Dear Borders Marketers Who Made D's in Biz School:
I love Borders bookstores but there isn't one anywhere NEAR me.
However, when I was visiting North Carolina a few years ago, I shopped in a Waldenbooks, and the clerk suggested I get the Borders Rewards card and I figured, Hey, why not? Once in awhile I'm in a town that has one. You get other deals too! he, smiling, said.
So via email, I have been getting "offers" for years. Great stuff. Jewelry (don't care), discounts on cruises! (do not care), wine (who the bleep cares?!), ski equipment (oh please), clothes, but never what I needed when I needed it.
My dear light jacket bit the dust this week. I love it. In fact, I still fancy paying to replace the zipper and keeping it, but it's a little worn after about 7-8 years of 3-season wear, so I thought, OK, need a jacket.
All of my mother's clothes are still next door and Dad said recently that it's getting to be time to find them good homes. I would love to just adopt one of her jackets. Only, I went through everything, and she never wore light jackets. Sweatshirt jackets in the yard, and blazers when she went out, but nothing similar to my late lamented jacket.
Next : the shopping dread. I've been wearing a parka and putting off the shopping. Funny how I used to love clothes shopping and now it's a chore. And I have a LOT of things I both need to do and prefer to do these days.
Today, my Borders Rewards email popped up with -- at last! -- 25% off at L. L. Bean!
You complete and utter jerks.
When I went to the offer, I got a message that the offer was "locked" and that a complex set of interlocking rules and requirements sets the rules for actually using these great offers.
People: There is nothing more deeply stupid than complex sets of interlocking rules and requirements. Give a coupon, don't give a coupon, give a smaller coupon, I give not a damn, but when you play manipulative little games with me, I guarantee you I don't play.
In this case, you wanted me to earn 50,000 (yes, I typed that correctly) points in order to have this offer "unlocked" and I needed to spend the last several years accumulating those points by clicking "offers" similar to this one, hundreds of times. Spiked-heel boots, cruises, wine, nose rings, whatever crap has no relevance to my life, just to get (50? or so?) points each time, as I waited like Rapunzel for the point-accumulation to grow like hair, long enough for your stupid Reward to crawl up and reach me.
"Rewards" is an odd term for this.
Motivating buyers by helping them feel like they're working for an actual reward isn't a bad business strategy in itself. I just got two cool Cuisinart cookware thingies by saving stamps at my local Piggly Wiggly, and I did feel like I was doing something smart and thrifty and getting a payoff for the effort.
But the amount of "kiss our ass one more time for a few more crumbs of points" you require....
Let's just say that I kinda know why you just filed Chapter 11.
Meanwhile, a couple years after I got that Borders card, my friend Catherine (Hi, Cath!) forwarded me a better sale-stuff source.
Shop-It-To-Me is quick, it's easy, you tailor to your own detailed preferences the email offers you'll receive, and the frequency with which you receive them.
Via today's email, they had a nice little Eddie Bauer jacket, not only a third off, but with a free shipping offer.
And they didn't make me do anything more than put it in my basket, type the free shipping coupon code in and pay 'em.
So Borders Folks, I hope you keep going, but I really hope you do better, and fire that section of your marketing department.
Thanks awfully (because it was awful),