Sunday, May 19, 2013

This is really startin' to chap my hide

My newest technology issue (actually this is a techie issue, not with the technology itself):  I have for years bought Car magazine at the news stand.  This is an expensive magazine ($10.99) published monthly in the UK.  I used Barnes and Noble discount coupons to bring the price down considerably, but they no longer allow coupon discounts on magazines.  Bye-bye B&N.

I went online and bought a DIGITAL subscription to Car for my tablet at less than 1/2 the retail price.  This required that I "create an account" for my new DIGITAL subscription.  Name, email address, problem.  But then they asked for my "customer number".  It says, "The customer number will appear on your PRINTED magazine address label."

Once again, I bought a DIGITAL subscription.  I don't have a PRINTED magazine with an address label to reference.  Without a customer number, no account can be created.  No account, no sign-in, no DIGITAL subscription to read.  *beating head against wall*

I fired off an email to Car magazine customer service. "Oh, we're so sorry for the inconvenience.  This was purchased through iTunes, so go to your settings, then 'iTunes & App Stores', then 'manage subscriptions'.  Enjoy!"

Nope, nothing.  They still require you to create an account in order to read a DIGITAL subscription, and this requires a "customer number", no exceptions.  Another email sent, which they promise will be answered within 3 business days.

All I want is my customer number.  Does this require a meeting of the publisher's Board of Directors?  Am I the first person to ever buy a DIGITAL subscription to Car magazine?  Nobody's ever said anything before now?

This confirms what I've said for a long time:  Nerds can do amazing things with bits and bites, but they don't have the sense to pour pee out of a boot with the instructions on the heel.

This is so ridiculous it's comical.  :)



  1. And were the instructions in French and Spanish, as well as English?

  2. This isn’t a nerd problem. The software will be fine. Whoever designed the web form will have been told to provide a field for a customer number and a password. But somewhere along the line of command, someone, somewhere, changed the requirements relating to the issuing of customer numbers, and failed to let the right people know. It’s a not uncommon problem to reach one of these impasses, even in large companies. I can feel your frustration.

  3. "...but they don't have the sense to pour pee out of a boot with the instructions on the heel." I love this line. I've never used it before but I just might borrow it. There was a time when I subscribed to a few magazines but that was a long time ago.

  4. I've been waging my own customer service battles with Comcast and Barnes & Noble in the last week. It seems the more money a company has the dumber they are.

  5. I've shied away from magazine subscriptions in the last few years. It started when they automatically would renew your subscription (which meant that if you didn't do anything they would just sign you up for three more years and then hound you for the money). Your story has convinced me to skip the digital subscriptions for now.

    I also love the line with pouring the pee out of a boot!