On Sunday morning, a chain drugstore charged me only $2 for the New York Times. This kind of mistake happens a lot, as clerks assume I'm buying the Boston Globe (not many Times readers in Malden, it seems). It was especially odd this time because $2 was too cheap for the Sunday Globe as well. But the sales clerk had scanned the Times, and then I saw "$2.00" printed in the top right corner, along with "New England Edition."
Hours later, at home, I couldn't find the Week in Review section, and the mystery was solved. Someone at the drugstore had stuck the Sunday magazine and book review section into a copy of Friday's Times. I always look for the magazine, since I discovered it missing after I got the paper home more than once, and now I'll have to doublecheck the date as well.
The Sunday Times is supposed to be $6, and more than one clerk in my blue-collar suburb has expressed astonishment at the price to me. ("You pay $6 for this?!") I used to buy it at an independent convenience store, but a clerk there got annoyed at my interrupting the steady line of Lottery ticket buyers to purchase newspapers (even $6 ones), and he finally told me that my supply had been cut off. ("We don't carry that anymore!")
In yet another convenience store, I attempted to buy the last copy of the Globe but discovered the magazine and other pieces missing before I got to the counter. When I pointed this out, the woman who co-owned the store cheerfully said she would give me a double helping of store circulars and coupons to make up for it. When I said this didn't solve the problem, she just stared at me perplexedly. I'm sure she thought I was rude to leave the newspaper on the counter and walk out. Why didn't I put it back on the rack, as she undoubtedly did after I left?
Don't tell me I should have the papers delivered. I'm out of town several Sundays a year, and I like to get the papers wherever I am at the moment. (The crossword cannot wait.)
I would be willing to give up the news sections, though. I'm on the Times and Globe websites all the time, so I already know all the breaking stories. Just give me a weekly magazine with all the feature and opinion pieces that doesn't have to be assembled by people who don't seem to know what a newspaper is.