Lopez Island, Wash., in the San Juans. (Sue Frause)
Recently I received one of those familiar white envelopes with the clear window that’s obviously been bulk mailed. It was the three words above my address, in bold and all caps, that caught my eyes: SENIOR CITIZEN OFFER. Accompanying it was was the personalized message: “Sue Frause, we miss you! To tempt you back, we’d like to offer you 12 issues of Sunset at our Senior Citizen Rate. Our guaranteed low rate!”
According to Sunset‘s calculations, the annual cover price is $59.88. But with my Senior Citizen Savings of $49.88 and $0 for shipping and handling, I only have to pay $10!
First of all, I don’t particularly care for Sunset magazine. My grandparents subscribed to it years ago while I was a kid growing up in Arlington, Wash. It seems like the sections and stories are pretty much the same as they were back then: How to build an ugly deck. Better dog houses for not-so-nice dogs. Omelettes on the run. Redneck getaways of the West. Cookies that don’t go crunch in the night. Fiddlehead soup fixed 500 ways.
Secondly, on the two occasions when I contacted the magazine about potential story ideas, the editors never responded. And this was in the days of snail mail, when I went to all the trouble of photocopying my clips, banging out a current bio, and composing a nice little query letter. I never heard a peep from the folks in Seattle or Menlo Park, Calif.
And last but not least, I do not consider myself a senior citizen — I am only 57 years old! According to freedictionary.com, a senior citizen is “a person of relatively advanced age, especially a person at or over the age of retirement; an old person, esp. a pensioner.”
Memo to Sunset: Maybe you should change the wording from SENIOR CITIZEN OFFER to HOT MIDDLE-AGED MAMA OFFER.
While you’re at it, enclose a pair of reading glasses. 2.0s.