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What happens when you don’t have a bar code

Letter by John L. Perna

Modern Life – February 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

What happens in civilization when there’s no bar code


I am writing in hopes of having this letter published in your new (new to me, anyway) magazine, Colorado Central. As a form of bribe I am enclosing a check for $20 and a request for subscription to Colorado Central. I am also enclosing $1.95 for the copy of issue #58 which I ripped off from the Tattered Cover Book Store.

I may have finally found a magazine to which I can contribute to without the worry of rejection. Most pieces of drivel that I have sent elsewhere have either been rejected or ignored. I get the feeling with your little literary gem that a good percentage of your subscribers are also the contributors. Thus, to increase my chances of publication, please enter my subscription.

I was in Denver the other week visiting the Tattered Cover Book Store, one of the last reasons I have for ever entering into that terrible foul smelling dangerous city. I was in the magazine section of the book store when I noticed Colorado Central magazine.

“Hmm,” I thought, “just what I have been looking for, a magazine about my area.” I attempted to purchase it along with a host of other books. When the item was scanned by one of the newer hand-held pricing scanners, the computer froze up. The line grew longer behind me. People fidgeted, the clerk grew frantic. Experts had to be called to reboot the system. Next the clerk tried to enter the item by the keyboard, again the computer froze up. Once more the experts were summoned to reboot. Finally the clerk tells me that I must have brought the magazine into the store myself…it was not one of theirs.

I said, “OK,” and left. I had no qualms about ripping off the Tattered Cover Book Store after all the business I had given them in the past…they owed me.

Several days later I began to suffer pangs of guilt for your little magazine. Like our part of the state, it too was ignored and lost in the glitter, bedlam and excesses of the front range. The Tattered Cover probably does not even believe that it exists. I am living proof that you can walk right in there and pick up a copy for free and walk right out. You probably could not pay for it even if you wanted to.

So I wish to inform you of this serious oversight. It is yet another example of how we are valued by most of the front range — even the Tattered Cover. Please contact them so they desist selling your literature for free.

I have enclosed $1.95 to assuage my guilt for taking home issue #58. Also you may want to consider having some vertical lines printed on your magazine’s next issue that could pass for a bar code.

John L. Perna, Leadville