Damn Tribune “driveway delivery”

TheCulprit2643My snowblower has eaten a couple of newspapers, but this was the worst case ever.  And it’s all the fault of the Tribune’s stupid “driveway delivery” policy.  (OK, maybe not – see very end.)

Despite best efforts, I couldn’t pull the part jammed in the impeller out.  I brought it into the garage and rolled it over on its side.  After trying some more to pull the jammed paper out, I gave up and grudgingly figured I’d have to cut it out with a Stanley knife.

PartWayThru2652I cut away most of the large stuff so I could get to the place where it was really jammed.  But hundreds of slices later, I still hadn’t cleared it.  The remaining plug was a thoroughly compacted mixture of paper and plastic wrapper.  Slicing at it produced only very tiny fragments.

AlmostDone2650The clearance between the impeller and the housing is a little over 1/4″.  I tried screwdrivers and eventually a piece of 1/4″ steel bar and a hammer.  I tried forcing the impeller to turn with a judiciously applied 2×2.  I just couldn’t believe I couldn’t get it cleared out.  After a hour of work with the most useful technique being slicing millimeter sized shreds out, I finally prevailed.  Near the end, I wedged a screwdriver between a cleared part of the impeller and the housing as a lever and forced the impeller to turn a little.  If I had to design another tool to try to attack this specific case, it would be a hook to pull with.  Maybe 1/4″ steel rod a foot long and with a pointed hook bent at 90º or better.  Maybe I could have driven it in and pulled out much larger chunks.

Cleared2655BIt doesn’t look like there was any permanent damage.  The mixed good news was that by the time I was up and running, other good samaritans had cleared most of my sidewalks as well as the neighbors’ walks I usually do.



Update a few hours later: OK, this is just about the tool I wish I’d had.  It’s from some 3/16″ rod scavenged from some heavy wire racks I seem to have around.  Might even find use beyond the next snowblower-newspaper battle.

TLTR background rant

I understand the intent of the driveway delivery policy:  For a house set well back from the street with a long driveway, they want to set expectations that their delivery people won’t get the paper all the way up to the house – just to the base of the driveway.  That’s fine for the long driveway case.  But their idiotic bureaucracy has warped it into training delivery people to aim for the driveway – instead of the house.  The driveway to my detached garage is 60 feet away from the front door.  It takes absolutely no extra effort to toss the paper in front of the front door instead of  in front of the garage.

They delivered the wrong paper yesterday.  Using their very convenient online problem reporter, I clicked ‘wrong publication’ and asked for the paper to be delivered later.  It popped up a message saying it would be delivered “shortly”.  That was at 6:30AM.  When it hadn’t come by I dunno – 2PM?  I walked down to the driveway and verified it wasn’t there.  I went online again and asked for a credit for an undelivered paper, foolishly thinking the matter was over.  That was all well before the snow.

When I went out to do the driveway this morning, I had no reason to expect a paper under the couple inches of new snow.  I’d already picked up today’s paper – delivered as usual, right in front of the house.  And then WHAM!

Apparently the gears were still turning (slowly!) to get a policy indoctrinated driveway deliverer to deliver the makeup paper after I’d given up on it.  To be fair, if he’d delivered the now-unexpected paper right in front of the house, I still wouldn’t have been looking for it and would probably have hit it while clearing the path in the parkway in front of the front door.  So I guess the real blame is that the delivery was so late that I’d given up on it.  Ugh.

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