Saturday, April 15, 2017
Failing at Good Work
I love The Writer's Almanac. Everybody knows this. And if you didn't know, now you do. But I digress. I subscribe to it. It arrives in my email box every day, without fail. If you are not familiar with the format, Mr. Keillor gives a brief history lesson for the day including the birthdays of writers. He then reads a poem. Normally I'm leaning back with my eyes closed, a steaming cup of coffee under my nose, listening raptly. In the last couple of months there has been an annoying post script explaining how podcasts work or asking for a donation to keep the service going. Since this additional bit of business spoils the afterglow for me, I usually close the tab. I do understand that nothing is free. I am a sustaining member of public radio and just as often as not refuse the gift so my donation goes further for programming and other expenses. So. Today an ad for American Public Media, the entity that produces and distributes The Writer's Almanac, appears in my Facebook feed. Nice job targeting me, Facebook! I clicked. I became infatuated with this mug. I pictured myself sipping coffee from it whilst listening to The Writer's Almanac. Sigh. One more screen click informed me that APM would be expecting a minimum one-time contribution of sixty dollars to receive the mug. Ouch. I would have given up to thirty bucks for the mug. But sixty is simply out of reach for me. I think it's likely that others feel the same way. If the sixty dollar price point eliminates half of the potential contributors, and I just pulled that fraction out of the air for argument's sake, wouldn't they be just as much in the black asking for thirty bucks instead? Well, okay, no, simply because APM does send out the mug without charging for shipping so they would absorb that cost for twice as many donations. The thing is, a little goodwill goes a long way, certainly further than what appears as greed. I have a small budget to contribute to causes I believe in and entertainment I enjoy and parse that out carefully. But when I'm priced out at the get-go it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry, American Public Media, you have lost this round.