top of page

Readers call to make sure we’re O.K. if Bulletin is late

By John Toth

The Bulletin

“Are you putting a paper out this week?” asked the caller. “I’ve gone to three locations, and none of them have any.”

The caller was not mad at us, just curious what had happened. Were we O.K.? What was the reason for the paper not being out in the usual spots?

We were fine, we told her. There is nothing wrong with us, or the paper. Our distributor got a late start in the morning and is running behind.

“I’ll wait here until he gets here,” she said.

There is not much we could do to discourage her. We knew that our distributor didn’t have car trouble, but we didn’t know how late he was running.

A few minutes later she called back to say that the paper arrived, she got her copy, and she was heading back home.

We thanked her for being such a loyal reader and suggested that she can always find us online at

“No, no. I want to hold and read the paper,” she said.

There went our plan to turn into an online paper, had we actually planned to do that - good thing that we haven’t.

There is something about holding a paper and reading it. It is special, traditional, the way our parents and grandparents used to get their news and everything else in the paper, delivered in glorious black and white. We have added some color since then.

I was honored by this reader’s phone call and realized that we have made a great deal of difference in her life - not in a dramatic way, but in a way that makes her look forward to reading us each week. We don’t try to mimic a big, daily publication. We do our own thing and stick to a niche that attracts a certain group of readership.

Our distributor said after we informed him of the phone call that people wait for him all the time to arrive with the paper. When I sub in for him, the same thing happens to me. People take the paper out of my hands sometimes before I can put it in the rack.

When Sharon and I started

The Bulletin in 1994, we never expected this type of reader response. We thought we’d be a free paper people could read quickly while having lunch and then move on to other things, like going back to work.

Some years ago, we got a call from the manager of a fast food restaurant where groups usually gather for coffee and to chat a little. His district manager threw the papers out, saying that he didn’t want them there.

The coffee crowd took over from there, threatening to move to another restaurant - where we were distributing.

“Could you bring as many papers as you can, please. I have a revolt on my hands,” said the manager. We rushed over a new stack of papers, which ended the revolt. We still distribute the paper there.

We publish four times a month, and during months that have five Tuesdays, we take off on that fifth week to research stories like how good the food is on a cruise ship. We put it in big letters on the top left hand side of Page 1 of the previous issue when the next paper will be distributed.

Thank you to all the readers who miss that notice and call to make sure we’re alright. We get all your messages relayed to us by email but cannot return your calls from the middle of the ocean. But, we do call everyone back as soon as we reach dry land.

This is also truly humbling. It’s an honor to put this paper together each week (except for fifth Tuesdays), and it is something that I never want to stop.

Rest assured, dear readers, that with the help of the Good Lord, we plan to stick to our four times a month publication schedule for a long time to come. And, please continue calling us at (979) 849-5407 if your paper is not there when expected. I can’t speed things up, but we can have a nice conversation while you wait.


bottom of page