Additional Math Pages & Resources

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's wrong with these special-price offers?

I got a subscription renewal letter in the mail Saturday, and it seemed appropriate to mention it in this what can I do with my elementary school math? blog.

Here are the prices for a newspaper purchased at a newstand:
  • 7 days a week for $8.00 ($1.14 per issue)
  • 4 days a week for $5.00 ($1.25 per issue)
  • 1 day a week for $2.00 ($2.00 per issue)
Here are the initial-term special prices for a newspaper subscription delivered to my home for 13 weeks:
  • 7 days a week for $3.65 ($.52 per issue) 54% savings vs newstand
  • 4 days a week for $2.50 ($.625 per issue) 50% savings vs newstand
  • 1 day a week for $2.43 ($2.43 per issue) 21.5% penalty vs newstand
A weekly subscription costs less than half as much if delivered to the house, while a single Sunday paper costs $.43 cents more if delivered to my house than to the newstand! 

And here are the terms for an unlimited-term subscription initiated on the paper's website:
  • 7 days a week x 4 weeks for $13.89 ($.50 per issue) 4% savings vs mail offer
  • 4 days a week x 4 weeks for $10.00 ($.625 per issue) Same as mail offer
  • 3 days a week for 4 weeks for $9.00 ($.75 per issue) A completely new deal
  • 1 day a week for 4 weeks for $8.97 ($2.24 per issue) 8% savings vs mail offer
Presumably these are regular prices? Or is newstand pricing full price? Who can say?

In the fine print at the bottom of my mail-order offer, I learn these facts:
  • the offer will continue past the initial term at the published full-price rate
  • prices include sales tax
  • the initial term is 13 weeks
  • the subscription offer price applies to the first 6 months (26 weeks)
Do you see a problem here?
  1. The initial term is 13 weeks.
  2. The introductory rate lasts for 26 weeks.
  3. The full price applies after the initial term is over.
I have two words for this. Math Class. Someone should have been paying attention in Math Class.

Which term is it? Do I get 13 or 26 weeks? Which price is best? Regular, mail-in-offer, or something else? How could I possibly be an informed buyer with inaccurate, incomplete or misleading offers? What's special about the special introductory price offered in the mailing?

Nothing. It's cheaper to sign up on the Internet.  But I do see one more option.

I can get the eEdition, a service they refer to as A Life-Like Newspaper and an exact replica of the newspaper (presumably soy ink would still stain my hands and elbows?).

The replica is offered either on the Internet or via an Apple App for only $1.98 per week for 7 days-a-week delivery. That works out to $.28 per issue.

The last price I paid for daily delivery (before ending my 30 years of subscribing) was $55 for 6 months, or $110 a year. My average price paid was $.30 per issue.

I ended my subscription because I am an editor. I started working for newspapers in 1967. I can't tolerate the decline in editorial standards - or rather, I can no longer bear to pay for products full of grammatical errors.

As evidence, here is some content cut and pasted from the local newspaper's eEdition page:
  • When you open a new issue of the eEdition each day the paper will download itself on to your device in the backround. This will allow you to read at anytime and anywhere you wish
  • On the right side of the screen you will notice 6 icons, here is what they do: 
  • Help (Question Mark Icon) - This will give you instructions on finger tools for the Ipad screen
  • $ (Dollar Icon) - This will take you back to the Newsmemory App. To get back to the paper from here simply click Done in the upper left hand corner.
Note: Please submit Newspaper Delivery, Online Subscriber Services Access, eEdition support and all other Newspaper Account requests via the Electronic Forms Page by clicking on the contact web page link.

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