Gardening Magazines – Call off your dogs!


Okay, my reaction to junk mail and telemarketers can be over the top, and calling them attack dogs is a case in point.  But hey, I’m trying to get their attention.

Garden Design, you know I’m a fan but my love does not extend  to the folks handling your renewal program.  As I mentioned in a comment to Amy’s post praising your publication, I’ve gotten so many “Time to Renew” notices that I’ve blindly responded to that now I’m subscribed through both terms of the Obama administration.  (Substitute the name of your choice there; it’s kinda fun to try them out.) But still the junk mail comes, more phony “Time to Renew” alerts. 

Don’t miss the comment by Sandra in that link – she’s hopping mad about another odious business practice altogether.

Organic Gardening Magazine
, your infraction is worse.  I got a CALL yesterday from Rodale.  Seeing that name on my caller-ID, I answered eagerly, excited that a respected gardening publisher was calling this humble garden writer – about a possible assignment?

Dream on, Susan. The caller wanted to sell me a book – and I’m on the No-Call List! Of course she didn’t admit that she was calling to sell me something – too well trained to do that.  Instead she insisted that the purpose of the call was to survey me about my satisfaction level with the magazine.  Oh, and to act interested in my own garden and chat amicably about her grandmother’s garden – I kid you not.  Then finally she got to the point – offering me a book to “preview,” which means I’d have to buy it if I didn’t mail it back.

Slam went the receiver on the phony-friendly telemarketer.  Down the drain went some of the goodwill I have toward the good name of Rodale.

Okay, I feel better now.  Blogging may not pay anything but it does give us a chance to let off steam sometimes, and that’s worth something.


  1. Gidday,

    Oh, this is too true! I have written recently that the toughest mailing lists to get off are the publishers lists because once you subscribe to one magazine they will instantly put you on all their other affiliated contact lists! The best thing to do when somone calls like this is to request that you are opted out of their call list and postal mailing list.

    Last year I had a similar experience with a company who sells Kids encyclopedia’s door-to-door and after I bought a few volumes (they good books, the kids love them) they then sent me a FREE book with an invoice attached! I was sooo mad!! So we called them (if you can find the phone number) and asked them to remove our name from their mailing list. Problem was I still had the FREE book! We had to send that back otherwise they send the debt collectors after you!

    At we feel that consumers should have the choice to be opted in, that you should not automatically be opted in. After all our personal information is our own and not for sale. The onus should not be on the consumer to opt out.

    Cheerio, Margot

  2. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for a good rant. I hope the renewal notices for Garden Design were a little more polite than the slough of letters I got when I responded to their offer of a trial copy, which I still haven’t had. These firms must spend a fortune on sending out renewals,etc.,etc. Also if I receive unsolicited mail eg. a book, I write “unsolicited mail; return to sender” in large letters on the parcel and lob it back into the mail box.
    I have to say that when I e-mailed Canadian Gardening about not having received acknowledgement of my subscription or a copy of the magazine, I got a prompt and pleasant e-apology, and a magazine by express mail.

  3. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not rushing to the defense of junk mail. But it’s a carefully crafted science.

    Publishers don’t lose money on junk mail. The make money. That seventh renewal letter you get even after you think you’ve made it clear you don’t want the publication? They send it out because enough people will change their minds and renew their subscription to it to justify the mailing.

  4. Unfortunately, being on a Do Not Call list doesn’t work if you have an existing relationship with a merchant.

    It’s kind of like inviting Dracula over the threshold. Once that happens, you’re toast.

  5. yeah…I have become kind of disenchanted with Rodale too.

    My problems with them started when they sold ad space in OG to Scott’s company for inorganic fertilizer and/or pesticide one month several years ago. The conversation it spurred was pretty interesting and they backed off from selling ad space to the pharm/fert/pesticide folks. But then – they sent me a letter telling me that they switched my subscription from OG to a new mag they were publishing called “Organic Style” (I think) I was pretty darn irritated that they were switching out the magazine that I specifically asked for and purchased. I cancelled my subscription then. I have been thinking of buying a recent copy to see how it is doing. I miss it.

    Does anyone have an opinion on how OG is doing these days? Is it useful, informative, etc…..???


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