Borders on the Ridiculous

I recently heard about an one-day Coupon from Borders that offered 40% of any one DVD boxed set (note to the American people: There is no such thing as a “Box Set”). Their site showed one DVD set that I was interested in at $33. With 40% off that would be less than twenty bucks, so off I went to the store.

When I got there, the price in the store was $40, not $33. This leads to my first annoyance: The Web Price should be the same as the In-Store Price. Best Buy is famous for this (along with a few other dodges, such as a fake in-store website with a higher price). As a matter of principle I never reward a bait-and-switcher with my business, so I left, after picking up a Border’s Rewards Card.

Setting up the Borders Rewards Card online proved to be more difficult than it should. First you have to set up an account with Borders, then you have to “register” your card to your new account. This I did.

The next time I logged in, the system had forgotten that I had registered my card, and I had to do it all again. This time I obviously did it right, because the system sent me “a rewarding welcome gift” – an e-mail containing a coupon for 20% off any one item (with the obligatory paragraph of exceptions); the bad news is that it is only valid for two weeks. Some “gift”.

The following week I discovered that one survey website which I frequent allowed their points to be redeemed as “Borders Bucks”. These are curious; they are issued in one month and valid in the next – after which they die.

A few days later, on 10/1, I got an e-mail from Borders saying that I had $15 in “Borders Bucks”. I went to the website. The price had gone up from $33 to $37, and the 20% off coupon did not work. The system seemed to think that it had expired, which was odd, since it was not due to expire for another ten days. I was able to find another coupon that worked, used it and the $15 bonus… and got the item for under $20, which is about what it is really worth.

Throughout this entire fiasco, their website was up and down like a fiddler’s elbow, showing messages like:

We’re sorry. This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Note to Borders:  Fix yer website!

Did I get a good deal? Yes.

Will I shop there again? Probably not. I don’t believe in rewarding incompetence with my hard-earned shekels.

Now Reading: The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge, by Harry Harrison.

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