Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper corporation, apparently thinks that it has the right to move City Pulse. Gannett owns the Lansing State Journal, Detroit Free Press and USA Today. On any given day, you are likely to find one of those papers in the new spot Meijer has assigned City Pulse.
You are supposed to find City Pulse on the right end of the floor shelf for paid newspapers, which is by the check-out lanes on the grocery side of the eight stores in the Lansing area.
Since we started placing City Pulse in this new location two weeks ago, we’ve variously found our paper moved or missing altogether. On one occasion, the shelf liner, which provides signage for us, was gone as well.
When City Pulse is out of its assigned location — which is often — a Gannett paper is in its place. Every time, in every store.
That we are still in Meijer at all was a victory for City Pulse readers. Literally hundreds contacted Meijer to complain about the company’s decision to eliminate the free publication racks that were conveniently located in the entryways. As a result of the protest, City Pulse was allowed to stay, albeit on the considerably less visible paid newspaper racks.
I did some shopping at Meijer on West Saginaw on Sunday, and, naturally, checked on our new location. I found the Free Press not only in our location but in three of the four available locations. The State Journal was in the fourth.
The effect on me was to feel bullied by Gannett. I understand this is not the result of some proactive corporate plot against the little paper in Lansing that’s a thorn in its side. Still, it’s hard not to feel that way when State Journal publisher Brian Priester has not had the courtesy of returning my phone call last week to discuss the issue.
Had he returned my call, I’d have told him, “Look, I don’t want to be in this location, either. I want to be back where we were. But this is where we’re supposed to be, so stop messing with us.”
And then I’d have added, “Besides, don’t you have better things to do, like censoring ‘Doonesbury?’”
Now, readers, what can you do? Well, you can save City Pulse the time and expense of constantly monitoring the Meijer stores by moving City Pulse and the shelf liner to where it belongs if you find anything in its place.
Again, City Pulse and its shelf liner are supposed to be on the bottom right of the floor shelf where you find paid newspapers.
I’d tell you what to do with the Gannett papers you find in our place, but it wouldn’t be polite.