I am still struggling to find time to blog at the moment as life and work have taken up pretty much all of my spare time.  But keen to keep things ticking over here as I am still running into lots of things that make interesting blog posts.

My latest is Transparency – I think in today’s day and age, the “T” deserves to be capitalized.  Transparency is the new Marketing code.  I am going to hold every company I use accountable to that code.

So with great reverence to Stephen Colbert, I have the Wag-of-My-Finger and Tip-of-My-Hat to the following companies.

Wag-of-My-Finger to… The San Francisco Chronicle.

I actually got an old-school, old-media subscription to the SF Chronicle a few weeks back.  It was from a cold-call as well!  Talk about harking back to the 80s.  I never usually answer cold calls on my phone, and rarely listen to the first two sentences if I do.  But there was something about this call that kept me listening.  Maybe it was the hum of the office environment in the background that made me think of a bustling newspaper office, super-heroes in mild-mannered disguise and slightly-too-gorgeous looking women with sexy horned-rimmed glasses and upward glancing eyes.  

Whatever it was, it got me hooked.  I subscribed on the spot to a Friday/Saturday/Sunday delivery for a special price of $36 for eight weeks – with no payment due until the end of that period.  And in ADDITION, to sweeten the pot, they threw in a $10 Safeway card for free!  We shop at Safeway so I couldn’t go wrong.

My first feeling of dread (as I knew a newspaper making a straightforward pitch in this day and age was never going to happen) was when I received a call that literally started out like this…

“Hello, did you order a SF Chronicle subscription recently? Yes.  We don’t have your details on file but you can pay by credit card now, please read your credit card number to me now and I will enter it into our system.”

Hold on.  And I gave her a spiel about what I had ordered.  She listened politely then said thank you and hung up.  Way too easy to get her off the phone.  An obvious ‘hit and run’ credit card number pressure call.  Way to go SFC.

And today, in the mail, I got a bill for the subscription and what I thought would be a nice shiny $10 Safeway card!  But alas, I need to sign up to EZ-PAY first.  So I can ‘auto-pay’ my subscription.  Not likely.

The moral of the story is just be honest and Transparent about the offer.  $36 for 8 weeks and if you sign up to EZ-PAY you get a $10 gift card.  Don’t bait me with a gift card offer, it just makes me feel worse about you.  

Which is a shame, as I like the paper. 

Tip of the Hat to… Pacific Gas & Electric.

For simple the easiest to read, most transparent electricity bill I have ever received.  And for having the easiest to use, most Transparent online bill pay system.  Well done.

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