So yesterday, I bought a newspaper, and amongst all the junk adverts inside, advertising rubbish, was a small slip of paper advertising The Week. The offer was for one free issue, as well as a USB memory stick, and I think we all know my weakness for memory sticks. Anyway, it’s been a while since I read The Week, so I thought I would give it a go. Their advertising schtick is that it only takes an hour to read their magazine cover to cover, and then you are caught up on the week’s essential news.
So I gave the chap my details; name, address, email, etc. All well and good. Then he tried to sell me an extra five editions, for the princely sum of £1. I politely declined, and expected that to be the end of the matter. “Oh, come on, Rob, you can’t buy anything for a pound these days. Isn’t that very reasonable?” Well, thank you for your offer, but no thank you. “Just to let you know Rob, when we’ve carried out surveys from our previous promotions, the common complaint was that one issue wasn’t enough of a taster for our readers. So that’s why we’re now offering this additional five copies for just £1. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, really, Rob. Think about what you can normally buy for one pound, Rob, it seems very reasonable.” Well, no. I wasn’t interested, thank you. I rang up because there was an offer of a free copy of The Week, not a free copy of The Week and the Hard Sell. I was very close to letting the kind gentleman with the Hard Sell that he could take his free issue and shove it, that I wasn’t interested. But finally he took the hint, that wasn’t actually a hint at all, but rather a bald statement of fact: “I’m not interested in making any further commitment today. I’ll read the FREE issue which you are going to send and see how I feel after that.”
So I am now waiting for my free issue to arrive. Obviously the hope is that readers sign up to the “Five for £1” offer and forget to cancel. The issues normally cost £3.10, but the subscription on a quarterly basis is ~£27. There is quite a big jump between 20p an issue and £3.10 an issue.

The funny thing is, when I looked up their website for this blog entry, I noticed that they are offering SIX free issues. So I have signed up. I have handed over my bank details, and I will be careful to ensure that I cancel my subscription before it starts costing me any money. It turns out that the joke is on them; if they had been slightly more relaxed on the phone, they might have got an extra pound out of me. But as it is, I will get an extra five issues out of them for absolutely nothing.

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