Friday, January 30, 2009

Lessons Learned from Best Buy

Here's what I learned from my little quibble with BB:

1.If you spend more than $2500 at BB you become a Premier Silver Reward Zone member.

2.To maintain Premier Silver membership status, you must spend $2500 while you are a member or earn the equivalent Reward Zone points.

3.Employees at Best Buy will tell you that if you get a Best Buy Reward Zone Master Card, so you can “easily” earn points faster since you can use it at places other than Best Buy.

4.When you get a Best Buy Reward Zone Master Card, they will create a new basic Reward Zone account and not a Premier Silver account for you. Congratulations! You will now be maintaining two accounts.

5.When you buy stuff with your Best Buy Reward Zone Master Card at Best Buy, you will not qualify for any Premier Silver promotions (like free CD’s, DVD’s or earn triple points). You must pay with a different credit card or use cash and then use your old Premier Silver Reward Zone card.

6.You will contact Best Buy and ask why your points aren’t showing on your Premier Silver account. You will ask to consolidate accounts but will be told that they have system limitation that prevents them from merging accounts.

7.Best Buy can transfer your points from your Premier Silver account into your Basic Account if you would like, but they will not upgrade your basic account. If you do this, I won’t lose my respect for your intelligence.

8.Points earned using your Best Buy Reward Zone Master Card does not go towards keeping your original Premier Silver status. You must spend another $2500 in one year at Best Buy using your Master Card to upgrade your new basic Reward Zone membership account to Premier Silver Status.

9.Customer service at Best Buy are very responsive but have become trapped by their own system limitations.

10.You will feel like an idiot for getting a Best Buy Reward Zone Master Card during an economic recession. You don’t need another credit card and more credit card debt.

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Best Buy's Reply to ByteMonkey's Reply


I would be able to manually transfer the points from your Premier Silver account to your base tier account, however, we are unable to manually upgrade any account to Premier Silver status. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any further questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us. We can be reached by phone at 1-866-797-7367 or by email at

Best Buy Reward Zone Team

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ByteMonkey's Reply to Best Buy's Reply

Hello BestBuy,

I just want to be exactly sure that I understand what you are saying.

Because of the system limitation it is impossible to manually take the remaining points balance from my original Premier Silver Member account and add it to the basic account that is tied to my Best Buy Reward Zone MasterCard and then upgrade that basic account into Premier Silver status?
Is this correct?


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Best Buy's Reply to ByteMonkey's letter


I am [edited out because I'm a good monkey and respect privacy] with Best Buy Reward Zone. Thank you for contacting Best Buy about your Reward Zone account. I will be more than glad to assist you. I sincerely apologize that your existing Premier Silver member ID number was not attached to your Reward Zone MasterCard. Unfortunately, due to system limitations, we are unable to merge any account that is attached to a credit card of any kind. If you have any further questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us. We can be reached by phone at 1-866-797-7367 or by email at

Best Buy Reward Zone Team

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ByteMonkey's Letter to Best Buy

Dear Best Buy,

I just wanted to let you know that my RewardZone points that I am getting on my BestBuy Reward Zone MasterCard is not being reflected on my RewardZone Premier Silver account. It looks like my points are being collected at a Basic RewardZone account level into another account.

Originally, the reason I signed up for the BestBuy RewardZone MasterCard was because I was told that I would easily be able to maintain my Premier Silver Status if I used the card. Now that I have the credit card, I am told that points that I earn on the MasterCard are not going towards my Premier Silver account but into another basic account and that I now would have to manage two accounts. Seriously???

I honestly don't understand why my Premier Silver Account can't be tied to my BestBuy RewardZone MasterCard. If points earned using the RewardZone MasterCard doesn't help my Premier Silver account, then what is it really good for?

I talked to one of your customer service representatives and they tell me that I will just have to use my Master Card to the point that the Basic RewardZone account on it qualifies for Premier Silver status.

This basically tells me that my previous effort to get Premier Silver status was essentially useless and that I have do it all again for no discernable good reason.When trying to buy something online, I don't even qualify for free shipping if I use the MasterCard because it only has a basic RewardZone account set up.

At the store, the cashier refuses to scan my premier silver card and insists that they have to use the reward zone number on the back of the credit card. All in all, I hope that you can address this issue. I am hoping that I am an isolated case and that you easily can merge these two reward zone accounts. If not, then I must say that my respect for Best Buy is severely diminished.

So far this experience has left me feeling as if I have been duped by your store employees into getting another useless credit card which is something none of us really need in this economy.



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Sunday, January 25, 2009


Inevitability - The knowledge that no matter what you do with the rest of your life, you'll never be as cool as a bull-riding monkey.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Size Matters


Apparently, size does matter.

(Pic from Jeff Hermann's 2002 senior project;

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What's in The Box?

It's Finally Here!

After bitching on the Internet on how my parcel was taking way too long to be delivered by the post office, it finally arrived late yesterday. It only took seven phone calls, five emails, and a long blog entry to get things moving. They did apologize for the delay but didn't explain themselves. At this point, I don't care. I have my package now. This monkey is happy... for now.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009



Seriously, who ate all my cookies?

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Dude, where's my package?

It was on December 31, 2008 that I decided to take a chance and order something directly from an online retailer based in China. I ordered one thing, chose the free shipping option, and added tracking to my order. So far, I'm still waiting for my package to arrive.

Now, you might be inclined to think that the hold up is actually happening on the Chinese end of things, but you would be wrong. I received constant tracking notification from the Hong Kong Postal service up to the point that it left their country. I got so much details that my spam filter was starting to flag it. Although, I didn't really need to know that each and every minute stop that my package took in China, I did appreciate the very detailed information. My last update from them was on January 8, 2009. They informed that my package had finally left meticulous hands of the Chinese people and was being passed on to the United States Postal Office.

On January 14th, my package was supposedly received and processed by the indomitable United States Postal Office in New York. It was reported on their web site that it was inspected, tagged, and set free into the mail delivery system that same day. That would be the last time I would I would hear anything new from anyone about my package.

Everyday since January 14th, I've been checking on the USPS web site to see if any new status updates had been posted. Each time, I left the site, I surfed away disappointed at the lack of change in status or additional updates.

Today, I finally called the post office and inquired about my package. I dealt with the tedious automated attendant. After being told by a recording that my package is on its way, I manage to contact a live person, who cheerfully read back the information I already had from their web site. Suffering through a little bit of friendly banter, I managed to convince the operator patch me through to the International mail department.

Upon connecting to the International mail department's representative I was asked for my tracking or label number. I complied and I was initially told that my package had not yet arrived into the United States. I quickly retorted that their web site indicated something different and that it had been received and processed here in the US. She then tells me to wait as she changed tracking systems and now confirms that it was in fact in the US.

Sounding somewhat concerned, the representative made a small comment that it was strange that my package was not registered by their system. Although, not having any real proof, she assured me that my package was on its way. She added that because my mail was of the registered variety that she believed that it would most likely take “a while” for it to be delivered. She eventually ended our conversation by telling me to either check with my local post office or just sit and wait for it to arrive.

As it stands, it's been about eight days since my package entered the US in New York and yet for unknown reason it has not yet reached me here in Pensacola, Florida.

All in all, it is now very clear to me, that the concept of "package tracking" is not the same in China and as it is in the United States. Plus, registered mail will take close to an eternity for it to arrive because "it travels under lock and key and is signed off by people at every check point."

So, my cynical mind wants to know why they can “sign for packages at each check point” but yet are unable to pass a barcode scanner over it so that their web site will reflect accurate tracking updates instead of leaving people to think that their mail is lost in some USPS black hole.

Now, I plan to go and talk to my local post office before the day is over and pessimistically expect to be told the same nonsense that I was told over the phone.

Meanwhile, I am still here asking, "Dude, where's my package?" The world may never know.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lost and Now Found


I was going through some boxes and found my old "Game & Watch".

The Game & Watch were handheld electronic games made by Nintendo and created by its game designer Gunpei Yokoi from 1980 to 1991. Most featured a single game that could be played on an LCD screen, in addition to a clock and an alarm. (read wiki)

Think of them as the grandparent of your Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. This particular one was made in the year 1982, but I didn't actually own it until 1990. That would make it 30 years old and it has been in my posession for 19 years.

Wow, I feel really old all of a sudden.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Slow News Day

It must really be a slow news day since the top news story on our local newspaper's web site is about a Rhesus monkey being loose and no one winning the Fantasy 5 lottery.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

No more EGM Magazine

After more than twenty years of being one of the most trusted printed magazines covering the video game industry, Electronic Gaming Monthly was finally done in by the plunging economy and the publishing industry's shift towards web-only publishing.

I have so many childhood memories of riding my bicycle to the drugstore to see if the latest issue of EGM was out. As I grew older my life's priorities changing, I still managed to occassionally read the magazine just enough to keep up with what was going on in the video game world. All in all, it was a good read and one that I will truly miss. The gaming magazine racks will never be the same.

You can read more about this on Sam Kennedy's blog:

Here's an article from MTV Multiplayer talking about:

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For the last couple of days, I've been waking up to my body feeling like it had been hit by a truck. My body aches so much that it's really uncomfortable to sit in my office chair. I just hope that I'm not coming down with something horrible like the flu.

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About two weeks ago, I ordered something really goofy that caught my eye on and I've been quietly waiting in anticipation for it to arrive.

What did I order? Having currently being fixated on video games, I was drawn to a porable gaming device aptly named "Brand Name Style Portable Video Game Console with AV-out and 117 Games" which insanely resembles the original Sony PSP. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew that I had to see it for myself.

So after failing to locate one at our local flea markets and various China-ware importers, I decided to order it directly from the site.

I don't expect much in quality or functionality with this thing, but I really just want to own something that blatantly mocks trademarks, copyrights, and patents that wasn't made my Microsoft.

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