Know Your Patients, Know Your Readers

So I’m waiting in the doctors’ office yesterday, having forgotten to bring something interesting to read (g).  I begin shuffling through the magazines lying around in the waiting room.  They all have the uniform blue outside cover of the Lesekreis (g) magazine-wholesale firm.  This means you can’t see the cover of the magazine from the outside, only its title.  As I’m shuffling through the stack, I notice one called Praline.  ‘Mmmm,’ I think to myself, ‘delicious pralines.  What could be more soothing than reading about candy?’  So I pick up Praline, earning censorious looks from the old ladies in the waiting room.  Turns out Praline (g, nsfw), isn’t about candy at all, or at least not in the literal sense.  Oh no.  It’s got pictures of nekkid girls in it, although the really naughty bits are censored.

But what really got me was the reader advice columns.  In the Anglo-Saxon world, "advice" columns in glossy soft-core porn magazines are generally filled with reviews of autos you’ll never be able to afford or Italian hand-painted silk ties that you’ll never need to wear to your soul-killing job at the post office.  But Praline has no illusions about the kind of guy who reads Praline.  One unemployed reader wrote in saying he’d finally gotten a job offer, but it required relocating to Passau, Germany.  Neither his savings nor his mother’s "widow’s pension" would be enough to finance the move.  Could he ask for a special government benefit to cover moving expenses?  The answer, from Praline‘s columnist, was "almost certainly yes!" 

Next to the column was a clipart picture of some guy waving a fistful of Euros, flashing a gleaming, pearly-white smile, as if to say "ZOMG!  I hit the government’s wikkid-cool relocation-expenses jackpot!"  Kind of touching, really.

5 thoughts on “Know Your Patients, Know Your Readers

  1. The last time I visited my dentist I also looked through some debilitating Lesekreis stuff, found a rather boring women’s magazine with at least some vanilla sex article and when I checked the pages — they were missing. Cut clean out without leaving a mark. It didn’t look like my dentist did it but rather as if Lesekreis also comes in an totally sex-free version. Very strange for Germany.
    And yours has Praline? I didn’t even know that existed anymore. I have to change doctors.


  2. kamenin: It’s more likely that somebody who got the magazines earlier than your dentist has ripped the pages out because he or she found them interesting …


  3. Although I never came across a soft-porn magazine at the doctor’s, I too enjoy reading stuff there I wouldn’t read otherwise. I particularly like Freizeitrevue which illustrates in what kind of “parallel society” people who buy it seem to live: You may never have heard about some weird princess, but hey, they say she’s important for you; and there’s this Volksmusik guy who they call a “star” or a “legend”, but whose name you don’t even recognise. And all those made-up scandals that aren’t really scandals.


  4. FYI, probably he would indeed be eligible for one of several benefits: The Arbeitsamt can grant Umzugskostenbeihilfe of up to 4500(!) Euros which doesn’t even need to be paid back. If that doesn’t work out for some reason, there’s Übergangsbeihilfe – a loan of up to 1000 Euros that can be paid back to the Arbeitsamt over 10 months. And if nothing else works and the Praline guy has to pay for himself, he could claim a tax deduction (Werbungskosten) for work-related moving expenses at the end of the year.

    Gotta love the Sozialstaat.


  5. Well, OUR dentist preferably displays the Porsche client’s magazine. This reminds me of a ages old “muppets show” on TV. Late Liberace was invited. Between the songs, he held up his hands, showing off his many ridiculously big rings, saying something like: “Yeah! Look closely! At least you have paid them”.


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