I enjoyed The Economist so much that I am willing to pay US$303 a year to receive an issue every week in my mailbox. Nearly US$6 an issue is the highest rate in the world. The same subscription costs US$129 a year in the USA. The privilege of reading this magazine is 234% more expensive in China. Outrageous? But my choices are only two: pay or not to read. I relunctantly chose the former. So when my move to the US finalized, I was too glad to call to change the address. Same money for more. Sweet.
I was astonished. The Singapore office was glad to change the address, the process takes 6 weeks. The lady over the phone apologized that she can not extend my subscription or refund me for the difference. “Why?” I was puzzled. “That I should pay more than double for the same thing. It makes no economical sense.”
She stood firm. The Asia office owns my subscription and cannot charge me the US rate. It is as if they are two different companies. Note that Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, or any other countries are also cheaper than China. What I must accept is to pay for the highest rate for the lowest region in the world.
“But,” she knew how ridiculous the situation is and offered. “You can cancel the rest of the China subscription and we will refund you the unused portion.” This is where I was astonished, “You would rather risk losing a reader than doing the right thing?” The cancellation process takes 2 weeks.
Thanks, partially, to the teaching from this famed publication, I chose to be economical.