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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

the price of gas impacts celebrity news

Oh noes! People magazine has to change its production schedule because the companies that drive the trucks that deliver the final printed magazines to stores and newsstands are cutting back on their schedules, in an effort to save gas.

The New York Post explains:

People magazine, under pressure from wholesalers, is moving its deadlines up by 12 hours to noon every Tuesday.

Before the change, reporters and editors had a final deadline of around midnight with the magazine going to the printer early Wednesday morning, and reaching the supermarket checkout stands and other retailers by Friday.

All the major competitors in the celebrity weekly category – from Us Weekly to the Bauer titles In Touch and Life & Style – go to press on Monday.

The late deadline occasionally gave People a huge advantage. When actor Heath Ledger died on a Tuesday, Jan. 22, People was the only celebrity weekly with the news on the cover of the issue that hit newsstands on Jan. 25 (the issue had a Feb. 4 cover date). The issue sold 1.8 million copies, nearly 400,000 above its average weekly sales.

People was also the first newsweekly on the newsstands with coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – which also happened on a Tuesday. People’s editors ripped up their entire issue and put the burning Twin Towers on the cover, selling 4 million copies – still a record.

One distribution source said that the skyrocketing price of gasoline means wholesalers who in the past might have made two or three deliveries now want to make one or two deliveries.

What this will mean for us mere proles is obvious: we will have to continue to rely on the Internet for celebrity gossip. Because we all know that the Internet doesn’t need gas to run, because all us bloggers are sitting at home still in our pajamas at 3 in the afternoon, never having left the house at all since last weekend.

Actually, I have been out today… to pick up the rental car I will drive down to Baltimore for Balticon on Friday. (Usually I just pick up the rental car on the day I’m leaving, but it turned out I would be into the weekly rate anyway for the duration of this rental, so I figured: Woo hoo! I can go to the supermarket and buy bulk toilet paper!) And the sticker shock when I filled up that rental near gave me a heart attack: $4.09 a gallon, $63.01 to fill up the tank — which still had a quarter of a tank in it. And on top of that is the liberal embarrassment of being seen driving an SUV: all the rental place had left was a Jeep Liberty. It’s not an Escalade, which I would shoot myself rather than been seen in, but it’s not a Ford Fusion, either. So, you know, I’m feeling People magazine’s pain today…

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  • Roger BW

    Cry me a river: http://www.aaroadwatch.ie/eupetrolprices/ (and it’s gone up at least 10% since then in the UK).

    Slightly more seriously: having some of the most expensive fuel in the world doesn’t stop the UK’s drivers from being very nearly as wasteful as Americans. Our governments have noticed this; something like 80% of the UK’s petrol price is tax. Nice easy earner for them, and they can claim to be “green” at the same time.

  • JT

    Roger BW: Don’t give me the ‘European gas prices are much higher, so don’t complain’ thing. The fact is that there are differences in costs of many things (food, health insurance, etc) between the US and the UK and when Americans say the price of gas is high, they are talking about how its high relative to their wages and high expenses for everything else.

    There’s a station with $3.83 a few miles from my house that has a line around the block. Pretty much everywhere else in Chicago is over $4

  • MaryAnn

    Yes, gas prices are high in Europe. But much of those high prices are taxes that go to support mass transit and other things that are good for everyone. Gas is taxed relatively little in the U.S., so most of the high prices we’re paying is going right into the pockets of the oil companies, who keep saying they have no control over the prices yet keep pocketing obscene record profits.

    I love living in New York, where I can rely on mass transit… and do, most of the time.

  • Roger BW

    Actually, most of our fuel tax is going into Iraq and Afghanistan, just like all the rest of the tax we pay. But I assume MaryAnn doesn’t want a political rant here, so I’ll stop there.

    (I’m in London, so I have not only a reasonably usable public transport system but things close enough to be bicycled too – I’d rather go ten miles on a bike than on a bus or train any day.)

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