I love magazine subscriptions. I love how every issue feels like a present, albeit a present you've paid for yourself, usually quite a lot if you're in Ireland. I have subscriptions to several magazines - Das Magazin, Bitch, The New Yorker, Bust and, most recently, Neon. I get a bit antsy when the magazines don't turn up on time, because in the past (I've had a sub to Bust since 1997, and a sub to Bitch on and off since about '99) there have been weird sub problems and some issues haven't turned up at all. Bust, I must say, has totally improved - when it was small and still essentially a zine with some colour bits and each issue had obviously been mailed by hand by someone in the office, it always turned up bright and early, but when they started using a subscription service it got a bit crap for a while. Now it's usually fine. Bitch's service, when they started using a sub service, became absolutely dreadful and totally unreliable (issues arrived months late, if they arrived at all) and I let my sub lapse for a couple of years; in fact, I only started it again because now there's nowhere in Ireland that stocks the magazine.
Neon, a German lifestyle and popculture magazine with some fantastic and imaginative general interest features, is my latest discovery, and I decided to take out a subscription. But because Germans quite sensibly don't like credit cards (seriously, don't try paying for anything with a Visa in Berlin, loads of shops don't take them) you can only pay online by money transfers from German banks. Their sub people, however, are pretty helpful and when I e-mailed them a few months ago, they got back quickly and said they could start a sub, send me a bill and I could send back my credit card details or a money order by post. The first two issues of my sub arrived, so did the bill, and I sent off my payment - the money has been taken from my Visa card, so I know it went through. The most recent issue of the magazine, however, which was out nearly three weeks ago, hasn't arrived. Nor has the latest issue of Bust, although I renewed my sub a few months ago. I've e-mailed both magazine's sub departments, but haven't heard back. And it's just niggling away at me now! Are they ever going to turn up? Did my subscriptions go through properly? Is the postman actually delivering stuff to the right address (whenever our usual and delightful postman is away, we often get post delivered to us that's addressed to other houses in the area - we always put this in the postbox with "delivered to wrong address" written on the envelope, but I don't want to rely on other people doing the same with my post.
To sum up: I don't mind waiting for magazines if they're late, but I don't like not being able to rely on the postal or sub services to deliver them at all.