Loneliest Job in the World – Selling Subscriptions to the New York Times

This salesman shilling subscriptions to the actual dead tree paper version of the New York Times didn’t seem to get much traction during an otherwise bustling street fair in San Francisco over the weekend.

Something like 75% off and free New York Mets swag wasn’t enough to tempt the typical passerby. Perhaps if he could promise that a fetching scooter rider, such as this one, would deliver the paper each day, things would be different…

Cue tumbleweeds.


Who is to blame for the decline of newspapers? Is it San Francisco’s very own Craig Newmark and his feisty CEO buddy Jim Buckmaster? Well, you old-school newsies should be tickled pink to hear that the people behind craigslist are now worried about being taken over by eBay.

Not much consolation, but there it is.

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8 Responses to “Loneliest Job in the World – Selling Subscriptions to the New York Times”

  1. ken harris says:

    I still prefer the page turning version of the news. Maybe its my age 45. Things must be getting desperate though. The Chronicle at 25c is cheaper than the rags in Australia which sell for a $1. When do they start giving them away?

  2. Faith+1 says:

    Your age isn’t why you like the paper version. I’m 43 and haven’t read a paper version of the news in 7 years. With my RSS news feeds I generally read stories a day or two before my local paper and with keyword alerts and other online abilities even the coupons aren’t whether the paper.

    The news “paper” may never die, but it’s going the way of the silent movie. Overcome by technology.

  3. dean says:

    I generally read things on the web too, but find that the paper exposes me to a wider variety of stories, rather than just what I picked in RSS.

    Wider variety == more opinions == more out ideas == good.

    Better to have an open mind and read a wider variety of opinions, rather than just a constant stream of people that think just like me.

    Unfortunately, the web is not helping us do this… it seems lately that people just read what they agree with, and violently oppose what they don’t. That goes for both the red and blues.

  4. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Isn’t Craigslist still privately-held? Isn’t that the whole idea of its minimalist design and whatnot? Is Craig afraid he’ll get crazy drunk and in a fit of inebriation sign over his stock to eBay or whoever?

  5. Kevin says:

    A paper newspaper definitely carries more cost than benefit. How do I dispose of 20 pounds of waste paper every couple of days? I don’t live in a place where recycling is convenient or in any way facilitated. A newspaper is nothing but a problem.

    But even aside from that, I open up my local paper and what do I see but a bunch of AP feeds that I’ve already read the day before. What’s the point of that?

  6. sfcitizen says:

    The problem with getting delivery in S.F. is that lots of times, your paper ends up sitting on a well-trafficked sidewalk, so it’s apt to get taken before you get to it.

    It would be nice to have a physical paper sometimes, but it seems kind of like a responsibilty and a luxury as well.

  7. Billy Beck says:

    I’m fifty-one years old, and I ditched my subscription to The New York Times in 1994. I had kept it on the premise of keeping track of bloody morons, but the pile of newsprint was completely out-of-hand and nowhere near worth what I was getting out of it.

    I can’t wait until they go out of business.

  8. luagha says:

    As it turns out, for the past as-long-as-there-have-been-newspapers the cheap, organic ink that has been used on them has been safe to small animals. So it makes an excellent dual-use substrate – if newspapers go away someone will have to sell newsprint for people to line their animal cages with.

    I found I didn’t need anything near a subscription to keep my snakes in bedding, though. Just the occasional paper or two a month.