Free subscriptions are still expensive
"You're special. I'm not trying to sell you anything", so was the gist of yet another subcription pitch from yet another overly upbeat (though significantly cuter sounding than the last) newspaper lady. But, of course, it was also yet another lie. A recycled lie.
I wasn't special. She was trying to sell me something.
Only this time, I knew what was coming. I knew that she would try to lure a positive remark from me about the paper she was trying to sell. Classic sales rhetoric. Get the sucker saying Yes! — she had that one secured by asking me if I knew what Jyllands-Posten was — and singing your praises before moving in for the kill.
Rhetoric traps, however, are only effective against the unsuspecting (or mentally challenged) victim. Once recognized, they're easily evaded. And so was this. Before she decided to stroll down the "it's free, but..." avenue, I preceded her.
"A free subscription for three months? Sounds good", I said, "but you see, I got that exact same offer not too long ago. Only free meant paying about half the price of a real subscription in administrative costs. Is your deal also like that?".
I giggled inside as she scrambled to come up with a way of denying what could not be denied. "Ehh, uhmm, well", she stuttered, "We're giving you the newspaper for free, but the only thing we can't give you is the administrative costs associated with it. Those amount to 32 kr. a week. But compared to the 13 kr. the paper is in retail that still a good deal. Now I'm no mathematician, but..."
"Let's see", I broke in, "that's 32 times 4 times 3... Around 300 kr. for your free three months subscription. No sorry, I don't read enough papers to make that a good deal."
Earth to Jyllands-Posten: Don't try to flatter me with vague compliments. Don't tell me that you're not trying to sell me something when you are. And finally, don't tell me free carries a 300 kroner price tag.
(I readily expect another phone call in another five months)