Reader unhappy with my negative reporting: Unsubscribes

I am withholding the name of the author. I know that some other readers have similar feelings, so posting his thoughts is my way of showing I understand his (and probably many others’) point of view, and my reasons for doing what I do. Please feel free to comment. —Chuck Woodbury, editor
 
Dear Chuck,
letters to the editorI’ve been a subscriber to your various newsletters for a number of years.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, your reporting has devolved into nothing more than a negative slant against all things RV related. It’s your newsletter and you can certainly report as you see fit, just as I can decide whether I want to subscribe to its influences or not. We have reached a decision to unsubscribe from all of your newsletters. The final blow comes as a result of your taking time to bash a 7 year old BLM public service video! Meaningful news must be scant for you these days, apparently. 
 
It seems that you have become somewhat cynical in your attitude and resulting reporting and while I believe there should be a strong voice representing RV owners to the RV industry, your voice has become almost entirely negative. I believe as a result of the vehemence and sarcasm evidenced in your newsletter on an increasing basis, you are evolving into an ineffective force, NOT to be reckoned with….not unlike Chicken Little. That’s really a shame. An organized and professional approach will cause industries leaders to want to sit down and talk about the issues, not snarky, sarcastic, sniping and biased editorials. Some of your content is interesting, informative and relevant, but I found that many other online newsletters provide identical content, without the negative slant.

We have owned eight RVs over the last 20 years, all of them purchased new except one. We have been full-timing for more than 12 years. I mention this only to point out that we are not newbies and do speak with some hard-earned experiences. We fully understand the issues with owning a complex piece of equipment, pieced together with parts sourced from many manufacturers. Things happen, parts do break, there are poor manufacturing quality control systems in place, but at the end of the day you either enjoy the ride or decide it’s not worth it.

Is the problem solely the RV manufacturing industry or is it possible the consumers’ ceaseless demand for bigger, better and more high-tech products partially a factor? We no longer camp, we glamp, as no one wants to leave any of our “required” conveniences at home.

Chuck, good luck with your efforts in the future. We truly hope your quest to be the Don Quixote for RV owners is successful as you to strive to conquer the windmill collectively known as the RVIA. Given the negative state of our country and our world as reported each and every day, we refuse to ingest negative influence into our major source of enjoyment:  RV’ing.

Take care. —David

 

Dear David,
Thanks for the observations. I am aware that I have been more “negative” lately than at any other time in my 35 years of RVing, in which I have spent, on average, at least a few months a year on the road.
 
The change in my tone began about a year and a half ago when I went full-time and began to really live and breathe the RV lifestyle, and see first hand what’s going on. There is something about being “out there,” talking with other RVers and observing their lives, that opens a writer’s eyes to more than what he or she would see from home or an office. Of course, I write a whole lot that would never be considered negative, as I am in love with the RV lifestyle as much as when I first hit the road 35 years ago.
 

Despite what you have observed, our circulation has hit new highs since I started what you perceive as negative reporting. Our “voluntary subscriptions” have also increased significantly in the last year, which has enabled me to commission more quality articles from our current writers and hire new ones to help report about the RV lifestyle better, with higher quality information and articles. It’s these pledges of support that have enabled my staff and I to finally launch Mike Sokol’s RV Electricity Newsletter, which I guarantee will save some RVers’ heartache from dangerous mistakes they might make that result in loss of their RVs and sadly sometimes even their lives (or a family menber’s). Mike and I are working behind the scenes to develop some education programs to help RVers be safer with electricity.

There is a lot of frustration among RVers these days and it seems I am the only one addressing the issues and their concerns. I learned three decades ago when I first started reporting from the road that I could not please everyone. Heck, if I can please two percent of the RVers in America I’ll have a substantial audience, a big enough voice that the industry will pay close attention. Nobody else watches the industry, how it treats you and me (we’re $$$ to manufacturers and not much more) and other RVers. They do what they wish, including cranking out way too many substandard products. Also, nobody else that I know of is seriously addressing where you put a half million new RVs a year when there are virtually no new RV park spaces or public campgrounds. Okay, that’s negative. I understand.

 So while you are certainly not alone in your observations about my reporting, there are a lot of folks who see what my staff and I do differently.
 
Frankly, I found the BLM video stupid — a confusing, long-winded animated feature produced, I suspect, at considerable expense. Most viewers of such videos never get beyond 10-20 seconds into it before clicking away. I doubt that even 10 percent of the 500 who viewed this one over 7 years (let’s see, that’s 71 views a year!) watched it all the way through. And, yes, I posted it to this website with my comments on New Year’s Day, which was, indeed, a slow news day. But like most days of my life, I worked (in between football games).
 
I went ahead and removed you from all our newsletters email alerts except the new one about RV electricity, which I do not edit. I believe every RVer should read it. Feel free, of course, to unsubscribe: I just thought you might find it more to your liking than the other publications where I am more involved. It’s all about safety.
 
But like I said, I do understand your points. Thank you for taking the time to write.
 
The very best to you.
Chuck
 
P.S. Just as I was writing this response, a recall notice was issued by the Federal government about satellite dishes that were installed on some Fleetwood and Holiday Rambler motorhomes that were coming loose and flying off the roofs. As soon as I am done here, I will report the recall on this website. Is this negative news? Should I just let this pass without a mention? Here’s my thinking: If I’m following behind one of those motorhomes and the dish comes loose and flies off and slams into my windshield, I will not be a happy camper, maybe not even a camper again.
 
And why is this recall even being issued? Because the normal supply of plywood ran out where the dish is attached and a composite material was substituted. Well, apparently it didn’t work. To me, running out of the product reflects bad planning, but using a substitute product not designed to do the job is just plain wrong. This is just another example of bad workmanship coming out of manufacturers’ factories these days in the name of building RVs too fast in an effort to keep the cash rolling in.

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34 Thoughts to “Reader unhappy with my negative reporting: Unsubscribes”

  1. Jack

    We are new to the RV world & last year we spent a lot of time going to dealers & shows & reading & then we found this newsletter. We always heard the rosy picture never the problems. Long story, thanks to this newsletter we did not buy a stick camper. Even though we saw how flimsy they were built, we wanted one so bad that we were going to over look it, until we found this newsletter. We ended up with a fiberglass camper. We have a 10 month wait, but worth the peace of mind. We will find out if we made the right choice this spring. Keep up the good work.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Jack, so glad we could help you! Chuck/editor

  2. Egwilly

    I ride a motorcycle as well as traveling with a fifth wheel.
    I am not happy to hear that some rv’s are loosing their rooftop satellite while underway!
    Thanks for the heads up, and keep on keeping on!

  3. Michael McCracken

    No complaints here Chuck. Your articles are informative and spot on. I want to know the problems that I might face as a full-time RVer. The good as well as the bad. Thank You Chuck for keeping me informed.

  4. Mike H.

    I have to sit back and smile, obviously you have generated quite a bit of interest. We have the option to read or not read these articles. I’ve been playing with these things for forty years now (damn I’m old) serviced and repaired numerous rigs, none of this is going to change our passion of this type of travel. The old adage “take it with a grain of salt “ keep up the good work and happy travels….

  5. Brenda

    I think a little doom and gloom about the current state is fine. I’d wish you’d do some searching about alternative rving choices.
    We’ve been full-time since 2013 and have been completely happy staying at COE and State Parks from New York State to Florida. Yes we have to make reservations months in advance. But we never have the worries traveling and wondering if we will have a space and if we will fit. If something changes our plans a quick call and a cancellation fee is all that happens.
    And we went with a residential refrigerator after two cooling units failed in our 2005 Newmar Dutchstar MH. So now we are Happy Campers without the worries about throwing out spoiled food. It’s not just boondocking vs private park camping. There are a lot of options out there.

  6. Dave G

    I think the negative things you talk about should be heard. However, why not do it in a section like the other information sections and talk about your travels and POSITIVE adventures in YOUR section. Negative can be good but enough is enough. I am also a contributor and look forward to your newsletter. But I too get tired of the massive negativity. Talk about RV problems and negativity in an RV problem Section. That’s my opinion and most wont like it but it is what it is. Thanks David for bringing this to light. Thanks Chuck for your newsletter and attention to these problems. Keep up the good work, overall.

  7. Patricia Bankston

    Chuck, I hope you realize that your voice is needed to share with consumers to “look before they buy:” and the RV Industry that, yes, someone is watching you and letting people know.
    I became a member to your newsletter because I needed to find out all the information I could before I made this huge “leap of faith” to purchase.
    Over the year and half I saw what you and your staff do to provide interesting, often thought-provoking commentary. That’s when I became a paid subscriber.
    Don’t lose faith in what you’re doing … there’s always rain before the sun shines!
    Thanks to you and your staff, I know that I have a lot more knowledge about RVs, and I’m an informed consumer.
    So when I make that decision to buy, I know I have been provided the kind of information that will help me make a good decision.
    Thanks again and keep up the good work!
    Patricia B.

  8. Chuck B

    Chuck
    I’ve also read many of your articles for many years and personally meet and talk to you at an RV show. Yes, you are getting more negative but you did not create the source of that negativism.
    Yes some of it is getting “old” and no one seems to know what to do about it. Maybe a “NEW” twist for the news letter. Solutions from our readers. The more we get involved as a group the more influence we will have.
    Chuck

  9. JB

    Personally I welcome a newsletter such as this one as it exposes a lot of problems with quality control in the RV industry.Without advice,such as Mike’s electrical segment,or recall notices lumped into one newsletter,many would be clueless about how greedy and uncaring the RV industry has become.With the cost of new towable RV’s exceeding $100,000 anymore,one needs all the help and advice he,or she,can get to help make good decisions.Keep up the good work,Chuck,there are many who actually like your efforts.

  10. Larry McLeod

    Great job Chuck i enjoy all your items and look foreward to reading a lot more.Thanks Larry

  11. Diane M

    Marty Chambers, I was going to write a similar comment about this topic, but you said it better than I would have, so i’ll just say I agree.

  12. Linda Greasamar

    Hear no evil? See no evil? Speak no evil? Does that mean that it doesn’t exist? I appreciate your honest reporting and only feel enlightened by your so called negative reporting. I am afraid that a lot of people have forgotten how to speak up for what is right! Thank you for your honest reports on the RV industry.. Keep up the good work!

    1. Patrick Granahan

      Chuck, Thanks for all your excellent reporting.
      Fact is if the industry was not cutting quality we might only hear positive reports…but…sadly that is not the case.
      We sold our RV a few months ago and are not sure if we will return to the RV Life but I still read this electronic gem every week.
      Keep up the great work and thanks for the reports!

  13. Carlos M. Pérez

    I’ll bet the guy on the Titanic who yelled “ICEBERG!!!” wasn’t being “negative”, and those that survived were probably grateful for the heads-up! ????

    Let David keep listening to the orchestra…I’ll see you at the lifeboat station…

    Keep up the great work! Carlos

  14. Roger White

    Sorry you lost a subscriber due to your “negative” attitude, Chuck. My response? I just doubled my monthly contribution. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend!

  15. John Kiblin

    I don’t think canceling all subscriptions is helpful to the reader. I read the newspaper daily and there are numerous stories I do not read. Many are obvious opinions rather than news reporting. But I won’t deny myself everything else just to avoid some things I don’t agree with. Television, radio, magazines, newsletters all should be taken with some sense that causes you to question the host’s/writer’s veracity, etc. Why throw out the baby with the bath water.

  16. Wolfe

    As a visible/consolidated lightening rod/spokesman for the “little consumers”, your (Chuck’s) commentary is absolutely necessary if still ignored — as many here have reported, the industry has no motive to improve or take care of customers because they have more business than they can handle even while producing dangerous and shoddy products. Alerting new RVers until sales fall off is the only leverage “we” really have.

    One problem that I haven’t seen Chuck address yet, if he wants to REALLY tilt at windmills, is the effect mega-government has on campsites. I’ve talked to many campsite owners about “If you’re ALWAYS booked, why don’t you expand? Why are competing campgrounds closing? Why so few new ones opening?” Time again, it’s local bureaucracy and regulation making “little guy” campgrounds completely absurd businesses — sewer fees that eat several months of income? One campground actually closed their toilets/dump just to afford to stay in business. Inspecting kitchens that don’t even exist (but still collect a fee to prove that)? Is inspecting distribution panels constantly, but none of the pedestals really safer? Certain safety inspections SHOULD happen at a sane frequency, but so many are licensed/registered/otherwise taxed in 30 ways until 11 months of a year are working for Uncle Sam. It’s possible that this is a particularly Socialist Northeast issue, but I suspect the government overreach issue (affecting ALL small businesses) will quickly spread mid-country soon if unchecked.

    1. ke

      While some government regulations may seem to go overboard, the sad reality is that profit-driven businesses would likely neglect safety and upkeep to save a buck whenever possible.
      Look at the crap coming off RV assembly lines for example. I’d rather have MORE govt inspection than burn my time and money when buying one of the lemons coming off their assembly lines.

    2. Clayobx

      Socialist Northeast Issue. Why hell yes! Let’s just let all safety regulations fly out the window for the sake of profit and hope no one is injured, killed, as is the case with today’s
      QC or lack of. RIVA and their salaried lobbyist constantly pad the coffers of the interior secretary Department against any form of government “Lemmon” laws that auto manufactures must by law adhere to. Why Not!….RV manufacturers?? Sending more donations Chuck! No negatitivity but positive promotion for the end consumer, enough!

  17. littleleftie

    Chuck—I thank you for your voice because it informs me, supports me and reassures me that someone, somewhere feels as I do.
    I don’t have a giant coach, just a small 13′ fibreglass camper. But the issues you address in your newsletter concerning lack of campsites, for example, affect us all, not just the large rigs. Keep up the good work.

  18. Vito Mazzaro

    Hi Chuck,
    We just bought a travel trailer from camping world in May of 2017. I had to get a couple things fixed on it and was told that they would have to check to see if it’s under warantee and I might have to pay for the repairs. I mentioned to them it has a 1 year warantee. This is what you mention about dishonest practices. I got everything fixed for free but they knew it was under warantee. Keep up the good work and remember for every idiot who doesn’t like what your saying there’s a 100 of us who support you. Keep doing the GREAT reporting

  19. Ken Wahl

    Spot on in your response to David. He’s the lapdog. He’s been watching too much “negative” on the evening news, daytime chick-talk and cable gossip “news and opinion”, creating his infectious negativity. Keep up the good work Chuck and Gail. Everyone enjoys a little bit of good news.

    PS David, I can see you. Peeking out of one eye. Checking out the responses to your “letter to the editor”, he he he.

  20. Joe Allen

    Chuck, wife and I started the full time life back in 2000 and even then, saw the problems that were coming about. The higher sales in the RV industry with poor workmanship, low wages and a care free attitude toward the consumer. We saw the permanent trailers taking over the small Mom and Pop RV parks, the poor electrical systems with open grounds, etc.
    Yes, we still loved this lifestyle, but needed someone with a voice to address these issues and maybe, one day, the industry will realize their ill ways and start putting the customer first rather than the bottom line.
    Keep up the great work and calling a spade a spade! There are 10’s of thousands of us in your corner!
    Wishing you and your staff a very successful 2018 and beyond!

  21. Benny H. Smith

    Chuck
    We have read rvtravel for two years now, like most getting a free ride each week. Our first holiday travel season has keep us in this years early freeze. Nights below 10F with days under 30F, for three weeks now, have tested our 2018 Montana HC 305RL. Tanks are warm and water keeps running. Your content negative & positive helped us make an informed choice. Keep up the good work. The next thing I will do after writing this is log in and become your next paid subscriber. It is my hope, you may count on regular readers like me to step up and help keep rvtravel growing stronger.

  22. Steve

    Chuck – Consider yourself as the voice for all of us who truly love the RV lifestyle and know first hand the truths that you write about. Your response to David was “spot on,” and I also suspect he’s a dealer For this owner, keep the articles comming. Hopefully someday soon someone will start paying attention.

  23. Calvin Rittenhouse

    As usual, I have my own spin on this. I appreciate your honest and useful reporting on the drawbacks of RVing. Your audience needs that information and it’s good journalism.

    What I would like to see more is not a change to the usual industry marketing but ideas and experiences of how Rvers can adapt to the conditions and prepare for likely future changes. The RV industry will probably not listen to a lone voice telling them where they’re going wrong. However, I bet some of your readers have found ways to adapt to the quality issues, crowded campgrounds, and other problems of RVing, just as they have in the past to small, simple RVs and camping with few services.

    My life, and most people’s, requires adaptability. You could help with that.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Calvin, excellent observations. Change happens. Sometimes it is hard to see that change when we like how things were before. But then there is reality: you are correct that we need to talk more about how to adapt than just complain about things. — Chuck

  24. marty chambers

    I did not find your comments about the RV Industry out of line, it had to be said. And you are the perfect person to speak out. You go to the major “RV Shows” and you talk to the people in the RV business and life style. You have your finger in the pulse of the lifestyle and you see it is ill.

    The writer revealed something interesting with the comment of “We have owned eight RVs over the last 20 years, all of them purchased new except one.” The man is an RV makers dream come true! He buys and trades RV’s ever two to three years and buys new each time? I bet he stays at all the five star RV resorts as well because to buy any, even the stuff Thor sells, it take money to eat a 40% depreciation every two to four years. Sound more and more like someone with some financial interests in the RV industry.

    And no, I do not find Chuck negative, only informative. He has alerted many people to serious issues in the RV industry and lifestyle. I and many others appreciate him for doing so.

    No worries Chuck, we the real people, are with you.

  25. Captn John

    Did David ever think here is more negative than positive out there? Could he feel you may impact his income or is he sitting in a nice resort with no intention to ever leave? Life is not all positive and sometimes or some things often go south.
    Speaking of going south, ever try to get a south Fl resort along the coast for Jan/Feb?

  26. Steve

    As someone still in the romantic looking phase, I need a dose of reality even if it is negative sometimes. Your news letter gives me that along with a lot of other useful information that will help me make the right decision.

  27. PETE

    Want to bet that “David” is an RV manufacture?
    Chuck, you are the only one that I know that is telling it like it is.
    Keep up the great work.
    Thanks

  28. Larry Haywood

    Seems to me taking the lead on bringing transparency to the issues will work towards change. Keep up the good work.

  29. Jake Roe

    I like your Newsletters Chuck! For me they are full of useful information, and sure, at times you give a negative slant but then it is your newsletter and your opinion. I can freely choose to agree or disagree. I have found over the years your Newsletters to be more positive than negative and I appreciate your efforts to keep us informed. All the best for 2018. Jake

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