Thursday, February 08, 2007

we get cards

The latest issue of the AARP magazine arrived the other day, but it wasn't until today that I had the chance to look at it. But before I started to read any of it I had to do the usual chore that accompanies the arrival of that magazine. I had to spend a few minutes paging through it to find and remove all the card inserts that clutter it up and add to its heft.

Is it just me being a cantankerous old curmudgeon or does the insertion of mail-in cards and informational cards and solicitation cards bug the hell out of you, too? Most magazines are not too guilty of overstuffing their pages with garbage, but AARP seems to think that we want or need to have all that possible info falling out of the pages of their magazine. I counted 13 cards this issue. That is fairly typical for that magazine.

I can understand the marketing concept behind inserting those cards in magazines, but what I don't understand is the apparent need for duplication. Three of the cards were soliciting my membership in the AARP. Listen up, dimwits, I am already a card carrying, dues paying member of the AARP. That's why I get the freakin magazine. You don't need to ask me to join. I'm already there. So stop already with the cards begging me to join. Some of the cards were trying to get me to buy real estate that only the top ten percent of the population could possibly afford. Some of the cards want me to buy health insurance to suppliment medicare. That shouldn't even be necessary but that's a another argument for another time. The rest of the inserts were for life insurance that nobody could qualify for or afford. Remember, we are all old farts reading the magazine. We don't need life insurance anymore. At least not in the amounts those marketing geniuses are touting.

Aside from the annoyance factor those cards raise, there is the issue of the making and disposing of all those cards. How many trees had to die to make all those cards? How many tons of waste are added to the country's dumps when we toss out those cards? The magazine must have a circulation of at least a couple hundred thousand, maybe more, so even without a calculator I count around 2 million cards with each issue. The magazine is issued bimonthly, so that means in a year's time 12 million cards are tumbling out of its pages. That's a lot of landfill.

Why not just print up a page or two with all the info that is printed on the cards so readers can then go online or call for the information they want. That would save a lot of trees and reduce the pile of garbage. Just a thought. But then I'm not a marketing genius.

1 comment:

Kat said...

I absolutely agree with you! Those stupid cards drive me crazy. I wonder if a letter campaign would help? We could suggest that the money they save be donated to their local dept. of natural resources to make up for years of wasting paper.