Have Subscription Services Taken Over Our Lives?

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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a subscription meant that an issue of Life or Newsweek showed up in your mailbox each month, or a newspaper landed on your doorstep every morning.

Now, the wholesome Winnie-the-Pooh is one of the many bargaining chips used in society’s ever-growing streaming wars. For just $6.99 a month, Disney+ subscribers can have as much of Pooh and friends as they can watch.

Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, Peacock, Disney+ and an onslaught of other subscription-based streaming services, it makes one long for the good old days of handing over your life savings to the monopoly once known as cable TV.

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But why should our entertainment options be any different than the rest of our lives? I can only imagine how my day would look if I became a full-fledged subscribing member of society.

I wake up in the morning and hop on my subscription-based exercise bike, working up a sweat with a community of half a million other subscribers. I grab a quick shower, then shave with a razor that arrived the same way those monthly magazines used to arrive. Getting dressed is never easier—an outfit shows up on my doorstep delivered to match my sense of style. (I’m not even sure I have a style, but thankfully someone out there knows what it is.)

On the way to the office in my leased car, I listen to subscription-based radio. Once settled in my cube, I spend my day working on computer programs licensed by way of a monthly fee. Between spreadsheets and databases, I pull up my home security camera to watch the UPS guy drop off my next set of razors, tonight’s dinner, and a bottle of wine.

Soon after, my Amazon Prime delivery shows up, and to my surprise, there’s actually a book among my other purchases. I hope it’s not a loaner in some pilot program to put libraries out of business—though I wouldn’t put it past Jeff Bezos.

Arriving home, I throw my meal-kit dinner together, open my vintage of the month, and spend the rest of the evening flipping through a dozen streaming services trying to decide what to watch. Midnight soon arrives, and I’m still scrolling through the never-ending list of categories Netflix created that day to keep me guessing … er, entertained.

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Making my way up to bed, I insert my earbuds and listen to calming stories and meditations from a subscription-based app. Sleep arrives.

A nightmare soon follows. In it, my entire life is a subscription.

And it’s about to be canceled.

Michael T. Dolan is a writer from West Chester. To read more of his work, visit www.michaeltdolan.com—no subscription required.

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