Here at Tidelines, we rely on the Internet to get our content to you. For wider coverage, you can subscribe to virtually any newspaper online. But for those of us who still enjoy the feel and smell of newsprint, there’s only one way to get The Post and Courier print edition to your address. We wondered what it takes to make that happen and so spoke to Janet Rhodes with J&D Distribution. Ms. Rhodes reported that J&D is contracted to The Post and Courier, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today for home delivery to Johns, Wadmalaw, Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. Nine independent carriers contract with J&D to deliver papers. Two carriers cover Seabrook Island and two cover Kiawah Island, each delivering all three papers plus the Lowcountry Parent and other incidentals published by P&C.
Carriers must deliver by 6:00 am Monday through Friday and 7:00 am Saturday and Sunday but lots has to happen before that paper lands on your driveway. Print editions of all the papers are delivered to a warehouse on Maybank Highway where carriers can pick them up as early as 1:30 am- though papers sometimes don’t arrive until 2:30-2:45 am. Papers are distributed to the various carriers who then roll and bag them– double-bagging for Seabrook and Kiawah to thwart the sprinkler systems– and then the carriers start their routes.
We learned that:
-Routes take anywhere from 1¾ to 3 hours to complete. Wadmalaw takes 3½ hours from the warehouse, located at Main and Maybank, out to Rockville and all of Bears Bluff Road, a route that covers 120 miles every night.
-It’s 35 minutes from the warehouse until the first paper is dropped on one of the Kiawah routes.
-Carriers are contract workers who work 365 days a year. They must secure their own substitutes. Unlike USPS and other carriers, there are no holidays, no sick days.
-Late papers are sometimes the carrier’s fault (flat tire, dead battery) and sometimes because of late-breaking news stories and scores. On occasion, the newspapers just don’t get to the warehouse in time to make the 6:00 am deadline.
-The shade we prize on Seabrook contributes to poor road conditions when it is cold enough to be icy: the sun doesn’t reach the shaded areas and they stay icy long after the rest of the road has cleared.
-On occasion, carriers experience car problems or encounters with deer (described as ‘lawn ornaments’ on Kiawah and Seabrook Islands) and this may slow delivery.
-There are lots of changes in the delivery cycle on Kiawah and Seabrook Islands because people travel or are only on island part-time.
So, if you’re up early enough, wave to your carrier and be glad there are still people who are willing to wake up early, get the newspapers from the warehouse, roll and double bag them, sort them, and deliver them, all by 6:00 am… and, for most of the year, in darkness.
(Images from freegreatpictures.com and pixabay.com)