Monday, April 02, 2012

Dear Entertainment Weekly,

Although my Entertainment Weekly did arrive today, not only was it unreadable to me, but it actually managed to set of a nifty asthma attack, due to the inclusion of perfume ads.  There have never before been odorous ads included in my copy of EW (and I've been a subscriber on & off  for about 12 years), so I am particularly disappointed with the fact that there was no notice or invitation to opt out regarding your magazine's intention to add ads with fragrances.  There are many health issues which could be negatively impacted by your decision, including my own, and to so completely ignore the needs of your readers with disabilities, seems a grave oversight.   It was not my intention to start the weekend with a heavy dose of steroids, just as my as I am sure it was not your intention to cause such a need, but when it comes to people's health, intention doesn't matter nearly as much as actions.  I suggest, in the future, that you enable the customers of your magazine to have the choice over whether these ads are included or not. 

I did contact your 'customer service representative' by phone, and was given the option to be removed from the perfume ad list when it comes to future issues, which is great.  However, it may take up to a month (meaning an additional 3-4 issues) before this takes effect.  So now I will potentially miss out on a month's worth of my paid subscription, during which time I can not buy the issue on news stands either, because they too would include the odorous ads, all due to a decision made my your magazine that an easy notification would have prevented.  This does not even take into account my current discomfort - an asthma attack only seems like no big deal to people who aren't having them.  I also realized, after I hung up the phone, that my complaint would likely go unheard by anyone else: the young man I spoke to changed the options of my subscription, and that was the end of that.  But it isn't for me: I didn't have the option of forgoing the breathing difficulties this morning, and I don't think you should have the option of ignoring the kind of damage your oversight can cause. 

I'd like you to consider instead that your magazine had been proactive towards its customers with disabilities (or even those who just don't like these ads): If you had included a little note about it in your magazine a few months ago, for some reasonable amount of time, given a little forewarning "Note To All Customers: If you are a subscriber of our magazine, please know that we will begin including perfume/cologne ads as of XY/XY/12.  If you would like to opt out of such ads, please contact us at prior to (start date), so that there will be no interruption to your service."  Simple: two sentences, and you've prevented a TON of possible adverse health issues; looked out for your consumers and helped them see that they are in fact, valuable to you; and maybe even gotten some great word of mouth press regarding your brand's willingness to be a truly accessible magazine. (I know that anytime a service I am using goes out of their way to make me feel valued, I tend to tell everyone I know about it.  The opposite, is also, unfortunately and obviously, true as well.)  

Instead it's (thankfully a relatively minor) illness & outrage on my part (although I should be used to being overlooked, despite the fact that I am a paying customer, I don't know that I ever will be),   and a truly missed opportunity to step up to the plate, accessibility wise, on yours.   

I look forward to hearing from you,

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