An open letter to the Odessa American Subscription Manager, but really to all of you who solicit business over the phone --
I recently received a call (in my office, while at work) asking me about (re-) subscribing to the OA. I was happy to do so and we went through the process with one of your sales representatives of getting me back on board.
It is, to be honest, unnecessary for me to subscribe -- I get the paper on campus for free four days a week and if I want it on the weekend, assuming I am in town, I can just buy it. Your subscription rate is too expensive and the paper can pile up if I am away for a few days or if I don't have the time to flip through it. But I like the idea of supporting the actual print newspaper and subscribing to the local paper, even if I already read it, further ties me to the local community.
In any case, when your sales rep -- who was competent and efficient, if a bit tied to her script -- passed me over to you I thought we were ready to finalize the process. Then you started trying to get me to pay right there and then. I get that. I do. But here is the deal -- I'm not going to give you my credit card information over the phone. I have not yet received a newspaper for one thing. But for another, too often these days you pass along your credit card information, and lo and behold, automatic renewal happens at a rate far higher than that of the extra-special bonus rate that hooked me to begin with. I think it's called a bait and switch, though I might be mixing my metaphors for tawdry business behavior.
So once I thought we were clear on how payment was going to work, you decided to chime in with "you know, sir, when the paper does come you do have to pay for it." That's when I responded, not unreasonably I'd argue, with "You know what? Fuck you. Cancel this transaction. I won't be disrespected like that."
You see, you need my business more than I need you. Oh, that's not always the case. My credit card company has me over a barrel. As do my electric and cable companies, albeit for different reasons. But you? A representative of that dodo bird of the 21st century, the local newspaper? You're expendable. At least to me you are. And apparently to most people all across the country. And the funny thing is in class not an hour before our little chat I actually encouraged my students to read the paper and gave them examples of two recent articles from the OA that are germane to our class topic. I guess I won't make that mistake again.
No, my response stands. Fuck you. Fuck you for daring to question my integrity. Fuck you for not understanding when "please send me a bill" means "I'm not giving you my credit card number." And, really, fuck you for not understanding the way this particular transaction works. Oh, I'll continue to snag copies for free on campus. But you've pretty much guaranteed that free is the only way this relationship works from here on out. And take a minute and ask yourself just how many people like me you can afford to alienate.
So, yeah. Fuck you.
More Customers Than You Think