Free Gift With Purchase

I used to be a regular subscriber to various magazines until sometime last year when I cleared the decks and went on a cancellation spree because I noticed that I hardly ever read what dropped through my door flap. The content was often too generic and borderline boring, rehashing of old stories, uninspiring trend forecast, etc. Fast forward twelve months later and I can safely say I am not missing out on anything because I remain just as uninspired.

Today, I caught myself doing something that I’ve probably always done, but this time it was so blatant and when I looked around me, other women were doing the same thing too- I was reaching for magazines based on their free gift. And there was plenty on offer- Glamour has the eyeko eyeliner, InStyle has Ren hot cloth face product thingy, Harper’s has Leighton Denny nail polish, as did I think Marie Claire or did they have sunglasses? Elle had sunglasses too…bar Vogue and Porter, there was a free gift with every other fashion magazine or a multi buy offer. At first I picked up a copy of every magazine with a gift but by a strict process of elimination and surprising restraint, I whittled my selection down to one. When am I ever going to have time to use the Ren hot cloth? Never, so InStyle went back on the shelf. I already have the eyeko eyeliner and Alexa Chung as cover girl was not doing IT for me, neither was Nicole Kidman and whoever else was on the other covers hence Glamour was a no, no. With a drawer full of sunglasses at home, did I really need two more that I would probably never, ever wear? No. But I did reason that I needed the July 2014 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, not because of the cover girl, I’m not particularly a fan of Emily Blunt, or the content, which I didn’t even get to browse before I got home, but because I needed that shade of Leighton Denny. Never mind that is is almost exactly the same colour as my Essie Too Too Hot.

This behaviour however, did have me wondering how often I did this and why? Nines times out of ten, I never use the free gift that comes with magazines. Obviously, for the publications themselves, the free gift helps sales in slower summer months, but in the long run this will hurt the magazine’s bottom-line. What happens when there are no free gifts? More important, in my opinion, is what this says about us, the readers; do we not care about content anymore or are we just Kanye shrugging with magazines now? Do the magazines care that we don’t really care about the content anymore? Does anyone care?!

I did buy Porter magazine for the content, so…

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