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Audra Williams @audrawilliams
, 61 tweets, 16 min read Read on Twitter
My dad used to work in the circulation department of the @TorontoStar. Growing up, there were always newspapers around and I really loved it. I just moved into a new place, and decided I'd like to get The Star on weekends. Please go on a journey with me as I try to subscribe.
Step one, I Google "Toronto Star home delivery". The top result is for Note my options on this page. Neither are for home delivery.
I eventually find the link to home delivery in the second column of the page's footer. That is not super intuitive on a about subscribing? I know that most people are probably looking for digital, but home delivery could at least be one of the options on the page itself.
I'm taken to page that is what I expected to see at the last one. A choice between daily home delivery, weekend home delivery, or online (aka the "ePaper Edition. Why oh lord?). Note the "subscribe" button at the top of the page; it takes me back to the last page I was on.
Okay great. I click "Weekend Delivery" and am taken to the page screencapped below. It is such a missed opportunity! People bounce out at every step it takes them to purchase something; no way do 100% of people who land on that page actually buy a subscription.
Before all of that legal preamble, The Star should make a strong case for completing the process. Talk about the importance of solid journalism right now. Talk about the things The Star has investigated, and the tangible outcomes. Invite me to join you as the hero in this story.
I continue the process despite not really being given any reason to. I fill out the form, irritated that my phone number is a required field. I click "next" or whatever and am taken to this, my FOURTH PAGE in this process.
Note that this page looks like it was designed in 1997, and I have to click the radio button for "monthly" in spite of there being no other options. I fill out the form, hit "next" and get what I think is a 500 internal server error? I was so annoyed I forgot to screencap.
I start the whole thing over again. This time when I get to the credit card page, my phone rings and I have to take a call. When I go back and hit "submit", the page has timed out. Okay fair enough.
I click the "Toronto Star" logo in the header, thinking it will take me back to or something. Nope! It's a 404!
I navigate back to the "you have timed out" notification and click the "help" button. I get this. I ... what? This doesn't help me!
Guys I swear to god I am NOT trying to make this difficult. I am trying to go through the process as seamlessly as I can. I actually didn't set aside half an hour to do this.
Okay I start again and get through the process and my credit card number goes in and HOORAY! I am taken to my fifth page in the which says "Confirmation" at the top but actually isn't. I need to hit "confirm" at the bottom, which I almost missed. (Cropped out my address.)
Speaking of my address. I note that despite my entering it in correctly, my postal code has been recorded like this.
The form gives a start date for when I will get the paper that is November 6 (that date is a Chekov's gun! Keep note of it!), I remember that I am going out of town, so I try to edit the date to start a week later. I click "edit' and am taken here.
What you might notice on this page -- which I did NOT -- was that I have been signed up for daily delivery not weekend delivery. All *I* noticed was that I can't edit the start date. So I hit the "previous" button to go back to the confirmation page.
SURPRISE. I am instead taken back to the VERY FIRST FORM I FILLED OUT. I go "ugh" and then try to log in, assuming I will be able to pick up where I left off.
SURPRISE. I get this message.
I have had to pee for 15 minutes and legit this is no longer any kind of fun and if I wasn't tweeting all of this I would have tapped out six times by now.
I hope it is a case of I put a typo in my password, so I try to reset it. Nope. There is just no record of me.
Ok ok ok ok I go through the whole thing again and at the end there is this very anti-climactic result.
Oh actually wait, actually when I went through the whole thing again, it had my credit card saved (as XXXX's). But when I hit "submit" I got this error and had to enter in my card anyway.
Anyway whatever. This time on the confirmation page I DO notice that it says "daily" rather than "weekend" and so I go into "My Account" to change that. Of course it's not one of the options. It seems all you can change is your email address, or set up vacation stops?
There were so many things I wanted to get done today.
So I click on the "Live Chat Help", enter in my information and what the problem is and this happens. The session ends because I took a literal minute to get a drink of water.
I click "copy" to copy the text of the chat (since I am trying to document all of this) and I get this. Sure.
I reconnect and get the account all sorted (change delivery to weekly, correct the postal code, etc). YAY.
What inspired this whole thing today is that i wanted to read an article about Toronto's 10 Most Breathtaking Trees but it was behind a paywall. Now that I am a subscriber, I can log in and read it.
I try to log in using the username+password that I KNOW is correct because I literally copied and pasted it into a text file because I am obsessively documenting this whole adventure. I get this.
My only choice is to reset my password, even though I know it is correct. When I go to do that, it says "This email was registered with a social account" (it wasn't) and it has sent me more instructions.
Okay so I do it, I create a new password (confession, I used the same one) and I link it with my Gmail account so I can log in using either.
An hour and 40 minutes later, I am logged in! I click on "Account" and navigate to "Subscriptions" to make sure that everything is sorted out, and I get this.
So I don't actually know if I am a subscriber or not but I fucking give up and if someone from The Toronto Star wants to contact me to sort this out they are welcome to but I am absolutely not putting any more effort into this on my own oh my god I am so mad. The end.
(I still don't know what the city's most breathtaking trees are.)
I was on BBSs in 1989. In the 90's, I supported myself by starting a website + online community on the ChickClick network (RIP). I created the message boards at rabble. I have been a Digital Specialist at CUPE, Oxfam, and Plan Canada. I was a Media Analyst for the federal NDP.
I have spent years writing and developing and implementing outreach campaigns for @internetsociety, WHO ACTUALLY INVENTED THE INTERNET. The 2016 #ShineTheLight campaign I created for them was their most successful ever and they have been using it ever since.
I wrote and implemented the strategy for two high profile national leadership races. One of them was singled out in mainstream media as the strongest digital campaign of any candidate, the other unseated an incumbent for the first time in the organization's history.
I had a column at the National Post. I blog for Slack. I am presently the Engagement and Content Specialist for @csito. I have written a lot of things.
tl;dr - This is not my first rodeo. So if I find this process unreal and demoralizing, I actually feel heartsick to think about less savvy people trying to navigate it. Do better, Toronto Star. Or stop putting up paywalls and imploring the public to support what you do.
Wait wait wait. Someone in my mentions said that home delivery subscribers DON'T have subscriber access to the website? We get the aforementioned ePaper instead? If this is true I am going to flip my entire lid.
Okay, the journey continues.
Okay. I am clicking this. ARE YOU WITH ME??
WOOOOOO!! I actually am so relieved right now. (Note the time stamp. This is real-time thrills, folks!)
I'm in!! Okay I'll be back with a list of top 10 breathtaking trees one sec.
First of all, can we all agree that @Megan_Ogilvie is a municipal treasure for making this list?
The picture for this one won't load womp womp.
Hmm this looks pretty similar to the first picture but okay.
This is a GREAT picture which I appreciate because I am unlikely to travel that far east to see this tree in person.
Maybe the ones without pictures don't have pictures on purpose? I dunno!
This tree looks like Maleficent. They should rename this one Maleficent.
Another striking photo.
Another shy tree.
Sugar Maple would be a cute pet name for someone.
The last one also has no picture. Sad.
There is a lot of great text and info in the article aside from the screencaps and you should all either use one of your five free articles in order to read it, or subscribe yourself. It really is important! <3…
1. My cat Sam is clearly not really feeling the fact that I woke him up to take this picture.

2. I found that chair on the street. If you left this chair on the curb, your former chair is famous now.

3. I really am so excited to read the paper!
As a thank you to anyone who is still following this thread, use the discount code PRINT-IS-NOT-DEAD to get $5 off my partner's upcoming non-alcoholic cocktail workshop! (I'm actually serious, it's gonna be super fun. You can meet that cat! And two more!)…
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