Blogging 365, Day 24: The Class Action King


emachines

It seems like every time I go to the mailbox there’s some kind of card in there informing me that I’m eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit against whomever for whatever reason.

It happened with ProFlowers, Best Buy, Sears, Sony BMG, Stamps.com and Classmates.com. Out of all of them, Best Buy’s proved to be the most fruitful with me getting a check for well over $700 in unpaid wages while the others were pretty much wieners offering a free month of service (I’m looking at you, Stamps and Classmates) or nothing worth writing about.

And as of now, I currently have two on the boiler: Radio Shack and the one I got today, eMachines. In the case of Radio Shack, they are accused for violating California Code Section 1747.08 and as a result of the deliberation since the judge couldn’t decide who was right, the settlement has come in the form of an $11 certificate that I can use at Radio Shack once the settlement has been approved. Now I have to wait until after March 27, 2013 to check a website that isn’t even active yet and see if everything is kosher. I’ll just be sure to pay cash this time.

The latest one is a little robust and it involves eMachines (now Gateway Computers). According to the lawsuit, anyone who purchased an eMachines computer after December 31, 1997 is eligible to participate provided they got this little card in the mail. Those who may think they are eligible can also check this fully functional website for more information.

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This is when it pays to register your stuff because if I hadn’t, there would be no way for them to know I would be eligible. I purchased my eMachines somewhere near 1999 when Ann and I moved out on our own for a bit. I remember the computer well because it was the first one I ever owned with a DVD-ROM drive – and it was laggy as hell. The first movie we watched on it was There’s Something About Mary, a complete snore-fest of a comedy that I can’t even recall with much clarity.

Either way, I did own one. And as you can see in the details above, by the time all of this goes down and is approved, I can either take the whopping $62.50 in cash money OR take the certificate for up to $365 to be used toward the purchase of a replacement computer from a place I’ve never heard of. (UPDATE: a new website as since been established). I think it’s obvious what I am going to do.

But you haven’t heard the best part of all of this: why they were being sued. According to the lawsuit, eMachines was accused selling computers “with a defective part that could cause the loss or corruption of data written to, or read from, a floppy disk.”

In case you need a refresher, here’s what floppy disks look like.

2809183-a-colorful-set-of-floppy-disks-including-blue-red-green-purple-and-yellow

That pile there? That’s got the capacity to hold a whopping 7.2 MB worth of data. Not just 7 but 7.2, PEOPLE! Can you imagine how I felt once I got my first Iomega ZIP drive? My God, one ZIP 100 MB disk could hold as much data as 70 floppies! Now we’re talking!

Oh wait. If I did the math right, the 32GB card in my phone can hold as much as 327.86 ZIP disks. You don’t want to know how many floppies that is.

But I digress. The bottom line is that I’m a-gonna get paid for a piece of “faulty” equipment that has been outdated since 1997. But alas, there is still some use for the fabled floppy disk.

floppy

It still serves well as the ubiquitous “Save” icon on just about every program you can think of, a reminder of the days when clicking on it would actually save your data to the floppy drive.

If it had the capacity to do it, that is.

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Blogging 365, Day 6: Best Bye


bestbuy-logo

Just a few days ago, I bought Kinect Sports Ultimate Edition from Best Buy with what was left on the $50 gift card I got for Christmas.

But I found it unusual that from the moment I got it, someone like me would have difficulty in finding something to buy with it and after searching their ad and even regular merchandise, I just couldn’t do it. Granted $50 won’t go far in that store anyway but still, it was free money to spend any way I wished.

There’s a bit of a backstory here. I decided that the Kinect game would be the last thing I ever buy from Best Buy, and here’s why.

While sifting through the ad and coming up empty each time, I decided to go for the Hail Mary and see what turned up. I eventually chose a Class 10 32GB SanDisk microSD card for my phone, which was on sale for $29.99. I figured I can always use it in a camera if not my phone. (Honestly, it seals my fate in choosing my next phone which will most likely be a Samsung Galaxy S II and not an iPhone.)

Once I figured that the memory card would be what I’d buy with my gift card, I started to check stores for inventory. Both of my local stores showed they had them in stock so I drove to one of them and was ready to make my purchase.

I meandered the aisle in the hopes of finding what I needed. Then I remembered that this was Best Buy and the chances of that happening were slim to none. In the memory card aisle, there wasn’t even a home for the card I intended on buying which indicated that they hadn’t had any in stock for quite some time, but they had plenty of the others from the ad.

So I asked one of the geniuses in the blue shirts if they had any and he told me they didn’t. Frustrated, I said I’d go to the Signal Hill location, reported to have the item in stock by their website, to buy it.

“They are out of them, too.” I threw up my hands and left mumbling. Ann and Anthony pretended not to know me as I colorfully cursed this lousy business and their foul practice of getting customers in stores when they don’t even have the items in stock.

Despite it all, I ended up buying the card online and am currently awaiting shipment. Sure, I could always just order online and have it shipped but that’s not the principle here.

After the purchase, I had about $17.50 left on the card to spend as I wished. That’s when I saw they had the aforementioned game and figured I’d apply a few bucks of my own to cover what’s left.

Off to Signal Hill I go, a store reported online to have three copies in stock. I go the video game department and check the home for it and, as you might have guessed, it was empty. I also checked the memory cards and while there was a home for the one I wanted, it was out of stock. Shocker.

I then asked another blue-shirted genius of they could help me. They did exactly the same thing I did: check the home. They then also told me they were out and that I could check another store.

“No, you could check another store,” I replied. Slightly taken aback by my retort, they obliged and punched up on their computer which said they had three in stock. I made them look for it.

The associate returned with a copy of the game. I asked if they could ring me up there and they did, a total of about $33.

Knowing this was going to be my last purchase ever, I figured I might as well enjoy it. I gave them my gift card and the total was reduced to $15.50. I also had a $3.99 refund from Google Wallet in the form of a credit card. I intentionally ran it as debit a few times knowing it would not work. I then asked them to try it as a credit card and it finally went through.

My total was now $11.51. I looked in my wallet for some cash. I had a $20, a $10 and two singles. While I could have simply given them $12 and be done with it, I thought I’d end it with a bang and hand them the $20. The look of confusion on the associate’s face was comedy gold.

With that, I told them to throw the gift card away. I left the store with my game knowing that because of such a miserable shopping experience like this, I will never spend another penny at Best Buy.

So goodbye, Best Buy. I wouldn’t be too surprised if your bricks-and-mortar stores go the way of The Good Guys, Circuit City and CompUSA.

Free Birthday Crap


With the Big Four-Three just a week way, my Yahoo! inbox is slowly but surely being inundated with the usual fare of free birthday offers and other crap.

This year, however, I’ve noticed that some companies are being a lot less generous with their offerings.

Take Best Buy’s RewardZone of which I’m a member. It’s that program that rewards you with points whenever you make a purchase either online or in-store. Their birthday gift to me was an amazing quadruple Points on my next purchase. How freaking big of the company that charges ridiculous amounts for their accessories because they make the highest profit margin off of them (hint: do NOT buy accessories from them).

And if you’re curious, you get 1 Point for every $1 you spend and it takes 250 Points to earn $5. That said, I would have to buy something priced at least $63 to earn that cool $5 certificate with my quadruple Points bonus. Sure, it’s not like I’m spending the whole $250 to earn the same amount but I seem to recall that members used to get a $10 certificate for their birthday. This time, I’m spending money to get money.

Screw you, Best Buy.

Then there’s my Sport Chalet’s Action Pass membership which, once upon a time, would score me (if my mind isn’t failing me in my old[er] age) a $10 certificate for my birthday. What did I get this year?

sportchalet

A discount of $15 off a purchase of $75 or more. So again, I’m spending over $60 to earn the benefit. This would have all been fine and well if I were still making a decent paycheck but I haven’t had one of those since I was…on unemployment. But honestly, this one may get used because I frequent that store much more than Best Buy and with Anthony’s birthday around the corner, it could come in handy should we decide to go 50/50 on a bike with Ann’s folks.

There was some actual free birthday stuff in my inbox lately, courtesy of Del Taco:

deltacoshake

Looks pretty good, no? Yeah. I think it does, but the Haunted Mansion font should only be used for 999 Happy Haunts living in ghostly retreats. The thing is that me and shakes don’t play well anymore. Something about the over 500 empty calories and my lactose intolerance that makes me shy away from them and believe me, you don’t want to be around if I do have one. While I appreciate the offer I’m pretty sure I’ll pass on it. At least it’s not that repulsive bacon shake that Jack in the Box is serving up:

gross beyond words

Maybe it’s because I’m no longer a behemoth of a guy anymore, but I don’t quite get this fascination with bacon. I can safely say that fat people must love stuff like this.

Then there was this offer from Ruby’s, an overpriced kitschy place that I haven’t gone to in at least 2 years:

rubys

For reasons already listed under the Del Taco offer, this one probably won’t get used, either. And personally, I prefer Johnny Rockets.

Then today, I got one that I might just have to take advantage of: IHOP’s Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity plate.

ihop

Pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon not blended inside a shake. I’m pretty sure this one’s a winner, even if I don’t eat the sausage (which I’m sure others at the table will have no problem taking).

So those are all of the free and mostly useless birthday craps that retailers and fine dining establishments have sent to me so far. I just hope that the 12-headed jackass doesn’t sing Happy Birthday to me as they bring me my plate.

Review: LG Optimus V for Virgin Mobile


optimus

I’m making this post a Sticky again. Watch for constant UPDATES when I decide to post something new or am corrected on something. Thanks!

LATEST UPDATES
2/12/11:
Now includes sample video (bottom of post, fixed)
2/14/11: Widgets (below Apps section)
2/15/11: Should you pick one up and you like what I’ve put together here, enter my Kickbacks Code when activating online: dJWQc09H
2/18/11:
Special thanks to whomever used my Kickbacks Code! I earned an extra $10 (30 minutes) in airtime, which is used until it is all exhausted. The Plan then switches to your regular Anytime Minutes.
3/1/11: For those of you who had difficulty viewing the video, my apologies. I uploaded it as Private and forgot to switch it to Public. This has been fixed and it should be good to go. (Thanks to reader Mike for the tip!)
3/4/11: I got two $20 Kickbacks (or 120 minutes) today! Thanks for using my code (dJWQc09H)!
3/13/11: Updated the “No Visual Alerts” section to “No Visual Alerts in Silent Mode since that is what I have the real issue with.
4/3/11: $50 Price increase! The unit currently has an MSRP of $199.99. I guess Virgin Mobile saw what was going on and decided to make the most of it.
4/15/11: The problem with visual alerts has been solved. Check under “No Visual Alerts in Silent Mode”.
10/17/11:
Price has been reduced to $129.99.

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Is it Black Friday Yet?


Outside Best Buy today, Tuesday, November 24. Seriously, people…