After three years of counting up the leftover copies at convenience stores, I was burned out and borderline psychotic about newsstand sales.
First of all, I took everything personally, so every leftover copy was a personal affront to my abilities as an editor. I would bring my stack of 50 leftover copies of the paper up to the counter with my receipt for 10 copies and payment of $5 and have to endure the chuckle from the clerk behind the counter who would invariably joke, “Not a very good week, huh?”
Second, I still could not handle the vagaries of the public’s taste in news. One week a salacious story about a suicide sold out like hotcakes, but the next week only 100 people bought a copy of the issue that contained important information about an upcoming election on which I had spent hours working.
Finally, it was physically exhausting. After driving one hour to Homedale, hefting 20- to 30-pound bundles of newspapers off the loading dock and into my car, driving one hour back to Kuna, unloading those same bundles onto a hand truck at the post office and distributing those bundles to the carriers, then driving 30 minutes down to Melba, delivering to the post office down there as well as a grocery store and then driving 30 minutes back to Kuna, the last thing I wanted to do was drive all over town delivering new bundles to 10 more stores, which meant driving, parking, hefting a bundle to each store, embarrassedly retrieving my leftovers for the week, collecting my pittance from a minimum wage clerk, lugging my leftovers back to my car then moving on to the next store.
The whole process was demoralizing and draining. To pay someone $25 or $30 to deliver to the stores for me was the best money we ever spent.
My sanity and my body were restored.