I have been a member of the Park Slope Parents Yahoo group since my son was born. I have found the messages posted on their message boards to be useful and helpful for the most part.
Recently I received an email from the administrator of the group stating that they are going to start charging an annual fee of $25 for their group. Now, as someone who has been enjoying the membership to this online forum where parents can gain insights into their children for FREE for over a year, I was devastated.
Furthermore, as a person who makes very little money and is struggling to pay her rent and feed her family, $25 is a lot of money.
So, I wrote PSP an email. It said:
I am curious to know what the $25 annual membership cost is meant to cover. What expenses do you have? It is my understanding that starting a yahoo group is free. Perhaps the website is the main expense?
For my part, I cannot afford to pay $25. I am very disappointed that your group has chosen to charge this annual fee.
I have enjoyed your yahoo group as a free resource for parents. I feel that this $25 annual fee will alienate the members who (like myself) have a lower income bracket.
I received the following response:
Do you want to answer this one before we delete her ass
Now, granted, I’m sure that this was not meant to get to me directly, but it was (in my opinion) entirely unprofessional. I was simply trying to gauge what the $25 was meant to cover.
I wrote back the following:
Hmmm… that is a very hostile response. Have a nice day!
The individual replied almost instantly:
We’ve offered membership discounts including a free subscription to Time Out NY Kids and the option to volunteer for a free subscription or write in for a hardship subscription if the fee (which works out to 7 cents a day) is too much.
I understand that people are easily offended. I was offended when I received the email stating that the free yahoo group that I enjoyed was asking me for money that I don’t have. So I get why this individual reacted the way that they did. However, it turned me off even further. I suppose I will just let my membership lapse if this is the way that they like to treat their members.