Lame Adventure 293: Missing Magazine Crusader

Most days at work I collect the mail in the first floor in-basket.  Most of the mail is addressed to my boss, Elsbeth.  A week or two ago I noticed the April issue of Harper’s magazine in our in-basket.

April issue of Harper's magazine.

It was not addressed to Elsbeth but I figured that Stu, her husband and the company founder, put it there intentionally.  It’s not my style to question what motivates him to do what he does as I am sure he welcomes my indifference.  Yet, had he left a live hand grenade in our in-basket I still might not have questioned Stu himself, but I would have been compelled to ask one of his Yes Men about that along with enforcing a dictate of my own:

Me:  One of you guys bring that up to her.

When I would reach my office wearing my Minister of Watch Dogging chapeau, I would go straight to my Lord and Master yapping:

Me:  Hey Elsbeth, one of Stu’s Yes Men is coming up here with a live hand grenade for us.  Do we really want that on our floor?

Questions like that to my superior either emit a twenty second long sigh of extreme annoyance or a short, sharp outburst:

Elsbeth:  No!

Apparently, the April issue of Harper’s that was passed onto her was not intended for us. Almost two weeks after I retrieve it Elsbeth asks me:

Elsbeth:  Would you like this issue of Harper’s?

I avert my gaze from the pigeon on the sill that appears to be mocking me and turn my attention to my chief.

Ha, ha, ha, I'm outside in the sun and you're behind bars!

Elsbeth:  The letter carrier delivered it to us by mistake.

The alarm bells ring in my head.

Me:  Sure.

Elsbeth hands me the magazine and returns to her office, satisfied that I accept her offering but I have a hidden agenda.  I look at the address label.  It was meant for a guy named David who resides two doors down from my company.  Every so often, the magazines I subscribe to, all with New York in the title – The New Yorker, New York Magazine and Time Out New York, go missing.  I have called my post office about this and complained.  As they insist that I did receive my issue of New York, I have to remind them that I want to know what happened to my missing copy of The New Yorker.  I have also directly confronted my letter carrier, a very nice woman when encountered face to face, but a side of me wonders if she would love to posit this question to my kisser:

My Very Nice Letter Carrier:  You crazy bitch, why the hell do you have to subscribe to every fuckin’ magazine in the world with New York in the title?

Yet, my letter carrier has made a better effort to deliver my magazines in recent months, but when an issue does go missing, if she happens to stick it in the wrong mailbox, does the neighbor that gets it keep it?  If so, I think that exploiting her mistake for personal gain is theft.  Therefore, I cannot in good conscience keep David’s issue of Harper’s.  If I can return his magazine to him, maybe someone that gets one of my misdelivered magazines will finally do a first in my building, in the almost 30 years I’ve resided there, grow a solitary brain cell of consideration and return it to me, the rightful owner.  The cynic in me, that coincidentally happens to be about 98% of my person, thinks I will sooner be the lynchpin that brokers peace in the Middle East on my lunch hour before that ever happens.

Back to David, I don my Detective Cap, type his name and address in Google, hit the enter key, and voila, I discover his email address.

I share the situation with my Special Someone.

SS: Give it back to your mail carrier.  Let them deal with it.

Me: Trust the incompetent mail carrier that caused this crisis?  I’d sooner give it to the Taliban.  Of course, those Neanderthals would probably use it as kindling.

I send David an email:

Hi David,

It appears that your April edition of Harper’s was misdelivered to [my company] a few doors away from you at [censored] Street.  Please let me know if you would like me to leave it with our front counter so you can pick it up?  I’ll put a post-it on it so people know that you’re coming to get it.

Eleven minutes later David emails me from his iPhone:

That’s very kind of you. Yes. Please leave it at the counter.

That evening, as I depart for the day, I notice that David’s issue of Harper’s is gone.  Hopefully, he had picked it up and I will not find it has boomeranged back into Elsbeth’s in-basket come Monday.  Hey, I want to accrue a few magazine subscription good karma points.

Portrait of a good week in Lame Adventures-land -- every magazine delivered!

26 responses to “Lame Adventure 293: Missing Magazine Crusader

  1. I am wondering whether the magazine misdelivery/nondelivery is more prevalent in urban America. Is it the proximity of dwellings, the super abundance of apartment buildings? I don’t think we in the suburbs have quite the same problem. Of course, that could be a function of the numbers game. Those of us in the semi-bucolic world of, say, Glen Ridge, NJ, just can’t amass the same population (7,527) in our meager 1.287 square miles than you New Yorkers. Heck, we don’t even have 1 magazine with our name in the title. We do have 2 quaint competing weeklies, however.

    Rather than missing magazines, I have a slightly different problem. I routinely receive *Poder Hispanic*, an english language magazine marketed to our nation’s growing Latin population. It is addressed to me. The problem is I DIDN’T SUBSCRIBE to it. Now, had I been only just out of college I could blame one of my old housemates for filling out a form in my name. When I lived in Georgetown our group house of aspiring physicians and lawyers would subscribe to various magazines in the names of prominent politicians and sports figures. It was fun just to have them laying about the house. Now that I think of it, I probably should ask my old roommate if he did it, it certainly carries the earmarks of one of his stunts. I wonder whether I should retaliate by sending copies of some sordid publication to his office at Mass General.


  2. Wait, you don’t get New York Review of Books? Or New York Tennis Magazine? How about New York Zoological Society magazine?
    So many titles your friendly postal carrier doesn’t know about…


    • I just realized that my original response to your comment was accidentally deleted, Jeremy. Grrrrr, but the cause was probably PEBCAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair). Many years ago I used to subscribe to the New York Review of Books until I realized I seldom read any of the books and hardly ever read that magazine. That was one of those “what was I thinking?” subscriptions.


      • I’ve had a similar problem, called PFTHE, or Pinky Fails to Hit Enter; after doing so (or not, as the case may be), I leave, thinking I’ve sent a great and hysterical comment, which languishes on the computer and then, mysteriously, disappears. I blame my Mac.
        I would be willing to bet that the majority of people who subscribe to even the popular New York titles barely read them (especially the New Yorker); even the easy-to-read title (I’m calling you out, TONY) probably suffers more from Playboy syndrome than not, e.g. people get it for the articles but really only look at the pictures (or maybe one or two listings, easily accessed on the web).


        • For the most part, I agree with you! I know several people who own Salmon Rushdie’s The Satantic Verses but not one that’s actually read that tome. Back to magazines, my commute to and from work is where I do the vast majority of my New Yorker reading. As for TONY, I do look at that one for about fifteen minutes a week since it requires very little intellectual investment on my part. My subscription to New York was free, so I feel less guilt about that one being last on my obligatory reading list.


  3. Reblogged this on mccrabass and commented:
    It’s no secret that I read a great deal of material on the Internets. A lot of newsy stuff, a lot of fluff and a few blogs. I’ve decided to re-blog some of the blogs I dig in a Marcia-Brady-digs-Davy-Jones kinda way. I did this earlier with a piece by a doctor about transvajayjay ultrasounds and I enjoyed the wee sense of power it gave me knowing that I hopefully drove more readers to John Scalzi’s “Whatever” blog. It’s a good blog–check it out, then subscribe to it. Same goes for Lame Adventures, by my ‘new’ pal The Lame Adventures Woman aka Nancy Kulp of Facebook. She’s witty, smart and insightful. Plus, this latest post is fun! So, please read her posts and subscribe to her blog– you won’t be sorry you did.
    I hope y’all enjoy this because I’m going to do this from time to time. Thanks. Peace and hair grease, Jules.


  4. Ah, as soon as I saw the title of this post, I assumed your New Yorker had not been delivered again. So lame of me to assume. Clearly you have periodical delivery karma down to a fine science.

    Hope you have a geat weekend in Gotham City.



  5. About a week ago I got a CD I’d ordered through’s marketplace (“Kumbia Kings” a favorite in my Zumba class) but I also received, in a separate package, a CD meant for someone else. It was “Romantically Yours” by Marvin Gaye. I could have kept it because the seller would have no idea he sent it to me by mistake, but the angels of my better nature took over. That and the fact that I didn’t really want it. So rather than return it to the seller, I sent it directly to the person who’d ordered it. I emailed the seller and told him what I was doing. Have heard zilch from him so far. You’re welcome. I don’t expect to hear from the recipient either, but at least I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing. Maybe karma will repay me at some point, or maybe it will come back and bite me on the ass.


    • Cue the music to “The Twilight Zone.” No sooner did I exit out of your blog than I received an email from the seller with this message:

      “Thank you for advising us that you received an extra order. We have made arrangements to resubmit this order to our customer. At this time we ask
      that you please keep this item as a gift to avoid any additional shipping cost.
      We apologize for any inconvenience.”

      I emailed them back and said the buyer probably already has the CD by now. Looks like somebody may end up with two copies of “Romantically Yours.” Maybe they could turn around and sell it on Amazon.


      • That’s great! Guess The Buyer already has one stocking stuffer come Xmas 2012. Good thing you’re not a “Romantically Yours” fan or else you might feel a little screwed about sending it forward. Many years ago I used a car crash from a very useful sound effects record I had before the beep tone rang on my answering machine. Friends and family loved to complain about that!


    • In that case I would contact the seller about the mishap but let them decide how they wanted to handle it. If it involves me opening my moth-filled wallet, I’m not going to do it, but I agree with you that one has an almost moral obligation to do the right thing in these types of situations.


      • I thought of that, but I figured if I were the one waiting for my CD to arrive and it didn’t, I’d really appreciate it if the unintended recipient forwarded it along to me. Kind of reminds me of the lady who bought the groceries for the elderly woman in line behind her at Walmart. Random acts of kindness, etc.


        • I don’t think that it’s the unintended recipient’s responsibility to do what you did, but I do think the unintended recipient has a moral obligation to explain the situation to the seller. He or she’s the one that created this snafu so it’s technically his or her obligation to get the goods to the rightful purchaser. That said, I know well from reading your blog that you’re a very rare uber-responsible kind of person who goes that extra mile and takes a hands on approach to getting things done right. If it involves me trekking to the post office, waiting in line (and the lines are always long here in the Big Apple) and opening my wallet to pay for postage, this jaded New Yorker that’s paid little more than a potato and health insurance is not going to go that far for a stranger. And speaking of that stranger, did they thank you for being so considerate?


  6. I haven’t heard from the person who ordered the CD, and don’t hold high expectations for that to happen. I did inform the seller about mistakenly sending the CD to me, but they took over a week to reply. Fortunately, where I live, you can zip in and out of the local post office pretty quickly. (Except when you run into people you know and get to gabbing, then it can take a lot longer. Mayberry RFD we’re not, but we do tend to be kind of neighborly that way.) So, in the Big Apple they pay you in potatoes? Here in Texas they’d probably pay you with Frito Pie—and then you’d really need that health insurance.


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