Congratulations, You've Earned $0.00 Borders Bucks!

Remember Allison? Borders refused to sell her a copy of Harry Potter without a plastic bag to serve as a proof of purchase. Allison recently received an email from Borders inviting her to print out a certificate to redeem $0.00 Borders Bucks. How lucrative wasteful. Allison writes:

Hello, Consumerist!

I was the woman who wrote this summer about the plastic bag debacle at a Borders store in the St. Louis area.

For the record, no, I didn’t want some crazy compensation from Borders; yes, I wanted the company to consider the example-setting opportunity they had; yes, I practice environmentalism where I can; no, I’m not a fanatic hippie about it; yes, I buy physical books, but I re-read them again and again before finally donating them to charity or swapping them with friends; yes, I take public transit to work and most other places; no, I don’t use plastic bags when shopping and have recycled most of the ones from home; yes, I bring reusable bags to the grocery store and other places; yes, I purchase food from local farmer’s markets and shops as often as possible. I hope that answers most questions your very outspoken commenters had.

Anyway, I just received this email from Borders regarding my status in the rewards program. I love earning $0, especially when I have the opportunity to print the $0 reward certificate.

I’m totally not ragging on Borders because it’s fun or because it’s my vendetta or something. I just found it amusing that after all of the Harry Potter stuff, they found it fitting that I receive $0 in rewards (and my rewards balance definitely is not $0).

Keep up the great work!


Allison may not have a vendetta against Borders, but we’re starting to wonder if they have a vendetta against her.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Steeb2er says:

    I got the same email … and a few hours later got a “CORRECTION” email with an accurate balance. It was a goof on their part, but they’ve corrected the error.

    In my case, at least.

  2. silly borders, grow up

  3. JEmmerth says:

    I got the same bizarre email; accompanied by the corrected one a few
    hours later. I don’t know what all this ragging on Borders is about,
    they’re one of the most pleasant consumer experiences out there.
    They’re also one of the only stores that actually reads the back of my
    credit card (which says “ask for photo ID”) and then actually asks for
    the ID.

  4. ptkdude says:

    Don’t give Borders any personal information… the WILL sell it. I was a Borders Rewards member, and had created an email address just for them. I only ever gave it to them, and I never listed it on any web pages. After a few months, I started to get spam at that email address. I called Borders to call them on it, and they really didn’t care that I was pissed off. Haven’t been back to one of their stores since.

  5. amoeba says:

    At my local Borders the sales person ask you “if you want a plastic bag” or they will handle your book and/or items without one. So, I am not surprised about their laziness. I also have 0 rewards and I buy magazines and books almost every week.

  6. amoeba says:

    @ptkdude: I had never received a Border’s spam at my email address or coming from a Border’s Third Party…

  7. uricmu says:

    Sounds like somebody just messed up an SQL statement. Doesn’t reward a consumerist article, maybe just a DailyWTF post.

  8. XTC46 says:

    @ptkdude: was the address similar to another you use (like instead of or a common name in general,or your last name with numbers, or any common word? if so, your account is bond to get spam. spammers user name generation software to take common word combinations based on proven real email addresses with the addition of number to generate accounts. its not always some big company selling your info. Spam happens, get a filter.

  9. HooFoot says:

    Perhaps Allison should remove the semi-colon key from her keyboard. The second sentence made my head hurt.

  10. fireshaper says:

    I also got the same email and then a corrected one afterward. I don’t see how this requires a post…

  11. Rob says:


    They screwed up, BFD.

  12. Mary says:

    @ptkdude: “Don’t give Borders any personal information… the WILL sell it.”

    If you can prove that they did this, they are violating promises made to their customers. So find out what you can do to hold them to their promises, if you can prove that this is what happens. Wouldn’t this be violating some law somewhere if they promise not to sell your email and then you can prove that they did?

    As for the post, oh big deal. I get typos from companies about once a week. They send a correction and all is well.

    If you want to get angry at Borders for something, I can give you reasons. But this isn’t one of them.

  13. emona says:

    Well, here’s an environmentally-safe gold star for Allison. I can tell you’re very proud of yourself.

  14. Riddar says:

    Alright, I am really not appalled by a small computer error, especially if followed up by a correction quickly.

    If Borders had mailed these out to their members, yes, that would be wasteful; by emailing them out, it takes somebody bright enough to print a $0.00 gift certificate for any waste to occur.

  15. DrGirlfriend says:

    A green gold star for Allison!

  16. XTC46 says:

    @meiran: you would also have to find where the state they will not sell your info, many companies actually withhold the right to share your info with their affiliates.

  17. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    She makes it sound like someone physically typed out an email to her and sent it to her… get a f’n grip. It was a mass emailing, and there was a problem with their database (I would imagine) and it gave a false balance. No one is asking you to print out a zero coupon and waste paper! We get it… you love the earth, you hate borders. Maybe consider getting a hobby? I mean a hooby other than writing to the Consumerist and patting yourself on the back for being green.

  18. cde says:

    @xtc46: A promise is a contract, be it oral or written.

  19. bentcorner says:

    I got one of these too followed by another email 90 minutes later saying the $0 coupon was a mistake. The second email had a $5 coupon.

  20. Benny Gesserit says:

    @Riddar: Exactly. If this had been a physical mailing, then someone’s head would have rolled. I’m sure someone just said “Jebus, fix the sql statement and send the damn thing again.”

    But, when it comes to customers, there’s no accounting for customers who are … unenlightened?

  21. overbysara says:

    When I bought my harry potter book they didn’t make me take a bag. :shrug:

  22. jackdangers says:

    Having worked retail for a number of years (though, thankfully, not anymore) I can tell Allison might be one of “those” customers. The one who likes to stick it to the company, but who is in reality only making a peons life a little more unbearable at their low-paying job.

    BTW, one requirement for citizenship in this country (natural-born citizens included) should be to work retail for a small portion of the year. It really gives you an eye-opening view of the general populace.

  23. xredgambit says:

    Oh no, I’m getting spam e-mail for an address I made for one company. Dear me.

    My god, is it so hard to hit del or just not even look at your junk mail folder?

    People find the most pointless reasons to complain to a company. I gave you my e-mail address and now I’m gettign junk. I demand compensation. I have to take out 10 seconds out of my day in order to del all that spam.

  24. xredgambit says:

    Allison reminds me of some people from an episode of south park.
    I do think it’s good and all, but a whole paragraph wasn’t really needed. I mean does she want a cookie or an organic granola bar, made only by independant farmers?
    But good for her for doing that stuff.

  25. PinkBox says:

    I avoid my local Borders store because the employees there like to hunt you down and start long conversations about whatever genre of book you are reading.

    I really don’t need their (bad) suggestions. So annoying.

  26. Benny Gesserit says:

    @causticitty: I’m imagining they’re like their Chapters/Indigo counterparts who insist on interrupting you in mid-conversation (and often in mid-sentence) to ask if you’ve found what you’re looking for.

    I’m tempted to say “I’m looking for a book on how rude it is to interrupt people” but, as JACKDANGERS put it, they’re just peons. Who knows, it might be in the manual they HAVE to follow: “Interrupt every conversation as people TALKING aren’t people who are BUYING.” (Same reason I try to be polite but firm with telemarketers – it’s not their fault they had to take an awful job.)

  27. Johann says:

    I made a number of purchases from Borders over the last couple months. I’m getting really sick of having them try to talk me into using a Borders Reward card.

  28. MrFalcon says:

    I work part time at Borders, and I got both the same emails. The $0.00, followed by the $5.00 coupon. Yeah, they made a mistake, but corrected it quickly. Personally, I don’t think I had shopped enough to hit the mark for $150 (thus earning me the $5.00) so I think I may have been given a free $5 for the messup…perhaps they did that to everyone?

    As to the bag issue…I haven’t looked back at the previous article, but that certainly isn’t store policy. If a customer is only buying one or two things, I always make a point to ask them if they would like a bag with their purchase. Most react like they’ve never been asked this before, and many will choose to go bagless!

    Kudos to Allison for making a stink about a stupid policy, and I’m glad she got her $5.00 credit after all = )

  29. sciencefreak says:

    wow i would never want to have a conversation with alison, she talks with sentance chops…I could only imagine what it would be like talking to her in person (I imagine a blonde with a valley girl/frat girl accent.) sorry, didn’t meen to go there, but seriously, omg boarders such a evil empire…selling books!! BOOKS!! omg! we might have to read!!! its like grade school all over again. I second the SQL database error, just let it go.

  30. JollyJumjuck says:

    Wow, I would never want to have a written conversation with Sciencefreak. I could only imagine the misspelled words, misuse of punctuation, and poor sentence structure that would ensue. “Grade school all over again” might be beneficial.

  31. Mary says:

    @Jim (The Canuck One): “put it, they’re just peons. Who knows, it might be in the manual they HAVE to follow: “Interrupt every conversation as people TALKING aren’t people who are BUYING.” “

    They more or less are. We were told that if we walked within so many feet of a customer we HAD to ask them if they were finding everything okay, no matter what. Even if we’ve talked to them before, we have to at least make eye contact and make sure they know we’re available for help.

    There’s a lot of stuff like that where I wish customers would complain more often to the corporate offices making the policies. Sick of being talked to about the rewards card? Send a letter to corporate saying you won’t shop there as often because of their hard sales tactics. If enough people send that letter, maybe they’ll understand that it hurts their bottom line more than it helps.

    Sad thing is, it probably doesn’t hurt them that much. Bath and Body Works is infamous for their pushy salespeople and they make plenty of money so they’ll never change. I find it depressing.