Tuesday, 26 February 2013

An offer I can refuse

My friend Graham gave me his Ramblers magazine yesterday, he passes them on to me when he has finished with them, saves me paying to join. I then pass them on to Paul, saves him paying to join also. This leaflet dropped out which caught my attention. I usually skim and chuck most leaflets, but this looked like a particularly good offer, worth further investigation, I thought. The complete Pictorial Guides by Alfred Wainwright, for only £14.95. 
Wainwright is a legend, he spent twenty years walking the Lakeland Fells, writing up his guides. His books have inspired thousands of people to take up walking, and this collection would be welcome on any enthusiasts bookshelf. Right, I'll send off my cheque for £19.90, which includes P & P, and wait for my book set to arrive, along with the free gift of a compact Oxford Dictionary, a Thesaurus, and a Parker pen. Can't be bad, just look at the money I'll save over the normal price.   
But hang on a minute, surely it can't be that simple. Surely there's a catch in it. Read on, yep, there is. In exchange for this wonderful offer you have to agree to buy four more books over the following four weeks, the cheapest being £17.95. OK, so what can you get for £17.95? I've been on the web site to check out the titles, and to find a book at that price is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Even if you did find four books, with titles that you might be interested in, 4 x £17.95 = £71.80 + I'm guessing £5 P & P for each book, gives a total of £91.80. 
So, in total, the whole caboodle, boxed set, plus four books at £17.95, would cost £111.70. I suppose if you add in the free dictionary, and thesaurus, and pen, it might be an ok deal, if you had the money lying around waiting to be spent. But what if you don't need those two books and pen, and struggled to find any books of a subject you liked at £17.95? You would end up either buying books you didn't like or need, or paying a lot more for books that you would like. The £17.95 is a carrot to hook you in.
What galls me is how much they say their books are worth. It seems to me they make the prices up to make the offer look good. Mind you I have lost touch with book prices, it's many years since I last bought one from a real bookshop. How come a dictionary and a thesaurus costs a whopping £59.95, good grief, I'll go and get one from the discount bookstore, The Works.
I don't know how they arrive at the figure of saving £212.35. What most people forget when they order online or through something like this, is the cost of P & P. I always add it to the price of the goods, because that's what it's going to cost me. Fair enough if you live in the sticks, paying the P & P would probably be cheaper than getting in your car to go and buy whatever you want. I am near enough to town to be able to go shopping.
Anyway, the moral of this story is to read the small print, then bin the leaflet. Don't get hooked into buying something which you will live to regret. I don't need the books anyway.
Toodle pip.
Please excuse me if I add a polite request here. I am getting over 100 spam comments daily. Most go straight into my 'spam' box as filtered by blogger, but quite a lot don't and end up in the 'comments pending' box. I have to sort these out, which takes time. All the spam comes from Anonymous, and are generated automatically by machines. I don't want to stop allowing Anon comments because I know there are a lot of genuine readers who use that facility. Could I ask that everyone who does use Anon, to start their comment with their name. Something like, Susan here, Carol here, etc. It would help me enormously to whiz through the checks a lot quicker, I don't want to zap genuine comments, and this would help me to spot them. If this works I won't have to disable the Anon option. Thanks very much.


  1. Hi Ilona, you really do have to watch those 'special offers' don't you? I remember being in a type of book club, they sent you so many books a month and you had to send them back by a certain date if you didn't want to buy the books. I'll bet many people didn't bother to send them back and ended up with a heap of books they didn't want! I'm more than happy to stick with the library these days, or I will buy something from the charity shop and then take it back when finished! I have a lot of Maeve Binchy's books as they are my favourites and I do tend to re-read them, so they are definitely staying but everything else (of mine) has been cleared out.
    Judy xx

  2. Hi Iona
    I also have just started to get these annoying 'anon's.
    I'll see how it goes and maybe like you I'll have to change things.

  3. Ilona, I'm sorry you get so much spam! It's very kind of you to bother with it so your readers can post anonymously (not sure why people do, but there must be a good reason?)
    I just zapped my Very First Blog Comment Spam this morning...does this mean I am now a "real" blogger? ;)

  4. Yes, all the too-good-to-be-true-offers really are too good to be true, there's always a catch.

    Latest one to nt inbox is the wine club, a box of decent wine delivered to your door at a very reasonable introduction price. Until you realise you have to agree to join their club and take future boxes at "normal" prices, OK it says if you don't want them to return them, at my time, trouble and cost.

  5. Hi Ilona, I got caught out with a similar offer years and years ago, it was a craft club and all you had to do was buy 4 more (full price) books to get 3 books of your choice for next to nothing, but not only that, if you didn't order a book each month they automatically sent you their choice of book!! I was less wise in those days and signed up for the 'club' but after totting up the real cost of the next 4 books I quickly realised my mistake and cancelled it at the first opportunity. So yes, indeed always read the small print and between the lines too if you can! Love reading your adventures, hope you manage to zap those spammers! x (anyone want to buy 'How to make dollshouse furniture' or 'How to make a quilt in one night' or ....... lol)

  6. Shirley here!

    Understood & will folllow the rule - hopefully you will not have to disable as it is nice to leave the occasional comment or 2!

  7. I dont even look at those cards that fall out of mags mainly because i dont buy any magazines. My only advice for anything you want to read about is library, library library............ ours has all the latest magazines, books, movies and free internet, and coffee, tea and hot chocolate and lovely comfy chairs, a/c in the summer, toasty in the winter. Once about every five years I read a book (mostly sewing with patterns) that I have to have and I buy it from Amazon and add it to my little library of reference books. I have heard that book clubs are hard to get out of and they send you books and you will not be bothered to send them back - it is call "inertia selling" and they rely on it a lot. Cant blame them, they are in business to sell books, anyone who gets caught in that trap does nt deserve any sympathy ( cruel I know but you have to be very deserving to get my sympathy these days)

  8. Hello Ilona from House fairy
    I have not been posting here for a few days.
    I have been decluttering and cleaning my home.

    Today, I got the sewing machine out.
    I want to do sewing for a wile. Today I made a small curtain for the downstairs closet. It looks beautiful. I like the change.

    I too! in my younger days signed up to book clubs. Not any more.

  9. One Christmas the children and Mum joined together to buy Mr O the Wainwright collection, however, they got it from Amazon and it was considerably cheaper than high street book stores.

    He doesn't read books, but when he is planning a walk in the Lakes he always has his nose in one of the Wainwright books to see what Mr W has to say. We went on one walk, got totally drenched I think he nearly cried when he took the book out of his pack and found it was ruined. I bought him just that one so he still has the full collection.

  10. Thats the same as the magazines that sell the bits to build things with it cost you an arm and a leg and sometimes they don't have all the bits. Always nearly an edition missing . Buyer beware and read the small print as always :)

    Sue R

  11. Hi Ilona, those mag ads are never worth it! Also, if you do need a dictionary or thesaurus, go to www.dictionary.com or www.thesaurus.com! They can be really useful and often have more definitions than the book forms!

  12. Hi,Ilona. This is Magatha. I found that I have to comment as anonymous. Where it says "select profile" anonymous is the only one I can access. I only seem to have this trouble with overseas blogs; I'm in U.S. Anyway, love your blog; read it every day.

  13. Jan here.What's the saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth?Amazing how many people get taken in.I follow the theory that if I need something,I'll seek it out.Probably missed millions of once in a lifetime opportunities!!I always pass magazines on if I have any.Don't buy newspapers but free papers go to local rescue for cat litter.The people who send spam sound a pain,like those anoying call centre calls.I feel sorry for most but some try to be a bit persistant,amazing when it's so easy to put the 'phone down.Brings out the worst in me.

  14. Like Marksgran, I joined a book club years ago, and would get books I hadn't ordered because I didn't tick the box to say I didn't want it. Now if I buy a magazine I tip the leaflets out onto the shelf and simply buy the magazine. I think the old saying "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!)

  15. Toni here!

    I understand and will do as you ask to make things easier. Hope you don't have to disable the "anonymous" feature.

    Spam is a complete pain isn't it?

    The book offer did look good until you check the small print. Bit of a con really.


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