Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Rant Against Online Registration "Processing Fees"

I love the convenience of signing up for a race online. It's quick, it's easy, and it should result in much easier work for the race organizers because YOU store all of YOUR personal information in a database, presumably spelled correctly. By contrast, sending a race registration via snail mail requires finding/printing and filling out a paper form, writing a check, addressing & stamping an envelope, finding a mail box, postal delivery, and for the race director: opening mail, hand-entering registration information, depositing checks, dealing with checks that bounce, coping with postal delays or errors, etc. Big hassle.

Therefore, one would assume that a race director/organization would greatly prefer online registration, because it makes their lives easier.

Then why on earth is it acceptable to charge an additional fee for online registration? This baffles and frustrates me. Look, I would *expect* to pay a premium fee for a mailed entry and/or for day-of-race/onsite registration - because these require from the race director an investment of human resources, time, and can be error-prone (particularly the day-of-race process, which is by nature rushed and completed under some bit of duress).

In other words, I'm okay if you charge me more for being late, lazy, or a luddite ... but why would you charge me more money for doing some of YOUR work FOR you?

Oh, I know one of the refrains will be, "But the online registration companies charge race directors a fee!" Okay, I hear you, but try shopping around a bit (some charge much lower fees, and there are even some services that offer fee-free processes - sometimes in trade for race sponsorship or recognition) and here's an idea: just build the fee into your regular registration amount! At the same time, charge EVEN MORE for those who mail in their forms, thus moving more and more registrants online where their time and effort help you with accurate and timely information.

Make us feel like we are getting a deal by registering online, instead of being PUNISHED!

This one seems a no-brainer to me, but until race directors figure it out I'll be printing the darn forms, scrawling my information in the little boxes, digging in the junk drawer for a stamp, and forcing them to deal with snail mail. It's frustrating.

This rant has been brought to you by Molehills-into-Mountains, a proud sponsor of petty grievances all over the globe. Have a pet peeve that will have almost no real-world impact, and is purely based on your luxury, first-world leisure pursuits? Then Molehills-into-Mountains is for you!

In other words, I realize that in the context of the world in which we live, this concern has no place among war, famine, crime, disease, hatred, neglect, violence, and about a thousand other more-important things. But I reserve the right to be human and spout off now and then about something that just plain irks me. I find it cathartic. Sigh. Back to real life now ...

1 comment:

  1. Exactly!
    I posted almost the exact same thing on my blog a while ago (and I too sent my registration in via snail mail).

    Good rant!


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