Can you put a price on customer loyalty?

I'm mad and I don't want to take it anymore - it being abuse from companies that seem to no longer value customer loyalty. For more decades than I wish to disclose, I've been a loyal customer of The New York TImes. I began subscribing after graduate school but read it growing up and at college before that. That's a lot of years.

Today the Sunday Times, the only print paper I receive any longer, did not come. I knew they'd been on my floor because my neighbor's Boston Globe was in front of her door.

I called the Times and was told I had been "suspended" for non-payment. I received the statement for the current billing period - 11/1/10 - 1/30/11 - just a couple weeks ago and now they're suspending me because I did not pay for something I've barely received yet.

I was told when I called (after having to repeat my phone number three separate times) that because I'd been late in the prior period, they decided to cut me off. Great - I was late because when I went to pay it online, something went awry and it wasn't recorded - the site is less than Mac-friendly and I'm on a Mac.

I'd called and tried to pay by phone. That, too, got screwed up because the person taking the info did not get the account number right or something - the charge never made it to my bank. I discovered this from a series of nasty letters from the Times and tried again. I was assured they'd do it so it would go through - it did. It just took a really long time.

All of this small tale of woe leads to the question - what's customer loyalty worth? I've been very loyal for a VERY long time. Now, I can read it online - no cost (for now) and no aggravation - or I can pay $97.50 for three months of Sunday only service with a lot of aggravation added free = which would you choose?
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  • Don't take it anymore and go to the newstand.
  • Washington Post?
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