DERRY — On Tuesday, the Grind Rail Trail Cafe in Derry received a strange delivery: several individually packaged T-shirts with depictions of pug dogs and pug-related slogans.
In the days that followed, the cafe kept receiving similar deliveries. But answers as to who was sending them and why were not forthcoming.
Cafe owner Melanie Davis said she and her baristas are all very confused, but are still laughing about the apparent absurdity of being “pugged,” as they’ve come to call it.
“This might be the funniest thing to happen in Grind history,” Davis said.
She said they currently have about a dozen pug shirts now, each new shirt different from the last.
Some of the shirts just have pug faces printed on the front, including one that has an image of a pug wearing a Hawaiian shirt. The shirts are various sizes and colors, all with tags that identify them as Port & Company products.
Some shirts say things like “Keep Calm and Love a Pug,” “Pug Gang,” “Pug Hates iPhone,” and “Pugs not Drugs.”
The only return address is an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania, and the packages are addressed to the cafe by name.
When Davis called Amazon to get to the bottom of the issue, she described a particular shirt with the words “Guess What” and an arrow inexplicably pointed at a pug’s hind quarters.
The Amazon representative on the phone laughed when she described the shirt, apologized for the “inappropriate dog butt shirt” and advised her to dispose of it and any of the other shirts.
“I bet that’s the only dog butt shirt call you’ll get today,” Davis recalled telling the rep.
He reportedly agreed.
On Thursday, Davis decided to raffle the shirts off with a fundraiser to benefit the Salem Animal Rescue League.
She placed donation boxes in both her Derry and Windham cafe locations. After donors leave a donation, they will receive a free coffee card. Davis said if they post a picture of the card, a selfie with the donation box or with a pug shirt hanging under the instructions and use the hashtag #thegrindnh, select winners will receive a shirt.
Davis has confronted friends and family members she initially suspected of the tomfoolery, but they all denied it. She has no idea who is sending the pug shirts.
“Can’t make this stuff up,” Davis said.