Groggy notes, or, the Zorro of the Saratoga Sun
July 11, 2018
I occasionally have to do what we call “inserting.”
It’s fairly self explanatory but I’ll fill you in anyway.
We upload the Saratoga Sun to the press in Cheyenne Tuesday afternoons and when they are done being printed, they ship them to Walcott by truck which is then met by a courier the printer has hired to bring them to us.
The upshot is that we usually get the finished papers by 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Then the inserter’s job begins.
Whatever flyers are there to be sent out with the paper have to be put into each paper. Sometimes there are a lot—which sucks up a quite a bit of time. Sometimes there are none—which allows the usually very tired worker to go to the next task.
After sales flyers, The Adventure Guide, The County Fair Guide or whatever we have stacks of are safely tucked away in the paper, labeling begins.
We have stacks of labels which are sorted into postal areas.
You can’t just slap stickers on.
An inserter has to put the stickers on in order of residents in a particular area. Then each batch going to that area has to be bundled by wrapping that batch in twine and then put into the plastic postal tub going to that area’s postal hub.
For instance, we might pull out the tub going to the Denver postal distribution center. You put the Denver bar code tag on the outside of the tub, then label the first set of batches, bundle up that batch, then put it into the tub. Then you do the next batch.
Tubs going to the Denver distribution center may be going to Texas, Kansas or wherever.
We also do tubs for the Cheyenne distribution center along with those for Saratoga.
Then those have to be taken to the Saratoga Post Office.
We also do a tub that has to be taken to the Encampment Post Office (more on that in a bit).
It’s not rocket surgery but it has to be done in the proper way—and that can be tough if you are really tired.
An inserter also has to count papers and deliver them to our various retail distributors.
So you count out stacks that go to local gas stations, convenience stores and the like. Then you deliver them.
If you don’t get them there by the time the local coffee clubs and various way-too-early birds get there you will hear about it.
I have people that do this job on a regular basis but sometimes things go awry.
A WAKE UP CALL
I have gotten calls at 1:30 a.m. from different employees saying “I can’t do it tonight.”
Those three dots represent my thoughts on the subject at 1:30 in the morning.
But I have to do it.
I have no choice.
The paper must go out.
What you need to know is that I am, by far, the slowest inserter the paper uses.
When I have occasionally split the job with someone I usually get some jibes sent my way about my glacier-like movements.
It takes me forever—but there is something kind of extra I do that really doesn’t take much time.
When I run through the stacks of address labels as I put them on the newspaper and I see someone I know who won’t freak out about it, I’ll put a smiley face or some little note to that individual or family.
Silly, I know. I like to give a personal touch when I can, though, and let people know I value their readership.
Of course this kind of action also comes from the fact that I am really really tired. The kind of tired that makes you want to buy amazing convection ovens or easy-to-use milk carton spouts from late night infomercials (there is a reason they run those silly things at three in the morning).
After the inserter gets everything inserted and put into tubs, it must be delivered.
First, we take papers to all the Saratoga drop-off spots.
Next we take stacks and tubs to Encampment distributors and the post office there.
Then we go to Walcott, Sinclair and Rawlins for those retail distributors.
Hanna, Medicine Bow and Elk Mountain need theirs too (fortunately Mike makes that trip since he lives in Hanna).
By the time all this is done the sun seems to mock you with it’s all-too-bright rays (unless it’s winter—then you love the sun).
Birds chirping at 5 a.m. seem to be mocking you personally, too.
Minus the annoying wake up calls and general tired goofiness I really don’t mind doing inserting. My biggest problem with it is my Wednesdays are shot. Not just shot like a .22 … more like a howitzer or cruise missile.
I drag myself home after the task(s) and generally am out for the count. And by count, I mean the whole day. I have had to reschedule interviews I had set up for Wednesdays because of this.
Honestly though, I can reschedule an appointment. If the paper doesn’t get out though, lynch mobs begin to form. Trust me, I have seen folks tying knots in ropes after we have had a Monday holiday and the paper is a day late … well, that might be exaggerating a bit—but I have encountered grumpiness. Of course that grumpiness means people like and depend on the Saratoga Sun, so I’m pretty flattered actually.
A SMILEY FACE
I have put notes saying “Hi Jan and gang” on the Town of Riverside’s label (Jan being the town clerk—the gang being well … the gang). I have put little smiley faces on several different people’s labels. I might put a star or something—although that might pass as something the post office did.
Anyway, the reasons I am telling you this are that I want you to know I appreciate your business and If you do happen to see a note or smiley face in the future … it was me (the Zorro of the newspaper world).