WaPo Has the Perfect Gift for No One

The rule of thumb for gift giving is that it’s the thought that counts. And it looks like WaPo didn’t think this through at all.

They’re offering “Post Master Classes” at an “exclusive limited time price” for those registered with WashingtonPost.com. The price has been reduced from the regular $400 to $69.95 per class.

“Master Classes” are basically online courses in specialty areas such as photography and economics led by WaPo writers. It’s like taking a class online from the University of Phoenix but with pretense and no college credit. Ho, ho, ho!

In an email, WaPo invites WashingtonPost.com registrants to “give the gift of knowledge with a Post MasterClass.” It reminds the reader throughout that the “gift” can actually be for himself. That’s because giving it to someone else would be a disaster.

The courses require Adobe Flash, so they can’t be taken on Apple devices (meaning no iPad, sorry). There’s a time limit on how long you have to complete a course (six months, which is plenty of time, but why the limit?) And, in the spirit of customer service, if you accidentally chose the wrong course as a gift, “there are no refunds.” ‘Tis the season!

At the end of the course, you get a certificate. It means nothing, but according to the MasterClass site, they “help you to ‘certify’ and celebrate your own sense of accomplishment in completing a course…”

Touching, but no thanks. Getting a MasterClass for Christmas would be like getting a card that tells you to pat yourself on the back. All for the low, low price of $69.95.