I’m not very good keeping up with the times. My list of likes (horribly old-fashioned) and dislikes (pet peeves) are long. I’m somewhat distrustful, don’t use debit cards, won’t utilize online banking, (yes I’m the freak in line still writing an actual check for my groceries at Meijer). I’ve gotten to the point with my cell phone I’ve blocked more telephone numbers than the total number of people I have known in my entire life.
|Mom reading the Dubuque newspaper in New Vienna, Iowa, 1975…|
I’m a novel reader. I have enough reality in my life so I’m not drawn to non-fiction. I prefer books for escapism. (Calgon, take me away). Exciting suspense, psychological thrillers, cops after serial killers, lawyers and courtroom genre. Get this, I still like holding an actual book while I read it. Quaint but Neanderthal right? There’s something so invitingly personal about having a real book nearby. I’m much more likely to flip my book open and read a few pages waiting for my clothes to dry for 10 minutes before hanging everything up than I am about opening one of my iBooks. Not gonna lug my iPad downstairs. Why is that? Same reading material. My iPad gets updates all the time. Am I so old school that I just refuse to ever update me? Afraid so on many fronts.
|Summer in Davenport Iowa, 1985. I read outside, not weed…|
I have some serious doubts about the longevity of newspapers. Pretty sure they will be obsolete in another decade-or less. Realistically I understand. All the news is at least hours, if not days old by the time the ink dries. Big stories, true or false are on the Internet instantly. Why would anyone still subscribe to a newspaper in this day and age? Me-me. Notice, I raised my hand. Yup, I still get one, though it’s changed so much during the last few years, I don’t even know why I bother. Biggest reason are the store ads. How can Meijer’s biggest and most ardent fan make one of my famous lists without pouring over their weekly bargains? Oh sure, Meijer offers the weekly ad right inside their door, but I need more time to peruse than that. These shopping trips cannot be rushed all helter-skelter.
Now our paper is about a third the size it was not many years ago. It’s unheard of to have any local feature writers. Used to look forward to a couple of writers on the west side of the Michigan. Tracy Lorenz is a sarcastic, genius humorist. And there was a gal about my age who wrote once a week about motherhood, marriage, being a grandma etc. Loved her column, but cannot for the life of me remember her name. She had 2 sons, one lived in Viet Nam, one in Maryland. Huh, that’s just frustrating as hell.
Guess I’m stuck on newspapers because Mom was an avid reader. (And like a book, I love the feel and rustling sound of a literal newspaper in my hands). For quite a few years, Mom got daily papers from The Des Moines Register, The Sioux City Journal, and The Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Plus weekly editions from The Doon Press (don’t ask) and of course our hometown paper, The Rock Valley Bee. Mom loved keeping up with the best sports writers and editorial pundits. Me, I’m in it for the comics and obituaries. No shame, no guilt.
|Dad in the mid-60’s…|
About 5 years ago, my then daily paper, The Muskegon Chronicle published a full page ad, listing all the reasons for the changes that were imminent. This next step in newspaper publishing actually included 7 large newspapers in Michigan. Regular subscribers would be offered some options. Receiving ‘real’ papers on T-Th-S, Th & S or just Sunday every week. The rest of the days the news would be available online, or you could buy hard copies on newsstands, grocery stores or big gas stations. Since newspaper popularity has dropped seriously and subscriptions were at an all time low, this was accepted by most everyone under 50. At the time I was Parish Visitor for our congregation whose average age topped well over 80. Gospel truth. Guess what? Many of them had no internet service or desire to read the newspaper on a phone as big as the palm of their hand. Most still used landline phones. (No, we stopped that madness 8 or 10years ago. See, I can be hip).
My idea of reading the business section is Dave Ramsey’s Sunday column which features practical answers to questions about managing money, budgets and becoming (and staying) debt free. Why a business article at least 8 or 10 years ago (and not Ramsey’s) has stuck with me since is still worthy of head scratching. The article was on how big box stores track customers and our buying habits. Well, I’m a shopper, maybe that’s why I started reading. The big box store example they targeted was Target.
A 16 year old girl, alone and scared out of her mind was shopping at a Minneapolis Target. She bought a couple items, zoomed through the checkout and left. A couple weeks later, her 40 something dad is going through the mail and noticed an envelope from Target. Opens it to find a letter and some coupons. The letter was upbeat and congratulatory. Something like, “at Target we know how excited you are about your upcoming bundle of joy! We want to help! Here’s some coupons for 20% off to start your layette. Congratulations from all of us at Target!” Awkward. Miss-16-year-old-daughter had not yet found the right words to tell her parents about her pregnancy.
I don’t know why I felt so bad for the girl and her dad. Bad timing. But it should not have been Target spilling the beans. I was surprised at my anger and disgust for all things Target after that. Oh, I know this happens at all the big box stores, but somehow this teen pregnancy, and the way her parents learned the news hit me hard. Wonder what happened to that pregnant teen? If she chose abortion, adoption or decided to keep the baby. But from that day forward I chose to no longer shop at Target. Petty I know. But petty I am.
And I’ve stuck to my guns all these years except twice. About 5 years ago, Shannon sent me a Christmas wish list for Peyton. (Landon was easy, expensive sports socks, no list needed). Peyton wanted this big Barbie head to do makeup and style Barbie’s hair. On sale that week, wait for it-at Target. Ugh. I breezed in, bought the Barbie head and checked out, leaving with my one item. Learned a couple months later, my credit card had been compromised. Where? Target. Oh, for the love of pete.
|Another happy generation of readers. Jovi, 1…|
Haven’t been back to Target until this week. For Christmas, one of our daycare moms gave each one of us a gift card, which was very thoughtful. The gift card was from Target. Hmmm. Now I could have given it to someone as a gift, but I didn’t. Decided recently since I was running errands, I’d stop in and find something to buy with that card. Walked aimlessly around until I found the book section. One of my favorite authors, John Sandford had a new Virgil Flowers novel out, finally in paperback. OK, there’s 9 bucks gone. I buy each baby at daycare a book for their first birthday. Usually a Dr. Seuss rhyme-sing-songy-thing that’s fun for their parents to read. Meijer sometimes have them on sale for about 5 bucks. Wouldn’t you freaking know. Target had a whole end-cap display, literally filled with thick-cardboard-coated-Dr.-Seuss-books. Priced $3.50 each. Really? You’re testing me here, right God? Needless to say, I bought my daycare birthday babies a year’s supply. No, wait it gets worse. I’ve been practicing with my 1 year old great granddaughter Jovi-where’s your nose? Where’s your ear? Bought her every appendage Dr. Seuss book they have. What can I say? Wretched Target store. Having an awesome sale. And one-weak-shopper-who-loves-books. In my defense, I spent cash so they can’t track me. And I was wearing my tinfoil cap…
|Jovi’s own little library at our house. Thanks a lot Target…|