Like many of us, Noah Veltman found himself feeling uncomfortably covetous every time he read a glossy magazine.
* A note on methodology: Veltman only counted the costs of products where the price was included directly adjacent to the featured item. This painted a slightly misleading picture, because Vogue lists many of its prices in a separate section in the magazine’s final pages. We added those products (about $250,000 worth) to Vogue’s total above and median below, which is why Quartz’s numbers differ from Veltman’s.
As you can see above and below, the women’s fashion magazine InStyle efficiently packs many products onto a single page, while Vogue keeps it relatively clean, with fewer (far more expensive) items. In a sense, this speaks to Vogue’s positioning as an “aspirational” magazine, as opposed to a relatively practical guide to products that readers can actually buy.
After counting up all the items featured in these magazines, Veltman says, he found himself cured of his temptation: He didn’t want to buy a thing.
“I used to read magazines and I would find myself coveting the products they promote in a totally silly and impractical way,” he tells Quartz. “They’re very oriented around stuff, and the strong suggestion that buying a bunch of stuff will make you into a certain sort of person: Waking up early to go running every day is hard. Buying a bunch of running gear is easy.”