Sunday, June 24, 2007

a portrait of the blogger as a successful half-marathoner and dissatistfied customer

I am so pissed. I got this e-mail today:
90 days ago you made a smart choice by clicking "YES" to accept your ActiveAdvantage trial membership offer when you registered for an event using

This is just a quick reminder to let you know that your 90-day trial membership has expired, and you have been extended for a full year [for $50] as stated in the original offer. You are now a part of the fastest growing program for athletes and people with active lifestyles!

We hope that you have had time to review the amazing benefits and values that you receive by being an ActiveAdvantage member, ranging from travel discounts on air, car and hotel to huge savings with big name partners including: Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Wyndham Hotel Group properties, Choice Hotels, Circuit City, Barnes and Noble, Peets Coffee, AMC, Regal/Edwards Theaters, Rewards Network and more! [...]
What I registered for was the Madison Half-Marathon, which Sal and I ran over Memorial Day weekend. There is no freaking way that I would have intentionally signed up for a "trial membership" in an organization that doesn't offer any services that I have any interest in using, so whatever it is I supposedly clicked on must have kept the cost of doing so obscured. According to the site, I received a $5-10 "free gift" for signing up. I have no idea what this is supposed to have been. Anyway, I have sent them an e-mail asking for my money back, as well as a message to the organizers of the Madison marathon expressing my displeasure about their partnering with So, what's next? Why, write a blog post telling whoever would listen to be careful with any dealings with

BTW, I guess I never posted that Sal and I successfully completed the half-marathon (Chris did the whole thing, see his post here). Here we are before the race:

Sal & Jeremy - Mad City Half Marathon 2007

We ran at a leisurely pace, and Sal had to endure me being one of the chattiest people on the course. A high point may have been the half mile or so I spent describing the 1960's Australian television show "Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo."
"So, it's like Lassie, only a wild kangaroo. The characters will go 'Skippy, what is it?' and Skippy will make this toothclicky noise and they'll say 'Colin has fallen down a well?!!' But, Skippy will also do things that Lassie can't. Like there's this one scene where it looks like Skippy is cracking open a safe using only his paws. I think that's the mile marker up ahead. So, when they do the far off shots of Skippy, they use a real wild kangaroo, but then when they use the close-in shots of the paw action, it's just this puppet. Then for some mid-range shots, I think they don't even use a kangaroo at all but instead it looks more like a wallaby. Can you imagine if they sometimes switched off Lassie with some closely related dog species? Like one moment she's a collie, the next a coyote. You're not having any problems with chafing, are you?"


H said...

Congratulations on the half-marathon. Also, love the shirt.

eszter said...

Yes, congrats on the accomplishment!

Sorry to hear about this annoyance. I hate crap like that. Organizations (in this case the Madison Half-Marathon) don't realize how much they're hurting themselves on the long-run, by going into partnerships of this sort. (Then again, maybe most people don't realize what happened in which case they're not hurting themselves at all.)

I hate all the energy that has to go into reading super-fine print when signing things of this sort. I try not to sign up for services that don't have a phone number for cancellation, for one thing. I should post on my recent experiences with SurveyMonkey on a related note.

dr four eyes said...

Having just run a 5K race that used, I looked through my recent emails to see if I might be in your place in 90 days. In short, yep.

Also, here's a copy of the info about the $20 "gift" we "received" with our trial memberships (sorry for how long this is):

Here's how to claim your $20.00 Free Gift:

Send a printed proof of registration through which you signed up for Active Advantage membership to: Free Gift Promotion
10182 Telesis Court, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92121

Once received, will send you a $5 rebate check. Repeat this for your next registration and receive your second $5 check. Your receipt must be received within 3 months of the date you registered.

To receive your $10 check, simply send in a copy of next year's confirmation for the same event you joined Active Advantage with.

All registrations must occur within 12 months of the beginning of this trial. The Active Network will not be liable for the $10 discount if the event for which you signed up for this promotion ceases to be available on for online registration and only one coupon or discount may be applied to any one event registration.

Please enjoy your cash gifts and good luck in all of your athletic endeavors!

--end quote--

So, the supposedly free gift requires a person to keep registering for races (and paying more money). Not exactly my definition of "free."

In any case, congrats on the half-marathon!

Ang said...

Speaking of chafing - that's gotta be a big problem for runners, right? Well, for some. Not that I'd know. I'm quite sure that if I ran a marathon, I'd literally start a fire.

DogOnTheInternet said...

Actually, there was a bit of a switcheroo in Lassie. Because "Lassie" was actually "Laddie".

Yep - you heard it hear first. Lassie was a fella.

They used medical tape to hold back his junk so you couldn't see it in shot.

chicago_cd said...

Congratulations on your half! Thanks for posting about your issue with because it helped me to avoid making the mistake of signing up for the "free" offer.