2013-10-29

You will read the Roundel, and you will enjoy it, damnit!


From: Jane Doe [Ed. - this isn't the "Membership Services" staffer's real name, as you may guess.]
To: me

An issue of your Roundel has been returned to the mailing house because of an addressing problem. It may have been any of the following:
  • The Post Office has a Forwarding Order for you but BMW CCA doesn't have that new address.
  • The Post Office Box we are using has been closed (according to the Post Office)
  • The address is good but the Post Office doesn't have your name listed as living there.
  • Mail has been returned but the Post Office has no forwarding address on file.
Obviously, the error could be the result of a Post Office computer problem, but it could be that you've moved and forgotten to tell us.

If you have recently moved and have forgotten to let National know your new address, you can update your information online in your account profile at www.bmwcca.org, by phone at 1-800-878-9292, or by email.

Jane Doe | Membership Services
BMW Car Club of America | 640 South Main Street, Suite 201 | Greenville, SC 29601

From: me
To: Jane Doe

Jane,
I do not wish to receive a physical copy of the Roundel magazine anymore.
Thank you,
Alex

From: Jane Doe
To: me

At this time, the only way to opt out of Roundel mailings is to cancel your membership. We do not a digital only membership. Unless you can provide a valid address, we will have to automatically cancel the membership if mail continues to be returned to us.

[Ed. - This is the point where I go huh? WTF? I ask politely to not be spammed, and you threaten me with cancelation? Like, seriously dude, WTF?
But then I think, hey, I've been giving you guys money, and haven't seem much aside from spam out of you yet. Maybe this is a sign.
I'm also slightly miffed by lack of opening and closing greetings in all the above correspondence. A simple "hello" and "bye" would have sufficed; not asking for much, there.]

From: Me
To: Jane Doe

I have paid for 3 years in advance Jane. But if my BMW club is so inflexible that it would rather lose a member than stop wasting paper and energy delivering a magazine a member does not want, then by all means, feel free to do so. You can refund my credit card directly.
Regards,
Alex
From: Jane Doe
To: me


Alex,
It's not that want to lose you as a member. We are a non profit organization that one of the main sources of revenue is our advertising revenue from Roundel. In order to receive the revenue that we do, our advertisers expect their ads in our mailings to reach a certain percentage of viewers. Unfortunately, with our demographics at this time, online viewing percentage is not as high as would be needed to implement a web only based membership without significantly increasing dues across the board for everyone. So at this time we must mail to all members. [Ed. - Dare I suggest, that if your online viewership is low, and people keep asking not to send them the printed copy... maybe you could improve your content? I kid, I kid. You just got stuck with the wrong members who don't know how to appreciate your publication. Stay the course.]

For the members who do not read the publication, we suggest donating it at you local doctors office or hospital or even elementary schools [Emphasis mine]. They are always in need of magazines and paper materials.

We completely understand your point of view, and this issue is always before the board. It's just a matter of weighing the pro and cons versus dues increases.

Every magazine and piece of mail we have returned, we are charged an additional .50+ return fee by the USPS. This is why we have to cancel memberships that have repeated returns without updated address info but make every effort to contact the member first. With 70k members, this also effects the club.

So again I understand your feelings,but hopefully you can see our side as well. If you decide not to provide me with an updated address I will issue your refund. I do hope you reconsider.

Best regards,
Jane Doe

From: me
To: Jane Doe

While I can appreciate how tough it may be for a non-profit organization to make ends meet, I can't help but ask myself, what kind of benefits does the club provide to me as a member that my membership dues don't cover? Because I honestly have yet to see a penny's worth of benefits out of the club for myself. And no, I don't count the extra exercise I get from carrying the Roundel to the recycling bin as a benefit.

For a moment, I will assume that someone is deriving value from the club, and my copy of the printed Roundel absolutely must be forced onto some unsuspecting bystanders to help offset the cost -- why doesn't the club staff run around the neighborhood and drop off all the unwanted copies for free? Although, being a marketing professional, I know that preschooler demographic might not be exactly what your advertisers had in mind when they bought those ads.

Either way my position remains, if the club is inflexible about serving members' communication preferences, I am fine with no longer being a member.

If you have questions about refunding my prorated membership dues, please let me know.
Warm regards,
Alex