Why do I need a bath chair? – by Helen May

helen-may-150x150I hate waste. I hate wasted time, I hate wasted packaging, I hate wasted food. Every time I change my insulin set, I sort out the packaging into sharps, recycling and waste. If only I could find some way to recycle or reuse the cellophane and the wipes.

I also hate wasted paper. I work a lot on my computer, I receive bills online, I read articles online, I shop for holidays online, I look at the new clothes from my favourite shops from the comfort of my sofa: it is rare that I print out anything and I don’t receive very much in the post. Unfortunately, I do receive advertising in the post.

Recently, the advertising has been of a political nature. Last year it was leaflets telling me how to vote in the general election, this year it has been how to vote in the EU referendum. Actually, my boyfriend has received more of this than I. And what I do receive emphasises the value for my family and my weekly shop whereas my boyfriend receives the “heavier” arguments about policing and defence. Clearly, we are receiving targeted marketing based on the little the political parties know about us: name and gender.

Considering my dislike of waste, I can see some value in targeted marketing: less material is sent out and what is sent is more likely to hit the mark. However, when it misses the target the effect is a feeling of being insulted: why is it assumed, just because I am a woman, that I have no interest in the impact of the EU referendum result on science and technology?

I started to wonder, how I would be targeted by organisations that knew a little more about me. If they knew I had no children, would the Government focus on the impact of the EU on holidays? If they knew I was an engineer, would PC World start sending me brochures on the latest computers? And what impact would it have on marketeers if they knew I had diabetes?

Actually, I have an insight into this last question. As well as marketing that goes straight in the bin, the Diabetes UK’s Balance magazine also comes through my letterbox. Clearly, the readers of this esteemed publication have some connection with diabetes. So, the paperwork that falls out, as I clammer to read the latest research or recipes or inspirational story, is always healthcare related. Actually, it typically assumes some form of disability. For example, there are leaflets on devices for lowering people into baths and brochures featuring special chairs which help you get up.

As someone who, literally, climbs walls, I have no need for anything to help me climb into the bath. As someone who maintains core strength to ensure I do not need to yank on the seat of the person in front of me as I get up off the train, I have no need for anything to help me stand up. Given my dislike of waste, I confess I am slightly frustrated by this rubbish which goes straight in the bin. I wonder how many readers of Balance need these aids. And how many buy them because they are advertised in their favourite magazine. Is it worth it to the advertisers?

But then I look at the worth in a different way: is it worth it to Diabetes UK to allow these companies to advertise in Balance? Is it worth it to keep down the costs of publishing and distributing the magazine? Until Balance goes online, I guess I will have to accept the addition to my recycling bin whenever I receive the latest edition and hope that the advertising for hearing aids helps boost the funds for Diabetes UK to help others with diabetes.

Diabetes UK says:

Helen makes some good points about the amount of advertising inserts that go into magazines, Balance included. Although we hate waste too, we need our advertising to help keep costs down so more funds go to Diabetes UK. So what do we include? Each advert we see may not be relevant to all our readers. Those we select are carefully chosen to appeal to as many readers as possible.

As the way we read magazines on smartphones and tablets is changing, we can report more people are moving towards our app as a way to keep up to date with Balance, both at home and when out and about. If you have a query about any adverts or inserts in Balance magazine, please email Balance@diabetes.org.uk

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