That’s Not My Problem

There is a corner on the southwest intersection of Poplar and Highland in Memphis, TN, that is invisible. Talk about your geographic oddities. I’ve been interacting with Exxon corporate, the local Exxon dealer, the city of Memphis, and 6 local publications to find out who owns this little piece of property. Nobody claims ownership, so nobody claims responsibility. I’d like to purchase this property that no one owns as it’s prime real estate and there are apparently no property taxes.
To tell you how busy this intersection is, politicians and their supporters use this locations to wave at voters just before election day. Regular people who, the rest of the time, would not give you the time of day. If there is a cause to be fought, protesters show up here with their signs wanting a honk. Homeless people work this corner. Lazy people who want to appear to be homeless work this corner. A traffic photo camera is set up here (although it only enforces from one angle).
Add to this the fact that this is MY intersection. I cross this spot usually twice a day. Sometimes 4X per day. In my wheel chair. I’m blessed to live near such great retail, banking, service and restaurant locations, but it’s downright scary each time I cross at this particular light.
Pop Highland boxes
One of the problems I have is the line of sight angle. Vehicles, especially smaller cars, don’t see me until the last second because I am blocked by 6 newspaper racks. If they miss the green light, they know that the traffic going southbound will be clear because of the protected arrow for those northbound drivers heading west. Most slow down at best before turning right onto Highland. This is a BIG problem for me.
First I contacted 5 of the 6 publishers and explained my situation. I Dashboard Dealersgot back 3 responses acknowledging the problem and some empathy. They said they’d look into it. The other publisher sent me this response:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: newspaper rack @ Poplar & Highland
From: Dashboard Dealers LLC <>
Date: Sat, September 14, 2013 8:36 am
To: Steve Collins <>

I will gladly move our box to the opposite end of the section as I see there are many magazine boxes at this particular location…removing the box completely would not be fair to the many car dealers who pay us to advertise their vehicles in our magazine and also expect us to distribute our magazines thru various distribution channels in high traffic locations. I hope this helps and please be careful out there…Memphis drivers can be crazy!
Amanda Pope
662.609.3552 (cell)
DBD Media Group
Dashboard Dealers Magazine
I shot back this in return:
From: Steve Collins
Sent: ‎9/‎14/‎2013 3:53 PM
To: Dashboard Dealers LLC
Subject: RE: newspaper rack @ Poplar & Highland

So my life is not worth the circulation loss to your publication? Is yours?
I’ve had 2 positive responses (from all the publications I contacted) so far, but none have put the move of their rack in relation to the value of a human life.
I’ll contact the dealers in your publication and share your dedication to your magazine, no matter the cost. There are some things crazier than Memphis Drivers and this response is certainly one. Action News 5 might find this a story of interest, as will the City of Memphis and the local ADA office.
Your acknowledgement of this problem will certainly be of help in court should I be injured at this intersection. Thanks for your concern.
I got this reply about a half hour later:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: newspaper rack @ Poplar & Highland
From: Amanda Work <>
Date: Sat, September 14, 2013 4:17 pm
To: Steve Collins <>

The driver has been instructed to pick up the boxAmanda Pope via Windows phone
Today, almost a week and a half (and 2 publications) later, I stopped by and took all the issues out of their rack and sent this photo and message to her:
Looks like your driver did not understand the instructions.
In the meantime, I contacted the Mayor’s Action Line. Last Friday I spoke with Nadine (who apparently does not have a last name) about this issue. Not the city’s problem I’m told. The sidewalk belongs to the business. They can do whatever they want on their sidewalk.
I went by Exxon last Thursday evening and talked with Daniel. I explained my situation and he told me to come back to talk with the manger the next day. I agreed to do so, but asked Daniel to relay my message to the manager. I returned the next day only to be told that the manager would be back in 30 minutes. I gave my name and number and asked that he call me back so I would not have to keep coming back when he was not in. He did not call. Today I went back by there and guess what? The manager was not in. I explained my problem to one of the cashiers, who had a hard time understanding. English. Another man reluctantly walked with me to see what I was talking about. He remembered me from the Thursday night and said he’d explain it to the (in absentia) manager. But he also explained that this was property belongs to the city of Memphis.
I’ve also contacted Exxon corporate HQ and got the following response:
Re: File # 02269602Thank you for letting us know of the incident you experienced at the Exxon
station located at 3487 Poplar Avenue in Memphis. On behalf of ExxonMobil,
we apologize for any concern or inconvenience you may have experienced as a
result of this matter.Please be advised that the station you visited is supplied by an authorized
Exxon petroleum branded wholesaler. The branded wholesalers are
independent business people who set their own operating practices and
procedures.ExxonMobil’s role in resolving complaints against branded wholesale
supplied locations is to serve as a facilitator. However, we make every
effort to impress upon our branded wholesalers and their resellers the
importance of providing prompt, courteous, and reliable service to the
motoring public at all times.

We have forwarded a summary of your comments to the branded wholesaler that supplies this station and to the local ExxonMobil representative for their
review so that they can take the necessary steps in response to your

If you would like, please feel free to contact the branded wholesaler
directly at: Excell Petroleum LLC at (678) 436-0150

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Mary Morton
Exxon Mobil Corporation

The phone number in GA rings and rings and rings and rings.
Meanwhile, these free rags continue to litter and obstruct driver’s vision on this invisible piece of property. I should put up a For Sale sign.
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So, the moral of this story is that if you’re not interested in anyone other than yourself, just tell people, “Sorry, that’s not my table”. I will die at the intersection of Poplar and Highland.



  • Reply September 27, 2013

    limewire free download

    do you have a twitter that i can follow

  • Reply April 28, 2014

    Art Johnson


    Visiting your website, I’ve had a lot of fun . . . til now. It’s mind boggling how the buck gets passed so easily. Well, here’s another contact for you (if this problem remains, as yet, unresolved.) His name is Kyle Wagenschutz. He is the bicycle/pedestrian coordinator for the city/county. He’s a great kid making serious inroads for cyclists and pedestrians who, previously (and perhaps still, but less) are being seen as less valuable than motorists and businesses.

    Kyle can be reached through the City’s Bike/Ped website – .

    Of course, the most you might get from him, as he’s subject to cowtowing to the same bevy of bozos to whom you’ve already appealed, is precisely whom does own the property on which your life-threatening obstructions stand.

    Another comment to follow . . .

  • Reply May 13, 2015



    You are fighting a battle that many are fighting. A friend of mine, Louis, will be contacting you. He and I are disability advocates, certainly sounds like you would be an asset to: Memphis Advisory Council for Citizens with Disabilities (MACCD) or Memphis Center for Independent Living (MCIL). We understand your situation and have dealt with for many years.

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