A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

12 February 2008

Internet "Service" Strikes Again

This time, it's Cara Operations (sounds so much classier than "Cara Restaurants" I guess). Whatever they may be, they are not operators. And certainly not smooth operators.

I sought to purchase, for the belated birthday gift to my paternal unit, a gift card for Milestones Restaurant, a national, possibly international chain.

One might think that the proprietors of such a (doubtless profitable) enterprise would be fully up on the business of e-commerce. After all, it only makes sense to enable your customers to, oh, I dunno, buy $#17 from you online, no?

But ...

I first attempted to make a purchase at the website. Unfortunately, for some reason clearly unknown to anyone who doesn't also know the secret stupid-ass-marketing-ploy handshake, the minimum order for gift cards at the site is $250.

Two hundred and fifty £µ©λing dollars. Mme and I could buy roughly five meals for that price. I mean, I love my dad and all, and it's a milestone birthday (hence the gift), but FSM on a crutch!

Since I wanted about $50 worth, I phoned the card sales number at the website, as the site itself encourages one to do between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm, Toronto time.

The initial call to 1-800-something-something is answered by a human being, who directs you to a machine that says, approximately, "unfortunately we cannot answer your call at this time."

"This time," being, as I understand it following repeated calls, any time between 8 am and 4 pm, Toronto time.

So I decided to phone the local Milestones that Metro Pére would have to visit to use such a card:

"The mailbox beloning to ...{new voice} Milestones Restaurant {old voice} ... is full," intoned the telco answering system.

Determined to reach these people, I went to the specific location page, hoping for a direct line of communication:

"Closed for renovations," read the label next to the little red house indicating the theoretical location of Milestones on the map.

Clearly, Cara has brought to terrestrial dining all the delights of the airplane cuisine for which they are so justly un-famous.

It makes me wish there was a Swiss Chalet, Milestones, Kelsey's, or Harvey's restaurant in Hometown, so I could avoid eating at it.

I was oh-so-hopeful when the lady from Cara Customer service actually called me back (I'd left a message with them, there's still such a thing as the "faint-hope clause" for customers).

After rehashing the above, she said they could certainly send a gift card out from their offices.

"One thing I need to let you know," she said "There IS a $25 courier service charge."

On a $50 gift card ...

I didn't ask if they could send it by regular mail. Just thanked her and hung up.

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At 1:11 p.m., Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Good God.

FYI, however, I believe I have seen the gift card you specified on sale at Save On Foods. If you have no issues with Jimmy Pattison (which I do) and a Save On Foods convenient to you, this might be a good option.

At 3:29 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

I do workplace safety and Pattison has a workplace not far from here. I have a friend who works at one of those places, and I feel it's best to avoid JP as much as possible.

Not to mention the fact that his Valu Village screws over exactly the segment of society it's supposed to be supplying.

1) It's made thrift-store shopping fashionable for the rich; and
2) It sucks resouces from those who desperately need it. Sally Ann and Saint Vincent de Paul suffer where VV turns up.

It's like a thrift Wal-Mart. All to the greater glory and profit of Jimmy P. And I don't mean Page.

At 9:34 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my knowledge the Pattison Group doesn't own or have any share in Value Village. They are owned by a discount department store company in the US called Savers Inc.


At 3:30 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

It certainly hasn't made secondhand shopping fashionable among the rich. Trust me, I'm in there every damn week. Margaret Trudeau's sister did that, with her high-end consignment shop; quite a different price bracket entirely.

Have you thought about phoning the Milestones in Kelowna? I got two ten-dollar gift cards for Christmas, so they must exist. And my aunt is too cheap to pay a $25 courier fee, so it's not mandatory.

And here is the background on VV's founding and ownership, although it is unclear how much, if any, money Pattison has in it.

At 7:28 p.m., Blogger Slave to the dogs said...

Ay yay yay. Perhaps Pere would appreciate a different restaurant? I wouldn't want to patronize this disorganized joint any more than you've already attempted to.

At 8:56 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get him a gift cert. for the Deep Cove Chalet. $50 ought to cover the appies.


At 8:43 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

I might yet take up the grocery-counter option.

Hmmm, I may have blown it by linking Pattison to VV. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.It's been part of my mental landscape for so long that I never questioned it.

Notwithstanding which, Pattison is still a bastard of the old-fashioned robber-baron kind, based on his workplace safety and health practices alone.

That's why I made the statement above. After several minutes of not-too-rigorous research I have been unable to find anything linking a man who prominently displays his name on every eyesore he erects to a business that sucks money from the poor.

Re. Thrift shopping among the rich. That's a whole 'nother post.

Well since the one in Dad's home town appears to be closed for renovations, I might have to find somewhere else.

Though probably not the Deep Cove Chalet.

At 5:27 p.m., Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

While I agree that VV might take a chunk out of donations to charity shops like the Sally Ann, I have to concur with RC about VV making second-hand shopping chic for the rich. When I had a VV convenient to where I lived (which I no longer do) I mainly remember seeing kids, people with kids, and obviously non-rich people shopping there. The rich go to nice consignment boutiques with higher quality shit.

As for the gift cert., I was in my friendly neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart this afternoon and noticed that they also carry a selection of different gift cards. Shoppers is owned by the Ontario Teachers Federation.

At 2:03 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Thanks for the hint--I got Dad one from Shopper's and sent it this AM. It'll only be about two-and-a-half weeks late ...


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