08 June 2010
SETI League
PriUPS Project

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Part 2 of the Blog of Which Part 2 Mostly Wrote Itself

Your Intrepid Consumer Finished Yesterday's Blog With:

Tomorrow I Actually Buy the Camera At Sears.  It will not have been as easy as you think. 

Here's* how easy it wasn't:

Please wait for a Sears Personal Shopper to respond. This chat may be monitored or recorded for quality
assurance purposes. Your average wait is 6 seconds. Thank you for holding.

You are now chatting with 'Jackie M'. How may I help you?

you: Hi, Jackie M! I have a Nikon CoolPix P100 in my "cart" and I would like to buy it. However, your price is $379.95 and I see that Costco has it for 349.99. Can you match the price?

Jackie M: Good afternoon.  As your Personal Shopper I would be happy to advise you of our price match policy for you.  Our goal is to be the one stop solution for all your shopping needs.  

you: OK! I eagerly await the news of your policy.

Jackie M: They must be the same exact model number and it must be available in your local Costco store.  Also, there must be a Costco store within 50 miles of your home.  Can you provide me the link for Costco and your zip code please?  I would be happy to start the research for you on this price match.

you: It's a Nikon P100, as I said. There is a Costco within 12 miles of my home. Here is the link [and zip].

Jackie M: Do you also have the Sears item number so I can pull the camera up on our site too?

you: Yes. Here it is: Sears item # 00316990000 Mfr.model # COOLPIXP100

Jackie M: I am sorry that link brought me to Costco, but it is giving me a cookies page.  I will do some additional research.  Thank you for all the information!

you: Take your time. You will find it by typing P100 into the search box on the home page.

Jackie M:  Yes, I will.  Can you tell me the name of the city you live in please?  I am filling out a price match form for approval.

you: I live in Kinnelon, NJ. I want it shipped to Little Ferry NJ (07643) which is also close to a Costco.

Jackie M: Okay, thank you so much for you patience!  The price match was approved.  What that means is that we will honor the price of Costco plus give you 10% of the difference between the prices!

Jackie M: Would you like me to place the order for you?  What will happen is to place the order it will charge you the full price and then I will go in and manually adjust the price down by $40.60.

you: Most excellent! Yes, that would be great. I will be paying with "Land's End" Egift certificates.

Jackie M: By my math it should be a difference of 29.96 plus the $3.00 which equals basically $3.00, but the form say for $40.60 so I am going with that!

Jackie M: Okay great.  I will need your first and last name, billing and shipping addresses, your phone number and email address and finally your credit card account number with the expiration date and the security code please.

you: Mystery! Your form doesn't do math nearly as well as you or I.

Jackie M: We will give you the extra!!:)

you: I am: Richard Factor[mystery address], which is probably good for both billing and shipping. Email is [deep dark secret], telephone [OMG not the telephone!]  (after noon-evening) and I'm using certificates which have a LOT of numbers on them.

Jackie M: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.

Jackie M: Okay thank you Richard.  I will get started on the order.  I have been discussing with my co workers whether we can accept Land's End E gift cards on Sears.  I believe we can now, either way we will discover soon for certain!  Thank you for the information.  Are you interested in any additional warranties?

Jackie M: We have a 2 year plan for $59.99. or 3 year for $119.99.

you: No, thank you. I'm sure your products are perfect and will never go defective!

Jackie M: If not, I understand, just have to ask.

Jackie M: Okay.

Jackie M: I will be a few minutes Richard while I place the order and thank you for your confidence in Sears products!!  I agree.

Jackie M: Okay, to the final page.  Just to go over charges first and remember this will charge you full price first and then I will adjust the $40.60 which will also affect tax amount too of course.  Right now though the full price is $26.60 for tax and $6.95 for shipping making the grand total $413.50.

Jackie M: Whenever you are ready go ahead with the gift card numbers and then the pin numbers. That is of course if you are approving the order.

you: That's fine. If we didn't give New Jersey it's cut the police would take a nap. Here are the numbers: 123456789abcdef  323456789abcdef  423456789abcdef  523456789abcdef

Jackie M: Sad, but true!

you: And you got an extra, erroneous apostrophe in the it's for free!

Jackie M: Had a little glitch with the system timing out on my Richard so I apologize for the delay.

you: Whoopsie. I only gave you the card numbers. If you need the PIN umbers I'll be another minute.

Jackie M: Okay, while you send that I am playing catch up with my system and re typing everything in.

you: 123456789abcdef PIN 22345678 323456789abcdef PIN 12345678 423456789abcdef PIN 12345678 523456789abcdef PIN 12345678

Jackie M: Okay, ready for pin numbers when you are.

you: Whee! That was fun!

Jackie M: Okay we were typing same time.  One down so far!

Jackie M: Okay, we are good on all four gift cards.  Each one was for $100.00 but now we need the $13.50.  We will be putting the $40.60 back on but in order to place the order we will have to have the $13.50.  By the way please keep all four e gift cards in your file so that when we put the credit for the adjustment back on you will have that.

Jackie M: That was a whole lot of numbers!

you: Congrats to us both for getting them right the first time. Can you lend me the $13.50? I promise to pay you back right away! I have no more gift cards.

Jackie M: I agree on the congrats!!  Unfortunately, I have no money either! Do you have a debit card or credit card for the $13.50.

you: Your manager perhaps? My number typing fingers have gone on strike and are demanding a bonbon.

Jackie M: I will be right with you.

Jackie M: I actually have my manager right here with me, but the problem is that our system isn't smart enough to deduct the amount ahead of time Richard.  I am truly sorry!  There is no way to place an order online in our system for anyone unless it is the amount the computer says.  We make adjustments all the time of course, but it after the fact.  I completely understand your frustration and bon bon time, but the system is just not going to allow an order unless it is paid the amount of $413.50.

you: I'm not that frustrated. In fact, normally, I'm a carrier. Fortunately, I don't have a "system" so I can just give you a credit card number. It follows shortly, fingers willing:

Jackie M: I will wait for your bon bon time to be over!  How exhausted your fingers must be!!

you: Mastercard 1234 5678 9abc defh expires 01/99.

Jackie M: Thank you Richard!... Just a few moments...Do you have the 3 digit number off the back?

you: I think it's 123 - it's a bit rubbed out. Normally I wouldn't give it out but you have a very honest last initial.

Jackie M: I will try it.  You are too kind!

Jackie M: Great news!!  We have successfully placed an order together Richard!!  Your order confirmation number is 123456789.  You will get an email of this confirmation.  It should arrive next week between the 8-10th.  I really thank you for your order and for a very pleasant chat!!  I will go in right now and adjust the amount for the $40.60 like we discussed for the price match.

Jackie M: Other than the loss of your fingers it wasn't too painful was it?  Is there anything else I can help you with tonight? I am glad we got your camera ordered with the Costco price too!

you: Not at all! In fact, the hour that it took will have saved me from writing my blog tomorrow. You will be part of it. (PriUPS.com/riklblog) if you'd like to read it.

Jackie M: Minimal bloodshed:)

you: Thank you very much for your assistance.

Jackie M: I think I shall.  I truly had a wonderful time chatting with you tonight Richard!  I wish all customer's had your wonderful sense of humor!! Thank you for chatting with me: it was my pleasure to assist you. We welcome your feedback please click here to complete our Exit Survey. Thank you for choosing Personal Shopper today; we appreciate your business. Good bye!

you: OK! And, Ms. M, you are a credit to your company.

Jackie M: Thank you!  Have a wonderful night Richard!!

you: You too! Bye...

Jackie M: and you (me) had a night.  Hers, I hope, was wonderful, although she said she was in Des Moines and I have no way of verifying her night quality.  Mine, after this over-an-hour experience, was somewhat contemplative.  My musing ran to wondering just what the world is thinking when it comes to purchasing consumer goods.  Viz:

  • If there were any sense to life, there would be no "reward points" and I would spend plain old "money" buying whatever gadget I desired.

  • Since there isn't, there is instead this entire hypertrophied organization spanning continents and time zones dedicated to letting me use the "rewards" which I got pretty much by accident.

  • Despite the size and scope of the organization, they can't get something as simple as the model numbers of the "rewards" to the customer; doing so involved two underinformed Singhs and one conscientious John to get me the information I needed.  Which still isn't the model number, but which turned out to be more valuable.

  • To buy a camera made by Nikon, I had to get four Land's End gift certificates from American Express, which I then redeemed at Sears, but only after playing the price matching game using Costco, to save a part of the value of one of the Land's End certificates, which I can spend in the future either there or, of course, at Sears, once I find out which one it is.

  • If you took the trouble to read the colloquy above, you will find that, even though my total purchase (including sales tax) was less than the value of the gift certificates, it exceeded their value before the "price matching" discount kicked in, so I had to pay the difference on my credit card, only to have it immediately reimbursed.  ("Jackie M: but the problem is that our system isn't smart enough to deduct the amount ahead of time.")

I don't have the camera yet.  According to the order confirmation I got from Sears, it was shipped on the 4th.  According to the tracking number I checked at UPS, "billing information has been received."  I guess Sears has a trailer and is slowly filling it.  UPS will, eventually, get around to picking it up and delivering the camera to me.  Fortunately, unless it doesn't arrive in a reasonable time, all I have to do is wait, which requires little effort on my part.  I am not experiencing a camera emergency.

Tomorrow, in Part 3 of this two-part blog, I'll pontificate just a bit more, and then get on to other subjects.

* In a compromise between blogalistic integrity and the desire to make this appear more readable and less lengthy than it actually was, I've removed some of the line breaks and made other minor edits.  And, of course, I've obfuscated things like gift certificate and credit card numbers as well as my own targeting coordinates.

Pink Floyd




I told you it was old.  It's only fitting that, in a Part 2 blog I present Part 2 of the T-shirt.  Whether the T-shirt itself is fitting would require a search and a wash, so I can't answer that right now.

T-shirt, Wo Fat, Hawaii's Oldest Restaurant
Richard Factor

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