Sunday, March 22, 2009

Delivery Accommodations

A few of the customers on my route are disabled; therefore they request special delivery instructions to make retrieval easier. One customer asks that the paper be delivered to a side door. When I was trained on the route, my district manager pulled down the driveway, opened the window and threw the paper over the roof of the car landing it perfectly on the threshold of the door. Once I was on my own I quickly discovered that landing a newspaper where you want it is a talent I do not possess. The first day I shot it too lightly and it landed on the top of my car. The second day I missed my target completely and landed the paper squarely in the customer’s beautifully planted flower box. The third day I smacked the window of their door so hard that I was shocked it didn’t break. So on the fourth day, I parked the car, got out, and gently placed the paper on the threshold.
I continued to get out and deliver the paper this way until the weather got nasty. The customer’s gravel driveway quickly became an ice-skating rink as the snow fell and the temperatures dropped. After one day of nearly ending up on my head when my feet flew out from under me, I decided that maybe I ought to try my hand at throwing the paper again. I managed to get my car turned around in the driveway so that the door was on the driver’s side of my car. I pulled over as close to the door as I could and was able to toss the paper precisely on my mark. WOO HOO! No more death defying trips to the door by foot.
As the winter months rolled on, I continued to turn around and shoot the paper that way. There were a few days when there was a car parked in the area where I turned around making it difficult for me to get close to the door. If the weather wasn’t bad and the driveway appeared not too slick I’d go back to getting out of the car, but if I couldn’t turn around and the driveway looked like it might kill me… I’d toss the paper out the passenger side window and hope for the best.
One day I was running late and got to this house quite a bit later than usual. I pulled up to find a man walking a little dog in the driveway. I handed him the paper, wished him and the dog a good morning and went happily on my way. Then I started thinking about the mornings that I nearly broke a hip delivering that customers paper. Life has taught me that it’s important to never make assumptions, but I couldn’t help but wonder why this customer requested special delivery accommodations when he was able enough to walk a dog. Being a person who likes to think the best of everyone I can only figure that there are extenuating unseen circumstances that are truly none of my business, so I continue to deliver to the back door. But I will say, I’m not nearly so concerned about precisely hitting my mark any longer.
Yes, I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be a professional paper tosser. If it were a sport, I wouldn’t even be invited to play on a bar league. But if a medal were awarded for pure intention and great effort, I’d like to think I would be a contender. Come rain or sleet or nasty driveway conditions… I always try to deliver the paper in a way that pleases my customers!

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