Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My letter to Trans World Entertainment

Below is the e mail I just sent to Trans World Entertainment - the parent company of FYE. I purchased the new Depeche Mode CD from an FYE store a few weeks ago. It came with a three dollar rebate offer. Read on to see how I feel about that.

TO: John J. Sullivan
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Secretary
E-mail: corpcomm@twec.com

Mr. Sullivan:

Hello. I am as surprised to find myself writing this letter as you might possibly be to receive it. You see, I was merely planning to send away for the promised $3 rebate offer for purchasing the new Depeche Mode album Sounds of the Universe. Have you heard it? If not – I’d recommend it. Not in a “Wow, what a groundbreaking album – this is their best work YET” type way, but more in a “Wow, their last few studio albums have not been all that great, and this one is way better than those, particularly if (like me) you’ve been a fan ever since Violator, but your favorite albums are Black Celebration and Some Great Reward because you’d be dumb not to recognize that those are the best ones” type way. But I digress…

The rebate offer. First of all, I think it’s an odd thing to have a rebate offer for a CD. The last rebate offer I sent away for was for cat litter. Which is, of course, the type of product you’d expect to offer you a rebate. After all, it’s a product that the typical purchaser most likely buys a lot -- for the life of their cat presumably, and that can be upwards of 20 years! Actually, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest cat ever, Crème Puff, was born August 3, 1967 and died at 38 in 2005! Adjusted for inflation, that means Crème Puff’s owner probably spent like, $16,000,000 on kitty litter alone. So they completely deserved a rebate offer every once in awhile. But a CD? That’s a new concept. But not a “new concept” like an “innovative idea.” It’s more like an admission that your product is overpriced, but instead of realizing this and giving consumers a break, you’re offering them a three dollar pain-in-the-ass rebate. Frankly, it’s insulting and yet another sign that you don’t show any respect for the people who purchase your product. Congratulations.

And that brings me to my main reason for contacting you. As you well know (because you never shut up about it), there are many people out there who “steal” music. Not to mention the fact that music can be purchased digitally by people who don’t have any desire to own the physical product. Because of this, retail music establishments are struggling. So who actually buys physical, legal CDs anymore? Old people, and collectors. I fall into the latter group, though I am sure there is some existing demographic data out there that would also put me in the former. But that’s not the point. The point is, what’s the last thing a collector, who purchased the physical product because he or she presumably wants the packaging, art work etc., is likely to want to do? I’m going to go with, cut the fucking UPC code off the back cover of the CD artwork and send it to you. Are you kidding me? First you insult me by making me jump through hoops to get a savings I should’ve gotten in the first place, and now you’re telling me that the only way to get this savings is to physically deface the product I purchased because photocopies will not be accepted. You are total assholes. You can keep your three dollars. Frankly, when you finally tank because your business model is so backwards and contemptuous of your customers, you can use it to buy some credibility. Not that it will get you very much, but it’s a start.

Thank you for your time.


Elle said...

*golf clap*

Laura said...

Why, thank you Elle. I actually held off sending this letter for almost a month after I wrote it, in case I simmered down on the issue and might regret sending it. I didn't, and I don't. I'm anxiously awaiting a reply.

Dr. Detroit said...

I've always had a warm and fuzzy spot for "Music For The Masses" and "Speak & Spell."

Excellent letter.

Melody said...

Very nice!

Lee said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

you can take the sticker on the front that also has a barcode on it w/out having to damage the cd. Rebates do suck, however take a look at the record labels and margins also.

Laura said...

Thank you Anonymous. I will take your comment as my official response from Trans World.

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