How magazine publishers are like drug dealers

Disclaimer: I don’t really know much about drug dealers, other than what I’ve seen on television and in the movies.  I also read Freakonomics which discusses why drug dealers often live with their Moms.  Given that base of knowledge, magazine vendors are really just like drug dealers. Here's why...

I’m a recreational magazine reader.  I suppose that’s the gateway to magazine addiction, but I’ve never really felt I had a problem.  Sure, I keep a few magazines at the house.  Once in awhile, a friend will share some of his magazines with me or give me some magazines as a gift.  I might read a magazine if I’m sitting in a waiting room and have some time to kill.  That’s about it.  I mean, I can quit when I want, I just don’t want to.

I’ve recently begun receiving unsolicited magazines through the mail. They just start arriving on a regular basis as if I'm a subscriber although I'm not. From what I’ve seen in the movies, this is similar to when drug dealers hand out free samples.  It seems like a friendly gesture but their real intention is to get you hooked so you start thinking you can’t live without them.  Is this paragraph confusing?  Am I presently referring to magazines or drugs?  Exactly.

The next step is converting the addiction into cash flow.  I typically get a bill in the mail about six months after the magazine began arriving on a regular basis.  The bill usually contains some sort of friendly offer.  “We know you like this magazine and probably want to keep reading it.  That’s why we’re offering you this super-special, mega-discounted offer on a one-year subscription.”  I’ve been told this is what drug dealers refer to a as “friend price”.  They offer you a discount because you are a friend while making it clear they can’t continue to supply drugs (or magazines) free of charge because they do indeed have a business to run.

Magazines are starting to get me into trouble, just like drugs might if I did them.  I recently began receiving the men’s magazine Maxim and my wife wasn’t too thrilled.  I tried to point out that I was also receiving unsolicited copies of Golf magazine and probably just fit some sort of marketing profile, but that only made things worse.  (Thanks, Tiger.)

In all seriousness, I’ve enjoyed some of these magazines, but most have been dumped directly in the recycling bin.  It’s like the magazine publishers are saying, “Will you throw this away for us please?”  What a waste of paper and postage!  I’ve also never subscribed to one of these freebies.  This whole campaign doesn’t make the magazines look too good in my eyes but I don’t know how to get them to stop.