Monday, November 25, 2013

Taking Issue with the Omaha World-Herald

No, this has nothing to do with Dirk Chatelain. This is the business of the World-Herald, not any complaint about the editorial quality (or lack thereof) with Omaha's daily newspaper.

I'm a subscriber. I know I can read the paper online, but I still like getting the dead tree issue of the paper. Call me an old fogie if you wish. What I find curious is that as more and people drop their subscriptions because of the price, the World-Herald keeps increasing their rates.  Of course, that's just exacerbates the problem, but the World-Herald doesn't seem to mind.

The World-Herald's latest price increase nearly pushed me to cancel my subscription this week. A few weeks ago, they sent me a letter (costing them 50 cents) to inform me that they are increasing the price for this Thursday's paper by $2.75.  Why?  Because of the "valuable advertising" that day.

That's right.  They are charging me extra because Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Nebraska Furniture Mart are stuffing the Thursday paper full of huge Christmas ads.  Not charging the retailers more...charging me more.  (Of course, let's not forget that the Furniture Mart and the World-Herald are both subsidiaries of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway.)

That's not my only issue with the business operations of the World-Herald.  I also have leased a parking spot from the World-Herald in their parking garage at 12th & Capitol for over ten years.  Three weeks ago, I received the following letter from the company that manages the garage for the World-Herald:

"This is to inform you that effective November 30, 2013 your contract for parking in a World Herald Garage reserved stall will be cancelled."

I do have the option of signing up for a non-reserved spot (at a slightly reduced rate).  Which is what I did, because I like the convenience of the garage. Why I signed up for a reserved spot is because most of the non-reserved spots are on the roof, where cars are subject to snow, hail, etc.

It appears that the World-Herald made a business decision to sell my spot to Gavilon, a commodity futures company that has just finished a new four-story building on the World-Herald's former headquarters site. Never mind that I've been a loyal customer for over ten years.'re cancelled.

I understand the newspaper business has gotten rather cutthroat as of late and that newspapers are struggling financially. But actions like these are not how you show you "appreciate your patronage".  I call it taking advantage of the customers you still have.  It shows a complete lack of respect for their customers, and shows that the World-Herald does not value their customers in the least.

I thought long and hard about taking my business elsewhere, but I'm reluctantly agreeing to their latest terms.

Mostly because the Lincoln Journal-Star doesn't deliver to Omaha.

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