My husband and I recently bought our first home. The newspaper is delivered every Saturday and Sunday – even though we’re not paying for it. Should we investigate the source of this unexpected bounty?
E.B., Carnegie, Vic
Buying a house in Carnegie wouldn’t be cheap. You’ve got hefty real-estate prices, ongoing council rates, thousands of bucks spent on take-out from all the great Asian eateries on Koornang Road – half of those dumpling expenses, the other half soy-sauce shirt-stain laundering. Actually, buying a house anywhere is expensive, so I can understand why home buyers might think they’re entitled to keep any unexpected extras that come with the place – an old borer-infested cupboard left in a bedroom, a tiny, sickly dope plant behind the back shed, or an antique bottle buried in the backyard that could be a 19th-century apothecary bottle or a VB stubby from Australia Day 2017.
But not every unexpected extra is keepable: if something is very valuable or can easily be traced to an ex-householder, you need to make an effort to return it – or at least hand it in to the relevant authorities. This includes mail, inscribed jewellery, envelopes of cash, or a whole crop of dope plants behind the back shed, along with a makeshift THC extraction lab. A weekend newspaper is easily traceable to a previous householder so you should probably track down the subscribers and inform them – and I’m really only saying this because right now, you could be reading a newspaper you’re not paying for, hoping to find out if it’s okay to keep the newspaper you’re not paying for, by asking a writer who’s getting paid by that newspaper you’re not paying for. So of course I have to say no, you can’t keep it. Unless it’s another newspaper. Then I say, go for it.