As a freelancer, I find that over the past year I ended up buying a number of new books and CD to review for various publications. I haven't looked over the receipts from this year yet, but suffice it to say it was a lot of books and music over the past 12 months. (The lady who does my taxes might have a panic attack at all the computing for writeoffs.)
Anyway, since I was doing all this purchasing I signed up for a Barnes and Noble membership. I'm sure you know the general idea... pay $25 and you get 10% all your purchases for the year. While part of me rebels from the idea of paying money for a discount, I did it because I knew the money would pay for itself in the end. And it did. (Plus the B&N near me has a Starbucks where the discount also applies - score!)
But since I am no longer writing as many CD and book reviews I've stopped needing the discount. My membership is up at the end of the month. So when I went into Barnes and Noble the other day the woman behind the counter asked if I wanted to renew. I told her no, I didn't need it this year. She told me it expired the end of January and if I changed my mind I could renew at any time. Great.
Then I looked at my credit card bill and my account was automatically charged the $25 membership fee for another year. Hmmm... after a little digging, I found out the fee is automatically applied to your credit card every year unless you cancel within 30 days of the renewal. I'm sure this was on some paper work when I signed up, but what I find interesting about the entire deal is that the company renewed my membership a month before it expired. This basically makes me lose out on an entire month, which I already paid for. Not Cool.
On the other hand, I also signed up for a Borders membership. This one is free. Now, I don't like Borders as much as Barnes & Noble. To me the stores aren't as aesthetically pleasing, so I'm less likely to go there. But I'm beginning to rethink this for a number of reasons.
First: The membership is free. So I am not forced to pay $25 to land 10% off. I get it automatically once they have my name and I get a Borders card. Second: Instead of sending additional discounts to me on books I'm not interested in reading, like B&N does,the company just sent me a $5 voucher due to recent spending. $5 to spend on whatever I want in the store in addition to my normal 10% discount. Score. (That's good marketing.)
Borders is becoming my bookstore of choice.