Monday, January 19, 2009
Buy early, buy often
As we the people have exercised our democratic right not to spend over the past few months we've seen a rash (a rash!) of new and new-again sales techniques to help us part with our money.
The classic buy-one-get-six-free technique has had another run around the park, the 10% off minnow sales have been replaced with 70% off behemoths, and I've received enough catalogues in my letterbox to make a decent sized thatched roof.
Some brochures have tried to cajole me into buying, some have presented me with such darn good value I cannot but buy, and some have promised me all sorts of wonders like fridges so attuned to my every need that I won't know where my friends/loved ones end and my fridge begins.
But none have made me feel like I'm under the rule of a non-benevolent dictator, until now. Today I received one of those book club brochures in the mail; you know, one of those "we'll send you a remaindered crap-arse book every month until the end of time and charge you often and well for the privilege and all that we ask of you in return is that you forget to cancel the direct debit"-type book clubs.
So this book club brochure is full of great-sounding deals like "3 books for $10," VIP this and savings that. It even lists "six great reasons to join [crap-arsed book club] today," which is all well and good until number six: "WE'VE RELAXED THE RULES - You don't have to buy a book from each magazine and you never have to buy a book you don't want. All we ask is that you buy 6 books in your first year of membership."
Firstly, the formatting is straight from the brochure, including the bits where they YELL AT YOU with caps and the bits they pitifully implore you with italics. Secondly, thanks, I guess, for not forcing me to keep a book I really don't want. Um, that's very generous.
And thirdly, telling me they've relaxed the rules doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about being clasped to the bosom of the book club; it makes me think they've opened the gates to the compound and are dangling chocolate-coated books just inside the doorway and that snap! As soon as I sign that direct debit form the gate will close and the Waco-esque cult will resume its normal operations.
On the other hand, they're giving away a free wok set (a set! Including wok, bowls and utensils) with every new membership, and three books for $10 is pretty good, and you don't need an envelope or stamp to send the form away... hand me that pen.