Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con (Photo (C) Alan A Andrew)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Phoenix. Available everywhere. But...

I've tried. I went to the website and tried to set up a subscription. It took me round and round in circles till it decided I wasn't worth bothering with. It doesn't like my address which it asks me to insert even though I've inserted it. I emailled the help team a total of four times and have not yet recieved even a reply let alone any help (mind you, it's early days, it was only six months ago maybe I should hang on a little longer), I emailled the editor and of course got no reply. I have tried telephoning and it has not, up to this morning, even been answered.

But of course you don't need to go online, everyone keeps saying it's so easy to buy in the shops. Waitrose only, but still, there is one a mere two buses one train, a long walk and a further bus away from here, so I went to my "local"  Waitrose and, not seeing it on the shelf, asked. After asking several people, I finally spoke to the store manager who told me it was only available online, not in stores. Of course I told them that apparently it was available instore. They were surprised but promised to stock it if they could. I've tried that particular store again since, a month later- no, still not on the shelf - and, subsequently, ten other stores (mainly in London) and counting. One had four or five different issues, which I bought, the other nine - nine - had never heard of it. It says on the Phoenix website that if a Waitrose store doesn't stock it, tweet them and they'll sort it out. So if you don't do twitter, like me, you can . . .?

But then there are our independent comic shops! They will definitely stock it. I'll save your time here; no, most of them don't. I understand GOSH stock it, but at 203 miles distant from here it's a bit of a trek. Even more than my nearest Waitrose.

I've read those five issues I eventually got. I'd like to tell you it looks good and is printed well and is a good mix of interesting things. But the sour taste of the fuitless hours of searching for it has kind of muted any enthusiasm I may have.

So I'm at a bit of a loss. I'd like to subscribe, I really would. Some cartoonists and illustrators I like and others I consider pals have got work published in it, so I understand. But the Phoenix is simply not available for me. They don't want my money.

Any ideas?

In case you'd like to try it, HERE is a link for you to attempt to subscribe.

Update: Having been to and asked in 3 Waitrose stores in Hampshire/ Dorset , I can add another 3 Waitrose stores that don't sell Phoenix.  And I telephoned the 'help'desk at Phoenix and was put on hold for five minutes. And wasn't helped. Well, good luck to them.


Kid said...

Any ideas? Start your own self-published comic and sell it through your website. It would be a much simpler proposition than trying to buy The Phoenix. I still haven't seen an issue. If they're going to make it so difficult to support them then they can forget it. And wait 'til you hear the excuses they're sure to come up with when the comic goes t*ts up - it won't be their fault of course. (Yeah, right.)

James Spiring said...

You're far from the only one with this problem Nigel. Their customer service totally sucks. It's disgraceful.

Thread started by Lew Stringer:

Lew Stringer said...

You'd think it'd be a no brainer wouldn't you folks? If there's only one main selling point, make sure it's foolproof. Yet here we are with worse subscription flaws that beset The DFC.

Dave W said...

Prior to the launch of The Phoenix I recall having problems when trying to subscribe online. I was not certain if I had managed to subscribe or not, as I didn't get a confirmation message.

I'd emailed the Phoenix website address a couple of weeks before on another matter and hadn't received a reply, so I knew that route was unlikely to resolve my problem.

I decided to call the subscription office - tel 01604 251490 and they took my address and card details without any problem and the comics all arrived each week from issue 1

My original subscription was for three months(13 issues). One week before my subs expired I phoned the subscription office again and asked to renew for another three months. To date I've had no problems whatsoever and never had to use the online method.

Good Luck,

Anonymous said...

I subscribed for the trial 5 issue offer back in December - before the first issue was out.

I expected my subscription to start with the first issue, but issue 2 was my first experience of the comic.

I chased and nagged for issue 1, and it came after about 6 weeks by which time I had lost any goodwill towards the comic. I did not renew my subscription.

It is a shame. Their admin is just not good enough.

Harry Rickard said...

I've been a subscriber since Issue 14 if memory serves right. My subscription worked fine. Very odd. :/

NP said...

Update: Having been to and asked in 3 Waitrose stores in Hampshire/ Dorset , I can add another 3 Waitrose stores that don't sell Phoenix. And I telephoned the 'help'desk at Phoenix and was put on hold for five minutes. And wasn't helped. Well, good luck to them.

Lew Stringer said...

I finally received issues 16 and 17 today, along with a printed apology from one of their fictional characters. Hardly appropriate since previously they'd wrongly claimed my credit card had been refused. It's the equivalent of having your card wrongly refused in a restaurant and then the manager apologizing via a glove puppet. Very immature.

Anyway, I doubt I'll resubscribe after my renewal run expires. Pity, as it's a good comic but if I wasn't buying it from a professional viewpoint it's not something I'd personally follow to be honest as it is tailored specifically for children. (And good on them for that. We need more kids comics.)

Lew Stringer said...

I've now received two issues each of Nos.16, 17 and 18. To be fair they're obviously trying to put things right and clearly more than one person is sending out these issues.

Hopefully they'll be on top of things soon for everyone but I can't help thinking that as subscription cock-ups were partly the cause of The DFC's failure you'd think they'd ensure The Phoenix's system was foolproof.

As for distribution, I think they'd have better customer relations if they actually admitted that it WASN'T in every branch of Waitrose. Playing it down makes it look like they're appeasing Waitrose at the expense of annoying their potential readership.