July 14, 2013

The credit that never was

I SUSPECT I HAVE turned into an old grump. What made me grumpy today was a letter addressed to me personally from Cruising World magazine. On the front, in heavy black capital letters it said OPEN IMMEDIATELY.  And in the address pane, cunningly visible just above my name, it said: “Credit Adjustment - $151.64.”

Had I been a few decades younger and more naive, I would have shouted “Woo-hoo! They’re sending me some money!” But I have been around the block a few times.  I am not easily taken in any more. I can spot a scam when I see one.

This is scurrilous behavior for a magazine with the reputation of Cruising World and it makes me mad that it would descend to such depths of depravity in order to sell a few subscriptions.

When I am ordered to open an envelope immediately, I deliberately make it wait. I send it to the bottom of the pile immediately to teach it a lesson for being so rude, and I open it hours or days later, by which time the people at Cruising World will, with any luck, be turning purple with frustration.  There are some repetitive letters that I recognize from past experience, and I don’t open them at all.  They go straight into the waste-paper basket, savagely ripped in half.

But this time, when I judged the folks at Cruising World had turned the right shade of purple, I did open the envelope. As I thought, there was no check for $151.64 enclosed. No, sir. Credit means something else to these people. This is how they figured it out. Because they were offering me a three-year subscription to their magazine (36 issues) for $28, they calculated they were giving me $151.64 because if I’d paid the full cover price I would have spent $179.64.

You don’t have to be an Einstein to spot the fault in their logic, which is that I’d never fork out $179.64 for 36 issues of Cruising World when I can get it for $28. I may be an old grump, but I’m not crazy.

When they start charging 77 cents per magazine, which is what $28 for 36 works out at, the question arises: why not just give the darned thing away? There are plenty of publications out there that make a living on advertising revenue alone. Why not Cruising World? They could fire their whole subscription department for a start, and save a lot of money.

That would make me a lot less grumpy, too.

Today’s Thought
As for editorial content, that’s the stuff you separate the ads with.
— Lord Thomson of Fleet

Scottish police have found an effective way to break up rioting in the streets of Glasgow. They send in constables armed with collection boxes.
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


Greg Gray said...

You're logic is impeccable, and I think I might have proof. I subscribed to ESPN Magazine for my son. He didn't find it interesting enough and thought the over-abundance of ads detracted from the reading. I let it expire, wondering why they needed just $10/yr from me when they must have been earning so much revenue from ads. The renewal letters still come occasionally - and so does the magazine.

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

Perhaps you ARE an old grump. But if so, then just call me 'only slightly younger grumpess'. I have been so irritated by this kind of junk mail that I sometimes open it to see if there is a self addressed, pre-aid envelope inside. Then I mail it all back to them on their dime. I'm sure it makes no impression at all on this kind of thing, but it does make me feel better in the moment.