Now I may not have the best eye for these things, but I think she's a keeper.