Years ago I took out a subscription to Time mag just to get some free gifts - Christmas cracker stuff, as it turned out.
Long before I cancelled, unread issues lay about in neat piles. Its journalism looked and tasted like mystery meat: highly processed, glazed: not good for the blood pressure. Where was the individual voice? Harshly, I formed the view that anything it claimed or reported - or saw - was probably manufactured to suit its house style gospel. Such is the peril of writing and editing as if attired in pulpit robe.
Time has never got(ten) over my rejection. Like so many of my ex-lovers, it does not take No for an answer. I hear a plaintive ululation at the door (OK, the letter plate needs oiling) and there on the mat lies yet another billet-doux from Time (Discount Services).
The latest offers me a 54-issue sub for just £15. This includes 6 additional issues if I buy now, the 100 Special Issue, the Time Person of the Year issue, any other Special Issues, unlimited access to http://www.time.com/ and - best of all - the Time Privilege Card. If I pay by credit card, I can have my sub automatically renewed at the "guaranteed low rate".
The annual value of this largesse is £162. At just £15, I save £147. This is so generous that an MP would, I guess, have to declare it as a gift. The wonder is what's in it for Time. This is a loss-making offer though perhaps a healthy circulation figure helps maintain high ad page rates.
On the cusp of temptation I visit Time.com. Oh dear, the latest issue is dedicated to football.