TEACHERS BEWARE: The Extra Reading Company
by Bridget Scanlon on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 12:33pm
This company offers reading resources. I saw a couple of free demo ones that I thought my students would be interested in reading, so I checked out the website. It turns out they advertise three different types of (what seems to me) highly motivating reading resources. It also doesn't give a subscription price. Their pricing is a "name your own price" kind of thing, but they do say that extremely lowball offers will be rejected. They give no idea at all about what would be considered "acceptable" as an offer. Since I only planned to use it as a secondary (occasional) resource for my students, I offered $25 for the year. I wouldn't pay anywhere close to that for any other occasional resource and I thought it was fair, considering the financial restrictions my district (along with other struggling districts) has put on teacher expenditures this year. They disagreed and that is where this email chain begins.
Me: I can't afford the price you set. Thanks anyway.
ERC: If that’s the case you must be living paycheck to paycheck. In this situation I would advise you to only be purchasing goods and services you “need” rather than “want.” This is an important distinction that will help you get your financial situation into better shape. Thanks for your interest.
Me: Wow - what condescension.
I am a schoolteacher with very limited school funds and the reason I can't afford this subscription has to do with making a line between professional money and personal. It has absolutely nothing to do with living paycheck to paycheck.
I am very glad to have not gotten involved with your company if this is how you treat people.
ERC: I think you GREATLY misunderstood the intent of my response. It was to be helpful, not “condescending.” So, this has been an incorrect inference on your part altogether. You were treated wonderfully—receiving a response to your concern that was straightforward, prompt, and compassionate toward what you indicated was a dire financial situation.
That said, now that you have presented me with this new information, I think what you originally meant to relate was that you didn’t “want” to pay the price you offered, rather than “I can’t afford it.” Because, it seems as though you certainly can afford it, you just don’t want to. This knee-jerk reaction happens on rare occasions when the prospective customer lacks perspective about the price of an annual service. For example, your cell phone bill probably costs AT LEAST $50 per month, or $600.00 per year. You’re billed monthly for that. By contrast, we’re offering you a service for the dirt cheap price of just $40 for an ENTIRE YEAR. This is why I say you lack perspective.
Thus, I will restate my advice. Moving forward, I would suggest that you are more careful/selective with your words, so as to be able to communicate effectively. If you choose not to purchase a product or service at a fair price, simply say “I don’t want to pay that much,” rather than, “I can’t afford it.” The latter statement, in this case, seems to have been a lie, and it’s always best to be truthful.
Nevertheless, as a customer service representative, I’m afraid I don’t have the time for further back-and-forth. You’re either willing to pay a fair price for a YEAR’S service, or you’re not. We do get prospective subscribers who offer nonsensically low amounts from time-to-time. I’m afraid you just happened to be one of them. In response, we offered you a 60% discount, the absolute lowest price available. This incredible gift should have been appreciated, not disdained.
Again, thanks for your interest.
Me: What is your name and who is your supervisor?
ERC: Sounds as though you have reacted emotionally to the points I have made rather than actually consider them. That’s a mistake Bridget. Don’t confuse argumentativeness with rudeness. The ideas I expressed are logical and correct. Either address their merits or don’t. But if you choose not to no need to respond. If you disagree debate is encouraged. However misplaced outrage is disdained.
Me: My name is Mrs. _________. Please give me your name and your supervisor’s contact information.
ERC: Bridget, you need to lighten-up. We’ve told you that you were wrong about a few things. It’s that simple.
Learn to appreciate when you’re educated, will you?
Me: Please send me your name and your supervisor’s name and contact information. And again, if you are showing respect, my name is Mrs. _____.
ERC: It’s disrespectful to refer to you by your first name? You’re mad as a hatter. This conversation, is over.
Me: I asked you in the email before to call me Mrs. ________, and again, you used my first name. Yes, that is disrespectful.
Again, give me your name unless you’re afraid to give it to me because of your behavior in this email thread and also, send your supervisor’s contact information.
Do not email me again unless it’s to give me that information.
ERC: The definition of INSANITY is doing the same thing over-and-over again, expecting a different outcome than before. You asked me for that information MULTIPLE TIMES. Each time, I did not give it to you. So, my question to you would be, are you INSANE? If not, why do you keep doing the same thing REPEATEDLY and hoping for a different outcome?
And then one minute later (with no response from me in between):
ERC: And, Bridget, didn’t I tell you this conversation was over?
I think I did, Bridget.
Yes, Bridget, I’m certain I did.
So, I sent back:
Do not send me another email unless it is to give me the information I asked for. You are at the point of harassment now.
ERC: Don’t be retarded.
If you don’t want to be contacted anymore, STOP REPLYING.
It’s that simple, Bridget.
Again, feel free to get the word out about this company.
UPDATE! Here is the post the company CEO Mr. Mason posted to Reddit and then deleted.
This is the founder of The Extra Reading Company, Joshua S. Mason.
Update number two! After nearly 2 weeks, I had assumed this was dead and buried. Then, I woke up Tuesday morning to this little nugget sitting in my inbox…
From: "Chuck Finlee"
And yes, if you're wondering, we will contact all
XXXXXXXXXXX and make them aware of your immaturity.
Uh, I don’t have one account on deviantart, much less multiple accounts. Apparently Mr. Mason thinks everyone needs to use aliases and “pen names” to make their point.
Followed a little later by this one.
From: "Chuck Finlee"
Here’s the letter we’re getting ready to send out to your employers about our concerns. We’ll begin with the physicians on staff at xxxxxxxxxx. Do you think it adequately addresses your mental deficiencies of which xxxxxxxx should be made aware?
Dear xxxxxxxxxxx Representatives,
It has come to our attention that an employee of yours, one Pearson Hurst (whom we believe is working as some sort of systems analyst for your organization), has been misappropriating your company’s time and resources to consistently harass our small educational curriculum company. Please be aware that we believe this individual to be highly unstable and suggest that you immediately review his qualifications/mental capabilities for the successful performance of his job functions. Pearson Hurst could be a danger to the viability of your organization and is most likely in effect stealing from you by wasting resources/company time.
To begin your inquiry, we suggest that you conduct an examination of any company assets over which he has had control, including his business computer and web browsing history as recorded on your servers. When you do so, you’ll no doubt find that he has been engaging in these harassment practices while you are paying him to perform duties as an employee.
It should go without saying that, as Pearson Hurst’s employer, you may be liable for his conduct, should we commence a civil suit against him in the near future. Thus, we suggest you immediately order this likely unbalanced individual to cease and desist his harassing behavior at once and consider terminating his employ, to safeguard your company from litigation.
Thank you for looking into this matter,
Let me digress for a moment and note that;
1) Creating this page and posting to Reddit were done on my own time, on my own computer.
2) This whole deal went down before I was even employed by my current employer.
3) I showed the head of HR at my company the above emails, and he had almost as good a laugh over them as I did.
And a little later, this text…
3314651266: Hey Pearson, have you done as you were told yet? The clock is ticking, pal. After that, I'll show you true embarrassment and shame... to you and your family.
Oh dear, is this page still here?
I think it is, Josh.
Yes, Josh, I’m certain it is.