Thursday, September 23, 2021

New York Prices


The other day I got an automated e-mail from my credit card company saying it was time to make my monthly payment. This seemed strange, because I haven't used my card in a while and it shouldn't have any balance at all. I went online and sure enough, I owed $199. It turned out to be my New Yorker subscription, which renews automatically every year.

Now, you know I love the New Yorker, and I talk all the time about reading this or that article -- but TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?!?! Doesn't that seem insane? I'm letting it renew for now but I'm once again thinking about canceling it. I could read it in the library at school and I would no longer feel that terrible guilty pressure that comes from having a stack of unread back issues (because a new one comes practically every fifteen minutes).

I also had a chat with my doctor about that miserable breath test for gut bacteria I took a couple of weekends ago. The test was negative for anything harmful, but he did say my methane levels were higher than normal, and suggested I take probiotics to help regulate the bacteria levels. This sounds to me like an utter scam and I'm ignoring it. As long as I don't have H. pylori I'm happy. My stomach has been fine lately, by the way.

When I came home from work yesterday I took down two of the burdock plants in the garden. They were yellow and crispy brown and I could see no evidence of shield bugs (or anything else) living on them. (Which is weird given that they were there just a few days ago, but I guess they moved on.) Just in case, I shook off the branches before I put them in the garden recycling, and probably inadvertently scattered burdock seeds everywhere. No doubt that will come back to haunt me.

(Photo: A corner near school with some intriguing light and shadow.)

53 comments:

  1. The "every fifteen minute" thing is why we cancelled, the articles are worth 200.00 bucks but - too much of a good thing all at once.
    Sounds like your tum tum would do well with yogurt and keefer in the A.M. Or kombucha , which I have never had and never will.

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  2. Glad your test was negative.

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  3. Just have a pot of natural yoghourt now and again. Have you still got your Aaron's Rod? Ours is six feet high and showering out seeds - I've collected lots to distribute around the countryside - and has started to flower again in several places both on the main spike and on the four short side spikes.

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    1. Yes! The Aaron's Rod is going to seed but it still has yellow flowers, too. I'll sprinkle them around the garden and see what happens. I'll try to remember to take a picture today.

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  4. $199 (according to today's currency converter £149.00) is "insane"? That is 47 copies (five of which are doubles) for $4.23/£3.17 each. They are basically giving them away. The covers' artwork themselves commanding a fortune on the free market, say ebay. If you've got old copies you may even recoup your costs. Honestly, Steve, this may come as a surprise to you, not least since you were a journalist once upon a time, but writers and journalists need to eat too. Not, of course, that most revenue doesn't come from advertising. Otherwise we'd be spending thousands and thousands on all that amazing content.

    And what's with the "guilt"?

    I was given a subscription of the New Yorker, by an American friend. I happily let them pile up, diving in and out of them here or there, as and when the mood takes me. No one is standing over you with a whip (or so I hope). Just relax, Steve. Might do your stomach good too.

    U

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    1. Yeah, when you break it down per issue it doesn't sound too terrible. I think the thing that bothers me is that I'm paying for an archaic method of distribution -- printing on paper and then transporting from wherever it's printed (the USA? Or maybe they have a European printing facility?). As for the guilt, I just don't like paying for something and feeling like I'm not using it. I don't think that's so unusual, is it?

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  5. I've always wondered about probiotics, too. However, the methane part of the equation is apparently real enough, according to the Mayo Clinic (this takes you to the Symptoms & Causes tab; there is also a Diagnosis & Treatment tab that talks about the test you took and another available test):
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth/symptoms-causes/syc-20370168

    Taking probiotics can't hurt and might help, but you'll also need to make sure the source is actually giving you what you need. A lot of big-name yogurts don't have enough, or the right kind.

    The pressure to read incoming material is real for many of us. Would an online subscription be any cheaper? That way you could just read the articles you want to read. There's also the option to read so many free articles per month without a subscription, which is what I do.

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    1. Thanks for the info about probiotics! I haven't looked into an online subscription but I probably should, although that delivers a hit to their bottom line, too.

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  6. I love the New Yorker but that does seem quite steep.

    I’ve read about probiotics after a friend whose judgment I trust was talking about them. I found a lot of good info from places like Cleveland Clinic and Harvard supporting the claims. Very effective. So you might want to give them a try. However, often, just a change of diet helps. I know from experience with my reflux. If I eat right, it’s nonexistent. Of course that doesn’t stop me from eating “wrong,”

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    1. Forgot to mention Mayo Clinic. My source for everything.

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    2. I'm generally pretty healthy in my eating habits, if I do say so myself, but I might try some yogurt or something. I'm hesitant to pay for supplements. It just seems like so much snake oil to me.

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  7. Confidentially, I must say that I am pleased that my breath no longer smells of methane. Try "UltraDex" from Boots.

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    1. I don't think I'm producing THAT much methane!

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  8. You've made me check what I pay. $100 to The Guardian per year and $25 a month for our local broadsheet that give me access to other state broadsheets. Equals $400. I am paying for good journalism and I am happy to do so.

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    1. I pay for the Guardian too, as well as a few other subscriptions. Believe me, I have no objection to paying for journalism.

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    2. I have donated to Wikipedia too, small amounts. I am paying $3 per month to Change.org and I don't what it is for. I have to investigate.

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  9. Every year, just before it is time for my NYTimes subscription renewal, I call to cancel. They offer a much better deal than the standard plan and I renew. Might be true for The New Yorker. Couldn't hurt to ask.

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    1. Aha! The old cancellation trick! That's a good idea, actually. I guess this is one of the reasons they want everyone to auto-renew. It takes that bargaining power away from us.

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  10. Ok, several of the writers above have convinced me to continue my New Yorker subscription when it comes due soon. I had been waffling, but the arguments supporting good journalism plus childhood memories of always seeing them around the house turned the tide. That, plus the snobby cache of being a New Yorker reader!

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    1. It IS nice to have them around, at least when you have time to read them!

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  11. I always gasp a bit at my NY'er subscription price but it does come every week and it is so full of really good articles and some good stories. So...
    Glad to hear you do not have H. Pylori.

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    1. Quality-wise, there's nothing like it, in my opinion. I routinely see things in The New Yorker that I don't see anywhere else.

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  12. That subscription price does seem high, but it's probably worth every penny. We got a notice that our digital subscription price to the SF Chronicle was going up. It was doubling! I emailed them to inquire if it was an error, that it seemed high. They wrote me back and said I had been such a good loyal subscriber they were going to let me keep the old price. That was a surprise.

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    1. Apparently asking about the price DOES really work with a lot of these subscriptions, based on what everyone else is saying here!

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  13. That sounds like an awful lot for a magazine. I got a call about a $300+ purchase on my credit card, and I called the card company to find out what it was all about. I had not used the card recently. It was a scam thing and my account was okay. Good to know. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. Yikes! Glad someone wasn't really abusing your account!

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  14. When my NYT subscription price went up I canceled it & then they offered the old price again. I want to support publications, but we don't have a lot of disposable income.

    You might recall I was having gut issues. My doctor recommended probiotics - but said that they work for some people & don't for others. She recommended trying them for 6 weeks just to see. I only did 30 days because that's how they were sold (and the variety & prices were overwhelming to me!). I ran out this week, so we'll see if I can tell a difference NOT taking them.

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    1. I think there's a balancing act, just as there is with any purchase. We should expect to pay SOMETHING, but some of these prices just seem a bit out of hand. I think what bothers me is that I feel like I'm paying for paper to be flown across the ocean, which seems ridiculous.

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  15. It sounds ridiculous in a lump sum, but I guess for a year's worth of the New Yorker it's worth it?

    I try not to have any recurring charges on my credit cards because, like you, it'd freak me out when they pop up!

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    1. Yeah, thinking about it per issue cost makes it much more palatable!

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  16. It seems that everything gets pricey these days.

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  17. $199 does seem a bit pricey for a magazine even if it is the New Yorker. I love that photo today. It makes me wish I was walking the streets of London.

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    1. It's amazing how light makes such a huge difference -- without those shadows it would be a picture of nothing!

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  18. If you can read it at school, I don't see a reason to pay the money for the subscription. I should cancel my very expensive newspaper but hang on for the local news, the crossword and out of pure habit. If I have issues I eat a probiotic yogurt every morning and it seems to help.

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    1. I do think it's worthwhile to support at least one local newspaper. We need them!

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  19. I never read the New Yorker, but I always loved their cartoons. Rather than pay $200 for that, I could just get a page-a-day calendar of them for about $15!

    I'm a believer in probiotics and that's based on reputable research. I can even offer a recommendation of a great book about gut bacteria and the overuse of antibiotics should you wish to read it! ;)

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    1. But of course, you get a lot MORE cartoons in the magazine. :)

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    2. I loved the work of Gahan Wilson, who I think sometimes appeared in the New Yorker.

      Even though you didn't ask for it, here the link to the book:

      https://ksrgmck.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/missing-microbes-by-martin-j-blaser-md/

      Antibiotics and gut bacteria are closely related, hence the need for probiotics, whether in food form or as a supplement. Just sayin'.

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  20. The New Yorker allowed my subscription to lapse in August, without contacting me. Unless it went to Spam. When I realized it was no longer coming every fifteen minutes, I went to see what happened. I paid the huge price, although it gave me pause. It will now take weeks to start up again. I really miss it.

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    1. It's weird that they just let it lapse. Usually magazines hound us to death to keep them going!

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  21. New Yorker put me on auto-renew, which I had asked them not to do. Then they charged me $100 for a year instead of the $50 I had been paying. I called them, they took me off auto-renew and dropped the price. It seems like they do these things to see if you'll sit still for it. I'm about to cancel New York Times, they're up to $18 a month and have put the food and Wirecutter sections behind more paywalls, so I'm pretty much done with them.

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    1. See, $100 a year sounds perfectly reasonable. What I hate is that I'm paying DOUBLE that to have a paper magazine flown across the ocean, which seems insane to me.

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  22. A great line
    “I also had a chat with my doctor about that miserable breath test for gut bacteria“

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    1. We have our earthy moments here at Shadows & Light!

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  23. I keep hearing about probiotics to help this and that. I don't know if it's a fad or something that we'll have recommended to us long term. Two hundred bucks is way too much, even for The New Yorker.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Some people swear by them, but I admit I am skeptical. I'll take a look at some of the info others passed on, though.

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  24. I am going to cancel my Washington Post digital subscription as when it came time for renewal they said it would be $150 a year.

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    1. Yeesh! Maybe you should try calling and see if they'll make you a deal, as others here have suggested?

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