Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Square Peg - Desperate Measures



The Square Peg - Desperate Measures
Copyright S. Bradley Stoner

So I got up this morning and went out to test the morning air. Yep... it was still breathable. That’s a good thing. The sun wasn’t yet up, but my motion sensor light came on when I moved just a little toward it. Artificial sunrise. Not great, but better than nothing. I could see a little better. I wish I hadn’t, because there, laying on my driveway, was a little green plastic bag. I knew what was in it. They’ve been throwing one in my driveway for a week now.

Let me explain. I used to take the newspaper. Yeah, the news was stale, but I liked the crossword puzzle and the funny papers. It was great for a number of years, but then they went and jacked the price... twice. Now, I understand profit and loss, but really folks, why would you want to pay nearly double for stale news a crossword puzzle and the funny papers? I cancelled my subscription. They’ve been trying to get me back ever since. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. They’ve spent nearly a year’s subscription price on mailings telling me how much they miss me... offering me special prices (with the caveat that the price will revert to the regular price in six months with my annual subscription of course). They paid some call center employee countless dollars to call me with similar offers until I told them to take me off their list and quit calling before I reported them as a nuisance. I can’t be sure, but I think they sold my name and number to every call center out there soon afterwards. Now this.

What is this? It’s the News Light. No, it isn’t some illuminating new take on daily happenings. It’s like light beer. Fewer calories, but no substance and no taste. In other words, no hard news... just fluff, and frankly I don’t give a rat’s behind about Flora Delarosa’s new flower shop where you can buy a bouquet and she’ll donate a dollar to some worthy cause. To be honest, I’m pretty sure Flora jacked the price of the bouquet to cover that donation, so, in reality, you are paying for the donation and she gets to take it off on her taxes. Talk about getting your cake and eating it too. Speaking of taxes... oh never mind. I don’t want to get started on that. I just finished my tax returns and I might get a little caustic in my remarks.

So, once again, I trudge down my driveway to retrieve the paper so it doesn’t wind up blowing all over the neighborhood with all the other former subscribers’ papers, and do what everybody else does... toss the thin plastic cover and shove the paper into the recycle bin. Boy, that’s what I call eco-friendly. I’d use it to start a fire in my fireplace except that you can’t do that very often down here because of air quality alerts. Well, I guess you could, but it wouldn’t be very neighborly. On the other hand, it’s been a little chilly in the mornings and a cheery fire might improve my mood after having to retrieve and dispose of yet another piece of advertising junk.

I could subscribe on-line, but why would I? I mean Yahoo, Google, Twitter, and all the others are chock full of news. They have whole pages devoted to it. Most of it isn’t worth reading, so you have to sort through the crap to find the nuggets, but still... it’s free. And if you happen to linger too long over one of the many links in the news item, voila! You get a pop-up ad and the website gets a little revenue. Or course, one really doesn’t read the ad... one simply waits until that little X at the top right of the ad shows up and then clicks on it to make it disappear. Speaking of that, I have things to do, so I’m hitting my own little X and disappearing. Y’all have a wonderful day!