Sunday, April 10, 2011

Letter to a Sneaky Company

Dear Such and So Company,
I did some research today and came up with these figures:
$216 price per year (rounded down for your benefit) $18/month for 12 months.
25 The Atlantic Monthly
24 Outside magazine
30 Strings
10 Reader’s Digest
25 Knit N Style
102 Now this is the price what your company makes off of me per year, after you’ve paid for my subscriptions. It may even be more cos y'all might get a discount on bulk subscriptions.
And let's not forget $30 for Acoustic Guitar. (This one was offered as a free two year subscription. I researched it anyway and added it to the subtractions, just to be fair to y’all. Regardless, y’all are still making at least $72 every year off of me. I realize you have to pay the bills and all, but I gotta say, that seems like a little much for about an hour of work. Is this how you treat special, preferred customers--by charging them $72 a year for talking them into buying some magazines? And really, that isn’t my biggest problem.
Firstly, when the conversation first began after I answered the phone, it was intimated several times that—because I was a good customer—I was getting some sort of special deal or incentive, kinda like a “thank you” to me for being such a “good” customer. I’ll admit, the idea of being rewarded got my attention--in addition to the fact that Patrick was very friendly. So, I listened instead of politely turning him down—which is what I usually do. He began discussing 60 months of magazines, etc. etc. We discussed what I like to do and what kind of magazine I might like to read. We picked out several and—with a few stops and starts—we finally chose five which I would select.
Then the price was outlined for me. My sales guy was very clear in saying “Well, we won’t bill you the $4.++ each week. The monthly price is $ 18.++. I was fine with the idea, although somewhere in my head a little voice was whispering to me that I might be getting bilked. I pushed that voice aside, however, and continued listening. (The fact that I was able to push aside my tiny worries is a testament to what kind of friendly worker you have in Patrick, by the way)
Patrick then let me know that he would have to pass me on to someone in the billing department because he wasn’t able to process the order. He did mention that I would need to get my credit card out to pay for the first month. Now I don’t mind paying for the first month. I understand the bills have to be paid and all. When I mentioned that I had lost my debit card—which is true, by the way—Patrick was kind enough to let me know that they’d be willing to do a check by phone. Okay, no problem. Then he handed me over to the billing department. It was after I was handed over to the billing department that I started feeling a bit—well, shall we say—“grifted.” Now, I realize that the word I just used is not actually a real word, but I wanted to get across to y’all the sense of chicanery that I felt was used by your company. Once I was passed on to the man--the second one with whom I spoke--who worked in the billing department, I felt an immediate change in attitude, purpose, and intent. I’m finding it hard to explain how I feel, but I hope someone, somewhere in your company is getting it.
I wish I knew what Second Guy’s name was cos he is really where the problem started. I asked him twice what his name was and he kinda mumbled it in such a way that I never really got it straight, ya know what I mean? I finally ended up just saying, “O.K.” and pressing onward instead of trying to figure out what he was saying.
One of my problems is with this Second Guy. I’m not sure exactly how y’all train your employees. I know that y’all have certain little tricks and rebuttals you use in order to get past the person’s walls. I get it. But as I was listening to Second Guy, I heard them LOUDLY and it became a little off-putting, yeah? He was at the point where he was trying to collect the money. He was talking so swiftly, as if he were trying to hide the small print, that I immediately saw an image in my mind of one of those slick con men—kinda like Professor Harold Hill in ‘The Music Man’ except your Second Guy wasn’t as likeable. I had to ask him to slow down about three times. I had to ask him to repeat himself. I had to ask for clarification.
Then Second Guy began trying to sell me the REAL load of goods. It was clear that someone had worked on a way to make it seem like this next idea was really MY idea or at least that y’all were looking out for my best interest.
“Well” says he, “Most of our customers don’t really want to keep doling out a measly $18.++ a month. That is such a small amount and we realize it’d be a hardship on you to have to gather up so many pennies to pay this bill each month. And to have to do it EVERY SINGLE month for sixty months!?! Why that is a hardship to which we would NEVER subject our loyal customers! Instead, we’re going do you such a good dead! We’re going to let you pay $70.++ a month for only 15 months. Then—after that short, very un-bothersome amount of time, you can just kick those weary penny-searching feet right up on your desk, pick up one of our magazines, and relax.”
Well, as I am paying off my school loan to the tune of mumble hundred dollars a month, along with other sizeable bills, I simply could not afford the monthly fee which he was so graciously offering as a way to make my life easier.
I explained my situation and he—of course—gave me a counter offer: I could pay less money per month, but I’d have to compromise and give up some of my precious “feet up on the desk, worries over cos the bill is paid” time. For only $ 50.++ a month for XX amount of months (I don’t wanna do the math, y’all. It is almost 2:00a.m. I’m realizing that I’m getting tired), I could have this other--less wonderful--payment plan.
Then I had to explain to your Second Guy once more that I couldn’t do that amount. He went straight on to next phase of the spiel. I could pay $ 37.++ for a longer period and time, thereby giving myself less feet/desk/magazine time, but hey, I had to make some sacrifices here.
Finally, I interrupted Second Guy once again and said—in what sounded to me like a very weary voice, “Can’t we just go with the price you and Patrick originally quoted? You know, the $ 18.++ ?” His voice illustrated his displeasure that I was so cheap and wouldn’t ante up the larger amount which ANYONE worth their salt would have coughed up immediately for such a great deal.
“Well,” he said, with what sounded like a sigh, “I’ll have to run it past my boss. Will you hold a moment?”
Of course, I held. Then he came back and announced to me that–since I’m such a great and loyal customer and cos I’ll surely derive such pleasure from the magazines—they’d allow this one time deal wherein I could still snag this special “loyal customer” deal even though I was only willing to pay the measly $ 18.++ a month.
I’m sure you’re aware that I’m taking a little artistic license in this letter to y’all, but—really—it wasn’t that much of a difference. I guess the things I think you ought to know are these:
1. Y’all might want to consider spiffin’ up your spiel a bit. I’ll tell ya that partway into my conversation with Second Guy in the billing department, I was thinking, “I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a mistake. I’m getting an inkling that it is.” The Spiel needs some polish. Smart people won’t fall for it. ‘Course, maybe y’all don’t care.
2. I think the $102 in profit y’all make is a bit on the hefty side. I feel like I could order all those magazines myself for a lot less. I know this for a fact cos I did the research. Considering my financial situation this year, I don't think I need to waste that kind of money.
These two point combine to make a conclusion which I don’t think you’ll want to hear. Second Guy made me feel like this whole situation is just a bad deal. Therefore, I am—officially and in writing--informing you of my intent to to cease all business with your company. Well, excepting the business of y’all refunding my money, please. Y’all can keep your magazines and send me my money.
Please tell Patrick I’m sorry for cancelling. Though he never said anything about it, I have this feeling he’ll get docked because I'm canceling.



1 comment:

  1. Geez! Loralee, I think I would have backed out when dealing with the second guy. I know, Iknow He wouldn't take no for an answer or let you get a word in edge ways! Why is it that these people have to try to spin things around and bilk us like this? I hate hard sells like this!


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