Monday, July 13, 2009

Dear Cookie Magazine,

When this subscription is over, you and I must part ways. I took you in as a trial because the offer was so inexpensive, and because some bloggers whom I admire have loved your glossy pages. What I have found, during this trial dating thing we are doing, is that you do not offer me anything of substance. You do not give me knowledge or information about more conscientious living, or advertisements for anything I would purchase.

To be fair, I can't really expect you to embrace the urban chicken by allowing one to grace your pages, or to really take on homesteading topics because that is not your format. However, your format IS a mom focused format and your tag line is "All the best for your family." I do not find much for my family in your articles or advertisements. Many many moms might like to see an ad for Weck home canning products. Weck is the only one I have found that is BPA free.

While you do occasionally throw me a bone by showcasing an affordable item from an artisan, Etsy seller, or other small business, you more often fill your pages with extravagant finds for decadent lifestyles. For example: Number 60 in the "100 things" article is a plastic (vinyl) tray for $75. Number 64 is 8 oz. recycled (kudos to recycling) vegetable oil soap for $19.00. Number 68 is the Folio Society Yellow Fairy Book for $70.00. (It is a pretty book, but REALLY???) And $19 for RECYCLED oil soap? Do you know how many pounds of food can be purchased at a farmers market for $19?? Let us not turn the idea of recycling into such tres chic that it supports exorbitant prices for everyday items. (August, 2009 issue)

Let's talk about numbers 12-16 on your list. Button-down chambray type intentionally wrinkled shirt for $188 (does it have 24k gold thread?). Weird, crazy mumu shirtdress for $325 (antique gold buttons? Is it made of gold? Can something called a "mumu" command $325.00 from anyone?). Ballerina shoes for $245. Convertible cardigan wrap for $195. LEGGINGS (really, just some cotton and spandex, right?) $55.00. While some may be in a position to indiscriminately spend copious sums of dicretionary income, myself and millions of others are not among them. I think it irresponsible to continue to encourage such decadence.

Here is a thought. Offer ads for shirts in the $25-$45 range, shirtdresses for about $40, shoes for $55 (I can get custom, designer, handmade on Etsy for that price), cardigan wraps by economy minded designers for, say, $75, and leggings for what they ought to be at $15.00. Then, those would-be purchasers have saved $778.00 to donate to local food pantries to help the millions who are out of work and using your magazine pages as blankets.

(Even if you switched to the above example and lower priced ad items, I would still be purchasing most of my items for $2-$15 at the local consignment or used store, as I think that is the best value for my dollar, and I am helping to tread more lightly on this earth by reusing perfectly good items.)

Again, in fairness, I will say that I agree with number 11 and support snail mail preservation. Who doesn't LOVE to find a personal note in the mailbox? Number 2, Skype, is also important for families like mine who live states away from grandparents. And, you do give an occasional nod to eco-friendly topics with items like the LeSportSac reusable tote. Your photos are colorful and artfully rendered. I did like the real coconut cups for young partygoers (p. 62) and the cardboard furniture (but would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS spend $60.00 on a cardboard bench), as well as your use of tulle.

All in all, I find very little that is useful to me, and very much that is objectionable to a back-to-basics live-from-the-land frugal lifestyle. Others may love you, but I must now break off our courtship. I wish for you a future that is more aware of regular, everyday people and their wants and needs. I wish for you features of moms planting urban victory gardens and giving up high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and processed pre-packaged foods in lieu of healthy vegetables and whole foods for those kid snacks and lunch sacks.

At least, our affiliation has been eye-opening, and has helped to solidify for me that I am on the right weed-strewn path.


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