Who among us hasn’t had their porch pilfered? From items as big as a bike to as light as the morning paper, there’s always been a score for thieves bold enough to bound right up to the front door. This common grievance has only grown more common as more goods and groceries are delivered by post. Some respond with technology, installing eerie doorbell cameras or surveillance systems. When the swiper came for Eve Harms, she responded with something more old school: zines. Left in a decoy box identical to those containing stolen loot, A Zine for My Neighbor Who Steals My Packages is a16-page zine created using the classic 90s drawing software KidPix, addressed to the unknown low-rent Danny Ocean. We spoke with Harms about her zine, which has since become popular even among those who aren’t robbing her.
When did you begin to notice your packages were getting swiped? What was taken?
My packages have been going missing randomly for over a year. Not every package, I think the total missing was about six. They contained things like horror novels, makeup, and general household items —nothing very valuable or essential.
Why did you decide to confront them via zine?
I didn’t want to confront the hypothetical thief, I wanted to start a conversation with them and learn about who they were. The zine is actually pretty friendly for the most part! But I know that a zine is likely not the best way to start a conversation with them — probably a note would have been better. In the end, the zine was primarily self-expression and artistic experimentation with the bonus of the potential of connecting with another human. But I did make multiple genuine attempts to get the zine in the thief’s hands.
Why do you think your zine clicked with so many people?
A lot of people have been getting more deliveries to avoid trips to the store because of the pandemic. We’re relying on deliveries more than ever, so having a package lost or taken has a lot more emotional weight. People hate it when their packages get stolen!
Bummer they never took your decoy. Any theory why?
I’m not sure why they didn’t take the decoy, but the reaction on Twitter was so intense that I was kind of relieved that I could let the project go. Hundreds of people were talking and arguing about me and making the wildest assumptions. I think one of the things I did right was keep my mouth shut, but the whole thing was very stressful. My theory was that the thief lived in the same apartment complex, so maybe they moved out. A bunch of people said they probably follow me on Twitter. I doubt that and find the idea unnerving. But I think there’s also a chance that the packages were just getting delivered to the wrong address and not getting returned. I use an alias with all of my online shopping for privacy sake.
Does revenge make for a good zine?
Making zines is always the best revenge.