Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lets Rip Off The Youth of America - AKA Columbia House CD Club

It was around high school when I was really getting into buying music...I began a lifelong obsession with Led Zeppelin, as well as getting into more current music heard on the radio. Since I didn't have much money, I was intrigued by numerous inserts found in almost any magazine or newspaper that said in huge bold letters "6 CD's for 1 Penny!!!". I knew of one other person who had just did and said its legit and that its "totally awesome" (it was 1989 after all).

I mailed in the reply card and ordered my 6 CDs. Strangely, I remember almost all of them which included Pearl Jam's "Ten", Peter Gabriel's "Us", En Vogue's "Funky Divas", and Billy Joel's "Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2". The sixth CD was a jazz CD by this band called Foreplay...keep that in mind.

About a month later I got a box with the CD's in it and I knew that I had one year to buy six more CD's over the course of the next 12 months (it was in very small writing). I figured I'd wait a bit since I had plenty of time. About one month after that, I received another box from Columbia House and in it was a CD, "Lou Rawls Sings The Blues" along with a bill for $19.99. Apparently if you didn't make an order, they would send you a "recommended pick" based on your music interests every month. Mine was "jazz" because of the Foreplay CD I bought. I didn't know what to do and even though I could send the CD back, I had enough things going on with learning about chemistry, algebra, and the Trail Of Tears that the American Indians had to walk in 1838, to properly package something. In the meantime, my parents caught wind of how deceptive the company and agreed to help bail me out of my obligation and helping pay for the CDs.

Oddly enough, I still have that Lou Rawls CD, still never played, his smiling face suffocating within the plastic wrapping.

In any event, I did some research and it appears that they are still in business today but using DVDs instead. They have an "unsatisfactory" rating with the Better Business Bureau and there are numerous negative stories on the web about them.

Anyway, I guarantee you've at least heard of them and if you've ever used them, let me know your experience!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't use Columbia House, but I belonged to BMG's cassette tape club (I'm a couple of years older than you.) I remember some of my first puchase, which were Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Wham!, and Huey Louis and the News. BMG didn't send you random tapes, but they had a hefty requirement of full price purchases every few months. I had to work extra shifts at my dad's hardware store to pay off my music debt. - marshace