Jeffrey Stone, Do You Think I am A Professional Moron?

I’m a fan of Wired, sifting through the slick ads for the sometimes good writing… and I lifted the Wired. Tired. Expired. theme for a recent presentation.

But however “cool” a magazine may pass itself off for, underneath it is a business and there are bean counters and bottom liners working to milk my money. I loathe the “urgent” reminders that start 5 months before my subscription expired and I deliberately ignore them until a month before. What do I get out of giving interest free loans (okay, I provide this service to the US Government).

But this latest “personalized” note from “Jeffrey Stone, Office of the Publisher” makes me wonder if they are working under the P.T. Barnum School of Business:

Let me be frank. Alan Levine…
There is a special reason why I am writing you today.

Oh, I feel so special….

You’ve been a loyal subscriber and I’d like to show my appreciation.

Okay, I could really stand for someone to give my car a good car wash, or maybe pulling some weeds in the lawn. Tell me more Jeffy…

With just a few issues left before expire, I want to make sure you stay in the Wired family. So I’ve authorized our Customer Service to offer you a special, limited-time renewal opportunity:

Start with our low Professional Rates – save 80% off the cover price.

Well Jeff, I’ll ignore your awkward grammar (“left before expire”), and the fact that this expiration is actually 4 months from now according to my mailing label, this exclusive, professional rate you have gone out of your way to “authorize” ($12.00 per year), a whopping “80% off the cover prices” (I hate those gimmicks– no one buys a subscription as single issue cover price) is actually 20% more than the $10 check I wrote Wired in September 2004 for my last renewal.

I suddenly feel, well, less special, Jeffy. Like you see a big SUCKER sticker on my back. “Please fleece me with cheap words”.

It’s easy to renew. Just return the Voucher above by May 26. We’ll immediately validate that the Levine account receives our discounted Professional Rate For your covenvience, I’ve enclosed a postage-paid envelope.

Jeffie! You gave me a FREE FREAKIN’ STAMP! I am so stoked! You are dah man!

But wait a minute. If I mail it in before May 26, do I get the turnip twaddler? The Ronco stud setter?

And if I do not mail it in before May 26, can I have my old, un professional rate of $10 per year? Please? Jeff? Are you there?

P.S. For the best deal, be sure to check the two-year term!

And what a deal this is! Instead of paying $12 for one year, I get two whole years for $24!

Can you believe what a crazy guy Jeff is for offering me this kind of deal!!!! And they say we do not have good math skills coming out of our school system. Jeff is living proof!

Jeff? Jeff? The hose is over on the side of the house and you’ll find a bucket and suds in the shed….

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. hey alan,
    now you made me dig into my paper-recycling bin to look for the letter from the citibank. i hope i’ll find it when i get home tonight. the letter made me feel so special that i almost threw up on it. and now i am in the process of changing all my automatic payments to the other bank.
    so what was in the letter?
    well, they informed me that they had actually increased my already high limit by, like, 30% or so. that was the problem for itself, since i was actually thinking of decreasing my limits with an idea of getting rid of credit cards in general. but the really annoying part was the language in the letter, bragging about how hard i work, how great the person i am and how i deserved to spend all that money (which citibank will gladly borrow at the 19% annual rate).
    i think that either there are two many “morons” around that will buy this kind of stuff, or that the world is ready for the new style in business that will stop treating people like morons. so, we better tell them what we think!

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