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An Open Letter to Popular Photography Magazine

December 7, 2011
American Oystercatcher

© jmillerphoto.com - American Oystercatcher

To whom it may concern at Popular Photography:

I have enjoyed your magazine, off and on, over the years.  This summer I allowed my subscription to lapse.  Every time I move I review the magazines I’m subscribing to in an effort to make sure what I am receiving and what I am paying for is something I really need.

In reviewing the previous 6 months of issues I found that your magazine had become less and less applicable to the work that I do.  Whether it be the direction you are traveling in or the direction I am traveling in, I’m not sure.  But it really doesn’t matter.  It was time…Break-ups happen.  I didn’t update my subscriber information with you–I didn’t see the need.

I’ve seen your repeated offers in the mail requesting that I once again become a subscriber.  I’ve reviewed them, but declined to take action.  They have made for colorful additions to my shred bag and may once again find their way into usefulness as packing material.  Thanks for the contribution.

So this past week I get a phone call from the telemarketing firm that you hired to convince me to subscribe again.  Mind you that I provided neither my new address nor my new phone number to your magazine.

One of the people in the conversation was polite.  It wasn’t the one who initiated the phone call.

The deal offered did not sound out of line, but I don’t buy things over the phone.  Call it a matter of principle, but I find the vast majority of telemarketing to be intrusive and unwelcome and I will not feed the telephonic troll by changing the way I do business.  This did not make the pushy fellow on the other end of the phone happy.

I requested that they send the offer in the mail and I would contemplate it.  He said they could send me a bill.  That is not the offer–that’s a commitment to the magazine. I understand that telemarketers make money with each sale that they make and sending me an offer in the mail wouldn’t help his evening’s quota.  I get it–but I still won’t buy anything over the phone.

I said “No thanks.”  He continued to push.  I hung up the phone.

I feel for the guy on the other end of the phone.  Telemarketing is a job taken when you have few skills and/or few prospects for work.  It is an awful job.  You hear “No” more often than the class nerd looking for a date to the senior prom–and I know that feeling first hand, with the receipt for the corsage and no kiss to show for it.

But when you are representing a company and you behave badly, it reflects on the company that hired your employer.

So Popular Photography, I will not be renewing my subscription anytime soon.  Your past performance as a magazine did not encourage me to renew in the first place.  I cannot and will not blame you for trying to bring me back into fold–keeping a subscriber base is what keeps a magazine open.  But the firm you hired interrupted my evening, called me when I had not given you my contact information, and employed a pushy young gentleman who needs to learn some manners.  If I was going to renew before I sure as heck wouldn’t now.  You got what you paid for.

About the image:

I pulled one out of the archive this time around.  I made this image of an American Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) back in late 2007 at a photography workshop offered by OC Garza.  It was made at the north end of Port O’Connor, Texas in a place that the locals refer to as Boggy Bay.  Sorry, no ID on his breakfast…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2011 12:05 pm

    Great post, Jim. 🙂

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