Current Filter:
Category: Rambling
Date Range: Last 7 days containing posts.
(clear filters)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why E-Gift Cards Suck - Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, this post won't be near as interesting...

One month after the egift card ordeal, I got the email! I got two emails actually. The first one looked very similar to the second, the difference being the first email was to notify me that the email had been sent to the egift card recipient. In this case, that was me.

Here's what the egift card email looked like. (I've blurred private info and the Victoria's Secret model so that they don't ask me to take the image down.)

You may be thinking there was a date for delivery box somewhere that I filled out that caused the email to be delayed for a month. Nope.

Keep in mind that I was issued a refund on March 25th. I have to wonder if the egift card is still valid.

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

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2009 Adobe Community Experts Program

My membership in the 2009 Adobe Community Experts program has been renewed. Dan's has too. (He's sure got a way with words; I'm so boring.)

I'm honored to be part of the program. Thanks Adobe!

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

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mom, does sell clay?

Earlier tonight my son asked me, "Mom? Does sell like a whole bunch of different colors and kinds of clay or something?"

Oh the innocence of youth. You know, I once thought the very same thing of Adobe itself -- back then there was no ".com" to speak of. I always thought that Macromedia was a better name and still do. Adobe clearly had a brand name with a larger market penetration so they made the right choice keeping their name.

At any rate, his question helped to remind me that intuitive naming isn't absolutely critical to success. I for one prefer intuitive names, but that would just make sense. ;-)

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

Monday, January 12, 2009

Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup

Tonight's last minute dinner decision was Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup w/ Beer Bread. There's no secret to the beer bread; it's just Archer Farm's (from Target) Beer Bread, for which I used Shiner Black.

I've made up several recipes for (broccoli) potato cheese soup over the years. How I make it on any given day/night is largely determined by how much time I have and what ingredients I have on hand. Tonight's recipe was the quickest and easiest of all my potato cheese recipes.

Total prep time & cook time: 25 minutes (which includes washing the broccoli and cutting the florets off a head of broccoli)

Here's the recipe:

1 box (4 cups) Organic Chicken Broth
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
4 oz. Five Cheese (Provolone, Mozzarella, Asiago, Romano, and Parmesan) shredded Kraft Cheese
2 cups Potato Buds
3 oz. Shiner Black beer
2 oz. water
3 cups broccoli florets (2 cups is okay if you prefer less)
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's salt
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon White Pepper, however much you prefer

In a 3 quart pan, heat the chicken broth. Once the broth is boiling, add the Broccoli. As it is boiling I added the Lawry's, Garlic Powder, and White Pepper. Cook broccoli to desired tenderness. (I like it to be softer rather than crunchy in a soup. Boiling about 8 minutes should do.)

Measure 1 cup of the Potato buds. Moisten the Potato Buds with the 2 oz. of water and the 3 oz. of beer. Stir it up real good until all the flakes have dissolved.

By now your broccoli is done, so with a slotted spoon, remove it from the pan and set it aside in a dish.

Add the Potato Buds mixture to the boiling broth and stir to dissolve it. While still stirring, add the remaining 1 cup of Potato Buds to the soup. Don't stop stirring! Stir it until the flakes are dissolved then remove it from the heat.

Open up the can of cheddar cheese soup and pour that into the pan. Stir that up until the cheese is no longer identifiable. Add the shredded cheese and place it back on the burner on medium heat. Stir it well until the shredded cheese is good and dissolved.

Last but not least, add the broccoli back to the soup and stir it just enough to mix it in.

If you really love cheese, you can serve it with some shredded cheese (Five Cheese or cheddar) on top.

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

Friday, January 9, 2009

French Vanilla Sweet Cream

Tonight I made a quick-n-easy vanilla ice cream. I made this up on the fly, no printed recipe. (I do that a lot; I make up recipes on the fly but write 'em down so I don't forget.)

Total prep time about 30 minutes, but the wait time is 12 hours after putting it in the freezer.

Update: I accidentally said whole milk. Turned out I used 2% Milk (Horizon Organic to be exact). Sorry about that! I'm sure whole milk would do fine though.

Here's the recipe:

1 pint (which is 2 cups) Heavy Whipping Cream
1 cup whole 2% milk
1 can Borden sweetened condensed milk
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup sugar

While the whipping cream was being whisked on high in the mixer, I measured the 1 cup of milk in a 4 cup capacity measuring cup.

Next, I added the rest of the ingredients to the measuring cup and stirred it up until the sweetened condensed milk was all dissolved.

By then the heavy whipping cream was completely aerated into a nice thick whipped cream. I added the mixture slowly (about 30 seconds of pouring) from the measuring cup into the mixer. I let it mix for another 30 seconds.

Then I transferred the mixture to the ice cream attachment of the KitcheAid and let it mix until it got good and thick.

Last but not least, avoid the temptation of eating it all and put it in a container in the freezer for at least 12 hours.

The result is a nice french vanilla sweet cream.

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