The day after Thanksgiving, I stumbled across a deal that seemed too good to be true: Office 2004 had a $100 rebate that day only, and if you bought any version of Office 2004 you could get Office 2008 for the price of shipping. With Amazon markdowns and the student/home version of Office 2004, that came out to around $40 for Office 2008.
I only need Microsoft Office every now and again, so I couldn’t pass this up. My girlfriend has never owned Office for Mac (and also doesn’t need it very often), so I had someone to give the extraneous 2004 install to; life seemed perfect.
At the time, the promotional materials claimed that Office 2008 would arrive sometime in early February. I figured they wouldn’t be prioritizing these copies of Office (they’re certainly not getting any profit out of them), so this seemed reasonable.
But like all things having to do with ridiculously good deals and rebates, things haven’t been quite so easy.
The other day, I got an absolute jewel of an email (excerpted because for most of the email, you really shouldn’t care):
Thank you for your recent order. The product listed below is currently out of stock. […] The new expected ship date for your product is 2/25/2008.
If you still wish to receive this product, if available by the new expected ship date shown above, please let us know by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #1 below […] If you do not respond to this e-mail or contact our customer service department within 30 days, your order will be cancelled and a refund issued, if applicable.
If you wish to receive the product when it becomes available, even if after the expected ship date, you may update your order by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #2 below.
Delayed shipping date? Okay, I can handle that. I use Office maybe once a week, if that. It’s mostly future compatibility that I’m worried about, and so far no clients have been sending me .docx files that Pages can’t handle.
But the latter two paragraphs are real jewels. Although I have ordered the product, filed all the forms correctly, and paid them the cost of shipping, I still need to actively respond in order for them to actually send me my copy of Office 2008. Not only that, but if I’m in a hurry and just “check” the first option, they’ll only send the product to me if they meet the Feb. 25th shipping date.
When I asked my Magic 8 ball whether they’d make the Feb. 25th shipping date, it’s response was “Don’t be such a fucking idiot.”
I certainly don’t think I’m entitled to all that much in this particular transaction with Microsoft (after all, it’s practically theft; I’m not sure why they created the deal in the first place), but the underhanded ways corporations try to exploit people’s inattention to detail is still pretty sickening to me. What do they gain by this, anyway? A small amount of positive press when the deal was around, and then the hope that they can trick the people who took advantage of it into passively opting out by forgetting to respond to an email?
Microsoft, consider this a bit of bad press to try and offset anything you originally gained. If you’re going to delay the shipping date, fine. Regardless of whether the product is actually back-ordered, I can understand why you’d want to deliver it to the people who are forking over several hundred dollars first. But cheap tricks like the above email aren’t doing you any favors.
Then again, since when did Microsoft care about what people think? I really should stop expecting to be treated like a human when I’m interacting with Microsoft. It just brings me grief.
Update: it finally arrived! See my opinion of Office 2008 now that I’ve got it in my grubby little mitts.
I blogged about this too (see here: http://couplebits.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/retarded/ ). I guess you and I aren’t alone, Ian.
Posted 7:19 PM on Feb. 4, 2008 ↑
It’s interesting that your email didn’t require a response for the “receive by ship date” option. They must be revising it as they go. Maybe you were part of the test group and they realized that just letting people passively accept that they still wanted something they ordered was a little too lenient.
Ah, Microsoft. How I hate that I have to use your products.
Posted 7:30 PM on Feb. 4, 2008 ↑
The best part was when I called the number the other day because I got *another* email like that one. The guy that picked up the phone actually asked me, “How did you get this number?” … “Uhmm, it was in the email I got. So what, is this like your personal desk?” “Yeah.”
I want to make a lolcat with “Memo. You getz it?” as the caption.
Posted 11:33 PM on Feb. 4, 2008 ↑
Well, should you consider yourself fortunate since you even received this email? I haven’t even gotten that, and I think I can forget about my $100 rebate that has gone “missing in the mail.” I don’t even have any contact info to bug someone, but I guess if I get motivated, I’ll need some help in getting my fair deal.
Enough to make a person want to torrent it…!!! What am I talking about… enough to make a person want to find an alternative, which is an even worse fate for M$ (since getting any other way means the consumer is still interested!!!)
Posted 8:10 PM on Feb. 16, 2008 ↑
Oh man, that sucks! I was actually pretty shocked at how easy it was for me to get the rebate; normally when getting a rebate (particularly one that large) is more difficult than getting Office 2008, but for whatever reason it went really easily for me.
Good luck fighting through the Microsoft bureaucracy to get the rebate/Office 2008!
Posted 8:31 PM on Feb. 16, 2008 ↑
Yeah, thanks for the kind wishes. I’m not looking forward to the task of fighting it out with the big M$ to get my $100. That’s really why I did it so quickly, since I don’t even use Office on the Mac since I have a PC where I use it mostly.
The last easy rebate was my pleasant experience in getting the rebate on the iPod and HP printer I got with my Silver iMac back in August 2007. Those were big amounts too… At least that brought my ratio of paid vs requested rebates up to like 50%… :-)
[I’d mistakenly replied to the email notifying me of this followup post in the comments. Got a little chuckle out of computer illiterate move there… ;-)]
Posted 9:06 PM on Feb. 26, 2008 ↑
Eh, I get the reply either way. But this way it’s preserved for the ages!
I tend not to buy many things with rebates because they’re just so darn painful. It’s an unfortunate world where companies punish you for accepting their enticements, but such is life. I suppose if I got over my delusion that there was more to life than money, I’d be content.
“Please, pretty please, buy this gizmo? I’ll bake you a pie.”
“Ooh, I really like pie, and your gizmo might be useful. Here’s some money.”
“Bitch! No pie for you! Go cry to the competition!”
Posted 9:12 PM on Feb. 26, 2008 ↑