Stories for sale, gently used

Welcome to the TFS thrift shop

You know you've found a deal when it's advertised on a trash can./ Photos by Hanna Raskin
You know you've found a deal when it's advertised on a trash can./ Photos by Hanna Raskin
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Do you need a bargain-priced Kastaplast Kaxe or Discraft Hades for your next disc golf outing? You might be out of luck.

My version of spring cleaning this year involved selling off a surplus of retired discs. Even if you don’t play disc golf, you can probably relate to the conviction that what’s holding you back from earthshaking greatness is the wrong equipment. I’ve bought dozens of discs that I was sure would fly an additional 200 feet, effortlessly clearing every tree in their paths.

Instead, most of them ended up in a discard bin in my closet. So, on Memorial Day, I decided to sell them all at five bucks apiece.

I was pumped for this impromptu used disc extravaganza. In addition to setting up a sales table in our driveway, my husband and I put up a disc golf basket with the idea of rewarding free discs to shoppers who could sink seemingly impossible putts.

Sadly, we never got a chance to play that game. Our inventory of 61 discs was exhausted within 25 minutes. People even bought discs with warps and nicks. (Like I said, they didn’t quite meet my tree-clearing expectations.)

Another satisfied customer!

At that point, I probably should have just pocketed the cash and made plans for a crab dinner. In fact, I did both of those things. But I also started thinking about the $5 price point, and why pre-owned plastic is an easier sell than one month of The Food Section. By my math, if monthly subscriptions sold half as quickly as hand-me-down discs, I would have sold 41,356 subs this year alone.

The Food Section’s total monthly subscription base is 188 readers. (Which just goes to show that TFS readers are a sharp bunch, since an annual subscription is the better buy.)

Admittedly, there are a zillion variables not covered by that calculation. Mostly, though, I think people’s willingness to drop $5 on a disc—and resistance to spending one cent on journalism—comes down to the growing subscription fatigue problem. With a hand-me-down Innova Firebird or Dynamic Discs Warrant, there is no associated regimen or possibility of an ongoing relationship. We didn’t instruct buyers to throw their discs every Monday and Friday, or to return one month later for another transaction. Each sale was a standalone deal.

You can guess where this is going: The Food Section’s thrift store is open.

Obviously, a monthly or annual subscription is still the best way to experience The Food Section, since paying subscribers receive the award-winning publication’s coverage first, in addition to invites to subscriber-exclusive virtual and in-person events.

But if you’re willing to settle for used stories, you can purchase a secondhand plan. For $4, you’ll get a single email on the first day of the following month with links to eight previously published TFS stories which you can read at your leisure. Same as at your favorite thrift store, there’s no telling if the collection will include a story you’ve always dreamed of reading. If you’re openminded, though, you’re bound to find something to love.

Want to give it a whirl? Ante up now for the July edition—no commitment required.

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