Pandemic Journal, Day 618

I’ve been a subscriber to The Economist for a long time, and I really enjoy their journalism and their writing. I looked forward to having the newspaper arrive every week, as well as being able to read the online edition if that was more convenient. But the last time I renewed, the price for digital-and-paper was substantially more than digital-only or paper-only, so I switched to digital-only.

And I almost stopped reading The Economist. Their iOS app blurred the distinction between issues, and it felt like just one more unending stream of information. I got several of their newsletters by email, and those often sent me to the app or the website to read a story, but that was about it.

Today, I finally got around to calling them to switch back to paper, only to discover that they no longer offer paper-only subscriptions; it’s pure digital or a combination. And the first person I spoke with told me that it would cost north of $300 to upgrade the remaining 2-1/2 years of my subscription to the combo.

Soon after that, I was talking to the cancellation department; the representative told me the same thing, but then said the magic words “let me see what I can do for you”. She came up with a deal that seemed to be too good to be true: go to the combo for three years starting today, use my existing subscription as credit, and I’d wind up with a $15 refund. Of course I said “yes”; she said I’d get an email confirming the change in a few minutes and we hung up.

By that time, it was warm enough for Diane and me to go on a long walk – 5K, in fact, so we could complete the virtual Turkey Trot for 2021. The T-shirts had arrived last week and we’d been waiting to wear them!

When we returned, I had an email from The Economist telling me that the price I’d been quoted was a mistake and telling me to call back if I wanted to do anything. So I called and went directly to the cancellation department – this time, the agent offered a more realistic deal: one year of the combo at the Black Friday sale price of $112.50 (50% of the normal price), paid for by my credit, with the remaining $100+ refunded. I said “yes”, and this time, the deal went through.

I should be getting the paper version again in time for the annual year-end double edition, which is always a delight to read.

Timing is everything. Happy Thanksgiving!