Years ago, my youngest daughter's favorite expression was "Toss Your Cookies." I'm not sure what prompted her to say that phrase again and again--and why we always laughed when she did.
But earlier this week, I was reminded of that phrase when I tried to sign up for a Wall Street Journal subscription. As a result, "toss your cookies" has now become one of my favorite mottos, at least for online shopping.
Here's why: A month ago, I decided I wanted to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. I went online and found I could buy the print and online edition for $99 a year. Since I was going on vacation, I decided I wouldn't order the paper until I returned. Earlier this week, I went to place my order. This time, the price was $125. Had I been too late and missed out on the $99 deal? Perhaps. But then I remembered some of my experiences in ordering airline tickets online, especially Independence Air tickets (may Flyi rest in peace).
I know that often, when I am considering flights, I browse the schedule and fares of several airlines before I make a final decision on what flight I want. Then, when I go back to buy a ticket, that initial fare has gone up, sometimes a little ($25 or so), sometimes a lot ($100 plus). That was always the case with Flyi and often the situation with others as well. One aviation expert suggested I clean out my computer's cookies if that happens and see if I get the lower fare. (A computer cookie is a code that contains a unique ID tag that's put on your computer by a Web site. That Web site can then track you--or rather your computer--when you revisit it).
I followed the expert's advice and more often the not, after I cleaned my cookies, I got the initial lower fare offer. The airlines denied they were tracking my cookies when I asked them about this. They all said the fluctuating prices simply reflected the number of seats available on a flight at the particular time I was trying to buy a ticket.
Which brings me back to the Wall Street Journal. Remembering my experiences with the airlines, I cleaned my cookies, and then signed up for the paper again. This time the price was $99. I didn't tempt fate; I signed up immediately. But I also asked the Journal about my experience. Here's the e-mail response from Christine Mohan, director of public relations for Dow Jones & Co.: "In the same way that direct mail uses offers that "expire" or that give different offers to different people, we test different subscription offers from time to time, in order to determine the price point that is most compelling for consumers while still driving revenue to run our business profitably.
We would certainly honor the lower offer seen on the site for new subscriptions, when consumers call into our customer service center."
You can do that--or you, too, can "toss your cookies."
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Kellie | September 8, 2006 7:36 AM
Posted by: how to remove | September 8, 2006 9:31 AM
Posted by: ah | September 8, 2006 9:53 AM
Posted by: h3 | September 8, 2006 10:24 AM
Posted by: WARNING! | September 8, 2006 11:03 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | September 8, 2006 11:08 AM
Posted by: Peter Maranci | September 8, 2006 11:48 AM
Posted by: mharvey | September 8, 2006 12:29 PM
Posted by: Thank you! | September 8, 2006 3:40 PM
Posted by: Austin, TX | September 8, 2006 5:24 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.