Friday, June 18, 2010

american shakedown

I got an e-mail today concerning my subscription to The New Yorker. It was funny in a few ways: first, it was a bit pissy about notifying me “three times” about my renewal (even if I’m not sure how) and essentially demanding payment. The second bit was the price: $69.95 for 47 issues (one year). “It’s simple, just click here, pay the money, and everything is good.” Sure. I finally find a phone number to call and the conversation ends up with “Josh” letting me know that I’m on auto-renewal (which is fine by me) and that the computer kicks out a $69.95 rate for 47 issues. The tone of his voice was actually implying, “Isn’t that great? Automatic computer stuff and we have to do nothing!” I told Josh that I wasn’t going to pay him jack at this point, let alone $69.95 for one year, so he needed to just simmer down. It went something like this:

Me: “Listen, Josh. I’ve been with you guys for 7 or 8 years now and you’re trying to junkpunch me with a $69.95 rate for one year.”

Josh: “Umm. That’s the standard rate.”

Me: “For what? Delivery via yak to a monastery in Tibet?”

Josh: “Umm. Did you get a special offer or rate in the mail or via e-mail?”

Me: “No, why? I'm renewing.”

Josh: “Well, what’s the best rate you can get?”

Me: “Where?”

Josh: “Umm, anywhere.”

Me: “Is this really the route we are going to take?” [me typing while talking]

Josh: “Umm.”

Me: “Okay, Josh. At your Web site I can get 94 issues for $69.95 or 47 issues for $39.95. Your move.”

Josh: “Umm.”

Me: “Josh, let me help you out here, you seem like a nice kid. I’m renewing my subscription with your publication. I love The New Yorker and I’ve been with you for years. What I don’t want is you sending me some bullshit e-mail about paying my bill and the cost being about the highest rate you can come up with. Make sense?”

Josh: “Yes.”

Me: “You’re saying that it’s automatic and computer-y doesn’t actually make me feel any better or confident in this process.”

Josh: “Yes.”

Me: “Good. How about you fix my rate on the Web site and I’ll log-in this afternoon and pay my bill which will be $69.95 for two years (94 issues).”

Josh: “Okay.”

I wonder. I really do.


No comments: