Tuesday, January 13, 2009
When Free Is Not Free.
The other day, I was on one of those sparkly comment sites looking to get code for a nice, "Happy New Year" doohicky to put on a few of my MySpace friends comments. I found what I was looking for and copied the code I needed and then before I got the A-OK, there was a flash up on the screen. It said, "Would you like a free copy of ESPN: The Magazine? I thought I had clicked on the "NO" box, but lo and behold, a week later, a copy of ESPN: The Mag showed up in our mailbox. What ever. It was supposed to be a trial copy anyway... no harm in looking it over. Unfortunately, issues kept showing up. One every week. Then a BILL showed up. A bill for the subscription I did not ask for. A bill asking me to pay for 12 weeks or more of a magazine that, while entertaining and informative, I DID NOT ASK FOR! And before a few of you say it, yes I could have taken the time to point out their mistake..... but it was their mistake and I am a busy mother of 3.
This incident leads me to think that any and all offers of a "free" issue, book, video, you name it, isn't really free. Yeah, I'm naive like that. I think that if you are advertising something as free.... then free it should be. Don't tell me something is free then send me a bill. That's just bad manners. (This kind of includes those "free" mailing lables/calenders people send you for fund raising.) What would the magazine companies do if I sent them a bill for my time reading their publication when I didn't enjoy it or even ask for them? Imagine.......
"Hi, is this "Vapid Clothes Horse: The Magazine"? Yeah, I need to get the address to your accounting offices because I need to send you the bill for my time. Why, you ask? Well, I spent my time on your atrocious rag and it wasn't even worth using the pages to wipe my ass with when I ran out of toilet paper. Yes I did read the entire thing. No, I did not enjoy it. Please remit your $$$ promptly. Thank-you."
I see that going over well. What I want to know is, what makes this a profitable way to do business? How is sending out more than the complimentary issue of any magazine going to increase your profits? Materials, postage and labor has to be costing them major dollars, and in this economy, the money ought not be wasted! Do people actually PAY for magazine subscriptions they do not want and were not requested in the first place? I they do, they're morons. It would be like going to the store for just a gallon of milk, and having the cashier ring up cookies, chocolate syrup, and brownies, then making you pay for it all without any say so. It's stupid. It's harassment. It borders on bullying! I will not be a part of it.
So now, I am not using the same site anymore for my flashy, blingy comment graphics. I'm not tech-savvy enough to make my own, but you can be darn sure that where ever I go to get my comments now, I won't be checking the option to those supposedly "FREE" items. The experts are right... there's no such thing as a free lunch, or magazine issue, as it were.