I usually pick up a copy of the Korea Herald when I feel like reading something in English and something offline on the way to work. The orange-pinkish colored newspaper has a phone number for the subscriptions department at the Korea Herald: 1588-0533. It takes me like 3 months to finally call, but today, when I do, first problem (as identified in previous posts about services or products in Korea needing more English support) is that the message is in Korean. HUH? What? This is an English newspaper’s subscription department in Korean…this is wrong. Finally, when I do speak to the lady on the other end, she can barely understand me.
She tells me that the service is 60,000 won a month. The newstand price for a single issue is 700 won. It’s available I believe only 6 days a week and so multiplying that times 4 plus a couple extra days is maybe 25 to 26 issues. If you multiply that times the newstand price, you get 18,200 won a month. So, I’m paying more than 3 times the newstand price for it to be delivered to my front door? For some reason, I remember my subscriptions to newspapers being less than the newstand price. The money is in the advertising for these publications…not the subscription. Well, the folks there either don’t know how to do business or they make enough money in other services…I don’t know what they would be. This is just additional support how hard it may be for a foreigner to get services in English in this country. Granted foreigners should learn to become familiar with the local language and customs, but it would NOT hurt to have support for English and there must be a big enough audience for 3 news publications to print in English … so why not put forward the full effort. I guess my next task is to test the Joongang Ilbo and Korea Times to see if it’s just as expensive. Hmmm…
A while later, I do end up subscribing to the Joonang Ilbo. I find it’s much better in quality and only 20,000 won a month. It’s a day late since published in Seoul, but I don’t need the timely news. That’s why I have the Internet, right?