Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've given platelets thrice and I'm already up to a DVD player

Hilariously, they ask you to leave six to eight weeks for delivery. This is what it took to get sea monkeys out of a comic book in the 70s. Two weeks of that was just checks clearing, and probably a week and a half for the mail itself. First class mail used to take three or four days to get across the continental United States, you recall.

Anyhoo, Sunday's donation ended up being a single; there was a lot of intraoffice drama, including one tech yelling at another, "We're both adults here: I'm an adult, and you're an adult." Now that's only 100 points normally, but there's the 100-point Sunday bonus. So, the first donation was 500 points -- I was screwed out of my extra value Sunday and double by their practice of giving low value initial points. My one successful triple so far netted me 100 base points + 100 triple points + 100 Sunday points + 50 'week of July 4th' points, bringing me to my current 850. Last Sunday's single will bring it to 1050, and get me the 500 'three donations before August' bonus points for 1550. That's good, because the DVD player at 800 points in brandless. You have to get to 2000 points before they give you a branded one.

Now, seeing as I've bought an iPod Nano 3G and they had this crazy '500 point for your first donation' rule, I need a new goal. They've also added another bonus time period. Platelets are apparently a big need.

Now, I know I haven't been clear about this, but I think this rewards program is a pretty stupid idea. I don't think anybody's going to be more inclined to give platelets -- which is an incredible drag -- who wasn't already going to do it. I only found out about the program because I was looking up where to give platelets in the first place, so I couldn't tell you where it's being promoted. Maybe to lowly blood donors. I'm doing what I can to promote it to you, so, ah, go give platelets. They're super useful things to people with severe burns, leukemia or transplant surgery. Remember to collect your prizes. Weird, right? You go to have some evidence that you're not as bad a person as possible, and they pay you off with a trinket. I don't want your blood money! Well, I do, but I'm not trying to expiate anything. I just don't think other people want their blood money.

As you might imagine, I call Platelet Advantage with every little problem I have with the program or the web site. And they seem totally unaware of each of the glaring problems I bring up -- for instance, my eligibility date is miscalculated (it's 7 days after a triple, 3 days after a single -- the website makes it 8 days after a triple, 7 days after a single,) the solution to which is to call and have the program manager change it.

I really do suspect that I'm the only person paying attention to this program, and specifically the web site. I've been involved with the internet long enough to realize applications rolled out to great fanfare can have a very small number of users, only one of whom is vocal.

But, back to the matter at hand. They've instituted another bonus period, and another superbonus period. If I can do four triples on Sundays before the end of October, and one of those is September 7th, I get 4 * (100 + 100 + 100) + 50 + 750 = 2000 more points.

If you're keeping track, that'll bring me to 3550 points, in addition to my scratch off card gifts. At 3200 points, I can get $434 in cookware (or a $200 giftcard somewhere like Amoco.) There's a trap, of course, in that each point is worth more than the point before, due to the crappy initial points. So, it's important that the program max out, which it does at 3200 points, or I'd just keep collecting them until the program's cancellation.

So, that's the new plan.

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