A retired minister looks at the world around him from a different perspective -- the back pew. From this viewpoint his restless mind is free to wander out the door to topics secular as well as religious.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Almost every week I find in my mailbox a pitch from some magazine company offering a fantastic discount to new subscribers. This week it was from Newsweek. They cited their annual cover price ($267.30, not counting sales tax) and offered a bargain one-year subscription for $25.
Now I’m smart enough to know that there is always a substantial difference between newstand price and subscription price but, whatever the usual subscription price may be, the $25 offer is an almost unbelievable bargain if you’re in the market for a weekly news magazine. Unfortunately for Newsweek, I am not.
In bright red letters near the top of the subscription form I read that “This 90% professional discount is adjusted to reflect your guaranteed low rate.” The “professional discount” offer raises two questions in my mind.
First, how did they identify me as a professional? I’ve never claimed to be one. I’m a retired clergyman who has always thought of my occupation as a calling, not a profession.
Second, I wonder if Archie, who tends the flower beds around my apartment at Westminster Village, merits the same price consideration as a professional? Maybe he does. Maybe gardeners are included in the ever-broadening term “professional.” Or does Archie get a different notice reading (in red ink, of course) “This 90% day laborer’s rate…”?
Perhaps Newsweek will run a note of clarification in their next issue. Pity I won’t see it.
~ Bert Johnston, author of Parson Campbell's Breakthrough