Thursday, September 6, 2007


Ah September, the time of year when the leaves start to turn colors and fall from the trees, when farmers return to the fields to harvest the crops, when Friday night football games are the draw for local schools, and when the kids return to school and start begging for money from everyone they know. Actually, it seems to me that it is often the parents that get stuck doing the majority of the begging. The schools refer to it as "fundraising." Already this fall I have bought some wrapping paper, a tin of candy, and a Bossy Bingo ticket (a lovely contest in which tickets are sold, and a field is divided into numbered squares - - a cow is then led onto the field, and if good ol' Bossy yields to nature's call on the square that matches your numbered ticket, you are the winner of $1,000.)

Maggie's school has the kids selling magazine subscriptions again this year. (i.e. I have been selling magazine subscriptions for Maggie's school this year.) Let me start by saying that I hate asking other people for money or donations. It's just not something I am comfortable doing. I realize that the school needs to raise funds, but I know that people are getting hit up left and right at this time of year to buy stuff from kids' fundraisers. I am probably not the best salesperson in the world. My attitude is that if you want to buy a subscription, that's great; if not, that's ok too.

The one thing that I am at least happy about regarding this fundraiser is that the magazines are sold through the Reader's Digest company. They do have a great selection, and the prices are actually better than you can get if you go through the company directly in most cases. Some people are happy because they can support the school without buying something fattening, like chocolates or pizza. The problem that I keep running into is that so many people, including myself, already receive such a bevy of magazines that adding yet another subscription is somewhat unnecessary. In fact, I have heard from several people that they are actually trying to reduce the number of subscriptions they currently receive. Although you can renew a magazine that you currently get through the school's magazine drive, sometimes the deals that the company offers make it somewhat comical to do so - - there are many good deals where you get two years for the price of one - - in fact, my Entertainment Weekly is now renewed until 2010.

Soon, we are going to have a slew of magazines being delivered to our house. A few weeks ago, I got a letter from United Airlines letting me know that some of my frequent flyer miles would soon be expiring. A new strategy for airlines to allow you to use frequent flyer miles that are close to expiring (and you don't have enough for a ticket) is to trade them in for magazine subscriptions. With my miles, I got three new subscriptions, to go with the other five we already have. Do we get all of them read? Not hardly. I always read all of my Reader's Digest and my Mental Floss. I read most of the Entertainment Weekly. The others mainly get a good skimming. I do take some comfort in the fact that I can bring the magazines to work to leave in the lobby area, and other people do actually read them. So, even if I am not reading my magazines, at least someone is.

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