Dear Hightlights Magazine:
I am in receipt of your Past Due notice. I received it around 8:00 p.m. last night, when a neighbor who lives up the street from me, knocked on my door. It was dark, and I wasn’t expecting anyone at that hour, so I almost did not open the door. But when I saw it was an elderly woman, I yelled through the door “Who is it?” and she yelled back, “It’s me, your neighbor.” So, I took a chance and opened the door, all the while shooing the dog from her feet and waving a spoon and a stick of margarine at my unexpected visitor because I had been in the middle of making popcorn for my son, and he wanted “butter” on it. I was going to cut off a chunk of margarine from the stick and melt in the microwave, and pour it over the air popped popcorn, but you see, I was interrupted.
“I keep getting your mail,” my neighbor said as she handed over an envelope addressed to my son. I thanked her, but I thought it was an odd thing to say, “I keep getting your mail,” when I could not recall her ever stopping by to drop off any of my mail before. How does getting one piece of mail equate to “keep getting your mail”? Then she said, “There’s a Highlights thing in the envelope too, my husband opened it by mistake.”
“I didn’t know your name,” she said. “So I called the people’s phone number,” she continued, and she turned to leave as I shooed the dog back into the house so I could return to making popcorn.
I handed the envelope to my son and it turned out to be an invitation to a birthday party for one of his classmates. I thought it was odd that the mother would include a Highlights form in a party invitation, and I was right. It was odd. She had not. It was an overdue account notice from you. I assume this notice was part of the “Keep getting your mail,” that my neighbor referred to.
And so I am writing this letter to defend myself.
Your over due notice says:
The situation briefly, is this:
• You ordered a Highlights subscription.
• We mailed several issues.
• We have not received your payment.
• Your account is past due.
To avoid further collection action, pay this bill immediately.
In my defense, please note that:
• I ordered a Highlights subscription in September.
• I did not receive ANY issues.
• I did not receive a request for payment but I attributed that to the fact that I NEVER RECEIVED YOUR MAGAZINE.
I will pay your bill. But I respectfully request that you send me the “several issues” that you claim to have mailed. Because you did not mail them to ME.
Perhaps you mailed them to my neighbor, and seeing a children’s magazine, perhaps she threw them out, or perhaps she gave them to her own grandchildren. At any rate, she did not give them to me, but I assume they are part of the “keep getting your mail” that she was referring to. I want the issues I will be paying for. Pronto.
Also, please note that your mission statement on your website claims:
This magazine of wholesome fun is dedicated to helping children grow in basic skills and knowledge, in creativeness, in ability to think and reason, in sensitivity to others, in high ideals and worthy ways of living—for children are the world’s most important people.
I seriously question the “helping children to grow in basic skills and knowledge” part when it appears that somebody on your staff, a dyslexic perhaps, reversed a 9 and a 6, which resulted in the magazine going to the wrong address. I filled out the subscription form and mailed it myself, and I know that I would never have reversed those numbers, and so the error must have come from someone on your staff either as they read the form or as they input it into your computer system. Please correct this error, send me the back issues that I am owed, and I will gladly pay your invoice.