TEACHERS BEWARE: The Extra Reading Company

by Bridget Scanlon on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 12:33pm

This company offers reading resources.  I saw a couple of free demo ones that I thought my students would be interested in reading, so I checked out the website.  It turns out they advertise three different types of (what seems to me) highly motivating reading resources.  It also doesn't give a subscription price.  Their pricing is a "name your own price" kind of thing, but they do say that extremely lowball offers will be rejected.  They give no idea at all about what would be considered "acceptable" as an offer.  Since I only planned to use it as a secondary (occasional) resource for my students, I offered $25 for the year.  I wouldn't pay anywhere close to that for any other occasional resource and I thought it was fair, considering the financial restrictions my district (along with other struggling districts) has put on teacher expenditures this year.  They disagreed and that is where this email chain begins.


Me: I can't afford the price you set. Thanks anyway.


ERC: If that’s the case you must be living paycheck to paycheck. In this situation I would advise you to only be purchasing goods and services you “need” rather than “want.” This is an important distinction that will help you get your financial situation into better shape. Thanks for your interest.


Me: Wow - what condescension.

I am a schoolteacher with very limited school funds and the reason I can't afford this subscription has to do with making a line between professional money and personal. It has absolutely nothing to do with living paycheck to paycheck.


I am very glad to have not gotten involved with your company if this is how you treat people.


ERC: I think you GREATLY misunderstood the intent of my response. It was to be helpful, not “condescending.” So, this has been an incorrect inference on your part altogether. You were treated wonderfully—receiving a response to your concern that was straightforward, prompt, and compassionate toward what you indicated was a dire financial situation.

 That said, now that you have presented me with this new information, I think what you originally meant to relate was that you didn’t “want” to pay the price you offered, rather than “I can’t afford it.” Because, it seems as though you certainly can afford it, you just don’t want to. This knee-jerk reaction happens on rare occasions when the prospective customer lacks perspective about the price of an annual service. For example, your cell phone bill probably costs AT LEAST $50 per month, or $600.00 per year. You’re billed monthly for that. By contrast, we’re offering you a service for the dirt cheap price of just $40 for an ENTIRE YEAR. This is why I say you lack perspective.

 Thus, I will restate my advice. Moving forward, I would suggest that you are more careful/selective with your words, so as to be able to communicate effectively. If you choose not to purchase a product or service at a fair price, simply say “I don’t want to pay that much,” rather than, “I can’t afford it.” The latter statement, in this case, seems to have been a lie, and it’s always best to be truthful.

 Nevertheless, as a customer service representative, I’m afraid I don’t have the time for further back-and-forth. You’re either willing to pay a fair price for a YEAR’S service, or you’re not. We do get prospective subscribers who offer nonsensically low amounts from time-to-time. I’m afraid you just happened to be one of them. In response, we offered you a 60% discount, the absolute lowest price available. This incredible gift should have been appreciated, not disdained.


Again, thanks for your interest.


Me:  What is your name and who is your supervisor?


ERC:  Sounds as though you have reacted emotionally to the points I have made rather than actually consider them. That’s a mistake Bridget. Don’t confuse argumentativeness with rudeness. The ideas I expressed are logical and correct. Either address their merits or don’t. But if you choose not to no need to respond. If you disagree debate is encouraged. However misplaced outrage is disdained.


Me:  My name is Mrs. _________. Please give me your name and your supervisor’s contact information.


ERC: Bridget, you need to lighten-up. We’ve told you that you were wrong about a few things. It’s that simple.

Learn to appreciate when you’re educated, will you?


Me: Please send me your name and your supervisor’s name and contact information. And again, if you are showing respect, my name is Mrs. _____.


ERC: It’s disrespectful to refer to you by your first name? You’re mad as a hatter. This conversation, is over.


Me: I asked you in the email before to call me Mrs. ________, and again, you used my first name. Yes, that is disrespectful.


Again, give me your name unless you’re afraid to give it to me because of your behavior in this email thread and also, send your supervisor’s contact information.


Do not email me again unless it’s to give me that information.


Mrs. __________


ERC: The definition of INSANITY is doing the same thing over-and-over again, expecting a different outcome than before. You asked me for that information MULTIPLE TIMES. Each time, I did not give it to you. So, my question to you would be, are you INSANE? If not, why do you keep doing the same thing REPEATEDLY and hoping for a different outcome?



And then one minute later (with no response from me in between):


ERC: And, Bridget, didn’t I tell you this conversation was over?


I think I did, Bridget.


Yes, Bridget, I’m certain I did.


 So, I sent back:


Do not send me another email unless it is to give me the information I asked for. You are at the point of harassment now.


ERC: Don’t be retarded.


If you don’t want to be contacted anymore, STOP REPLYING.


It’s that simple, Bridget.


Again, feel free to get the word out about this company. 


UPDATE! Here is the post the company CEO Mr. Mason posted to Reddit and then deleted.


This is the founder of The Extra Reading Company, Joshua S. Mason.

I'll tell you guys and gals like it is. Bridget lied to us--saying she couldn't afford to pay a measly $15 more for her YEAR'S subscription to our website and then, when we gave her some straightforward financial advice based on her lie, she reacted in an overly-emotional fashion. In response to that, we mocked her. She deserved it, on account of her bitchiness. End of story.

When we have customers who react STUPIDLY by making INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS to our attempts to help them, and then REFUSE TO LISTEN to us telling them that they inferred the "tone" of the message incorrectly, they no longer deserve respect. We reserve that for customers, and prospective customers, who are capable of discussing an issue with logic and reason, as opposed to "menstruating all over the place" emotion (my wife especially loves this comment :)Authors of messages are in the VERY BEST position to tell you if you are wrong about the tone of written communication. BRIDGET stubbornly refused to heed this little nugget of truth. Why? She let her emotions control her response like a less-evolved person. Truth be told, I pity this sort of response.

I mean, can you believe the baseball bat that must have been stuck up her ass to make her demand we refer to her by her formal title of "Mrs. Henne." What a pissed-off little fruitcake! BRIDGET, lighten-up, sister, will you?

Now, I'm VERY surprised that BRIDGET decided to come to some craptastic online forum and bitch further about this issue. I mean, she claimed we were "harassing" her by not providing her with a name of a supervisor in our company. So, what does she do? She turns around and tries to get others to harass our staff. WTF? Is this chick out-of-her-mind with hypocrisy, or what?

What she failed to consider, in her revenge-seeking mode, is that I, and my staff, never type any words we fear will be regurgitated elsewhere. So, you can post my thoughts in 100-foot-tall letters on a billboard in Times Square for all I care. If we lose customers because of it, so be it. I'd trade a BILLION dollars to retain the ability to tell a patently WRONG customer that she needs to take a hike. However, in this case, the increased traffic to our website makes us A LOT of income. We have a deal with a major publishing company that gives us revenue based on how many hits the site receives. We feature some of their work in the members' area of the site, and they, in turn compensate us for the added exposure. So, is BRIDGET'S attempts here at teaching us a lesson an ABSOLUTE FAILURE? Answer: definitely.

Now, as I read your comments, I'm surprised to see "Deborah Markus" among them. This is a batshit crazy homeschool parent we dealt with years ago. She got overly pissy one day because we posted a message on her shitty homeschool Yahoo! group that informed them about our new business (this was years ago). This is one terribly jaded old woman. I was really hoping she'd be dead by now. Damn. Maybe someday soon, eh? We all have dreams.

Also, I LOVE the "memes" that people are creating with my picture. That is just pure awesomeness. Love it. Keep it up. E-mail them to me so that I can get a good laugh. Easier to get through the day at work when I'm laughing, that's for sure.

If you want to E-mail me accolades, or present me with an award for handing a nonsensically cranky customer her ass, here's my personal address: jmason@extrareading.com. But, please only do so if you agree with me. All of you reactionary morons that support this wayward non-customer with her misplaced outrage and ignorant sense of entitlement, please don't. I honestly couldn't care less about your support for her sheer stupidity in this matter.

BRIDGET would have rather we spoon-fed her falsely sugary-sweet customer service mumbo jumbo, than deal with her MISTAKE in an honest, straightforward fashion, as we did.

What would you rather have, dear reader, brutal honesty or a lie to PLACATE your insecurity?

That's what Bridget was after. She should really be ashamed of herself.

Other responses to comments posted on this thread:

"This conversation, is over." Totally Fight Club. Right on. Way to spot the subtle reference.

"You're mad as a hatter." I take this from an episode of Boston Legal. James Spader speaks it. Absolutely brilliant television.

I was NOT the author of the initial customer service messages to Mrs. Henne. But, I stood behind our rep and motivated her to start mocking BRIDGET for the latter messages. So, in a way, I am certainly responsible for some of it. *pats himself on the back. What can I say? I thoroughly enjoy antagonizing people who deserve it.

Although I am not autistic, nor do I have ASS BURGERS, I am most definitely narcissistic. Spot on!

Finally, as for the concerns of some of you that we are pilfering artwork for use in our materials, DON'T BE RETARDED. We take our work from many different sources and commission exactly ZERO of it. What does this mean? Well, for the most part, it means that we secure the rights to use images from artists by either asking to use them for free, or through purchase agreements, and THEN write materials to accompany said image. It's FAR CHEAPER to do this than to commission original work. We do not, and never have, credit individual artists, or writers. That said, the site is offline, and will be for a bit, as we make absolutely sure that we have the rights to all artwork being used. As the stellar executive that I am, I have directed our staff to take this very seriously. So, all of you who think you spot images we use on other websites, of course you do! We don't ask that the artists not show their work as part of their portfolios, even after we're using them. Don't be ridiculous!

Sincerely, Joshua S. Mason Founder / CEO The Extra Reading Company



Update number two! After nearly 2 weeks, I had assumed this was dead and buried. Then, I woke up Tuesday morning to this little nugget sitting in my inbox…


From: "Chuck Finlee" <chuck_finlee@sbcglobal.net>
To: "Pearson Hurst"
Subject: Cease and Desist Immediately
Date: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 5:53 am

Pearson Hurst,

You will immediately cease and desist all attempts to harm the reputation of The Extra Reading Company. This includes contacting our artists on websites, posting negative information about our company, and removing all posts you have made about our company in EVERY RESPECT, immediately.

If you fail to comply, you will feel firsthand what the other side of a smear campaign is like.

If you fail to comply, your friend, Bridget Scanlon-Henne, will feel this as well.

In addition, you will close all of the accounts you have made under various handles on the website of www.deviantart.com, immediately.

If these demands are understood, reply when you have completed these tasks, including the complete removal of your post on www.reddit.com.

Again, should you fail to do this, you, and your friends and family will feel the shame and embarrassment of what the other side of a smear campaign is like.

And yes, if you're wondering, we will contact all colleagues at  XXXXXXXXXXX and make them aware of your immaturity.

You have 24 hours to comply.


Uh, I don’t have one account on deviantart, much less multiple accounts. Apparently Mr. Mason thinks everyone needs to use aliases and “pen names” to make their point.


Followed a little later by this one.


From: "Chuck Finlee" <chuck_finlee@sbcglobal.net>
To: "Pearson Hurst"
Subject: Letter About Our Concerns
Date: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 12:33 pm

Here’s the letter we’re getting ready to send out to your employers about our concerns. We’ll begin with the physicians on staff at xxxxxxxxxx. Do you think it adequately addresses your mental deficiencies of which xxxxxxxx should be made aware?

Dear xxxxxxxxxxx Representatives,

It has come to our attention that an employee of yours, one Pearson Hurst (whom we believe is working as some sort of systems analyst for your organization), has been misappropriating your company’s time and resources to consistently harass our small educational curriculum company. Please be aware that we believe this individual to be highly unstable and suggest that you immediately review his qualifications/mental capabilities for the successful performance of his job functions. Pearson Hurst could be a danger to the viability of your organization and is most likely in effect stealing from you by wasting resources/company time.

To begin your inquiry, we suggest that you conduct an examination of any company assets over which he has had control, including his business computer and web browsing history as recorded on your servers. When you do so, you’ll no doubt find that he has been engaging in these harassment practices while you are paying him to perform duties as an employee.

It should go without saying that, as Pearson Hurst’s employer, you may be liable for his conduct, should we commence a civil suit against him in the near future. Thus, we suggest you immediately order this likely unbalanced individual to cease and desist his harassing behavior at once and consider terminating his employ, to safeguard your company from litigation.

Thank you for looking into this matter,



Let me digress for a moment and note that;

1)      Creating this page and posting to Reddit were done on my own time, on my own computer.

2)      This whole deal went down before I was even employed by my current employer.

3)      I showed the head of HR at my company the above emails, and he had almost as good a laugh over them as I did.


And a little later, this text…


3314651266: Hey Pearson, have you done as you were told yet? The clock is ticking, pal. After that, I'll show you true embarrassment and shame... to you and your family.


Oh dear, is this page still here?

I think it is, Josh.

Yes, Josh, I’m certain it is.