It Was The Eighth Subscription Card That Convinced Me

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Vol 38 Issue 09

New U.S. Currency Expires If Not Spent In Two Weeks

WASHINGTON, DC— Seeking to stimulate consumer spending, the Treasury Department unveiled "QuikCash," a new U.S. currency that expires two weeks from the date of its issuance. "America, get ready to spend," Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Monday. "QuikCash is our exciting new way to jump-start the economy while telling our valued citizens, 'Hey, go get yourself something nice. Now.'"

Scotland More Relaxed When Sean Connery Is Away

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND— The people of Scotland felt a little calmer and more at ease Monday, when actor Sean Connery left the country to shoot a film in Morocco. "Don't misunderstand, we are quite proud of Mr. Connery," Scottish First Minister Jim Wallace said. "It's just that he's a rather intense fellow, and it's nice to have a little time without him." Connery is expected to be away for seven weeks, giving the nation the opportunity to hold a number of relaxed, Connery-free outdoor festivals.

Olympic Skier Stares Down Icy, Forbidding Slope Of Rest Of Life

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO— Two weeks after returning from the Salt Lake City Games, U.S. Olympic skier Courtney Roth, 31, found herself staring down the icy, forbidding slope that is her future Monday. "I got an offer to do a supermarket opening in Denver next week," Roth said, "and it looks like I may sign on to promote the new popcorn shrimp they've got over at Lou's Lobster House." Following several months of three-figure endorsement deals, Roth will land a job in Vail teaching skiing to surly, spoiled 5- to 10-year-olds for the rest of her life.

Home-Brewing Phase Comes To Long-Overdue Conclusion

BETHEL PARK, PA— Local resident Randy Paltz's two-year home-brewing phase finally came to its long-overdue conclusion Tuesday. "Thank God, it's over at last," said Andrea Longo, girlfriend of the 33-year-old beer aficionado. "Every few weeks, he'd make a big production about his latest 'Paltz's Signature Brew.' It all tasted the same—like really thick, shitty beer." Friend Tim Traschel also expressed relief, saying, "Now I can actually go to his house and bring some Michelob without getting a lecture about the low quality of hops in commercial beers."

Man Can't Get Police To Care About His Bob Crane Murder Theory

SCOTTSDALE, AZ— Despite his best efforts, Paul Bernardin, 38, has been unable to get the Scottsdale Police Department to care about his theory regarding the unsolved 1978 murder of actor Bob Crane in Scottsdale. "[Bernardin] keeps coming in here saying he knows who killed Col. Hogan," police chief Walter Dunfey said Monday. "Then he usually goes off on how the electrical cord Crane was strangled with doesn't match the ones in the other rooms of the hotel he was in. What am I supposed to do with that information?" Bernardin, Dunfey said, is also convinced that the police possess Crane's infamous stash of self-produced amateur pornography.

The Andrea Yates Trial

Andrea Yates, on trial for the drowning of her five children in the bathtub of their Houston home, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. What do you think?
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Technology Unfortunately Allows Distant Friends To Reconnect

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It Was The Eighth Subscription Card That Convinced Me

Every now and then, I'll pick up a copy of Sports Illustrated, usually when the cover story grabs my interest. But for all the times I've bought SI off the newsstand, I'd never really thought about subscribing. That is, until last Friday, when that eighth subscription card fell out of the issue I was reading. Yes, that was the one that convinced me.

I have to admit, the first three subscription cards that fell out of the issue didn't make much of an impression on me. I was reading the magazine in the kitchen while heating up some soup, and every few minutes, as I turned a page, a card would fall out and gently drift to the floor. Before long, three cards were on the floor. I knew the cards represented attractive offers to get Sports Illustrated delivered straight to my door, but they somehow failed to register.

About an hour later, while reading the magazine on the toilet, two more subscription cards fell out. The first of the two (the fourth in all) landed toward the base of the toilet, out of sight. But the second toilet card (number five) fell right on my knee, facing me. I couldn't help but notice its offer of one year of Sports Illustrated for just $1.59 an issue. That's a savings of 54 percent off the cover price. Still, I was not moved to subscribe. Impressive as the offer was, it takes a lot more than that to convince a savvy, selective consumer like me to subscribe to a magazine. Besides, who pays attention to a meager five notices these days, anyway?

Though I didn't realize it at the time, the sixth subscription card was the one that started to pique my curiosity. I'm not sure if I was just getting bored of the article I was reading or if there was something special about this particular subscription card. I suspect it was a little of both: Rick Reilly's story on Jason Giambi was oddly uncompelling, while that bright orange card with the large "SAVE 54%!" in a white starburst was undeniably alluring. Yet, tempted as I'd been, it still wasn't enough.

The seventh card seriously upped the ante. Like the others, it reminded me that, had I been an SI subscriber, I would've paid just $1.59 for the issue I currently held in my hands. Only this time, "Save 54%!" was printed in white type in a bright blue circle. Suddenly, the $3.50 I shelled out at the newsstand seemed senseless and wasteful. But that's not all. Like cards two, three, and five, it sweetened the pot with an offer of a free copy of the exclusive "SI 2002 Swimsuit Highlights" video if I subscribed today. (Cards one and four offered the free 2002 SI Swimsuit Wall Calendar instead.) Man, I was seriously tempted. But again, it still wasn't quite enough.

Then came the eighth card.

Have you ever heard the saying, "Always save the best for last"? Well this must be the motto of Sports Illustrated's subscription department, because they pulled out all the stops on that eighth card. The opportunity to save 54 percent off the newsstand cover price was still there. So was the exciting free-video offer. Only this time, the card was bright yellow, not orange, and the words "Subscribe Now And Save!" were emblazoned across the top in red.

They even attached this subscription card to the actual magazine to show just how important this one was. I guess they figured that even if all the warning shots somehow fell out of the magazine, they would still have the big gun in place, ready for the kill.

It's all become so clear to me now. Those first seven subscription cards were just warm-ups. Sure, they featured essentially the same offer: savings of 54 percent off the newsstand price, a free gift, and a special, subscribers-only year-end issue. They offered the same convenient billing options. But somehow, this card made you know that a subscription would save you 54 percent off of the newsstand price. That's the real difference.

Just think, if only seven cards had tumbled out of that issue and onto the floor of my kitchen, bathroom, and living room, I wouldn't be on the brink of enjoying home delivery of Sports Illustrated for less than half the cover price.

I can't wait to get my first issue delivered in four to six weeks. It's gonna feel so great when I reach into that mailbox, take out that issue, and smile as a fresh bunch of subscription cards scatter all over my front steps.

It's a good thing I'll have all those cards falling out of my subscription issues. As soon as I start getting the magazine, I'll probably be interested in immediately subscribing again. After all, half the fun of a magazine is the act of subscribing itself. That and getting four or five letters warning you that your subscription is running out after you've received your second issue.

Thank you, eighth subscription card!

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