Companies ought to wise up---it's a lot less expensive to retain customers than to watch them walk out the door, then wage expensive marketing campaigns to win them back. After grumpily watching the price of my Chronicle home subscription rise to nearly $200 per year, I quit. (Another reason was that every article seemed to be an op-ed piece; whether one was reading the news, arts, business, or even the sports section, one couldn't escape the Party line. But that's not the point here.)
On Sunday a neatly dressed young man stood outside our Foster City supermarket and proffered a free paper as a come-on. I listened to his pitch: an annual subscription to the Chronicle was $115, at least 30% below the price of two years ago. And I would get a $50 supermarket gift certificate that would lower the effective cost to $65, a little over a buck a week. The newstand price of the Sunday paper alone is $1.50, so--he was breaking my arm!--I signed up and took the free canvas bag.
If one disregards the free dailies--which by the way have greatly improved--the San Francisco Chronicle has the newspaper monopoly in one of America's premier cities and used to be regarded as one of America's premier papers. It's now trolling for subscribers at suburban supermarkets and practically giving it away. How the mighty have fallen.
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