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Braving the storm

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

Last week was an interesting week, which may end up changing the way we do retail deliveries going forward – at least for some of our locations.

I was really concerned about the ice storms predicted for Wednesday morning. Even after they pushed the warning time back from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. I was concerned that, based on my luck, the ice would go ahead and hit at 5 a.m. or earlier. These projections aren’t an exact science, after all, and even the 10 a.m. projection ended up being off, as the ice didn’t start hitting until almost noon.

So, after I picked the papers up at the printer on Tuesday, I went ahead and dropped them off to all of our retail sites that were still open. Then I came home so we could sort and label our subscription papers for mail delivery. Then I left back out after midnight to go drop the bins on the back docks of the Olive Hill and Grayson post offices. I also went around to the other retail outlets that had been closed and left papers tied up in plastic bags on their doorsteps.

This won’t become a regular practice. With the mail, especially, I need to go in and have paperwork signed and copied. I also like to go in and pick up the papers, though I was comfortable going with the honor system for our closed retailers last week. I like picking up the unsold papers for a couple of reasons. For one, I take those unused papers to a local veterinarian, All Creatures Veterinary Care, for lining their animal crates. It makes me feel good that the unsold papers aren’t just going straight into a landfill, and it helps out the vet’s office. For another, I enjoy the interaction with our retailers and their customers when I drop off the papers. I’ve had some fabulous chats with the retailers, chats that sometimes lead to new stories.

But, for those places that are still open, dropping papers off in the evening has other advantages. Papers were able to be on the shelves as soon as the stores were open, which meant early morning customers who might otherwise miss the paper on Wednesday mornings had the chance to buy them before work. I was also able to interact with an entirely new group of staff. I met another Dead Head at the Olive Hill Save A Lot, for instance, who complimented me on the Grateful Dead t-shirt I was wearing. This led to a brief exchange about our shared love of the band and how even my toddler loves the band’s music. It was nice to run into these new folks, so even if it isn’t a regular practice I think I will switch up our delivery days from time to time moving forward.

It’s also nice to know that, when inclement weather is predicted, we do have some options to still get the paper out – even if we would have been ok last week. (Though I’m still convinced if I’d risked it, I’d have woken up to ice coating everything. It’s just how my luck runs.)

This week is going to be rough again. Everything is still coated in ice from last week’s storm, and they are predicting even more to come. This is a different challenge altogether, and one that as I write this I’m not sure how we’re going to tackle. I’m trying to get all the content together early, so – if it clears up enough on Monday – I can get papers out even earlier. If that isn’t an option, though, the papers may be late this week. We hope that doesn’t happen, but we are a small team, and as much as we value getting a paper out on time I’m not willing to risk anyone’s life for it.

If your paper ends up being delayed this week, we apologize in advance. Please know we are working on contingencies to make sure we can get the paper out on time, like we did last week. But if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate we may just have to roll with it. We don’t like it, but we’re sure you all understand.  

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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