The shiny white postcard arrived with a terse message oddly bunched in the upper left quadrant. Besides the stiff salutation addressing the recipient by first and last name, were four sentences and the closing, including a replicated signature.
On its reverse side the return address indicated The Arizona Republic as the sender, with the now ubiquitous azcentral.com logo on the next line. That’s the newspaper’s techie moniker letting readers know that the days of publishing a hard copy newspaper are closing in. The front page usually carries a vaguely proctological sounding “go deeper with digital” message. The communiqué?
“We want to let you know about a change to your subscription effective March 2016. There will be a change to our subscription cancellation policy. Refunds will only be made to positive account balances of $10 or more. We appreciate your loyalty and thank you for your subscription.
Barbara Smith, VP Customer Service”
Barbara, Barbara, Barbara. How smart is this? We all know the newspaper is in the proverbial toilet. But to admit that so many subscribers are ditching its increasingly lightweight and leftwing content that you affix a monetary punishment as they exit, is not exactly an exhibition of business savvy. This reeks of larceny. There is no restocking fee, as if an electronic product is returned, requiring repackaging and a discounted price. What you are alerting the few remaining readers to is the fact that you intend to keep their money if they have the audacity to leave and still have a balance of…let‘s say, $9.52. That’s indefensible, Barbara. It’s beyond cheesy. Rational subscribers are leaving because they are tired of being insulted by the editorial policy, reporting slant and the ASU sweatshop student reporting crew that replaced the reporters who took the early buy-out packages the newspaper offered to stay afloat.
So you intend to add further insult to that effrontery by clipping us as we take a hike? It sounds an awful lot like the antiquated concept of alimony — the old pay-up-for-walking-out proposition.
We‘ve never even held hands, Barbara. Don’t even think of grabbing any additional money.