Sunday, August 10, 2008

Free Business Cards:

I ordered some simple business cards so that I could show people how to find my novel online. I was attracted to an ad for 250 "free" business cards. I knew they couldn't be free. I guessed the trick was that they would have a high shipping charge. Little did I know.

First, the website walked me through a design of my card. That was very nice. Then we started the ordering process. Would I like more cards, or better paper, or address labels to go with the cards, or magnets, or pens? All these items were customized to the design I had chosen. There were dozens of optional categories, pages of addiitonal options. Would I like a rubber stamp? Would I like to buy some magazines while I was at it? Would I like printing on the back of the card? Would I like faster shipping?

And last, but not least, get this: Would I like a fully functional, customizable website, designed to match the business card? What an incredible option! I resisted temptation over and over. (Frankly, I think it makes more sense to buy business cards to match my website, not the other way round.)

Shipping was $5.45. I definitely have to explain about shipping. For $5.45, they proposed to take TWENTY-ONE DAYS to ship the cards to me. Shipping times that you would call "reasonable" cost more. Twenty-one days, that's slow shipping. The temptation to pay more for fast shipping was very great, but I figured I could wait them out. I thought it was just a bluff. After all, how do you make a shipment take 21 days, send it around the world by rickshaw?

I purchased these 'free' cards on July 22. On July 31, VistaPrint notified me that the cards have shipped. The cards arrived August 9. I knew it! I called their bluff. That's a lot better than 21 shipping days, and they look good.

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