Let me put it to you Real Simple.

February 17, 2008

Real Simple

Just finished flipping through my March issue of Real Simple magazine. Tomorrow, I plan to wash that down with the Green issue of domino. Normally, I also would be paging House & Garden and Blueprint, but both of those rags got the boot during the annual post-holiday magazine cull. (Note: H & G is now the purview of domino. Go fig.) That’s four mags, people. Four.

Now, tuck that in your bonnet and back-step with me to approximately 8:30 p.m., PST:

Tonight, my husband and I got into it re: planetary decay. He pulled out all the stops: rising temperatures and ocean levels, population displacement, steroidal storms, drought + famine, dessicated water sources, epidemics and super-bacteria, and cloud seeding. (He didn’t mention the dead zones, or oxygen sinks, recently found off the Oregon coastline, but I suppose those could fall under the rising temps category. Oh, and he also didn’t address the uncontrolled toxic spy satellite hell-bent on hitting the Earth, but we’re counting on NASA to deal with that.)

Following this overwhelming and teary discussion, I made a decision. A small one, but a Small one, too.

Three weeks ago, I received my Real Simple renewal notice. Because I’m such a VALUED SUBSCRIBER, the folks at RS offered to sell me two years of their publication for only $30. That’s nearly 50% off the cover price! The notice had been languishing in my newly organized keepable-files drawer, waiting for me to pop my 30 smackers in the mail in return for monthly updates on how to speed up my beauty routine, keep my nonexistent kids safe from mashers, and use a toilet paper roll to store extension cords. It had been languishing because the Living Smaller had been waffling.

Should I resubscribe? Should I give up the quiet pleasure of riffling the pages packed with tasty recipes and sartorial suggestions — naturally, I’m a big fan of the sweater features (troves of knitting notions) and the “week’s wardrobe” features, sadly not available online, which take nine articles of clothing and create a week’s worth of different looks, not unlike mine-heart, Polyvore. This, of course, is to say nothing of the occasionally enjoyable essays and life checklists (why, yes! I would like to keep track of birthdays and appliance serial nos. and emergency supplies and my favorite St. Patty’s Day recipes on one giant, removable spreadsheet!).

On the other hand, should I let all that paper go to waste, all those chemically inks ooze all over the place? Should I help pay the bills that float the company that supports minivan ads?

Folks, I did what I had to do. I ripped up the notice and tossed in the recycling bin. At the demise of my RS subscription this year, I’ll be reading up on simple solutions either online or at la bibliothèque. That leaves me with a single pub sub: domino.

And then there was one.

Special thanks to Mr. Living Small for his brimstone and his bodaciousness.


8 Responses to “Let me put it to you Real Simple.”

  1. demelza said

    I am equally torn (forgive the pun). I know that the paper waste of a magazine subcripition is frowned upon. I also know that by NOT subscribing is hurrying the demise of print publications as we know them, and of course, the hundreds of thousands of jobs associated with them.

    I am an avid on-line reader, but despite the fact that I can access -and enjoy – a lot of stuff on line, it never replaces my desire to actually read — in the beautiful, old fashioned, tactile sense of the word — a magazine.

    Sadly, it does not help that RS, and so many others, compete with their perceived cyber-foe, by filling at least 50% of their pages with advertisements. And so, this argument is not about environemtal conscience. Once again, it is Wall Street driven, bottom line, dollar sign decision-making. Our consciences need also to consider our fellow man. I’m not convinced either way on this topic, but am so glad you’ve opened the discussion.

  2. Demelza,

    Absolutely. Reading online is all right, but it isn’t the same. Paging through a magazine, being able to take in the photos and the words, is a sensation unto itself, one you can’t get on-screen.

    I do agree, too, that the proliferation of ads is abhorrent. Why can’t I decide what I want to buy? I suppose that is the way of the market economy, though.

    I do wonder, however, about the jobs issue. Sure, if all the magazines on Earth were dropped, couldn’t those jobs be absorbed into other, more eco-friendly industries?

  3. Justin Garland said

    Unfortunately, Real Simple will be mailing you enough subscription renewal notices over the next year to equal the amount of paper you save by not subscribing. =)

  4. Rats! You’re probably right.

  5. K.A. said

    Reuse! I get SciAm, SciAmMind, Real Simple, and Utne Reader. Sigh. One time I dropped off my mags at a psychiatric inpatient hospital where an acquaintance works. Another time, I put an ad on craigslist saying I’d like to give them to somebody who won’t pick the plums and throw out the rest, preferably a group home, etc., and I got a reply from a (convincing) teacher at an adult-reading center. Sold, free, she even picked them up. I plan to do this about once a year.

  6. Great suggestion, K.A. Since this post, I’ve been passing them off to my mother, who then passes them to the ladies at her gym.

    I love the group home idea, however. If Mom stops taking, I’ll check out that option. Thanks again!

  7. vegangoddess said

    I hear you. First there’s the magazines…Me, I can’t live without them. I can’t cart my laptop to the pool or beach for leisure reading. I do recycle however. The renewal notices are a giant pain the the you know what. And there’s always a better price to be had somewhere else rather than the magazine itself. But sadly print publications including the daily paper are dying and I’m not sure what that means to the future of thought and relaxation.

  8. You’re right about the better price, vegangoddess. Although, does the magazine you’re reading get the $$ if you go through another company? Is it better to support the mag directly?

    And while print magazines may be on the wane, I can definitely say that we’ll still be able to relax and think — but reading news and features online will certainly impact the way we think. I know I read differently print and online content; you?

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