Two Surprise Checks Received

Two unexpected checks arrived in my mailbox today, both dated late April for actions I took in late March. One is from the The New York Times for $300 for an op-ed piece I published in the paper March 18; the other is from the District of Columbia for $4 for jury service I contributed at its Superior Court March 23.

The checks were unexpected. I would have rendered either service without pay. Both were in some sense a civic contribution, the jury service by law, the op-ed piece by vocation. But the figures nevertheless struck me as backwards. Suppose no civic obligation, imposed or elected. In an arms’-length negotiation, I would have requested far less from the paper and far more from the court.

Neither outfit is doing well financially. The District of Columbia faces a $400 million budget deficit amid declining tax revenues and increased costs; The Times Co. lost $74.5 million last quarter amid declining ad revenues and contraction in its business. I appreciate both checks. And love both DC and the NYT. I am tempted to cash neither one.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. AYY says:

    The problem with not cashing them is that someone in the DC government has to keep track of the uncashed checks, and after a while your share of that is going to cost the DC government the $4 that you’re saving it.

    As for the NYT check, I don’t know NY law, but it’s possible that if you don’t cash the check, the NYT doesn’t get to keep the money. It might go to the state treasurer or whoever controls the unclaimed funds.

  2. Doug says:

    I guess the previous poster is saying “just cash the checks”. And I might add, pay some good books.