Birthday Gift Shopping Experience

I think it’s important to understand the current shopping experience before improvements can be targeted. To that end, I plan to share my shopping experiences with you from time to time. You’re welcome to share your experiences too. Rants and Raves are encouraged. 🙂

So, I was shopping for my son’s birthday last week. Sometimes I’m on top of the gift list, but not so much this year.  James gave me a few helpful hints as his birthday approached. Unfortunately, I did not record the hints in a wish list. It turns out my memory doesn’t work so well when I don’t write things down.

When I finally started to shop for the gifts before his birthday, I surprised myself in that I successfully anticipated one of the gifts even before he asked for it (a Microsoft XBox wireless controller). I was able to buy it on sale when I saw it advertised in a newspaper flyer. I also remembered the most important present, an Xbox Minecraft game. It was released a day before his birthday. During my online research I found out that it could only be purchased online. Not my preference since I did not have an account with Microsoft, but oh well, I decided to wait until his birthday and let him order it online with my credit card. Last but not least, I totally forgot about the Electronic Arts Sims3 game. I felt a little guilty for not remembering the Sims3 game, but part of parenting is learning to roll with the punches and make a quick recovery. Maybe I can avoid the bad feelings next year if I find a better way to track the wish list.

So the birthday comes. James gets his Xbox wireless controller. Unfortunately, when we tried to order the Xbox Minecraft game, the Xbox website would not accept my credit card. The Microsoft website told me to call my credit card company. So, I did. The first person I talked to at Captial One Mastercard was very very unhelpful. To start with, I’m not happy with Capital One Mastercard, but that’s another story. When the customer service person repeated the same thing over and over and expected me to be happy, it only made me more frustrated. I finally had to speak to the customer service manager. She was helpful, because she gave me more information about what was happening and what I could do about it. Ultimately, I had to call Microsoft Xbox support.

I received great service from the Microsoft support process from this point onward. I found the support web page. It asked me if I wanted to chat with someone online or if I wanted someone from Microsoft to call my home. They even gave me an expected wait time for each option. Nice. The phone option was quicker, so I clicked on it and waited. Sure enough they called my house within a few minutes. I worked with a support person (based in the Midwest USA) for about 30 minutes trying different things. He finally decided the Microsoft payment system was not working, offered a month of Xbox Live for free and suggested that I try again later. I thanked him for his help and gave positive feedback about the excellent service to his manager. I don’t usually do this, but the service representative was particularly good.

The Microsoft support guy really was helpful, but the initial web error message sent me the wrong way and unfortunately for Microsoft they could not accept the money I wanted to give them.  In the end we went to Best Buy to get the Sims3 game that James wanted. It turns out it was even cheaper than ordering it from

All in all, it was a more eventful shopping experience than I had hoped for. James was happy with the gifts he got, but we still haven’t had time to go back and purchase the Xbox Minecraft game. I’ll have to make sure that happens soon. 🙂