Despite Your Manly Bits, Art.com Signs You Up For Working Mother Magazine

Reader Brian doesn’t have a womb, so when he saw a copy of Working Mother magazine in his mailbox, he was pretty sure that he didn’t order it:

Last December I placed an order at art.com for a framed print which I intended to give as a Christmas present. I placed the order well within art.com’s recommended time frame for delivery in time for christmas. During the order they promised delivery by December 17th. Well, as you may guess December 17th came and went with no package (they shipped it on the 15th via DHL.) December 24th came and went with no package. DHL finally delivered it on the 26th after I had been forced to go out and purchase another gift to replace the one that had not arrived.

In the end I let it slide. I had no desire to deal with telephone customer service the week after Christmas to get my shipping money refunded from art.com. I had better things to do with my vacation time.

This week I come home and find an issue of “Working Mother” magazine in my mailbox. Thinking it was delivered by mistake to my box I check the address label. To my surprise I find that it is addressed to me. Having all the correct Male parts it is anatomically impossible for me to be a working mother so I was puzzled as to how I ended up with this subscription. I refused delivery of the magazine by writing “refused” on the label and leaving it in my mailbox with the flag up. Next I visited their website and put in an inquiry via an online form. Surprisingly they got back to me very quickly. The verdict? Art.com had signed me up for a complimentary subscription for one year. I certainly don’t remember clicking anything during my order with them indicating that I might be interested in 12 issues of a magazine that I will throw directly into the trash every month. If I did leave a box checked or something it must not have been very conspicuous because I usually catch stuff like that.

Working Mother magazine canceled my “subscription” in response to my message to them.

As a postal customer I’m bombarded with a pile of junk mail every month. Shame on art.com for adding this mountain of waste.

Brian

Attention Art.com: People do not like unsolicited magazines randomly showing up at their door. Seriously. We are not making this up.

Comments

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  1. bsalamon says:

    My wife got one of those working mother magazines too. But she has never used art.com. So I wouldn’t place the blame solely on art.com. We threw the first issue out, so when the next one comes, I will be sure to follow up to see how it got to our mailbox

  2. sp00nix says:

    I get 3 items a week in the mail. Feels a little lonely so a random magazine might be welcome :)

  3. noquarter says:

    As long as we’re on the subject, and it’s Valentine’s day, I’d like to add MarthaStewartFlowers.com to the list of shunned merchants. There is no way it is humanly possible to get off their mailing lists, and they sold my email address to spammers.

  4. l951b951 says:

    Slightly off topic, but pertaining to the submitter’s story. I’ve never had anything arrive on time through DHL. Let me stress that again, NOTHING that I have sent or received through DHL has been on time.

  5. Eilonwynn says:

    Why not donate it to a hospital or something like that? Just a suggestion.

  6. K-Bo says:

    eyeslipsface.com automatically signs you up for a “gift subscription” if you forget to uncheck the little tiny box at the bottom of the screen. Quite annoying.

  7. smirky says:

    @Eilonwynn:
    That’s a great suggestion. From time to time I receive unwanted and unsolicited magazine issues. I think I know what to do with them now instead of just tossing them.

  8. IssaGoodDay says:

    @sp00nix:
    Just go anywhere online and put in your address. You’ll find yourself inundated with “Pre-Approval” offers very quickly.

  9. winstonthorne says:

    Here’s a good one: I ordered a turntable from a company called Dakmart a couple years ago, and in veeeery tiny print on the invoice it said something to the effect of “Your purchase includes a subscription to T.V. Guide for one year. If you wish to cancel your subscription please write us at [whatever whatever] and you’ll be refunded $15.”

    They had charged me $15 for a service I never requested, and then buried it in hopes that I’d never cancel it and be auto-billed.

    The best part: I have no cable, and don’t watch TV.

    This magazine subscription stuff is really common.

  10. DragonflyLotus says:

    We got home from vacation yesterday to find “Ebony” addressed to my husband. I’ve still got to find out who signed us up for that one…

  11. Laffy Daffy says:

    People get ripped off left and right around here and this guy complains about a magazine? I’d be more upset about missing the Christmas gift.

    As an aside, the brightest woman I ever met makes it a habit of occasionally reading magazines outside her normal sphere of responsibilities and interests. She says it offers a different perspective and helps you make connections you’d never have done on your own.

  12. bluewyvern says:

    Wow, even being a Male with a capital “M” isn’t enough to keep that kind of thing away from your door.

    I hope your Manly Prowess hasn’t been compromised any by the unfortunate exposure to materials of that nature. You should immediately call your doctor if you start to experience anything like mood swings or tenderness in your breasts.

    I once glimpsed a Men’s Health magazine in a waiting room and I had the urge to spit and scratch myself for weeks afterwards. Plus I briefly forgot the difference between “puce” and “ecru”.

  13. qwickone says:

    @Eilonwynn: I don’t think I could be bothered to drive it over every month. If there’s some way to change the subscription to the hospital, now that’s something I would consider.

  14. alice_bunnie says:

    @l951b951:
    DHL left a CD ROM drive outside our garage… in the rain. The covered front porch was obviously not a good place for it, Fedex, UPS and the Post Office must have been getting it wrong all these years.

  15. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    DHL is the absolute worst shipping company in the US. I’ll *never, ever* ship anything through them again & I request anything I purchase online to be shipped by another courier.

  16. Starfury says:

    Working Mother Magazine: Lets make ourselves feel good about dumping our children in day care because staying home and raising them ourselves is so old fashioned.

  17. Starfury says:

    @Jaysyn: I agree, DHL is worse than UPS.

  18. RandoX says:

    @boones farmer: Tossing a magazine in the trash every few weeks isn’t such a big deal. I’d be afraid that after the “complimentary” year was up I’d be charged a bill for renewal. Ignore the bill? Find it on my credit report. Think it can’t happen? He didn’t sign up for it in the first place, what makes the second year any different?

  19. matto says:

    Art.com managed to turn my order for a single poster into a multi-month clusterfsck. Their customer service people are nice, but their order fulfillment system is straight out of Brazil (the movie, not the country).

  20. septa44 says:

    I placed two orders from Art.com in the past year and was quite satisfied with the quality of the framing and the speed of delivery. As I was paying online, I noticed the checkbox for the free subscription. I refused it and then, per their instructions, got a $10 rebate from the magazine publisher.

  21. econobiker says:

    @Jaysyn: Understood about DHL here too. I shipped a bunch of camping/outdoors gear back in Summer 2006 via DHL. Nice enough people at the drop off point but you better had gotten the correct receipts. The stuff didn’t track correctly and I had to call and call about it. Finally it showed up at the loca terminal but apparently got pushed aside by delivery people who didn;t want to mess with 10-12 boxes (some heavy). Finally got it delivered- including the box that never ever tracked at all. You do get what you pay for…

    That said- it seems as if you could sneek a box into their shipping area that it might get shipped for free.

  22. bsalamon says:

    @K-Bo: that makes sense. thanks for the heads up.

  23. mworthen says:

    Changing the subscription online is a possible solution. Some even allow you to change the recipient name, as well as the delivery address.

  24. Kryndis says:

    Art.com did a similar thing to me, only I started receiving Hallmark Magazine. I never saw any opt-out for it. I just called the subscriptions phone number in the front of the magazine to cancel (which is where they informed me of the various companies that might have signed me up. Don’t remember the names they listed, but Art.com was the only one I had done business with) and gave the one issue I got to my mother. Annoying, but not the end of the world.

  25. TexasBelle says:

    Someone ignored my womanly bits and signed me up for Men’s Vogue. (Or maybe they think metrosexual is close enough to female?) I haven’t bothered finding out who did it. I just chunk them into the recycling bin.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Does Working Mother have a centerfold?

  27. magic8ball says:

    @Starfury: Because everyone lives in a nice, stable, nuclear family with two parents and has a choice about whether to go to work or not.

  28. crabbyman6 says:

    Someone did this to me too. I’ve been getting Black Entrepreneur Magazine for YEARS despite the fact that I’m not black or an entrepreneur and I can’t figure out how to cancel it.

  29. Antediluvian says:

    @bluewyvern: I love glancing at Men’s Health, but since I’m a gay man, it kinda makes sense.

    But here’s some help to distinguish puce and ecru:
    Puce = purplish brown; p for purple, but sounds kinda like puke, which is usually brownish. So, purple-ish + puke = puce.

    Ecru = light tan / beige. Ecru sounds sort of like eggshell, and here in New England, eggs are brown (well, “dark ecru” really), so that should help you remember the difference.

    Glad to help. :-)

  30. BugMeNot2 says:

    DHL sucks plain and simple. They delivered a dvd/cd package to my friends dorm by just dumping it in the hallway where you sign in. If I hadn’t been talking about it with them ealier, I prob wouldn’t have noticed. So I looked down and sure enough, it was addressed to my friend. I just picked it up and gave it to them later. I could of just as easily been some random person and pocketed 50-60 bucks worth of software.

  31. uncombined says:

    no, sadly, there is no centerfold. however, the latest issue does feature a hot single mom on the cover.

  32. @boones farmer: I do that in waiting rooms all the time. I find it broadens the horizons a bit :)

  33. Ragman says:

    Airborne Express seriously jacked up packaging for a PVR and a package of PC components (mobo, cpu, ram). I was amazed the stuff still worked out of the box. The PVR styrofoam was cracked apart, but it worked for years.

    Also had a christmas package (don’t recall the shipper) that looked like someone had cut a slit in the tape and stuck their hand in it trying to grab something.

    UPS, FedEx, and USPS do pretty good where I’m at. It does vary by location – USPS where my inlaws live was so bad that they would go to the next city to mail stuff.

  34. goodywitch says:

    @Antediluvian: As a tomboy, I appreciate the clarification :-)

  35. Maybebaby says:

    I feel the pain. US Weekly is mysteriously showing up in my mailbox uh weekly. I can’t seem to muster up much concern for celebrities. I never have been billed nor has a charge for the literary masterpieces shown up on any statement. Until I do, my coworkers get some cheap entertainment in the break room.

  36. tk427 says:

    @magic8ball: Can I use your line the next time I come accross a smug “it’s their fault they didn’t go to college” or anti-breeding rant?

  37. Antediluvian says:

    @goodywitch: Oh, my pleasure. While I didn’t get the bitchy queen and fashion-awareness genes*, I do well-enough on other fronts to keep my gay card up to date.

    *I got the geek, sci-fi, and outdoorsy farmer genes instead. So it means I can change my own oil, build my own computer, muck out the chicken coop, and tell you exactly why B5 and Farscape are both way better than Trek. :-)

  38. scoosdad says:

    My magazine subscription bitch is when you pay for a one year subscription with a credit card, then they automatically sign you up for their convenient “Continuous Subscription Renewal Service” without your permission.

    PC Magazine has done that to me, and every time I go to their account service webpage and uncheck that box, the next time I go back there it’s mysteriously re-checked. What a scam. Good time to start using those expiring temporary credit card numbers for stuff like this.

  39. Major-General says:

    @l951b951: But it was actually delivered, eventually, right? Because in my experience, they can’t even do that. Forget it getting there on time, I would have been happy with it just getting there at all.

  40. Curse_of_NursePornstein says:

    When Working Mother showed up in my mailbox last week, I assumed it was the result of earlier on-line purchases for friends’ baby showers. No offense to working moms, but I was kind of put-out to receive it. Never would have thought a one-time favor for a friend was behind the unwarranted and wasteful “gift”. Thanks for bringing the Art.com connection to my attention.

  41. chickybaby says:

    I’ve seen this offer at Art.com before. Brian, if you notice on the homepage it says that the magazine is included as an extra benefit with no additional cost to you. Then as you are completing your order, the site asks you to confirm if you want to get the magazine. I order from Art.com all the time. I’ve gotten great service and they hooked me up with Newsweek magazine and National Geographic Traveler in the past. It’s a great deal. You might have just missed the promotion…

  42. MrPandy says:

    Well, what did you expect? DHL stands for Day and a Half Late, doesn’t it?

  43. britne says:

    weird, i got a working mother magazine yesterday, and i remembered reading this story. but i’ve never bought anything from art.com… lately only buy.com and ebags.com.
    at least i’m a femaile… but unfortunately there were no tips about being a good “working mother” to a zoo of cats…

  44. Ilovemygeek says:

    I just received a random copy of Nylon today addressed to me. This is on top of my husband getting a subscription to Step Into Design magazine a year ago. I have no idea where these came from, we were never was charged and so cannot complain too much, especially since I’m a graphic designer who is into fashion; but typically the only magazines we buy are imports from the UK since they have the best Graphic Design mags.