They say that nothing can make a bad product fail faster than good advertising.
I might have found an exception.
About a month ago I took out a subscription to The Guardian, which allows me to get about 1/3 off the usual price. You pay for a certain period of time, and The Guardian sends you a sheet of vouchers which you swap at the newsagent for the daily paper.
What they don’t tell you is that several newsagents don’t accept the vouchers, which is a bit annoying if it’s one that’s close to where you live or work. On several occasions I have had to go ten or fifteen minutes out of my way to get the free papers, which for a lazy bastard like myself is one hell of an unwanted bugger.
I started off by resenting these bloody newsagents who couldn’t be arsed to follow the simple redeeming instructions on the back. I mean, fuck them. Did they not realise they were also missing out on my Smarties and Cherry Coke custom (sometimes I have a taste bud age of about eleven)?
But then I asked my local convenience store, Sphere Xpress on Parkway (it’s the best convenience store in the world, by the way. They’re all really nice and they sell Corona and get the papers in early, which is a Godsend if your son is two and likes getting up at six. If you’re ever in Camden and you need some Wotsits or a Reese’s Nutrageous, it’s worth a minor detour), if the voucher thing is ‘cool’ with them. The really pleasant shopkeep replied that actually it wasn’t, because you had to keep ringing up the bloody Guardian and they made it really tricky for him to redeem my vouchers. So I apologised, and told him I felt like a bit of an arsehole. Then I asked him why he accepted such annoyances off me and he said it was because I was a regular customer. How nice is that? I love Sphere Xpress, even if I have no idea why that’s what they’re called.
Anyway, I know from my statcounter that someone at the Guardian reads this blog, so, whoever you are, please make your subscription voucher redeeming process less of an arse. Just because I’ve already paid you doesn’t mean you can fanny around with the newsagents of Great Britain.
So, going back to the opening sentence: I don’t know if this product is failing or not, but I won’t be doing it again because I feel like I’m stiffing Mr. Sphere Xpress, whom I like and on no account would I take any satisfaction from stiffing him.
Not a failure of bad advertising, though (it was the ads that got me to do it); just a failure of poor service.
Talking of which, don’t get me started on Virgin Media. Long story short: never, ever, ever, ever, ever get yourself involved with that steaming bunch of shitwipes.