Sorry, Neighbor

Re: “Toxic Tour of Northwest Indiana” by Lloyd DeGrane and Kari Lydersen, February 3

Northwest Indiana encompasses FIVE counties with a population of almost one million people. To lump all of NW Indiana in a few photos of Gary, East Chicago, and Whiting is a disservice and a disgrace to the rest of the area.

I think I will take a few pictures of the southside of Chicago and publish them as “Poverty Tour of Chicagoland.” I am sure the seven counties that make up Chicagoland wouldn’t appreciate such a narrow article. —Hammondguy

Grievances With Groupon

Re: “What a Deal! 50% Off Your Job Prospects! Groupon wanted me to sign a noncompete clause, even though I might never work there either” by Christopher Flores, February 3

I’m a writer who’s also tried to work at Groupon, and I’ve had a really negative experience too.

When I first applied in early 2009, I had the portfolio and experience but I’ll be the first to admit—Groupon has a very, very specific narrative voice they’re looking for, and I didn’t nail it the first time around. OK, fine, on to the next adventure.

The odd thing is this: Twice since then, I’ve received an e-mail from Groupon that essentially said, “Hi—it’s been a while since you applied, and since then we’ve gotten our act together in terms of recruiting and would like you to reapply.”

And twice I did—once in a writing position, and once as a researcher. And both times, I was subsequently sent an automatic rejection letter in such a quick fashion it seemed pretty clear no one even took the briefest look at my work. So . . . why, again, did they e-mail me? Someone, somewhere, dropped the ball.

I swear this isn’t sour grapes, but as someone who has some HR/career experience, I have to say, the candidate experience appears to be a big ol’ pile of FAIL, and if they want to attract talent that will stay around longer than, say, pilot season, Second City auditions or even the next big snowfall, they have to improve that experience.

I can understand Groupon wanting to protect their intellectual property, and it’s a gray area when they’re basically auditioning writers over several weeks to come aboard, but a nondisclosure agreement that doesn’t completely FUCK a writer’s ability to work elsewhere (at a time when jobs are like unicorns, in a writing market that’s already imploded in the last 5 years) should be quite sufficient. —ClickityClick

No More News of the Weird?

I have been reading your paper since 1975. I recently noticed that you no longer feature News of the Weird. What happened to my favorite articles? Is it discontinued forever? —Bob A.

The editors reply: Sorry, Bob A. (and all you other Chuck Shepherd fans). We have indeed stopped running the column. You can still get your NOTW fix at