UDF Explains Paper's Absence

Oct 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Rising gasoline prices, and not political ideology, is the reason that area United Dairy Farmers stores stopped carrying The New York Times, a corporate spokesman insists.—-

This week’s issue of CityBeat features a Porkopolis column about The Times’ sudden disappearance from UDF stores, and how sources say it’s due to the conservative leanings of chain founder Carl Lindner Jr. and his family.

Frank Cagliano, a UDF spokesman, said today the newspaper only was carried in 16 of the chain’s roughly 200 stores in the tri-state region. A decision was made recently to stop carrying The Times because the magazine distributor that provided the newspaper to UDF stopped making deliveries on a daily basis once fuel costs began skyrocketing.

The same distributor also provides The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s to UDF, and the convenience store chain stopped carrying the former because — like The Times — it often was out of date if delivered just once a week.

“We don’t have any way to get it in our stores other than someone who only delivers it once a week,” Cagliano said. “We’re looking at other options.”

The Times never was a big seller at UDF stores, he added. Most people who want the out-of-town newspaper subscribe. That’s what UDF’s corporate office does.

“We still get it here,” Cagliano said. “We read The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.”

Some people allege the actual reason for the newspaper’s disappearance from UDF is because Lindner is displeased by The Times' coverage of Republican presidential nominee John McCain and alleged bias in favor of Democratic nominee Barack Obama, a common complaint among conservative Republicans.

Not so, Cagliano said.

He compared the newspaper to different ice cream flavors, and how some fall out of favor with customers and are no longer profitable to sell.

“We don’t base anything in our stores on anything else but what we can sell,” Cagliano said. “All the newspapers in the country have interesting stories. We’d like to be able to provide them all, but we can’t.”

Either way, with gas prices tumbling and the election over and done with next Tuesday, it will be interesting to see if The Times makes a comeback at UDF stores.