Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dear Jerusalem Post: Leave me the hell alone

When I first made aliyah, I subscribed to The Jerusalem Post. Later, when I got a temporary gig as a reporter for Haaretz English Edition, I got a free subscription from them, so I was getting two newspapers delivered every morning for about a year.

I found that the JPost's unwillingness to admit that Israel can ever do anything wrong vis-a-vis the Palestinians provided a useful counterpoint to Ha'aretz's unwillingness to admit that Israel can ever do anything right at all.

I also found that I wasn't reading the papers. Oh, I was getting news all right. I check online news sources -- including and, among many others -- every day. But I don't have a table which is conducive to spreading out a newspaper and enjoying it (or not) over coffee. And often I was just too busy to do anything but skim the headlines. The papers were piling up, taking up space and necessitating many trips to recycling, and I wasn't actually reading them often enough to make it worthwhile. So I cancelled both subscriptions, and have been a dedicated consumer of online news sources ever since.

Almost immediately, I started getting regular calls from both papers, trying to goad me to re-subscribe. It was getting annoying. At first I explained to the telemarketers why I was not interested. Then, I started simply saying "I'm not interested" and hanging up. Finally, after about two years, the calls from Haaretz stopped when I pointed out that if I wasn't interested in receiving the paper when I was getting it for free, why would I be interested in a subscription at 75% off? Thank God, I haven't heard from them since.

But the JPost keeps calling. I'd say I get a call from them every few weeks. Every time, I tell them "Take me off your list. If I want the paper, I'll call YOU." But the calls keep coming.

My Thanksgiving dinner was interrupted by a telemarketer for the Jerusalem Post. I immediately said "I'm not interested in buying anything," and he immediately says "I'm not trying to sell you anything." I said "you have 10 seconds," during which it became clear, of course, that he is trying to get me to buy a subscription again.

This morning, another call. I told the guy "you can stop calling me. I do not want the paper. It does not matter why. I've told your people why. Take me off your list." And hung up.

Ten seconds later he calls again. He actually had the gall to ask me how I am. I said "what do you want?" He says "you used to subscribe, right?" I said, switching to English, "Look, I'm going to say this in English, because the JPost is an English paper so I assume you speak English. I want you to stop calling me. Take me off your list."

And then I heard him speaking quietly to someone else. He wasn't even listening to me! So I said "You aren't listening, okay," and hung up.

Dear JPost, consider this your warning: If you ever call me again asking me to re-subscribe, I will, bli neder, put a permanent banner on my blog telling everyone how much I hate you, and it will include information about how badly you treat your writers. Because, you know, I'm a professional journalist, and I know people who have worked for you, and so I know how much your paper sucks on many, many levels. It will also explain that a subscription to your paper is like a black hole: once you get in, you can never get out.

I will post it on the listserves frequented by new English-speaking Olim, and if they won't post it, I'll email to everyone I know, asking them to forward to all their friends never, ever to subscribe to your paper.

So, do the smart thing: go through your call list and take off anyone whose first name is Sarah.

Hoping never to hear from you ever again, ever,


PS About 30 minutes after I posted this, they called AGAIN. Someone named Oz. He calls and says "is this Sarah?" I said "yes," and he says "hold on a minute" and starts talking to someone else. Again. I asked his name. He said "hold on a minute" AGAIN. I said "you called me, so if you want to talk, then talk. I'm not hanging on." I told him this is my third call from the Post in one day, and I've had enough. I read him this blog post. He still didn't get it. He still kept asking me questions as if nothing was wrong and this was all normal. He said "I'm not asking you to re-subscribe, I just want to tell you about our benefits! You can get the Jerusalem Post delivered every morning, right to your doorstep!" Is he paid to act like a moron, or does it come naturally?

Finally I said "Just take me off your *&^%$ list." He said "Oh, Sarah, it's a holiday, there is no reason to use language like that."

I hung up and sent an email to their subscription department, demanding in writing to be taken off the list.

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