One of the downsides of being editor of a hobby newspaper is that from time to time I get a complaint of late delivery.
I take those complaints seriously and refer them to the the circulation department. Each one frustrates me as much as it does the person who has the problem.
Yesterday I received an email that I thought would be another complaint about late delivery.
It turned out to be just the opposite.
For the first time in my 34-year career I have received a complaint over early delivery.
It seems to have unnerved the recipient.
In the details provided, the writer said he had the June 26 issue of Numismatic News in hand.
He joked by asking if prices in the issue were good now or if he would have to wait 12 days.
At least I thought it was a joke. I kept reading.
He meandered around for 755 words. I had the computer count them.
He cited his childhood and Mint policies (who can resist a swipe at the Mint), but here is the nub of the matter:
“I called one seller, name absolutely withheld, and asked about today’s price, not that of a week and a half in the future, and he laughed and said it was old style trickery but went along with it. I laughed too and hung up on him.
“Had another police officer, I am retired, call again and ask if that price is good for today, or is it only for the end of next week? The seller hung up on him so he told me his opinion was that something was up and if only to get more subscriptions paid for, it was a ruse and if the prices are manipulated according to some formula regarding future pricing versus the value today, it was interstate fraud and could be investigated. Now I am concerned.
“If you can comment, please tell me why the date difference and if you cannot, will give it all to him.”
How would you react to that?
And if I didn't take it seriously enough, near the end he wrote, "Thanks for any comment in return and if none forthcoming, next note will be to my congressmen and women."
I emailed back this short note:
“The June 26 issue of Numismatic News went to press June 7. It would seem to me that congratulations to your post office are in order for such quick delivery. Communications that I get are about late papers, not early ones.
“The July 3 issue went to press today. I hope you get this issue early as well.”
Will my response do the trick?
I hope so – at least I have not had any kind of reply overnight.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."