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Date Range: 3/1/2009 - 3/31/2009
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why E-Gift Cards Suck

On the 14th of March I logged in at to purchase an E-Gift Card for someone. The checkout system needed to know who I wanted to send the email to. Since it was a birthday gift, I didn't want them to get it ahead of time. I was also concerned that they may never receive it at their Yahoo email address. So, I used my email address because I knew I'd get it since I have never had an issue receiving email from in the past.

The next day, the email for the E-Gift card was still not in my inbox. I emailed them a reply to my order confirmation email and this is what I got back:

Not enough info? I provided my entire order confirmation email. So I emailed them again at about 7pm on the 15th:

Still no E-gift card in my inbox. Instead I get this lovely reply at about 10:30pm on the 15th:

I'd already looked up my order history to see if I could glean anything from that. Nope, nothing. I couldn't see what email address I'd put into the form at checkout or any of the recipient's details. Had I misspelled my own email address? Entirely possible. I emailed them again at about 8:30pm on the 16th:

Hoping for the best I waited for a reply. I waited. I waited some more. By 10am on the 18th still no e-Gift Card and no email reply either! Ugh, I emailed again:

I finally get a reply at almost 4pm on the 18th:

As soon as I received the reply, I responded which was about 7:30pm on the 18th:

Yeah, I'm getting annoyed and a tad snarky. I've had a different Customer Service Rep reply to each of my emails. I'm convinced none of them read the history. Of course, I get a reply from a different person, this time at nearly 10am today (which is the 19th):

Now I'm even more annoyed. She didn't answer my question. So I reply at about 10:30am today.

A nice and quick reply that was actually from the same Rep. as the previous reply came in at about 10:45am today which said:

Hmmm, okay maybe I did type it in wrong? That doesn't make sense, but alright... Why can't they just tell me the email address I entered originally? I'm getting frustrated again, so I write a short email at 11:29am today:

The same Rep. replied again at 11:34am today:

Fine. I give up. I'll call customer service. (I think it is lame that they say to call and in the next breath say I can email. I don't like calling and wish I could do it all in email.)

So here's how the call went... First, the recording states the call may be recorded for quality assurance. Good! I'll let my frustration show so maybe they'll fix this terrible user experience.

The woman who answered was very nice and polite. Based off the phone number I was calling from she already had some of my info in front of her. (That's always a little creepy to me, but cool at the same time.) I explained to her the situation, making mention of how I was not able to get the email address the E-Gift card was originally sent to. She explained that "for security purposes we can't email that information".

WHAT?! I'm the one who placed the order. I can't get that information in my order history or in the email but I can call and get it? It's easier to fake who you are by calling than to prove you're legit by replying from the expected email account or logging in to the website. In my mind, the phone is less secure, but she gave it to me and it was correct. I complained they should at least have said in the email, "For security purposes" etc. I would have called sooner.

She then proceeds to ask me, "Was this a gift?" I said yes, and explained my reasons for having it sent to my email. She then let me know something I never would have expected. She said that the recipient would have to log in from or create an account with my email address in order to redeem the gift card! WHAT?!!!

It's an E-Gift card, should be as simple as entering in a code at checkout to redeem like any other gift card. Right? Yeah, I would think so too but that's not how they do it.

Over the course of my call I gave the lady an earful I'm sure. All the while she was patient as she could be and said she'd pass my frustrations/suggestions along. I'd suggested that the order history let me see who I was emailing to & their email address. I also told her that it isn't that hard for them to do this, and that I would know because I build websites for a living. I even told her I'm not some idiot off the street who doesn't know how these things should work or how they work, that she could Google my name and find out who I am and that I know what I'm talking about when I make these suggestions.

Sidenote: Yikes, I'm not proud of that attitude and I'll probably never be hired to work at (they're a ColdFusion site and I'd love to work for them to make their site so much better, but it is more unlikely now than ever -- not just for this call but also because of this blog post. Oh well... back to my story.)

In the end, I asked for a refund and she was able to do that quite quickly. I asked her how I could get a gift card that would be usable online. My options were to buy one online and wait 7 to 10 days or get one in a store. Either is usable online.

I thanked her for putting up with me and apologized, "I'm sorry for taking my frustrations out on you. I know how hard it is to be in Customer Service. I hope I didn't ruin your day." She was polite, but I'm sure she was frustrated dealing with me. I honestly feel bad for that.

In the end they'll still get my money. I'll be placing an order on behalf of the gift recipient later tonight. I just can't and won't likely ever buy an E-Gift card because: A) I never got my email and there's no good reason for why I didn't B) I can't have it sent to myself and then print it out and give it to someone or forward it to a friend's email. That's why I think's E-Gift cards suck. Hopefully my feedback will be received and they'll improve the process. Not that I'll ever know unless someone tells me, since I've no intention of ever buying an EGC from them again. THE END

Posted by ~Angela | Comments (0) | Add Comment | Permalink

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blue and Gold Banquet 2009

This Saturday was the Blue & Gold Banquet, where Cub Scouts receive the badge that they've been working towards. My son, Gaetano, received his Bear badge!

When the scout receives his badge, their Akela (that's me in my son's case) pins the badge upside down over their left pocket (close to their heart). When the scout does his first good deed he can turn the badge right side up and it can be permanently attached to their uniform.

Gaetano was with us shopping at HEB and a bunch of those yellow coupons you see hanging everywhere had fallen and scattered on the floor. We were busy shopping to notice them, but Gaetano saw them and picked them up and put them all back on the hook.

At first, I thought he'd knocked them down and was just cleaning up after himself. I was ready to scold him for touching them in the first place but he told me they were already on the floor and he was just picking them up. Awwww, he did a good deed! :-) Tonight, I'll have him help me put his patch on his uniform.

The following are some statistics from the back of the program from the Blue & Gold Banquet that I thought you might find interesting. Keep in mind that Gaetano is a Cub Scout, not a Boy Scout. Gaetano is a Bear now, and has Weblos 1 and Weblos 2 to complete before entering the Boy Scouts in the 6th grade. As you read through these facts, keep in mind that with every year that passes in scouting, the next level brings more advanced achievements and greater commitment.

For every 100 boys who join Boy Scouts:
  • Twelve will have their first contact with a church or synagogue
  • Five will earn their religious emblem
  • One will enter the clergy
  • Eighteen will develop hobbies that last through the merit badge system
  • One will use his Boy Scout skills to save a life
  • One will use his Boy Scout skills to save his own life
  • Seventeen will become Scouting volunteers
  • Four will become Eagle Scouts

Gaetano tells us that he'd like to go all the way to Eagle Scouts. I would be so proud. As his Akela, I promise to do my best to help him reach his goal.

Gaetano and Angela at the Blue and Gold Banquet 2009

Though Gaetano looks like he's laughing in the photo on the right, he's actually doing his impression of his sister crying like babies do. That's my goofball! I love my Bear cub and look forward to more good times with scouting.

Posted by ~Angela | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Permalink