Subscriptions Everywhere: Keep or Cancel

Subscriptions are nothing new. They offer the public monthly, yearly, or seasonal use or access to a product or service.

One of the most well-known subscription-based models was the newspaper and periodicals industry that began back in 1440 with the onset of the printing press.

Newspapers have been steadily declining over the past decade. In its place, digital and technical subscription services are popping up everywhere online. There is something out there for everyone.

If you’re a guy, you probably know about Dollar Shave Club already. The Club has become notorious when it comes to getting affordable razor blades every month. You can also order house shaving creams, after-shaves, and butt wipes. They have some of the funniest and crude commercials.

Here are some unusual subscription services out there. But these aren’t just weird, they’re helpful, too!  Let’s look at 7 subscription services you probably didn’t know you wanted.

Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of the printing press.

Columbia House

Columbia House is a famous subscription model. Introduced in the early 1970s by the Columbia Records division of CBS, Inc. as an umbrella for its mail-order music clubs. The Columbia House brand was the primary incarnation of which was the Columbia Record Club, established in 1955. It had a significant market presence in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s.

It was one of the old mail-order record clubs that offered ridiculously cheap albums— from the vinyl records to 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, and, finally, CDs. All that music for a penny?

There was a catch. By signing up, you subscribed to the club and had to purchase more tapes over the next three years at regular club prices. No one cared about the fine print. What mattered was my first dozen selections.

“Every month, a new Columbia House catalog would arrive in your mailbox, featuring the Album of the Month. If you didn’t immediately mail back the accompanying reply card, 10 days later they’d mail you the Album of the Month (along with a hefty invoice).

Inevitably, you’d end up forgetting to mail the reply card, and the Tina Turner cassette gathering dust in my basement right now is a testament to that. If you weren’t diligent with the reply cards, you could get in a lot of trouble quickly. The internet is full of stories from people who were denied bank loans simply because they forgot to pay Columbia House for a tape 15 years ago.

Columbia House closed for good in 2009, leaving behind a legacy of forgotten reply cards, unwanted cassettes, and ridiculous dents in our credit scores. But it also left me a better person with a higher appreciation for a world of music I might have never discovered without Columbia House, Rolling Stone, and my poor parents, who suffered through a decade of my blaring stereo.

I wouldn’t trade any of those memories for a dollar — unless you’re willing to give me 13 tapes in return, in which case, let’s talk.” ~ Shane Brown

The Future of Subscriptions

In the near future, almost everything will have a subscription. Video streaming services (Netflix, Disney +, Hulu, etc…), music streaming services like Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify, etc…), cell phones, home security, and the list goes on.

Are subscription services worth it?

Let’s examine Amazon Prime. Along with speedy shipping, it’s a subscription service that gives members access to a variety of Amazon perks. Benefits include expedited 2-day shipping, access to exclusive deals, and many other Amazon-centric benefits. For many consumers, Amazon Prime is a no-brainer for the shipping perks alone.

Most consumers find convenience in subscriptions because they believe they save time and money from the repeated delivery of the product or service. Yet there are others who believe it is getting out of hand.

According to the NY Times by Mint, we each spend about $640 on digital subscriptions like streaming video and music services, cloud storage, dating apps, and online productivity tools. Our spending on subscriptions will likely rise as more of our things are connected to the internet. You should anticipate this inevitable future to learn how to manage your subscription list.

There are a variety of apps that allow users to add, manage, and track subscriptions. Some apps may require that you link to a card or bank account, so make sure you’re comfortable sharing that information. Others require manually inputting subscriptions, which is more time-consuming but maybe an exercise that opens your eyes to how many recurring payments you make each month.

Does Hillside Offer Any Subscription Services?

Yes, we have three.

Before Amazon Prime, Netflix, and The Dollar Shave Club, Hillside has offered our customers subscriptions to help them keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

1) Automatic Oil Delivery 

Hillside’s automatic delivery is available for all of our customers. We use a computational-intense mathematical formula that notifies our team when a customer requires an oil delivery. This formula calculates your past deliveries in combination with your local weather to forecast when deliveries are needed. Don’t worry if you are a new customer. New accounts are based on the average of similar size homes in your area. The first delivery should be scheduled by the customer and we’ll take over from there.

We schedule automatic delivery of your home heating by the use of degree days. Our powerful computer algorithms calculate delivery dates based on:

  • Previous weather conditions
  • Past usage history of your home

Never again worry about your fuel level!

Enjoy peace of mind with our worry-free fuel delivery service that will keep you warm all winter long. You’ll be fueled during the coldest days and nights. You can stop monitoring your heating oil tank and permanently avoid emergency deliveries when extreme weather hits and the world is scrambling for heating fuel.

See full details about Automatic Oil Delivery

2) Heating Maintenance Subscription Plans

Our Heating Maintenance Subscription Plan (regular furnace cleaning and maintenance) helps prevent frequent failures, inefficient performance, and poor indoor air quality. Our 30-point Furnace Tune-Up designed to prevent heating problems this season.

Heating Maintenance Plan and Heater Tune-Up Include the Following:

  • Replace nozzle one oil filter, and pump strainer
  • Clean, lubricate, and adjust burner, inspect all controls and adjust if needed
  • Vacuum and clean boiler or furnace, smoke pipe and base of chimney (Where needed and accessible)
  • Inspect and clean combustion chamber – Oil circulating pump or fan motor and bearings
  • Clean and adjust electrode and high-tension leads
  • Check pump, examine belts, pulleys, and couplings

See full details about Heating Maintenance Plan 

3)  A/C and Heat Pumps Maintenance Subscription plans!

Our A/C Tune-Up Includes the Following:

  • Clean condenser coil and indoor coil (where accessible)
  • Oil and inspect motors
  • Inspect wiring and tighten electrical connections
  • Check capacitor and contactor
  • Check and change air filter (customer supplied)
  • Clear condensate drain line
  • Inspect refrigerant line connections
  • Check system refrigerant charge and thermostat for
    proper operation
  • Check amp draw of the compressor, condenser motor, and
    blower motor

See full details about A/C Maintenance Plan 

Current Heating Oil Rates in DE, PA, MD

Hillside's Heating and Maintenance Plan Info

Download Hillside’s Heating Maintenance Plan