Friday, October 7, 2011

Edgar, the Button Man, and the New York Post

A long, long time ago, just after Edgar graduated from college, 1949, he was walking along Arch Street in Philadelphia, looking in the windows while searching for a job. The shop owner came out of the store and asked Edgar if he wanted a job to sell buttons, trimmings, and zippers to Philadelphia manufacturers. At that time, Philadelphia was a major center of the garment industry.

And so, he started the job - going to a list of customers, took the orders, and returned to the shop. The owner filled the orders plus a little more. If the buyer wanted 12 dozen items, the owner would send 13 dozen. "They'll either pay for the 13dozen, return the extra dozen, or keep it and not pay." Much to Edgar's surprise, almost all of them paid.

This marketing strategy came home to us recently - more than 60 years later.

We had stumbled into an inexpensive subscription to the New York Post - $2.00 a week, 7 days, delivered to our door. Never mind their politics. The headline writers are creative and their sports coverage is extensive.

We charged the $100.00 on our credit card for one year - at the end of that year we renewed again for another hundred dollars. Toward the end of the second year, we received a fraud alert phone call from the credit card company for a questionable $250.00 charge.

"Do not pay it," we said. "This is an unauthorized charge." Not a problem the credit card company cancelled the charges, cancelled that card, and said they would send us a new credit card.

A complaint email to a contact at the New York Post resulted in a snide response - That is the charge. And that is what you owe.

We're not paying. We don't need the extra dozen buttons.

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