Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Customer Service Representative

One of my reading crutches, as I like to refer to it, is Stephen King. It started one rainy day as a child when I did something mischievous and was sent to my room to 'think about it'. It turned out to be the book "It" which I started reading and couldn't put down. It is also why my parents had such a hard time disciplining me because I enjoyed getting sent to my room, which gave me plenty of time to read. Anyway, my fondness for Stephen King has lasted through the years even though I don't enjoy his later work nearly as much as his earlier stuff.

About a decade or more ago, I joined the Stephen King Library. Every six weeks, I was sent either a hardcover original edition of one of his earlier novels or a hardcover edition of his latest novel before bookstores even got them. All this for $18 that included the shipping and handling fees and was way less than the bookstores ever sold his books for. This went on for a couple years until eventually I had caught up with all his books and thus would only occasionally get his latest work whenever it was released. This was fine and only amounted to $18 a couple times a year.

Then three years ago, things started to change. Bookstores would get the latest book two or three weeks before I ever did meaning I had to avoid listening to others discuss it until I got mine and could read it. Worst of all, I started getting Stephen King Desk Calendars once a year which I don't use and have no need for but still have to pay $18. Finally after receiving my third over priced desk calendar and not having received a new release in a timely manner in some years, I decided to cancel my subscription and just pay the higher price in the bookstores with my savings from not getting a stupid desk calendar.

But as I went to send the email, I had a change of heart and decided to try and just get out of getting a desk calendar while still retaining the membership. Wouldn't customer service be willing to do that to retain a member? So I sent them the following email:

Dear Stephen King Library,

I do not wish to receive any more calendars in the future. If this is
not possible, then I would like to have my membership to the Stephen
King Library cancelled. Thanks.

Ed Abbey

Of course I got back a canned response saying they would get to my email and reply within three business days. Finally on the third business day exactly, I received the following email:

Dear Member,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your Stephen King Library membership.

As a member of the Stephen King Library, you will be sent one selection from our library approximately every 6 weeks. Unfortunately, we are unable to alter the frequency of this schedule or the order in which the books are sent out to you.

Thank you for your understanding and your continued membership in the Stephen King Library.

Please feel free to contact us again, if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Customer Service Representative

Michael 0417

As you can probably tell and so did I upon reading it, Michael 0417 didn't even read my email before sending some canned response that didn't address my concerns. So I sent him this reply:

Dear Michael 0417,

Since you obviously answered my request with out actually reading it, I am not surprised that you answered a question that I never asked. Please cancel my membership effective immediately.

Ed Abbey (former Stephen King Library Member)

You just can't get good customer service these days.


I received a response yesterday from my last email. It read:

Dear Member,

Thank you for contacting us.

As per your instruction, we have processed your cancellation request.

You may receive up to two additional notices indicating that you need to respond. However, the featured selection will not be sent automatically.

Please feel free to contact us again, if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Customer Service Representative

Miriam 0465


The Real Mother Hen said...

This is funny :) the moral of the story is - naughty children read Stephen King!

Murf said...

I feel you on being sent to your room as a kid, Ed. I didn't mind spending time there with my books, toys and Duran Duran records.

Leave it to a woman to take care of things. I wonder if the number after their names are their prison IDs.

Ed Abbey said...

Mother Hen - At least they did until their customer service started sending them overpriced calanders to raise capital.

I thought the numbers were odd too. It reminds me of the Hanes underwear inspectors who also had numbers.

Ed Abbey said...

That last two sentences were for you Murf. I forgot to type your name.

Murf said...

You forgt? I guess the honeymoon is over. :-)

Mikey said...

I'm a member of the same SKL, and I have to agree with you about the whole not-getting-the-new-book-'till-after-the-stores issue...but, since I'm pretty slow to read these books, I don't usually feel the need to have the new ones right away. I am a member of a couple other book clubs, too, and I am starting to think they're all the same company, with a different name...I just cancelled one of my memberships and I got the exact (word-for-word) same e-mail message confirming my cancellation. Also, though I don't really use the calendar, I do enjoy the short excerpts and trivia they give us about the SK world, so I guess I'm happy to get them. But I guess the point is that you're the customer and you should be treated as such, right? Right.

sage said...

I suppose SK was too young when I was being sent to my room, but I did learn morse code and semaphore during those lonely afternoons...

Ed Abbey said...

Murf - I think the honeymoon was over a LONG time ago. ;)

Mikey - I think you are right. I did call them too and from talking with them, they do sound like a big organization with lots of other clubs under their wing. Although I enjoy reading the trivia, I can't remember a single thing a day or two after putting the calander down. Thus it follows the my rule that if I can't remember it next week what happened the week before, then it isn't worth watching or reading.

Sage - I still want to learn Morse Code someday.

The Real Mother Hen said...

I read it and went for my coffee, as I sat there, I suddenly realized that I have never being sent to my room before. It is just not part of the culture. Either that, or, ahem, I'm always good as gold, no wonder my ego is bigger than planet earth. Now I finally get it! Also, I just have to throw it one more line, "good girls don't read Stephen King"