Monday, August 31, 2009

Ongoing Nostalgia for Newspapers

A few months back, I wrote here about how much I like newspapers and how much I will miss them if they continue on their path to extinction.

Another facet of the printed newspaper that I really like is the ubiquity of the low-tech newspaper box in virtually all urban centers. They are easy to find, easy to operate, and hearken back to what I always imagine to have been a simpler time.

One thing I like about them is the elegance of their effective design. A stack of papers is set inside with one "display" paper propped in the window. The display version lets each passerby know what is for sale in the box. When the stack is depleted, the last customer buys the display paper and exposes the empty box which effectively deters any further purchase attempts that could not be fulfilled.

What I think I like best about them, though, is that they operate on the honor system. You pay, the door is unlocked, and you are entitled to take one paper from the stack before closing and thereby re-locking the door. Although easy to abuse, their persistence is a testament to the general honesty of the masses. I love that.

I noticed today that the box where I have often purchase the LA Times has been removed. I presume this is connected to the recent bankruptcy filing by their parent company. It is also widely rumored that the parent of the Orange County Register may file for bankruptcy this week. It is not looking good for my local rags.

I know I will always find a way to get the news regardless of the fate of the newspaper industry. But I would prefer to have it printed on a big floppy sheet, folded neatly, and left at dawn where I can buy it from a box that trusts me completely.


  1. Boo Hoo9/01/2009

    Buy a Kindle to go with your cactus.....

  2. Anonymous9/01/2009

    and one section always has a crossword puzzle

  3. i love the trust that goes with it also. we stay at a campground where they have now installed a paper dispenser which is the same as you write about. However, it used to be within the last couple of years that the "paper-boy" left the newspapers out beside the road on a chair with a coffee can for you to put your money into.
    In a few days we will be traveling north up into potatoe country and there we will see bags of potatoes on a stand in front of farms with a can or jar to put your money into. How is that for trust? I think it is great and still enjoy some of the good old days in that respect.

  4. Jeff Ryer9/02/2009

    The good old days, sure, just ask Earle and his partner-in-crime if they paid for all that fresh corn they used to bring home.....

  5. come to think of it, I never saw a newspaper box in Malden, Canton, nor Jay....I guess the honor system has never been universally accepted.

  6. Boo Hoo9/02/2009

    How convenient, the poll closes right after Auggie votes for himself ... AGAIN.

    Auggie hasn't even posted in the last 3 months.

  7. Anonymous9/02/2009

    yeah, who are all these Auggie voters anyway?

  8. oh darn, it's over..i was going to vote for Auggie too

  9. earle's partner in crime probably doesn't remember!!!