When I joined AARP last year, it was after years of watching my parents and my husband’s parents talk about articles, magazines, and discounts. Sure enough, after paying that $12 membership fee, my husband purchased new glasses and they took $27 off when we flashed the AARP card. Since then I’ve used it for quite a few other purchases. I enjoy the AARP blogs and the website, and their aging research is often compelling, not to mention well done.
But to tell the truth, I am getting a bit tired of hearing from AARP. Between the e-mails (national and state — something comes almost every day), the solicitations (insurance or all types and renewal request months too early), the publications (at least once a week), and all the other advertising for products (a couple of times a week), it’s just too much.
Now I’m throwing much of it away. Did I check some boxes that I did not intend to check or am I just receiving all of this as a part of my $12 membership?
So I was intrigued when Jane Gross, author of A BitterSweet Season and a founder of the New York Times’s New Old Age blog, put the following comments on Facebook last week reflecting my thoughts — exactly.
Why does everyone assume AARP “products” like Medigap policies and Part D drug plans are better than the competition? Cuz AARP has a humongous mailing list and can afford to bury us in solicitations? Cuz our parents believed the welfare of the elderly was their mission? Nonsense. Yes, they are advocates for old people. Yes, they do fine research on aging. But they are also — with each division in a separate for-profit or not-for-profit silo — hucksters, like all private insurers and like Big Pharma. Toss the mounds of mailings or at least take the time to comparison shop. Just cuz it’s legal doesn’t make it right.
I am experiencing AARP fatigue. It’s way too much advertising for us and for our aging parents. Slow down the communications, please.