04 June 2010
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Part 1 of the Blog of Which Part 2 Mostly Wrote Itself

Old Blog, New Point

A couple of years ago I perpetrated a blogitem about just how bad the "Rewards" web site of American Express is from the point of view of someone actually trying to use it.  They've had two years to respond to my suggestion that they disclose the model number of the devices they are offering.  Guess what:

I emailed an inquiry as to the model number of a particular camera they offered as a "reward."

Response (Jaspreet Singh) 06/02/2010 02:26 AM Hello Richard,
Thank you for taking your valuable time to email us. Your long association with American Express is highly appreciated.
I understand your concern regarding the model number of Nikon Digital Camera and I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused.
I would like to inform you that the model number for Nikon COOLPIX 10.3 Megapixel Digital Camera with Reward code RY7032 is "P1000".
I hope you find the information provided useful. If there is any other way we may be of assistance, please contact us.
Sincerely, Jaspreet Singh Email Servicing Team American Express Interactive Services

One obsequious but inaccurate reply later, I pointed out that I couldn't find that model anywhere.

Response (Laishram Singh) 06/02/2010 11:05 AM Dear Richard Factor,
I am sorry that you could not find the model number P1000.
I've rechecked the "Reward Code" RY7032 once again and confirmed that the model number is P1000.
Please do not hesitate to write back to me if you need any further clarifications.
Sincerely, Laishram Singh Email Servicing Team American Express Interactive Services

I remind them that the model number quoted doesn't actually exist and could they, just possibly, look at the product or the product box instead of their inaccurate blurb and maybe get it right?

Response (Laishram Singh) 06/02/2010 02:56 PM Dear Richard Factor,
I am sorry that you have to write to us multiples time for the same concerns.
Regarding your concern, I've rechecked this Nikon COOLPIX 10.3 Megapixel Digital Camera with Reward code RY7032 and confirmed the model number as P1000.
I am sorry that we do not have a separate department to find out the model number at the actual product.
You may also contact our concerned department at 1-800-297-3276), 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. ET (Monday - Friday) and 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. ET (Saturday and Sunday) for the confirmation of the model.
We look forward to speaking with you.

A Day and Six Emails Later

A day of calendar time and a half hour of my/their real time wasted just trying to find out the model number of a product they were trying to provide, which model could have been listed (correctly) in literally seconds on their web site.  At this point I still don't know the proffered model, and the Singhs and I are getting pretty tired of each other by now.  Worse, I am reduced to using the telephone.

"Hello, this is John.  Can I help you?"

John, his real name unless AmEx told him to lie, spent some time reassuring me that my business was important to them.  I bet they tell that to all the guys.  But then, happily and coincidentally, he turned out to be an amateur photographer, and approached the identity of the camera with a bit more intuition than my email correspondents.  After scrutinizing their own "reward" information and the Nikon web site, he agreed that I was probably correct about the identity of the camera.  But, he said, "I'm only 90% sure."  Still wanting to be cautious with my 71K AmEx points, I asked for his suggestions.  He admitted that he could probably unearth the truth by making some telephone calls, but he had a much better idea for me. 

Did I know that:

  • Sears sells this 71K AmEx-point camera for $379?

  • That I can get $400 worth of Land's End gift cards for 40K points?

  • That Sears, (for whatever mysterious reason,) accepts Land's End gift cards?

No I did not!  But I do now, THANK YOU JOHN!

Seeing a new camera almost in my paws, I thanked John profusely, reminded him that his existence had been very important to me, and adjured him to remonstrate with the evil schnurgs who prepare the Rewards web site about their erroneous entry.  (Where's Vomax when I need him?)

Tomorrow I Actually Buy the Camera At Sears

It will not have been as easy as you think.

"Wasn't Born to Follow"
The Byrds




A restaurant in Hawaii, to which I (of course) have never been.  I wonder if they realized when they were founded in 1882 how prophetic the name of their establishment would become.

T-shirt:  Wo Fat Chinese restaurant, Honolulu Hawaii, "Since 1882"
Richard Factor

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