Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To Flip or Not to Flip

I have a thing for pornography.

Now, before you choke on that turkey sandwich you are eating, I don’t mean I have a “thing” for porn… I mean I have a THING.


I could go on and on about the reasons why this subject brings my blood to boiling point. However, I will refrain this time.

Let’s just say, I try to do my part. I often flip magazines over in quiet protest if I find something too provocative. Now, keep in mind I wear shorts to my knees and necklines to my collar bone. So, I understand that provocative for me is actually no big deal for most people. However, occasionally, I will happen across a magazine in the checkout line or next to the greeting cards that would make anyone blush.

At times like this (and it has only been a few) I will bring it to the attention of the manager. I have received many different responses from, “we’ll get it off the shelves immediately.” To, “uh, I guess I can tell the buyers…”

Tonight, as hubby and I stood in the checkout line at the local bookstore, we had to choose carefully where to look. There was a popular magazine right in our visual path with a picture on the cover I found highly inappropriate. I slinked up behind the man in front of me (careful so he didn’t see me) reached over and quietly turned over the cover of the magazine to reveal a very sexy M&M on the back. Hubby and I laughed a little about how dumb that was… to even make candy alluring.

A few seconds later, the man in front of me, who I still don’t think saw me, reached over to the magazine, moved the “turned-over” copy out of the way and very obviously began examining the cover of the same magazine that was underneath the one I turned. Even picking it up and flipping through it while his wife paid for their purchase. We chuckled at the irony and when it was our turn to checkout, I quietly replaced the “turned-over” copy overtop the others… I felt slightly proud about my unspoken rebellion.


A little girl, maybe 5 or 6, interested in this cool looking M&M, walked up to the magazine, picked it up and began thumbing through the full color photos. Before I could close my gaping mouth, her mother scolded her for picking up the magazine and she put it back on the shelf.

I began to think… Do these “types” of magazines put candy on the back for a reason? I mean, really. I could try all I want to hide it from innocent eyes but if there is always interesting candy on the back, the children will want to look at it.

Good grief. I guess I will have to rethink my “flipping” routine. Is it better to just have it out there so parents know what to teach their kids to avoid or is it better to hope that some kid doesn’t want to see why the M&M is blowing kisses?

I don’t know that answer.

I did decide to speak the manager about the magazine. Nicely of course. I expressed my concern with it being in such a common pathway and wondered if there was something they could do. As if supporting my cause, the little girl had made her way back to the magazine and started to flip through it again while her mom was busy paying. I mentioned to the manager that maybe there would be a more discreet place to put such things so little kids couldn’t have ready access to them.

Very kindly, and honestly, she explained that, “this is the best selling magazine” in their stores throughout the US and for that purpose alone, they wanted to keep it up front. This matter had been brought to their attention several times, even being taken to corporate, but without success. This magazine made them so much money, they weren’t going to change it. They were the kind of store that “represented society’s norm” and not a “few people’s moral viewpoints.” If they put the magazine in a more discreet place, they could be viewed as being “that kind of store.” I am assuming she meant the kind of store that censored what they sell. Basically, the magazines generate so much money, that they are keeping them up front.

I am not happy with her answer. But I was grateful for her honesty. So, I politely smiled and left the store.

Not angry, just disappointed.