Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cancelling a subscription is no easy phone call

After the election of 2016 I thought I wanted to stay on top of the news more than ever, which just proves how little I know myself. I subscribed digitally to several papers of various political bents, I downloaded apps. Recently I decided to cancel my subscription to the one I read the least, let’s call it the Wonk Gazette. They do not make it easy. While the conversation below is not an exact transcription, it does truthfully convey the overall experience.

Wonk Gazette: “Hello. How may I provide you with excellent service today?”

Me: “Today’s no good for me, but I would like to cancel my subscription.” 

WG: “All right, sir. Let me just confirm some information. I see you have been a loyal subscriber for 15 months. We are having a promotion right now, and I can let you skip a payment for an entire quarter.” 

Me: “That’s a great deal for somebody not cancelling their subscription.”

WG: “This is our most popular discount, sir, a savings of $45.”

Me: “You are witnessing my most popular feature, which is my patience. Can you cancel my subscription?”

WG: “Most people...”

Me: “Is there a number of times I need to ask you to cancel my subscription before you’ll do it? Because just give me the number. I’ll ask it five times or eight or whatever. What’s the number?”

WG: “If you find that your busy schedule does not permit reading the WG at this time, I can put you on a hold for this quarter and resume your access in the summer.”

Me: “Look, it’s nothing against your paper. It’s a quality read. I have just, over the last year, realized I am defenseless against the siren suck of Facebook. Turns out I’d rather watch a tiny hedgehog eat baby corn than read about how the world is losing its mind. You feel me?”

WG: “Would you like to upgrade to Premium Slackoff? For just $35 more a month you keep your subscription but we block access to your account. So it’s guilt-free.”

Me: “I just want you to cancel my subscription. I can say it in my high school German if you prefer.”

[Puts me on hold for two minutes; a ploy designed to make the weak hang up]

WG: “O.K., sir, I have cancelled your subscription. I just have one more question.”

Me: “Shoot.”

WG: “Would you be interested in hearing about our introductory New Subscriber rate?”

. . .