Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Borders Pushes Me To The Edge

Ordinarily, I don't like giving people gift cards as presents, because I think they're a little bit impersonal -- and because I don't think it shows that I've put that much thought into a gift.

This year, however, I'm hopelessly devoid of ideas for Hanukkah presents, so it's beginning to look like everyone in my family is going to receive a gift card.

I was thrilled to discover that Borders now lets people create customized gift cards online. According to the Borders Web site, you can add your own photos and text and have the cards mailed to anyone you want.

I thought these customized Borders gift cards would be a good compromise. Yes, I'd still be sending people gift cards -- but they would be gift cards that reflected some thought and creativity on my part.

I went to the Borders Web site and clicked on the "Design Your Own" link.

Borders: Create your own gift card screengrab

Nothing happened. I clicked it again. And again. I turned off the pop-up blocker on my browser. I reloaded the page. I tried again in Firefox, the other browser on my computer.

What the hell?

There wasn't even an error message. The link didn't work. I felt like I was pressing an elevator button during a blackout: no matter how many times I tried, nothing happened.

Frustrated, I clicked Borders' "Contact Us" link and filled out the online customer service form. I explained what I was trying to do, what had happened, what computer hardware and software I was using.

I click the "Submit" button, and see the following page:

Borders: Feature unavailable screengrab
We're sorry. This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Customer service is now a feature at Borders?

Now, I know I'm just the victim of two unfortunate technical glitches at the same Web site. And I know these things happen online. I certainly don't take it personally.

However, it certainly seems like Borders doesn't want my money. And even when Borders irons out its Internet issues, I'm not sure I'll feel confident forking over my credit card number on a Web site that seems to have had so many problems.

Damn. I guess it's back to the drawing board for Hanukkah gifts for me. Thanks for overpromising and underdelivering, Borders.

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