Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm mildly irritated, but not by Black Friday, but we'll talk about that too.

A few days ago, I got a friendly reminder e-mail from Borders (the book store) telling me that my rewards earnings would expire the next day. So I figured I would redeem them and buy a movie or two. We don't have Borders stores in the area, so I had to order online. I pondered my choices and finally selected two items. They were in my cart and all I had to do was check out. After many error messages, improper page loads, and three and a half hours of waiting and wishing would explode in hell, my order FINALLY went through. This was very frustrating, but in the end, the mission was accomplished, so I thought I'd just forget about it. And then I got another e-mail from Borders yesterday.

It reads:

We are reaching out today to our most valued customers to inform you that we received a huge response to our recent reminder for Borders Rewards members to redeem their $10 in Bonus Bucks. Such a huge response in fact, that the customer experience was impacted. If you were not able to redeem your $10 in Borders Bonus Bucks online, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Please look for additional exclusive rewards and incentives throughout the Holiday Season.
Thank you for your patience,
Mike Edwards
CEO, Borders, Inc."

Now personally, after much frustration and time-wasting, I made it through. But this is the dumbest customer relations letter I have EVER seen. Mike Edwards, this is what your letter should have read:

"Dear Borders Customers who give us tons of money each year,
Our site is completely inadequate and non-functional. Fuck you, though.
Mike Edwards
CEO, Borders, Inc."

It wouldn't have been such a slap in the face if you didn't send an e-mail to everyone telling them, "omg go use your rewards coupons RIGHT NOW or else you will lose them forever!" But the fact that you were unable to anticipate the sheer inadequacy of your own site (which is actually pretty miserable to use on a normal day) before you sent this mass e-mail and then, instead of correcting the situation after you realized you messed up, just telling your customers, "It's too bad that we fucked up" just kind of blows my mind.

And now every time a new Borders coupon shows up in my inbox, which is typically at least once a day, I feel so much irritation due to the past offensive e-mail. There's not much I can do about it aside from ceasing to give them my business. But it is what it is.


Today was Black Friday. I haven't gone out to actually compete for wares in a few years and I didn't want to today because I've basically been feeling like shit lately. But then a few days ago, I saw a list of fun, limited issue records that were coming out. Among them was a Grinderman 12" which I absolutely had to have. And I didn't get. There were only 500 sent out. My local store got two and neither of them were attainable. However, my BFF across the country scored me a copy, so it's all good. I picked up something for him at my local store, and two things for me. One was a fairly not-in-good-condition copy of The Cure's live show at I-Beam (San Francisco, 1981) - the sleeve has some pretty hefty damage and the record appears to have one or two surface scratches, but we'll see how it goes. I'm not a super serious collector, so I don't care *too* much, but if it's really a total wreck, I will probably take it back and have words, because it did not come to me cheap.

My second purchase was made on a second trip to said record store. I researched a little and decided I wanted it. "It" is a vinyl issue of Clem Snide's "Your Favorite Music". It's a good album and apparently was not released on vinyl before. The one I got is marbled light blue vinyl with a light green label - very pretty. Overall, I was happy with my purchases considering I didn't really plan to purchase anything on Black Friday.

So, I hope everybody had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and I hope no one got trampled trying to buy a new toaster today. Please try to be sane for the rest of the holiday season.

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