Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I finally got published by Reader's Digest!

Now that it doesn't matter any more. And no, it wasn't an article (as if). It was a letter to the editor.

We received RD a couple of years ago as a gift. Occasionally there would be stories that raised an eyebrow (like detailed descriptions of sexual assault and the like), so I was always a bit leery about leaving the mag. lying around where my 7-12 year olds could read it.

But the Feb, 2012 issue was the last straw. The minute it came into the house, I took it straight to my room and hid it. Then I went to the computer and wrote to cancel my sub.

 The cover featured a close-up of two people about to kiss. So close up that the photo was more medicinal than artistic--or relational in a human-dignity sort of way, for that matter. The headline was "HOLD THAT KISS! Until you read our inescapably useful guide to love, romance and getting it on." 

Getting it on. Nice. Just the sort of phrase I want my 7-year-old to start using.

The "inescapably useful guide" included "How to write a love letter" and "5 Ways to Boost Your Sex Life".

I opened the issue. The contents page showed a bedsheet, upon which were the ends of a woman's flowing red hair, her arm, and her hand: tense, taut, fingers splayed. Splayed, I tell you. Fingernails painted red, of course. The article highlighted was "Ask a Sex Therapist" (photo illustration for that article: two sets of naked legs, with black panties dangling off the ankles of one set. Really classy). Pages 65 and 66 featured a two-page photo spread featuring a bunch of grown men dressed in (wait for it) sperm costumes. The article? "Who's Your Daddy? Only 35 sperm donors are left in all of Canada. How our vital supply ran dry." Just... ewwwww.

And *cough* our vital supply? I've got mine. It's called a husband. God's plan, so forth.

Here is my letter.

We received Reader's Digest as a gift. I generally enjoy the magazine, but occasionally object to what I consider adult content. The February 2012 issue takes the cake. The cover is ugly (looks like an ad for cold sore medicine) and I'm not impressed with the issue contents: 5 Ways to Boost your sex life; Ask a Sex therapist; Who's Your Daddy.
 Since when did RD turn into Cosmopolitan? We have younger children for whom this type of content is not appropriate. It's too much trouble for me to hide Reader's Digest every month. Recycling it upon receipt is a waste of everyone's money. Save some trees. Please cancel our subscription immediately.

And here is the emailed reply I received from RD's customer service (my comments in red). No offence, but methinks English is not her first language. Or if it is, grammar is not her best subject.

We truly appreciate your taking the time to let us know how you feel about the articles appeared in our magazine. If you say so.
 It is very important to us to know how our readers feel and we want you to know that your comments and suggestions are not being taken lightly. Please be assured that we have passed them along for future consideration.
In accordance with your request, we have cancelled your subscription and your last issue will be the February issue. This is because we prepare the magazine in advance and it cannot be intercepted. 
Whaaa? this makes absolutely NO sense! How could I have seen the issue to complain about it if it were still in transit? 
You may therefore keep the magazine with our compliments.
Oh, thank you! I get to keep my copy of the crappy Feb. magazine! With your compliments! Seeing as how my subscription is  paid up until December 2012, not one cent of which will be refunded by you cheapskates! 
We thank you again for expressing your views and we hope that you will continue to enjoy our magazine.
Wha...? Not bl**dy likely. Seeing as how I just cancelled it.  
Best regards,
Sylvie RobertCustomer Service

The really fun part is that I have had positive feedback from a few people by phone and Facebook. And I have (unwittingly) influenced at least one other RD subscriber to drop the magazine.

Yes, Virginia, you can make a difference.


  1. I can't believe RD is still in print. Even before they became Cosmo Lite it seemed like every issue had the same articles in it: "The Deadly Disease You Are Probably Dying of Right Now But Don't Know It!" or "How My Husband/Child/Sibling was Abducted and Murdered and Yours Can Be, Too! (Drama in Real Life)" or "How to Cut All the Fat Out of Your Diet and Still Enjoy It...Through the Wonders of Sight and Smell". Plus there were those side-splitting stories about people who bought lawnmowers for a dollar at yard sales and then took them home and got them running. It made you wonder if the last line (i.e., the punch line) had been left off by accident. But no, the punch line is simply, "Life's Like That!"

    I think their articles are written by the same machine that composed the customer service response above.

  2. Well, I give RD credit for running an excellent letter to the editor. We let ours lapse a year ago for the same reasons. And brilliant letter it was, although I wish you could have worked the sperm supply/husband remark into it.

  3. Thanks, Daria. Didn't think of the husband remark till last night, and I mailed RD over a month ago. And I didn't spend very much time composing my email to them. It was written in the heat of an outraged moment. Probably a good thing too. My capacity for snark is pretty deep. I haven't seen the actual March issue, so I don't really know how much of that they printed.