At $10 for a one-year subscription (six issues), Amplitude‘s Early Bird discount is undeniably a great deal. For $1.67 an issue, or 83 cents a month, you get a steady supply of amputee stories that nobody else is telling. Every edition serves up new ideas about how to stay healthy, where to shop, how to meet other amputees, who to follow on social media, yadda yadda—all delivered right to your door. We can’t think of too many better ways to spend 83 cents a month. (Sign up at https://livingwithamplitude.com/subscribe.)
Having said that, it’s just as undeniable that our old deal—infinite issues of Amplitude for $0—was slightly better than the Early Bird. Agreed and acknowledged. But it turns out that the old deal was a little too good. As much as we’d love to keep offering it, today’s elevated production and shipping costs won’t allow us to (as we explained in our November print issue).
So let’s bid an appreciative farewell to the $0 subscription—awesome price, we’ll always love ya—and turn to the virtues of the $10 Early Bird. Also an awesome price, which you can get if you purchase your subscription between now and December 31. We’re offering it because we know how many costs are already built in to the limb loss/limb difference experience; we don’t want Amplitude to feel like a burden. And we get that when you’re accustomed to receiving something for free, it’s irksome to start paying even just a wee bit for it. Completely understandable. We’ve been there.
But we also know that our present budget includes $10 expenditures for things that hold less value than a year’s worth of our favorite limb-loss magazine. Our consumer habits probably aren’t much different from the average household’s. And when we examined our own spending logs, it didn’t take us long to carve out space for the Early Bird.
So here’s a thought experiment: Which line items in your annual budget are roughly equivalent to an annual Amplitude subscription with the Early Bird discount? And how do they measure up in value? Here are a few examples from our own ledger:
McDonald’s french fries
When God created salt, fat, and sugar, it surely happened in a McDonald’s test kitchen. No food on the planet packs in more pleasure per gram. We didn’t get into many physical fights with our siblings growing up, but when we did throw punches, a dispute over McD’s french fries was usually implicated.
So there’s genuine value in this particular expense. How does it compare to the Early Bird? Answering this question was more difficult than we imagined, because prices vary a lot from one Golden Arches location to another. The best source we could locate, mc-menu.com, lists average prices from 12 states. They calculate the average price for a large order of McDonald’s fries at $2.86, ranging from a high of $3.45 in Tennessee to a low of $2.25 in New Jersey. . . . interesting, we would have expected those relative prices to be the reverse. But whatever. If we take the overall average, a year’s subscription to Amplitude costs the same as 3.5 large orders of McDonald’s fries. We love those fries as much as anyone does, but would we trade roughly four orders a year—one each in winter, spring, summer, and fall—for six issues of Amplitude?
Here’s another way to run the numbers. Mc-menu.com calculates the average cost for a medium order of fries at $1.92, or about a buck less than a large. So that puts the Early Bird on a par with downsizing our large box of fries to a medium order once a month. That comes out to, what, maybe 20 french fries a month? 25?
That’s how good a deal the Early Bird is: It costs about the same as ~25 McDonald’s french fries per month. If it were possible, we’d accept actual french fries as payment for your subscription. That’s how much we adore them. But we’re still searching for the right plug-in to configure our credit-card portal on that basis.
We’re down to one pet at the moment, a 25-pound terrier with a 225-pound presence. Get into a chew-toy tug of war with the little guy and you’ll see what we mean. It doesn’t matter what sort of gizmos we bring home; he shreds cloth, rubber, plastic, and canvas with equal efficiency.
But nothing brings out his destructive fury quite like a squeaky tennis ball. As long as the ball keeps squeaking, he’s in a frenzy; the moment the thing falls silent, he’s the sweetest, cuddliest baby imaginable. His fastest kill time to date is about 90 seconds, but we think he’s got a shot at beating the one-minute barrier. Stay tuned.
A six-pack of these sacrificial squeakers costs $10.99 at Petsmart. That makes for a nice symmetry—six issues of Amplitude, six dog toys, roughly the same price. Now, if we were to ask the terrier whether one squeaky tennis ball is a fair price for one issue of Amplitude, we might not like his answer. So we’re just not gonna ask him. But we suspect that if, six times a year, we swapped out the tennis ball for a cardboard egg carton taped up tight with some sort of noisemaker inside, he’d never know the difference, and he’d continue to have an appropriate outlet for his lethal rage.
If you’re a cat person, the Early Bird is roughly equivalent to five Whisker City toys—fluff balls, wicker balls, jingle balls, take your pick—or one wand-n-ribbon teaser. If you own a bird (we used to), a year of Amplitude translates to one wooden ladder. If you’ve got a fish tank, you can get one decorative ornament for about $10.
We used to detest baths; like Kramer, we’d get squicked out sitting there in a tepid pool of our own filth. But then we got introduced to bath bombs, and oh baby. The fragrance! The fizz! We were hooked, and our skin loved the respite from the crackly Colorado air. Toss in a scented candle and a rubber ducky, and we’re there.
Like any luxe product, bath bombs can verge into some absurd price-tag territory. There’s one store at the mall that asks upwards of $40 for a single serving, and that’s more fragrance and fizz than we can stand. We generally use Da Bomb products, which we can find at Target for $5 a pop (they’re listed for $8 online). The slightly fancier brand preferred by Wirecutter, Lush, retails for $8 to $10. So, best case, you can get a year’s worth of Amplitude for the cost of two bubbly soaks.
We could go on in this vein for a while, but you get the idea by now. And we’re already well into TMI territory re our personal spending habits. If you’re convinced of the Early Bird value proposition, head over to the subscribe page and lock in your discounted subscription (use the promo code EARLYBIRD).