So...*subscribing* costs more than buying at newsstand?!

I just canceled my (Sunday only) subscription to the LA Times. Although the newsstand price is $1.50 per paper, the subscription was charging me $2.00.

I understand that it makes sense, sort of, because unlike a magazine these things have to be hand delivered. But still–that just seems like a ridiculous policy. We aren’t shut-ins; we’re out and about on a Sunday. We can actually buy it ourselves! What incentive is there, except to not have to go to the store?

And of course, as seems to be the fashion for all newspapers IME, the Times was the worst with telemarketing calls. The “no call list” thing wasn’t working, so I called customer service and told them to basically knock it off, or I’d cancel. Now that we’ve canceled anyway, I have to brace myself for the onslaught of “Come back come back!” advertising.

Starbucks sells the New York Times. Maybe I should buy that on Sundays instead.


Wait, how much is the normal per-paper cost for a subscription? Maybe you’re paying for more papers than you are getting??

Tangentially related, I took my kids to the library the other day, and a subscription card for one of the kids magazines fell out. $35 for 12 issues of a 45 page kids’ magazine! And $35 for 10 issues of the baby magazine. Insane.

Ah. The LA Times. The memories, the memories.

Me: Hi, I’d like to order the LA Times Sunday edition
TM: You can get it all week long for only 50 cents a week more
Me: But I don’t want it all week long, I only have time to read it on Sundays, and I don’t want to bother with the mess of it the rest of the week.
TM: Ok, where do you live
Me: <gives address>
TM: That’s not showing up on my map.
Me: That’s because it’s a new development. Don’t worry, I’m calling because somebody from your local advertizing department left a flier on my porch, so they must know where I live.
TM: Ok, you should get it this sunday. We’ll send you a bill.

Sunday comes, no paper. Since I called on a Friday, I was doubtful anyway. Next Sunday, no paper, me call.

TM: I can’t seem to find your name or address anywhere.
Me: Well, let’s sign me up again. <and we go through the exact same conversation>

Sunday comes, no paper. I have the same conversation one more time (including the part about them not being able to find my name in the computer), saying that this is their last chance. No paper.

Me: Hi, I’d like to cancel my subscription.
TM: Why?
Me: I’ve been trying to get a paper for 4 weeks now, but it’s never made it to me so I’d just as soon cancel.
TM: I’m sorry for your inconvinience, I could offer you a couple free weeks for your trouble.
Me: I have absolutely no faith that the free papers would be any more successful at reaching me than the ones I’ve been willing to pay for.
TM: Ok, give me your name/address/phone number
Me: <I do>
TM: Hmmm…I can’t seem to find you in the computer.
Me: Great, then you won’t send a bill?
TM: <laughs> True, if you’re not in here you can’t get your paper, but at least you won’t get billed!

Two weeks later, the bill showed up. They spelled my name wrong, the name of my street wrong, and they got the wrong house number. The Ventura County Star may be a hellish little paper, but at least it shows up every week.


This of course brings up memories of my youth:

Dad: Hello?
LA Times: Hi, this is the LA Times, are you interested in subscribing?
D: We already get the paper.

Lather, rinse, repeat about once every fortnight. Apparently they don’t crosscheck their telemarketing list with their subscriber list, as we got the LA Times 7 days a week for as long as I can remember.

I get calls from the regional rag every few months, asking if I want to subscribe, and I always tell them that I specifically and emphatically cancelled the paper because (besides their crappy reporting) none of the head honchos would do anything about our (rural) carrier driving in a manner that was very likely to cause a serious accident (because of where our house is – driving on the wrong side, at the top of a blind hill). Obviously they just call everybody :mad:

Nope, Cessandra, I double checked. We had the “Sunday Only” delivery subscription, and it was specifically detailed on the bill that we were paying $2.00 per paper.


LordVor, Ventura County Star wasn’t too bad from my experience–but the Daily News for the same area was an effing nightmare. Ever have to wrestle with them?