Have you ever wondered why you can’t find a current magazine to thumb through while waiting to see your doctor? There might be a pile of old magazines lying on the table or on a magazine rack, but nothing recent, or even interesting. AAP News reports on a new study from New Zealand that sheds light on the disappearance of periodicals from waiting rooms everywhere:


One of the authors had been getting numerous complaints about the lack of current magazines in his waiting room but could not find any studies that explained this phenomenon. Therefore, he and his colleagues decided to conduct a study to compare the disappearance of current magazines with older ones. They also investigated the rate at which magazines disappeared and the rate of disappearance of “gossipy” vs. non-gossipy publications. Gossipy magazines were defined as those with five or more photos of celebrities on the cover.


The authors showed that nearly half of the magazines marked for this study disappeared after 31 days — more than one magazine per day stolen from the waiting room. Gossipy magazines were 14 times more likely to be taken than those of a non-gossipy genre. The amount of money lost to this thievery is not trivial, either:

The authors estimated that missing magazines cost general practices in the United Kingdom about £12.6 million ($18.7 million) a year, money that could be better spent on health care. They advised practices to consider stocking their waiting rooms with non-gossipy magazines to save money. However, they were not willing to investigate what would happen if there were no gossipy magazines in their waiting room for fear of a riot.