October 6, 2009: My Anti-Entrepreneurial Spirit! The Weird Food Purchase of the Day! And the Cost of a Free Newspaper!

Every so often, someone will ask me about my blog traffic, wondering how many visitors I get on an average, a month, to date.  And, when I tell them, they’ll inevitably follow-up with the same question, always wanting to know how much money I make off this blog.  My response, “Nothing.”, tends to engender responses ranging from pity and disbelief to bug-eyed outrage at the thought of my anti-entrepreneurial venture.  Yes, in retrospect, had I charged each and every one of you a fee for the pleasure of reading entries like my edifying treatise on the inherent frustrations of mango consumption (http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2007/01/21/january-20-2007/), I could own a small island by now (provided every visitor shelled out $100 every time they dropped by  which, let’s face it, is more than likely).  On the other hand, I could have gone the ad route, seamlessly incorporating advertisements for acai juice and penile enhancements into my daily ramblings in which case, by now, I could have made enough to purchase my own Vespa.  Meh.  The only reason I bring it up is because there was a report on blogging on CNN today and, at one point, some “professional blogger” expressed her outrage at part-time bloggers who were undermining her potentially lucrative business opportunities.  I can just imagine her indignation if she were ever to stumble upon this blog (“How the hell am I going to make money off my mango rants when this sonovabitch is giving it away for free?!!!).

Speaking of annoying food-related posts, here’s yet another entry in my fitful yet ongoing Weird Food Purchase of the Day video installments…

WTF?!  Against my better judgment, I answered the door today when someone came a knockin’.  The someone, in this case, was a young man who happily informed me that starting next week, he would be delivering copies of the local newspaper to my front door every morning.  I told him I didn’t subscribe to any paper and had no interest in doing so.  Well, according to him, the service was absolutely free.  All he needed to know was which of the city’s two craptacular newspapers I wanted to receive: The Vancouver Sun or The Province.

“I won’t read them,”I assured him.

“But if you could just pick one,”he persisted.

I went with…neither.  Apparently, that wasn’t one of my options.  I could not choose NOT to receive a newspaper.  “I really don’t want either paper,”I stuck to my guns.

“Okay,”he tried.  “Which one would fit better in your fireplace?”

“Vancouver Sun,”I finally relented.

He asked me for my name and phone number – neither of which I was comfortable giving him despite his assurances that they weren’t for the newspaper but for him alone.  Oh, really?  Only for your personal use, you say?  Then, by all means!  I imagined being awakened by a phone call at three in the morning several months down the line, and being greeted by some unfamiliar voice: “Hey, Joe, it’s Troy your newspaper boy.  I’m downtown and way too drunk to drive.  Can you give me a lift home?”.   No, no.  I don’t think so.  Well, when it became clear that he wasn’t going to get my name and phone number, he packed away his notepad – which, I assumed, signaled his departure.  But I assumed incorrectly because no sooner had he pocketed the notepad than he produced a second notepad and casually informed me that he was gathering a nominal fee of three dollars a week that would go toward his tuition and rather than have him bug me every week wouldn’t it be easier to just have me give him a lump sum up front.

“What happened to free?”I asked.

“Oh, the newspaper IS free,”he insisted.  “This just goes toward my tuition.”

“Sooooo I’m paying for a free newspaper I don’t want and won’t read?”

“You’re not paying for the paper.”  And then, in a transparent appeal to my competitive nature (which doesn’t exist, by the way): “Your neighbors were very generous.”

“They were?”

“Yes.”

“My neighbors?”

“Yes.”

“They were very generous?”

“That’s right.”

Seriously.  He may as well have told me that they’d adopted him and were raising him as one of their own.  Let’s put it this way – many adjectives come to mind when I think of my neighbors.  “Generous” aint one of them.

In the end, I made it clear I wasn’t going to pay anything for a free paper I wasn’t going to read and, hey, I had a caponata on the stove and had to go.  He suggested he come back at a more convenient time.  I proposed Saturday.

And I’ll make sure to be out watering my front lawn when he comes by.