I love free stuff. One of my mottos is “if it’s free, it’s for me and I’ll take three even if it’s shitty”. With that in mind I ended up signing up to become a BzzAgent. A friend had forwarded an email to me with a sweet offer: all new BzzAgents were eligible for a Jim Beam campaign, which basically meant free booze.
It all seemed so easy, just sign up and wait for the rebate form to come to me. Once I had that, all I had to do was walk down to my neighborhood liquor store and buy one of the eligible bottles. The rebate was for $15, and I was able to find one that cost $15.99. Jim Beam always finds a way to make a buck.
Now my neighborhood liquor store is a small operation and I don’t believe that they even produce itemized receipts. It’s just a standard, basic receipt that shows the total paid on it. One of the items necessary for the rebate to work was a receipt clearly showing what was purchased and the amount. I figured I was fine since a.) I bought it a liquor store (clearly states that on the receipt) and b.) since I only purchased one item, there was no need for itemization.
I happily filled out the form and sent it in, and then sat back to wait for my huge $15 check to arrive in my mailbox. Instead of that big payday, I received a post card from Mr. Beam stating that there was something wrong with my request and that I didn’t supply the required information.
Ah, Jim Beam, you clever son of a bitch. You got me. I let my guard down, not taking a moment to consider that it might be too good to be true. I thought I had followed instructions to a ‘T’, but much to my chagrin the receipt wasn’t good enough for them. Jim Beam was now bending me over the fine print and sticking it to me so hard that I’ll now need dental work.
I spent $15 at a liquor store, what do they think I actually did? Oh yeah, I walked down there and bought $15 worth of Snickers bars, joke’s on you Jim Beam! Why would I go to a liquor store and spend $15 on anything but Jim Beam, steal a UPC code from a qualified Jim Beam bottle, then send it all in to them? It’s only $15! I know I have a lot of free time lately, but I’d much rather read the back of a shampoo bottle than make that big of an effort.
Very angrily, I dialed the number provided on the post card and attempted to sort this out. I ended up speaking with the sweetest customer service lady ever, so my rage quickly was subdued. I think they did that on purpose. I explained my situation to her, trying to reason with her that I wouldn’t have purchased the bottle knowing I wasn’t going to get the rebate. I also sprinkled in some “I don’t even drink that much” with a little bit of “I’m unemployed and can’t really afford to be buying bottles for no reason”.
She couldn’t help, so she had to pass it along to another department. Weeks later, I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I’m upset at Jim Beam overall, but not at all with her. She even offered to pray that I get a new job soon. Who says that to a stranger these days?
The BzzAgent promotion overall was pretty stupid, in my opinion. It was basically an interactive version of that Jim Beam ‘bold choices’ ad campaign, meaning they wanted stories involving Jim Beam in which bold choices were made. What did they expect to get out this? ‘After drinking a bottle of Jim Beam, I boldly decided to drive home.’ It’s safe to assume that is probably not what they were going for.
If you’re meeting up with some friends at a bar and you sense that the conversation is starting to enter bold choice territory, are you supposed to take a time out and get some Jim Beam? ‘Hey Brad, before you decide whether or not to take that job in Europe, we should really get some Beam first.’ Yeah, there’s nothing weird about that.
That would only work if everybody wants to drink Beam. What if someone wants a beer? What started out as a conversation about choosing your groomsmen escalates into an argument about drink selection, which in turn leads to your former best man boldly choosing to punch you in the face. Jim Beam…what an asshole.
Jim Beam made my list, but the name is only on there in pencil for now. It can easily be erased if they just send my damn check. However, if they don’t send a check, the permanent marker is on standby.