Archive for November, 2008

Companies Choosing Profit over Environment

My husband is a PC and I’m a Mac.

He has an HD digital video recorder that creates files in a format that most video-editing software can’t read. When his PC crashed a while ago, he lost the software that came with the camera that did the converting. And, we’ve been unable to find the CDs, and JVC wants you to pay for another copy. So, he’s been using my Mac to do the converting. And, he really hates Macs. And, I kinda need my Mac for school stuff.

So, he decide to purchase software for his PC. The JVC software is pretty subpar. He decided on Corel Paintshop Pro. They’re running a half off sale now, so he purchased it last night. He asked me if he should buy a CD and have it shipped or just download it.

I told him to just download it, since we’d already lost the first software CDs. I’ve purchased software several places online where they give you a validation code that allows you to download it. If you need to download it again (say, after a computer crash), all you do is go back to the website and enter the validation code and re-download it. I always loved that method, not just for the convenience, but also because it’s a green idea. There are no CDs that are going to end up filling a landfill Plus, they don’t have to waste shipping material and the use of fuel to get the package to you. And, since they don’t have to pay for the shipping costs and the CD or the time to burn the CD copy, then it’s a win-win situation.

But, it seems that Corel has decided to make it a one-sided win…for them, of course. If you want to purchase software from them and download it, you have pay an $8 download insurance fee, and that insurance is only good for two years. I am so disappointed in this practice. It makes consumers choose between being environmentally conscious and budget conscious. Sure, $8 isn’t that much in this case. But, it was so annoying that my husband went ahead and ordered the CD. It’s almost as if Corel is encouraging its consumers to make the less green choice.

There are cases, though, where even a small cost is prohibitive. Here’s an example:

A love of live music is one of the things that brought my husband and I together. And, for almost 11 years, we’ve made it our primary hobby to go to concerts and festivals. We’ve been to more shows than I can count, but I’d guess it’s close to a couple of thousand. Most of the tickets for those shows were bought through Ticketmaster. And, being the geek that I am, they’re almost all bought online.

Ticketmaster gives you a few choices of how to have the tickets shipped. You can have them mailed, or use a delivery service like UPS, or you can pick them up at will call at the show, or you can print them out on your own printer.

Now, it is more environmentally sound to print them out on your own printer, for all of the same reasons it is to download software. (Using the will call pick up option isn’t really that convenient, especially since we travel to many shows.) But, Ticketmaster charges a service fee to email you a copy of your ticket so you can print it on your own printer. But, they charge absolutely nothing to mail you your tickets via the post office.

Since my husband and I buy a large amount of tickets every year, this service fee would add up. So, we always choose the mail method that is free.

I feel guilty doing this. But, especially in these economic times, I have to be frugal where I can. And, since Ticketmaster offers no incentive for me to choose the greener choice, my budget needs triumph over my guilt.

I’m sure there are more examples of companies with practices like these. It find it very disheartening.