Of times past

I remember when the San Jose Mercury News had at least three thick classified sections daily.

I remember wondering what the value was of the “Employers” listings on the front page of the classifieds — column after column of one-line ads, each with the name of a company (no contact information, just the name), and wondering even more why some companies had multiple ads there, especially since the listings were in alphabetical order.

I remember thinking that it would be environmentally sounder if I could get my Merc without the classifieds.

As I was reading today’s ever-smaller Merc, I noticed a house ad on the next-to-last page of the Sports section:

“Beginning Monday, March 30, our Classified print section will appear Wednesdays through Sundays only.”

Be careful what you wish for; you may get it.

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3 Responses to Of times past

  1. Trish says:

    Most of the Employer ads used to be “make goods” of ads companies pre-purchased, assuming they would have open-recs to fill and ads to run. If you run ads 7 days a week your rate was often less than the one-offs or other periodic rate for running ads whenever they need them, especially if you are saving “setup fees”. When they had no ads to run, their info would be placed in front with their company names listed, as “free” advertising. Overall, a good solution, irritating to those of us who like “order” and “things that make sense”, when there seemed to be no reason for having the name there with no info.

    We have a similar story to the paper saving concept.

    We shopped this afternoon at a big box store.

    The receipt printed out. Along with it was an extra piece, automatically printed out, usually used for coupons for the next purchase or gift receipts.

    Instead, the second piece read “Our weekly ad for April 12th will ONLY be online, go to http://www.______.com to find our online ad”.

    Uhm…not really saving a lot of paper are they?

    I too have noticed the Merc has been anemic–Sunday comics are 4 pages total. For that I’ll check online instead!

  2. David says:

    Actually, if it’s the big-box store I’m thinking of, that little piece of paper (even multiplied by many transactions) is a lot less paper (and ink) than their typical multi-page color supplement (times not as many newspapers as one might like to see).

    I suspect the choice of April 12th has something to do with many people not caring as much about the paper on Easter Sunday as on other days, and maybe with an expected dropoff in shopping afterwards (though I expect *my* Easter shopping to be the same this year as in all other years: zero).

    The Sunday comics have been down to four pages in the Merc for quite a while, with some of the best only available online. I still prefer to read them on paper when I have the choice.

  3. DavidP says:

    We stopped subscribing a long time ago. I do miss it though; it was useful to spread on the bathroom counter and catch beard trimmings. ;-) I’ve had a paid online subscription to the WSJ for over 12 years.