An Open Letter To AARPPosted: March 3, 2015
I appreciate that you look out for my interests. I don’t have the time to travel to Washington as often as I’d like. When I do get there, I’m not interested in soiling my reputation by being seen with elected officials. I’ll happily pay my dues to have you lobby on my behalf.
That’s not all that you do for me. I get good deals on donuts when I get together with my old man friends every morning. And when I travel, I get a break on hotel costs. You offer me insurance and I get a magazine every month. It almost seems like a one-sided deal that is in my favor. If you’re OK with that, so am I.
I’ve got a couple concerns that we should probably discuss.
First, you seem to have trouble remembering when I’ve renewed. My mailbox is always full of renewal notices from you. Even after I renew, you continue to bombard me with requests to sign up. It makes me feel wanted that you keep pursuing me even after I’ve said yes.
But I feel guilty about your relentless pursuit of me. If you spent the money lobbying congressmen that you spend trying to get me to renew my membership after I’ve already renewed, you might affect some positive change for older folks like me. So I’m going to tell you that I am on board with you. I don’t need a tote bag or a cooler, I am in. Please take the money you’re spending pursuing me and take a politician to lunch.
I’ve got another concern about a problem that you might not realize that you have. Every time that I get a renewal notice, I see a very neatly printed form with the rates for renewing my membership for a year, three years and five years. The problem seems to occur between when you have those forms printed and when you send them to me.
Someone is crossing out the renewal rates on your forms and writing in lower rates in red pen. I don’t mind paying less for a service, but I recognize that you have expenses to meet. That’s why I’m telling you about this problem. We’re only talking about a difference of a few bucks for me, but if you multiply that by the number of renewals you have to bring in to stay viable, it becomes a difference of millions of dollars for you.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
The boys and I solve a lot of problems down at the donut shop. Each morning while we sit around drinking coffee and eating our free AARP donuts, we talk about what’s wrong with the world. The other day, I brought your discount problem up with the boys. We kicked it around and have a solution for you.
You’ve got to eliminate the use of red pens in your mail room. If you stop buying red pens, you’ll end those employees’ ability to hand out unauthorized discounts. After a few weeks, you can be fairly certain that any mail room personnel with a red pen is sending out discounts and you can fire them.
Maybe you can hire retired people to replace those you fire.