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Famous Last Words : Web 'Stoopidity' ...

December 2012 By Denny Hatch
6
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The New York Times Store
My wife, Peggy, and I have been to a lot of places. One day recently, Peggy mentioned it would be fun to get a world map that we could stick pins in to remind us of our various trips.
Mirabile dictu, the next day I came across an ad for such a map, in a handsome frame and including pins, from The New York Times store. With Peggy's birthday later that month, I went to the NYT website and spent 10 minutes ordering the thing (along with an easy NYT book of Monday crossword puzzles).

When I clicked "submit," I got a strange message saying that the order could not be fulfilled because of some problem about my email address. Please try again. I went through the process and was again turned down. Whereupon, I said "screw it" and abandoned the shopping cart.

Whereupon I started receiving "win-back" efforts, the most recent of which said:

Hi Denny,

This is a final courtesy reminder from The New York Times Store:
Your shopping cart will expire soon and you can still redeem your discount for 10% Off your order when you enter the promotion code USTEN into the coupon code box. This offer is valid for a limited time only.
Click Here to receive this exclusive offer. You will not be contacted further.

Sincerely,
The New York Times Store

I wasn't going to spend time trying to order only to be turned down again. Two elements of this win-back effort pissed me off: 1) Did they really think they could buy off a customer who was not allowed to order with a lousy 10 percent discount after the fact? 2) I looked carefully at my abandoned shopping cart and discovered I was going to be charged a usurious $32.95 for shipping and handling.

I felt like the little girl in the old Carl Rose New Yorker cartoon who, when her mother says "It's broccoli, dear." responds with, "I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it."

By the way, if you want a print of this cartoon, Condé Nast will sell it to you (unframed and unsigned) for $125 to $649, depending on size.

Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of Business Common Sense. Visit him at dennyhatch.com, or contact him via email at dennyhatch@yahoo.com.


 

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