Keep It Classy, Harper's


Dear Harper's:

I received your February ’11 issue in the mail yesterday—which I’m totally enjoying, BTW. But when I unfurled the rolled-up mag, stoked to scan the Index, two other envelopes dropped out. Now, these weren’t the usual inescapable mail squatters—coupons, pizza ads, Geico postcards—they were subscription solicitations from waiting room rags National Geographic and Newsweek.

Though I’ll admit I was flattered by your tacit acknowledgment of my exquisite taste when you pimped my mailing address out to The New York Review of Books and Foreign Affairs, this is where I draw the line. You’re Harper’s not Seventeen. You don’t fill your pages with lip-gloss samples or celeb bikini photos, why go so low as to hawk my personal info to third parties on the black (and white) market?

When I renewed my membership with you a few months ago, I assumed you’d keep things safe and tasteful, like a high-end hooker. Sadly, you’ve scrawled the equivalent of “For a good time call Tara …” on the magazine industry bathroom stall.

While you made it abundantly clear on your website that you wouldn't sell my e-mail address to third parties, I had to dig around a bit to find out that you “sometimes sell portions of our (snail) mailing list to other magazines. We don't do much of it, and we don't let just anyone use our list.” C'mon, Newsweek? Really?

Though I think I finally sleuthed out how to get uninvited to your little third-party party (“account summary” then “change my mailing preferences”), I’m still bummed that we ever had to sink to this point in our relationship.

I thought you were classier,