Tuesday, December 30, 2008

FTD = royal scam?

So, I blew some of my e-rewards dollars on an FTD gift certificate since there's almost nothing worth my spending my e-rewards on. I thought I'd be able to just buy a cheap gift basket or flowers for the holidays, but I soon discovered that wasn't the case. As any frugal shopper would do, I clicked through fatwallet to get cashback at FTD. Something didn't look quite right when I did that though. Comparing prices using two different browsers (one clicked through fatwallet and one visiting the site directly), you could clearly see that the prices were vastly different. Not just a little different. We're talking a lot bigger than 20% and closer to 75-100% more.

Ok, so that's a little scammy, but I figured I'd just go directly to the site and use up my gift card that way. I scan for the on sale items and find something somewhat reasonably priced with reasonable shipping costs. When I go to place my order, I find something quite shocking. The calculated shipping price on the product information page is quite different from the shipping price on the checkout page. In fact, it's 30% higher. I repeated the process several times to make sure there wasn't a mistake, and found the exact same bait and switch every time.

Turns out (after a little Google research) that FTD has a terrible customer service track record and numerous complaints about dead flowers, questionable product substitutions, and general screwing over of the consumer. Oh well, looks like I'll have to give away the gift certificate to someone else willing to risk FTD. Next time I'll do a little more research. Live and learn.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the night before Xmas...

and all through the house,
everything a-stirring,
including a mouse.

Ok, maybe it's not quite the hustling and bustling household, but it's not a silent night either.  We managed to go out to do some grocery shopping today and hit up REI before my member dividend expires.  Traffic today was wretched.  Apparently people are still shopping.  Dear Lord people, you should have your shopping done by now.  What sort of thoughtful gift can you possibly get at the last minute?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ack! The Holidaze are upon us!

Where did my time go? It seemed like just yesterday that I was posting about Thanksgiving. Now, Christmahanukwanzikah is right around the corner. I had more grand plans for my holidays (particularly in the shopping department), but time flew right by (i.e. I had to work so many hours that I didn't have time to do a lot of my holiday shopping, and also my boss seems to think that being "too busy" to write a paycheck is an acceptable excuse for not paying me on time). I'm not one to give into to rampant consumerism, but there are a few things that I did want to pick up. I'm pretty set on the idea of building myself a hackintosh, so I've been trying to gradually pick up parts on sale. Unfortunately, that plan doesn't always pan out since I'm usually working/exercising/eating during the hours that the good stuff is (a) on sale and (b) not sold out. Oh well, here's to hoping that good deals will abound in January.

My martial arts training has taken a big plunge lately. The job killed off any ideas I had of regular training, but the holiday season basically completely nuked my training schedule. I'm hoping to get back into it soon, maybe even during my break. Of course, I'll probably have a really long to-do list over my break which may eat into my limited training time and also my "recover my sanity" time. I'm sorely tempted at this point to make a to-do list that literally says "nothing" on it. Vegetating for a few days sounds really good to me now.

The holidays also seems to bring with it a fresh beginning with the New Year. I'm hoping my New Year brings me more free time and more quality time with my wife, family, and friends. In case you don't already know, I resigned from my current job. The number of hours required made it impossible for me to do the things important to me: interact with my loved ones and friends, continue my I-Liq Chuan practice, and maintain my physical and mental health. I finally decided that the job was taking all the joy out of my life and just wasn't worth it. So, I'm especially looking forward to a fresh beginning in January when I'm free from the bonds of a life-depriving job.