July 13, 2004 - Black & White & Ed All-Over
They hang out on the side of busy streets and in front of busy stores all day and all night. Usually they are in groups. And they are always trying to sell something to passers-by. They are not pretty, often dirty and weathered, showing signs of neglect and abuse. At one time, they stood up straight and in a row.
Today, the only thing that keeps them together with the one next to them is the lock and chain wrapped around their rusty uneven legs.
Is this something to fear? Is it the harsh reality of the encroachment of big city problems into our cozy suburban life?
Not really. It’s just the ugly newspaper boxes that line Calle Real and all the other major streets of Goleta and Santa Barbara.
Yesterday, around lunchtime, the dedicated staff of edhat.com took a stroll down the busy streets of Goleta, counting the number of newspaper boxes on Calle Real from Fairview down to Kingston (UltraMar).
It is only a 1/2 mile stretch of road, but there are lots of stores, restaurants, and (as we found out) newspaper boxes.
Louie said that the Good Earth is the place to go when you don’t care. Well, it is also the place to go if you want to get a newspaper. We found thirteen newspaper boxes there with twenty different newspapers in them (some boxes had multiple papers). The Good Earth is the only place on our stretch of Calle Real that sold Wall Street Journals, New York Times, and papers from Santa Ynez, Ojai, and Montecito.
Interestingly, the front of the Good Earth was the only place where we actually witnessed someone buying a newspaper.
The most common box we found was the Santa Barbara News Press (13), followed by the LA Times (10), and USA Today (8). The most abundant paper we found (yes we actually counted the number of each paper in each box) was Family Life (153 copies in seven locations). The most abundant paper that anyone has actually heard of was the Independent. The three Independent boxes we found were overflowing with untouched five day-old papers, eighty-five of them in all. Apparently the Poodle doesn’t play Peoria, or Goleta.
Seventeen of the papers we found were free publications. Six of them required a coin deposit - Newspress, LA Times, USA Today, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
In our survey, we found two outdoor racks of newspapers.
Ed made the call on this one – we were only counting boxes, he said. So, the racks were not included in our data sample.
The final tally showed twenty-three different publications being offered eighty-four times in fifty-nine boxes. And, FYI if you had wanted to get every single one of the 935 newspapers available on Calle Real at noon yesterday it would have cost you $66.50. Just think how many birdcages you could line!
The winner of our contest was RogerT who guessed 57 boxes and 15 publications. Stop the presses! RogerT wins a T, an edhat.com T-shirt that it.
Want to get instant fame and cool prizes? ... enter today’s contest
We want to hear from you ... tell us what you think of this tidbit