Spending money shouldn’t be this !@#$%^ hard

So, tonight. I am working on my wedding invitations. Cutting the printed paper with my paper cutter.

The pot roast got done, so I put the crock into the sink and tapped my favorite glass, blowing a chip off the top and breaking it in half.
This put me off the invitations. I mean, damn, my favorite glass. Right? Who wants to do fiddly stuff when they are distraught over the loss of a favorite piece of kitchenware? (it’s really not a big deal, but I am trying to set up the rest of the story)
So, I start working on wireing up a lamp for my greenhouse shelf. I find nothing more soothing than practicing my marksmanship by shooting a gun…   A lot…  I can’t do that here, so I decided to play with electricity instead.
So, trying to electricute myself by wiring a light fixture that is designed to be hard wired into a house to a extension cord. Katie calls. She is ordering something from JCPenny. A bra for the wedding that will work with her wedding dress. 
I happen to have a gift card that mom mom gave me YEARS ago for $25. I NEVER make it to jcpenny. This is a good use for the card. I don’t think mamma will mind me spending my christmas or birthday present (it’s so long ago I don’t remember which) on an over-the-shoulder boulder holder for my bride to be. I mean, I will be getting what every male geek wants – that’s right, huge tracts of land.
So, I give Katie the digits for the gift card.
I go back to playing with electricity.
Katie gives me a call back. The gift card doesn’t work. She can look up the balance, and see that there is a balance, but it doesn’t work. She called in the number that the website gave her for order troubles. The gal on the phone tells Katie that the card number is invalid. katie called me to fix it for her.
So I try to fix it.
I try to look up the balance online. This is not as easy as it sounds. As the balance doesn’t look up. It says that the card is invalid. OK, fine. Katie had seen the balance online somehow. Must be at a different spot on the site. So I try to order something. Create an account. Blah Blah Blah. Go to put in the gift card. Invalid card. OK, so I can reproduce that.
I call the number on the back of the card. The auto-attendant can look up the card balance just fine. Press 0 for a customer support representative.
I get Joe. Joe can’t help me. He transfers me to Customer service. (didn’t I already have customer service???) I get Tara. Tara, tries helping me. She pokes at her computer a little bit, and I can tell that something doesn’t make sense to her. She says she has gotta ask her supervisor. OK. I get put on hold while she asks her supervisor. Click. Probably my cell phone. I will give Tara the benifit of the doubt.
OK, call back. I try the number that the website gave Katie. I get Donna. Donna tries, and she gets stumped too. So, Donna escalates me to her supervisor Shiree(sp?). Shiree clickety clacks on her computer.  Asks the questions again, I repeat my story. Tells me to go to a store to get the card exchanged, I tell her that isn’t an option for me as it will be a while before I can get to a store. So, Shiree calls another department, her supervisor, somebody. Comes back with the above answer. Then she gives me a phone number.
Anybody want the JCPenny INTERNAL tech support number? I can get a copy machine fixed, a computer repaired, get the phone system reprogrammed in any store in the country. She gave me THAT number, probably not realizing what the number was.
So I call it. I get Steve. Steve, now he is a good guy. Quite confused, as is demonstrated by his 2nd question: ‘Are you a customer?’. Steve asks me a few questions, determines that he can’t help me at all. I can hear him hollering to other guys in the office with questions, firing questions and answers back and forth. I mean, this dude tried. So, HE calls the debit card number for me. Gets me in touch with somebody else, and warm transfers me to the other department.
Nice, eh? A+ for Steve.
JCPenny employee #6 Marco, or Marcello, or something like that. He gets my whole story too. I can just about recite that gift card number – I don’t know my PHONE number, but this 19 digit gift card…
Anyway. Mr. M, as I never quite caught his name, can see the card just fine. He sees the 25 bucks on it. We come to the conclusion that the card is pretty old. We talk about processing the card as a lost card so a new one can be issued (which takes a long time), etc.. The website just doesn’t see the card. His best suggestion is to call in the order to the catalog number, and have THEM call his department if they can’t get the card to look up.
So, an hour on the phone, and I am told that I should call the number I called again and ask that other department to help me (???), bring the card into a store to get exchanged as a faulty card, or try calling in the order.
Wanna here the shocker. Steve calls me back to make sure I got a resolution. Now isn’t that cool? The only dude that isn’t suppose to help me with my problem is the one who tries the hardest. Pretty cool, eh? A+ and extra credit for Steve-o.
So, what I have I learned about JCPenny gift cards?
  • My card sucks. It only works on odd seconds, and the website processes on only the even seconds. Some tech support’s computers process on even seconds, and some on odd seconds.   — No seriously now, I have a bum card, probably due to it’s age of 2-3 years.
  • JCPenny has nice people. They try to help. They are quick to escalate to their supervisor, or call other departments directly.
  • All of their computer and support systems run on eastern time. One supervisor I talked to works out of the midwest, but reports the time as eastern time.
  • The phone number for their store support. So, if you got a store with a debit card reader touch pad that needs to be re-calibrated because the numbers you push and the numbers it lights up are different, I know who to call.
  • Steve is a good guy.
  • It takes 6 people to fail to solve a problem. They did try, and they did give me some possible solitions, and I am sure all of them may work. But they all put a burden of some sort on me – either the need to go to a physical store location, or wait ‘a long time’, or call some other department. None of them where capable of fixing the problem themselves with me on the phone.
So, the moral of the story is, it’s really late yet again, and don’t get Katie excited at the wedding or she might pop out of her dress. 

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1 Comment

  1. Well Mike, I’m sorry the card didn’t work and will never give you a JC Penny gift card again. I just wanted you to spend your money there on clothes, so now I won’t do that and I really hope you get my or your money out of it, eventually.Nice long story.

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