Monday, June 04, 2007


Today's mail brought a wonderful piece of news. I can resubscribe to Smithsonian magazine for only twelve dollars. We've subscribed to Smithsonian in the past, and I've generally enjoyed the magazine, so twelve dollars sounds like a great deal.

There's one little part that bothers me. I'll admit here that I am in my mid thirties. I'm not as young as some, but I'm certainly also not old other than to the kids, or so I assume.

The bothersome part of the twelve dollar deal is that it's described in the notice as a senior discount. The sender of the letter is listed as Smithsonian, Senior Discount Services with the cover price of a year's worth next to my senior rate.

If we were living about a thousand years ago, years before America or even the Smithsonian existed, my current age, accounting for life expectancy and high mortality rates, might place me in the senior category, but such is not the case anymore.

I have to wonder if I should go ahead and order the subscription at the twelve dollar rate. I can't be the only youngster getting this letter, and at no point in the letter is age discussed as a prerequisite for accepting the offer. If they were concerned about these issues, I imagine they'd have looked a little bit deeper into me and my age. If I do accept the offer, will Smithsonian then check (to be sure) and learn of the mix up? Will they make me pay back the remaining cover price?

Apparently I have ten days to reply. I don't know if the ten days is from the date I received it or some other date, so perhaps I have less than ten days. Before ten days from now, I'm sure we'll have the extra twelve bucks for a magazine. We've let nearly all our magazine subscriptions run out to the point where whenever I do get a National Geographic or Popular Science, I'm always a little surprised. I miss piles of magazines adding to the clutter in the house.

While it sounds like a good deal, the cynical side of me imagines it's a test. Within days of Smithsonian receiving my payment, I'll get a visit from a representative of the Senior Services Department of Smithsonian. They'll act nice and friendly until they realize that I am me and not some old person. Then, quite likely, all hell will break loose. But I just want cheap magazines.

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