I have subscribed to the liberal New Republic for about 40 years, so I was definitely going to renew. When the phone call came from the outsourced subscription company, I was offered as a "preferred subscriber" a 50% discount if I signed up before next week at a mere $67.99 a year. So I took it, pending a confirmatory call from a supervisor.
A few minutes later, when the follow-up call came, I thought to look in my latest edition of TNR and found the tear-out “savings certificate” offering one year at $39.97 – “a 59% savings off the cover price.”
Now, I am no math genius, nor a total dummy. I asked why I couldn’t have the price that anybody else could get if they tore the self-mailer card out of the magazine. I was told that I could.
So my preferred customer 50% discount amounted to 70% more than the rate offered to the average Joe or Jane who picks up the tear-out card off the floor. I think the FTC needs to investigate. Or some intrepid reporter for TNR.