Troubles By the Bundles

ALARM CLOCKS

When the answer to the Boston Globe's rhetorical slogan, "Have you seen the Globe today?" became a definitive "no," several students took Harvard Delivery News service (HDNS) to court this spring for failing to either deliver their newspapers or to reimburse them for undelivered issues.

Two Winthrop juniors attempted a crusade against the tiny student-run service, complaining that they had missed 75 daily and 15 Sunday papers--including the Globe, The New York Times and The Crimson--over a two-year period.

But until this spring, when Mitchell W. Smith '82 became manager of HDNS, the location of the news service office and its telephone number remained a mystery. When Smith succeeded the reclusive Marty Olive '79-4 and publicized the whereabouts of HDNS, hundreds of called-in complaints and legal threats prompted a questionable refund policy.

Many customers settled out of court, and a large block of graduate students cancelled its subscriptions.

Even though delivery improved during the spring semester, a handful of students took Smith and HDNS to court and won reimbursements. Most plaintiffs won easily, especially two freshmen who were awarded $25.80 when Smith slept through the proceedings.