Thursday, August 05, 2010


National Geographic – You of All People!

My story starts with an email I got from a colleague yesterday who just had his second child. “How do you do it?” he asked me. I laughed and thought, “Oh, if you only knew me better, you’d never ask that.”

My close friends and family (and a few co-workers) know that my list of accomplishments is not nearly as long as my undone to-do list. For example, Dave’s Christmas gift was a subscription to National Geographic – a subscription I gave him last December and JUST ordered in July.

Which brings me to the second part of my story.

As I was doing dishes last night, the phone rings and it’s a man from National Geographic, welcoming me to the family. He proceeds to tell me that they will be sending me a free map of the world as a thank you gift. “Oh, how nice,” I think, “I like maps of the world.”

But that quick thought makes me miss the next sentence. They are also sending me a DVD with the best episodes of National Geographic. I tune back in, “which is mine to keep for only $9.95.” Now he’s talking really fast and my momentary lapse of attention has put me at a disadvantage.

From what I can gather, I’ve got two weeks to return this DVD or I’ll be charged $9.95.

“OK,” I say to myself, “I guess I can give Dave a DVD as well as a subscription.”

Doh! The fast talker has now turned on a recorder and is asking me for my name and address and now he’s telling me that if I don’t return the DVD in two weeks, I’ll start receiving DVDs every month at a cost of $14.95 plus shipping.

My mind flashes to May 2011 when I’m furious at myself for paying $200 for a stack of unopened DVDs scattered on the floor of god-knows-which room.

“Stop!” I say into the recorder. “Do NOT SEND me a DVD!”

“But why?” He sounds truly astonished.

“Because I will forget to return the first one and you’ll start sending them every month and it will take me forever to figure out how to stop the subscription and I will be furious.”

“But ma’m, it’s impossible to forget. We will send you an 800- number so you can get instructions on returning the DVD.”

Impossible to forget? The list of things I have forgotten over the past ten years is SHOCKING!

“Do not send me the DVD. Repeat, do not send me the DVD.”

“Fine,” he says, “You don’t get the free map of the world either.”


Am I getting the bum rush from ….. National Geographic?

I mean, really! I might expect that from Cosmo or Maxim, but National Geographic?

What would Mutual of Omaha think of this?

Sounds like in the evolutionary race between customer experience and profits, NG is evolving down the path of the dodo bird.
LOL-- Shari, you have the best real-life stories. You need to post more of these.
Very disappointing. It's a shame they decided to nuke their reputation for a quick buck.
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