Friday, December 7, 2012

Advice for enjoying Joe Bean Coffee Roasters

According to FourSquare I've been at Joe Bean Coffee Roasters over 50 times.  And there's a reason - they make, roast and serve the best coffee in Rochester.  I've been asked many times for recommendations for enjoying Joe Beans, so I've consolidated them here.  I hope you enjoy.  My recommendations for enjoying Joe Bean:

1) Don't come when you're in a hurry - there is a process and a timeline to enjoying coffee here, and rushing that process, gulping your coffee and running, or taking it to go - defeats the enjoyment to a large extent.

2) Concentrate not on where the coffee comes from, or the type of roast (each coffee batch is custom roasted to a profile) but instead on the tasting notes.  As with a wine - saying that all Nicaraguan coffees are the same is like saying that all wines from the finger lakes are the same - patently not true.

3) Let your Barista be your guide - they LOVE and are PASSIONATE ABOUT what they do.  They enjoy taking the time to explain the different brew methods, and the different coffees and how they go together.  Let them teach you - spend some time listening to what experts do when they make coffee.

4) Don't be afraid to explore new things.  Try a different brew method.  Let them make you iced coffee like you've never had iced coffee before.  Try a cold brew.  Try a sprobomb.

5) Try a tasting plate.  The small bites tasting plates are specifically set up to be paired with the wines, coffees and beers available there.  Let your barista help you select just the right pairing for a quick snack.

6) Enjoy the ambiance.  Talk to other customers and chat at the bar while your coffee is made.  Enjoyment is always better in a community.

7) Savor your coffee - enjoy and note how the flavor changes as it cools.  Think about how it differs when hot and just brewed to when it's been in the air for a while.

8) Consider bringing the experience home - though you can spend tons of money on coffee brewing at home - you can also do it very inexpensively with a few simple tools.  Joe Bean Coffee is available for you to bring home, grind and roast yourself.  If you're a coffee fanatic - buy some simple tools - a gram scale, a Hario pourover, a grinder and a Buono style kettle - and you can be your own barista - and Joe Bean will help you learn how!

9) Don't expect crap coffee drinks - this is not about a Venti Soy Caramel Salt Whipped Decaf Double Frappacino.  Those aren't coffee - those are coffee flavored beverages.  Coffee here is expressed in it's pure form.  You wouldn't pour flavoring into a fine wine to "enhance it".

Joe Bean Coffee Roasters can be found at 1344 University Ave, Rochester, NY.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

One hour buttermilk rolls

One hour buttermilk rolls 

  • 2 pkg dry yeast
  • ½ c warm water
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 ¼ c lukewarm buttermilk
  • ½ c melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 ½ c flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
Proof yeast in water if not instant, otherwise mix with flour.  Mix dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients, warm well,  and add (include ½ c warm water if you did not use it for the yeast) .  Mix well, cover and and let stand 10 min. Place in greased muffin pans or form rolls in a large greased pan.  Raise until doubled – about 20 min.  Bake 12 minutes at 425o.  The secret to these is having everything nice and warm - if the flour is cold you might even want to give it a couple of minutes of oven time before you start mixing .  Important to have good quality flour for these – King Arthur is by far the best all purpose.  You can also mix these with ½ whole wheat and/or add a cup or so of strong flavored grated cheese.  Brush tops gently with 1 egg white + 1t water and sprinkle with your choice of seeds or kosher salt before baking if desired.  About 2 dozen dinner roll size, less for muffin size.

Grandma D's Best Dinner Rolls - Thanksgiving tradition

Grandma D’s rich dinner rolls – Thanksgiving traditional

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ c butter  in pieces
  • 1 T yeast
  • ¼ c water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c evaporated milk or cream (I use evaporated skim)
  • Egg whites, water and salt or seeds as desired

Proof yeast in water if necessary, if yeast is instant mix yeast with flour & salt and use 1 ¼ cup evap  milk.  Warm milk and butter, add eggs and beat.  Add to flour.  Knead, raise, shape, raise,
Brush with egg white+1T water before baking for a shiny crust and add kosher salt or seeds as desired
Bake 20 minutes at 375.  Can be refrigerated up to 24 hours after kneading.  Let come to room temp before shaping.  About 2 dozen

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mom's stuffing

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching I thought I'd post the recipe for the BEST STUFFING IN THE WORLD courtesy of my mom:

Mom's stuffing

Thanksgiving is approaching.  Time for my Mom's stuffing soon.  This foolproof crock pot stuffing recipe is the best stuffing ever.  Thanks Barb Drake!


  2-3 1.5lb loaves of firm sandwich bread
  1.5 lb Yellow onions
  3/4 lb Butter
  2-4 tbsp sage (dried or fresh)
  2-4 tbsp thyme (dried or fresh)
  1 Tbsp Rosemary
  1 Tbsp Oregano
  1 Bunch Celery

  Salt to taste

  1/2 cup fresh parsley

For bread I like the firm sandwich bread – Pepperidge Farm or Arnold are both ok.  This year I used ½ that and ½ a firm whole wheat – I thought that turned out well, too.  You’ll need at least a couple of regular size 1½ pound loaves, maybe a bit more, to fill a crock pot.

You’ll need 1 bunch of celery, cleaned and chopped fine in the food processor - but not pureed!
About 1 ½ pounds of onions, ditto
¾ lb butter

Generous amounts of sage and thyme (start with 2 heaping tablespoons each and go up according to taste)
Lesser amounts of rosemary and oregano – start with 1T or so of each.
Pepper (but no salt yet) to taste

Dry or chopped fresh parsley as desired  (I used ½ c chopped fresh since it’s still in the garden)
Simmer all slowly in a heavy pot, covered, for at least a couple of hours or until the house smells heavenly.  The essence of the herbs is more oil soluble than water soluble, so much of the flavor goes into the “broth”.  Taste at the end and add salt if necessary (depends on how salty the butter was).  It will be over-seasoned at this point but remember it’ll be diluted by all that bread.  You can refrigerate up to a couple of days at this point.

Cube the bread.  Good if it can dry, cubed, for a day or so but not a deal breaker if it doesn’t.  Warm the veggies if refrigerated, until the butter melts and all is nice and warm.  Toss spoonfuls into the bread and fluff through with your hands.  (You get to lick them at the end, which is a bonus!)  Repeat until all veggies are used. Taste to see if you need more herbs or salt.   If necessary add a little more melted butter to get everything evenly moist.  This is a “by taste” call that depends on the absorbency of the bread.  The object here is to not mush the bread – keep everything fluffy but moist.  You’ll probably still lose volume in this process. 

Spray the crock pot with pan spray.  Spoon the mix lightly into the crock pot – don’t pack – so it stays light and fluffy.  Cook on low until heated, moist and fluffy.  (Mine usually sits 4 or more hours.)  Depending on the crock pot you may have to watch the edges for overbrowning and do some judicious gentle stirring. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Passive social marketing works

As you know I write about all sorts of things - technology, FIRST Robotics, cooking, computer security, entrepreneurship.  I have an extensive facebook presence with a large number of facebook, linked in and twitter followers (I'm not Kim Kardashian but I hold my own).  I'm what many would call a "passionate consumer".  If I like something I bought I'll tell you about it. If there's a book I read, a recipe I used, or a vendor I frequent and I feel it's somehow exceptional I'll talk about it.  If one of those products happens to be offered through Amazon I usually attach a link - and I have an Amazon Affliates account that lets people buy through that link.

I make no bones about this - and don't try to hide the link. It costs the consumer nothing, and I get a tiny (but not completely insignificant) dollar amount if the sale happens to convert.  Of course if they just stick it in their cart and buy it 3 months later I'm not likely to get anything, but hey - free money.

I never promote something just to get the commission - that's not why I like the book or recommend the recipe.  Whether something is on Amazon or not doesn't really influence whether I blog, write about it or mention it.

Most of the marketing I do is through facebook, where if someone asks about a product I'll drop a link on there with a recommendation that's for an amazon sourced item if one fits. 

So does it work?  Well I'm not exactly going to be able to run out and retire on the profits from my amateur marketing - I've made like $10/year for the last five years.  $50 on the other hand is nothing to sneeze at.  So why do I mention it?  Well the question is - what are YOU doing to get passionate consumers like me to help spread the word about your product?  Are you working on plans for an affiliate marketing program - even if it just has points or micropayments - that makes it fun and easy for people to promote your products and get credit for it?  If not you're missing out on a way to have your very best evangalists help sell your product. 

If you're a consumer - are you taking advantage of affiliate marketing?  If you're writing about a book, a product, or a vendor and you can get some free dough for writing what you would write anyway - then you should consider it. 

And with that - I'll leave you with a Google Affiliate ad - cool lego mindstorms kits and books for Christmas!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rochester Public Market looking to improve facilities - Good idea?

According to The Rochesterian, the Rochester Public Market is looking to improve facilities to the tune of a $10,000,000 upgrade designed by Ty Lin, a non Rochester design company, and comparable to what Seattle has done with Pike Place Market.  I've visited Pike Place and our market.  I prefer ours.
While I support the addition of better, more sanitary facilities and better parking at the market I'm extremely concerned that the expensive and costly improvements suggested will have a negative affect on the market. With the facilities that are in place our Public Market recently won the top public market in the US award. The shoppers who love that market obviously don't feel that it's desperately in need of improvements. The residents of ALL economic categories and communities around Rochester love the public market. When the city compares the eventual result of the public market renovation to Pike Place I get extremely concerned. Pike Place is no longer a "public market". It's a yuppified funky mall. We don't need another mall - and if we did we should have renovated Midtown.
In my opinion as a downtown Rochester business owner (just a few blocks from the public market), and regular market shopper, friend of many vendors, local business promoter, and supporter of Friends of the Public Market here are the categories for any successful renovation in my opinion:
  • Must not drive prices for rent up. If rent goes up - either vendors move out, losing valuable vendor diversity, chains move in losing local focus, or prices go up losing the lower economic demographic that is a key part of what makes the market great.
  • Must not affect access for low income shoppers, while protecting the safety of all shoppers. The market is the ONLY PLACE IN THE CITY where low income and high income demographics mix and mingle peacefully, cooperatively and happily. It exposes and mixes our cultural demographic as well - attracting shoppers from all ethnicities and backgrounds. The vendor population is just as demographically diverse. Any improvement to the facility must preserve access for both vendors and shoppers for all these ethnic and economic demographics.
  • Parking must be addressed. The market is already one of the most popular destinations on a weekend attracting 10's of thousands of visitors. The most negative part of the market experience is NOT the smell of fish in the fish market or the piles of empty cardboard boxes behind the stalls - it's finding parking. Without addressing the parking issue at the market there is NO SENSE in performing any other improvements.  Rochester residents are used to bad weather - it's a fact of life.  But if you can't GET TO the market or park near it, you are discouraged from returning.
  • The wonderful diversity of the food vendors at the market must be preserved, and the ability to mix food vendor areas with other vendor areas is an important one. I love that as I wander the market if a craving comes upon me or I smell a heavenly smell I can just grab a samosa, or an empanada, an eggroll or a cup of coffee or just about any other ethnic variant from a nearby stall. If you move all the food vendors to a food court if feels more like a mall and less like a market. If the vendors actually WANT improved facilities and you're retaining the same vendors - fine. But if you're going to start bringing in MacDonald's, Taco Bell, Bill Grays and Chipotles - forget about it. Similarly if you're going to raise rent to the point where only one of these mass produced makers of fake food can afford to be a vendor there - no go. Most of the vendors prepare fresh food made with ingredients found right there at the market - let's keep it local, in fact lets encourage more localvore dining at the market.
  • It would be extremely disappointing to have non-local vendors start to sell there because now it was "gentrified and acceptable". If I want Wegmans I'll go to Wegmans. The market is not that experience and I don't want it to be.
  • It doesn't have to get bigger - sure it's crowded. That's ok. It's part of the experience and fun and excitement of shopping there. It doesn't keep people away. Having inadequate parking keeps people away.
  • We already have a "public market" space that's been upgraded. It's in Henrietta but has a very different feel from the downtown public market.
  • Alternatives should be considered. How many years could you run a shuttle from say the Village Gate back parking lot, the Hungerford lots, etc. to the market and back for $10M? I bet a lot of years. You could easily buy and dedicate a bus to that route. Placing parking in the back lot at the Gate would also benefit Gate vendors as well, improving people's exposure to a unique and wonderful neighborhood. Could we buy more nearby unused space from the railroad to host more parking spaces for minimal cost? I bet we could buy and pave a lot of land for $10M, and maintain it for years tax and entrance free.  Maybe we could boost bus routes from all over the city to the market on market days.
  • We should not be farming development, design and construction of this facility to a foreign, international or non-NYS firm. I'm sure TyLin is very well known and famous, and have no doubts that they make beautiful structures. But I don't want to see $10M of my tax money going to an out-of-Rochester firm when there are in Rochester firms every bit as capable as TyLin. Selection of the design and engineering firm should be limited to upstate NY firms only.
Improving the Public Market is an awesome opportunity to advance and improve downtown infrastructure, continue to foster the tradition of mixing key demographics from both a vendor and a shopper point of view, while drawing people downtown to try to economically improve what is rapidly becoming a hole in our center city. Let's not muck it up by turning this into a mall but with crappier parking, or losing sight of what makes our market beautiful and wonderful to begin with - the vendors and shoppers that frequent it every weekend and throughout the week.

If you want to provide your own input on what they're doing with the RPM do as I did and email

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stir Fried Coconut Rice with Eggs Thai Style

Stir Fried Coconut Rice with Scrambled Eggs Thai Style

An original "leftovers" recipe


  • Leftover Coconut Jasmine rice (1/2-1 cup)
  • 3 Large organic eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of Citterio Salumi Pronti diced small
  • Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • Fresh ground black Pepper to taste

Coconut Jasmine rice is super easy to make. Plan to make this meal with the leftovers after making Coconut Jasmine Rice to go with a stir fry or other meal the night before.

Using the package directions for liquid to rice ratio prepare jasmine rice, but substitute canned coconut milk (Polar or Thai Kitchen for example) for the water.  The more you add, the sweeter it will be up to the max liquid.  Be sure to shake or stir the coconut milk well prior to adding it to the rice.  Prepare rice as usual (We use a rice maker).  Serve for dinner with any other stir fry, and reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of rice for use the next morning in this breakfast treat.  Store rice overnight in an airtight container not much larger than the volume of rice so it doesn't dry out.

The morning you're making the rice and eggs, dice the Citterio, and crack the eggs into a small bowl.  Beat eggs lightly and whisk in 2 tbsp of water.  The more water you add the fluffier the eggs will be, but don't add too much or they will get runny.  Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a 10" skillet over medium high heat until it just starts to smoke.  Carefully add the cold coconut rice (to avoid spattering), breaking up any chunks with your spatula.  Brown the rice - if it begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet, add olive oil 1/2 tbsp at a time (you don't want it greasy but you don't want it sticking to the skillet).  The rice does not need to be browned all over - heat it up and get a crust on at least some of it. Once you have a light toasty crust on the rice, add the Citterio and stir fry that in with the rice until just fragrant.  Keep the rice and salumi moving to avoid burning - cook another minute or so.  Lower the heat to medium and pour the prepared egg into the mixture, constantly stirring with your spatula to get a nice even mixture of egg and rice.  Grind in a little freshly ground pepper - maybe a tsp or two. The egg should cook up almost like a quiche mixed in with the Salumi and rice.  Once the bottom is cooked and has a light brown finish to it, flip spatulas full of egg so that the top can cook.  Remove from heat and put on a plate once the eggs are cooked through and there is no more liquid, but don't let them burn.  

After serving drizzle a few tablespoons (don't bother measuring - see picture above) of sweet Thai Chili Sauce onto the eggs.  Serve immediately with a pepper grinder to add more zing, and a side of freshly ground black coffee, because everything goes better with coffee in the morning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Original recipe - Aztek Cabernet Strawberries


1/2 cup fresh strawberries
2 Tbsp Arbor Hill Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Sauce
1 Tsp sugar
2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztek Chocolate Bitters

Preparation (About 2 minutes):

Take a reasonable bowl full of strawberries, halved.   Drizzle 2 tblsp Arbor Hill Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon wine sauce over them.
Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sugar and add 2 dashes of Fee Brothers Aztek Chocolate bitters

If you like dairy - top with some whipped cream - but it really doesn't need it.

The Fee Brothers Aztek Chocolate Bitters is a new product is not listed on their website, but it is available by phone, email order or by stopping by the store.  Tell them Lee sent you.

Full disclosure: I get nothing for this recipe and do not represent the companies making the ingredients.  In this case all the ingredients are from local small businesses in Upstate NY.  OS-Cubed and I support local small business wherever we can!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cucumber Dry Soda-tini

2 oz gin
1 oz vermouth (dry)
1 dash Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
Add Dry Cucumber Soda and lime wedge

Put Gin, Vermouth and Bitters in a shaker with ice and shake until the outside frosts. Drain and pour into martini glass
Fill glass with cold Dry Cucumber soda (about 3oz), garnish with lime wedge

Serve immediately on hot day. Enjoy. Make another - there's probably about 4 out of one bottle of dry cucumber

Monday, May 28, 2012

Coconut Basil Mashed Potatoes with bacon

Coconut Basil Mashed Potatoes with Bacon

A fast, easy to prepare non-dairy tasty alternative to plain old mashed potatoes (Serves 4, Total prep and cooking time under 20 minutes)

  • 4-5 medium red potatoes
  • 2 green onions, trim the end and dice both the green and white portions
  • 5 slices of your favorite bacon - cooked, drained on paper towels and diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 can Polar Coconut milk - mixed well before portioning
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped purple Thai Basil
  • 3 tablespoons Butter (or margarine if going completely dairy free), room temp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Prep (10 minutes or so):

In this order:

  • Make the bacon in a skillet or frying pan.  Once browned and crispy remove from pan and drain on paper towel - dice.  You can also substitute prociutto if you want something a little saltier.  I prefer all-natural Seven Bridges Farms bacon.
  • Wash, Trim and clean the green onions and chop into small pieces, set aside
  • Wash 2-3 stalks of Thai basil and shake to remove excess liquid, remove the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves and flowers finely.  Set aside.
  • Shake then open a can of Polar Coconut Milk (other brands may work, but polare is the best.  Stir to make sure all solids are mixed in.
  • Clean and Eye the potatoes (but do not peel) and place in a bowl larger than the potatoes, with room for additional ingredients and cover. 

  • Microwave potatoes in covered bowl on high for 9-12 minutes until there is no resistance to a fork.  Remove from microwave and slice into quarters (carefully they will be hot).  Put them back in the bowl
  • With a potato masher, mash the potatoes until the skins are broken and they are in chunks, but not completely mashed.
  • Add the butter or margarine and mix well as it melts
  • While completing the mashing slowly add Coconut milk until you get the right consistency.  You can always add more in, but you can't take it out.  Depending on the size of the potatoes this may use up to 1/2 or 2/3 of the can
  • Add the green onions and the chopped bacon, mix well
  • Salt and pepper to taste - it's important that you TASTE as you do this.  I use ground sea salt and a peppercorn mix for the pepper.  Add a bit, taste, add more until you get the right amount. This will be bland without enough salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the fresh thai basil a bit at a time with the masher until you get just the amount you want - up to the full 1/4 cup. Thai basil is strongly flavored so don't over-do it.   If you have any left at the end you can sprinkle it on top of each serving for flavor, with some green onion dice
Serve hot.  You will not need or want sour creme, this has a subtle sweet coconut flavor (like Thai coconut rice).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A second published Recipe...

My first published recipe was in the Friends of the Market Cookbook, and is available here on this blog.  My second recipe - for spicy hummus dip -has been published by F. Oliver's on their website, and you can find it here. F. Olivers has some very cool flavored and gourmet olive oils, and they're right next door to Wine Sense on Park Ave - my favorite boutique wine store.

I really enjoy cooking, and my family are my guinea pigs for all my new recipes to so kudos to my wife Val and son Calvin for putting up with both my successes and my failures.  I look forward to creating and submitting more recipes for cookbooks and websites.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Boycott the Democrat and Chronicle

Recently a local FIRST Lego League team received international attention for their achievements - getting the international gracious professionalism award at the World Championships for FIRST in St. Louis.  This team - with mentors from team 340 (GRR) and sponsored to go to World Championships by Team 1511 (Penfield Robotics) received recognition in WIRED magazine for their achievement.

So you'd think - wow - international attention, international media - local middle school kids, this is what proves Rochester is an innovative, forward-thinking city.  This kind of news is something that everyone in Rochester can be proud of.  Not to mention that outside of the Michigan area we have one of the largest FIRST populations for a city our size.  And that our teams consistently win Robot awards, Engineering Inspiration and Chairman's awards outside the area, and multiple regional teams repeatedly qualify for world competitions at both the FLL and FRC levels.  Sounds worthy of some serious features in the local news right?  Perhaps a feature article on the team, and on the other teams that supported and nurtured them. Or maybe one on how the FIRST Robotics competition inspires thousands of local elementary, middle and high school students to new achievements in STEM? 

But the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, our local newspaper, continues to ignore FIRST Robotics, and other equally deserving events such as Odyssey of the Mind, ImagineRIT and Science Olympiad. They claim that such events aren't "interesting to their readers" and don't "Follow their demographics".  (Actual quotes from D&C mouthpieces).  Never mind that local television stations enthusiastically promote and feature FIRST Robotics, and they have the same demographics.  They claim they support FIRST but only do so with advertisements, not with any coverage to speak of.  Even the results of the local Regional competition weren't published in their paper (however results of chess clubs, soccer, baseball, football, and basketball are covered ad nauseum).  It's not a matter of them not knowing either - all the local teams do press releases and FIRST itself features PR to them regularly - but they continue to ignore it.

When I personally called attention to this continued ignorance - they banned my Facebook profile from commenting on articles - without an explanation. I didn't violate their terms of service (I specifically avoided situations that would get me banned) but they terminated my access to making comments on the site anyway - because when it came down to it - they had no valid explanation for why they continued to ignore FIRST Robotics.  In a similar fashion they refused to cover the RIT Innovation Festival ImagineRIT.

Recently the D&C is promoting a price raise to "allow them" to offer a digital subscription.  If you are an intellectual and thoughtful Rochester resident I strongly recommend that instead of renewing at their higher rate - you cancel your subscription.  And in doing so explain that you cannot in good conscience give them MORE money for LESS coverage of important events like FIRST Robotics in the city.  Subscribe to the NY Times for important news outside Rochester, and the Rochester Business Journal or City Magazine for important inside Rochester news.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Amazon purchases with their amazon points card - not so convenient

You are now connected to Sharanya from
Me:I cannot add to my gift card balance using Chase Amazon points, nor can I purchase books for my kindle using points. The entire reason I purchased the kindle was so that I could use points to buy books on it. I am very dissatisfied with your new policies and procedures for using points.11:27:11 AM
Sharanya: Hello, my name is Sharanya . I'll be happy to look into your question. 11:27:25 AM
Sharanya:I'm so sorry about this. 11:29:01 AM
Sharanya:Let me connect you to a member of our kindle team. It will only take a moment.11:29:17 AM
A Customer Service Associate will be with you in a moment.
You are now connected to Lisa from
A Customer Service Associate will be with you in a moment.
You are now connected to Stacey from
Stacey:Hello Lee , my name is Stacey. 11:46:46 AM
Me:Hi Stacey. I'm disappointed that Amazon seems to think my problem so unimportant that they leave me in the chat queue for 15 minutes.11:47:18 AM
Stacey:I am sorry about that, we are very busy today. 11:47:40 AM
Stacey:Digital products can be purchased with gift cards and the following credit or debit cards:11:47:55 AM
Stacey:-- American Express11:47:55 AM
Stacey:-- Diners Club (U.S. orders only)11:47:55 AM
Stacey:-- Discover11:47:55 AM
Stacey:-- MasterCard11:47:55 AM
Stacey:-- Visa, Visa Electron, and Visa Check Cards11:47:55 AM
Stacey:-- Amazon Store Card: Excluding Games & Software Downloads, Prime memberships, and Newspaper/Magazine Subscriptions 11:47:55 AM
Stacey:You will not be able to purchase Kindle books using your points11:48:09 AM
Me:I have amazon store card with points. I used to be able to purchase gift cards with those points. It does not seem like that is an option any more.11:48:28 AM
Stacey:Oh... gift cards.. 11:48:45 AM
Stacey:hmmm.11:48:47 AM
Me:I would regularly refresh my gift card balance from my amazon points.11:48:49 AM
Me:And use the gift card balance to purchase what I wanted on amazon.11:49:01 AM
Me:If you can tell me a way I can purchase a gift card using points I would happily do so. 11:49:33 AM
Me:Otherwise I want a refund for my kindle and all the digital media I've purchased on it since at the time of my purchase I could use the points to be able to purchase content and now I cannot. That seems Like a bait and switch to me.11:50:10 AM
Me:I will use my refund to go buy a nook.11:50:29 AM
Stacey:That is actually though Chase. They are the ones who take care of the points and what you can get with them11:50:33 AM
Me:Bull.11:50:39 AM
Me:I can purchase all sorts of things directly with points on amazon.11:50:55 AM
Me:Except for digital media items.11:51:02 AM
Me:That IS YOUR POLICY11:51:09 AM
Me:So you and Chase have obviously gotten together to prevent the ability to purchase digital media using points in any way.11:51:40 AM
Stacey:Correct, but you were talking about gift cards11:51:43 AM
Stacey:You cannot order digital content with your points11:52:02 AM
Me:I cannot go on amazons site, purchase a gift card and pay for it with points.11:52:08 AM
Me:I used to be able to do this.11:52:17 AM
Me:Thus YOU changed your policy - not Chase.11:52:26 AM
Me:In addition, you've since added mp3s and apps to the list of things you cannot buy with points.11:53:20 AM
Stacey:Digital items have never been able to be purchased with points.11:53:46 AM
Me:Digital items could always be purchased with a gift card balance however.11:54:02 AM
Stacey:I am checking on the gift card purchases.. just a moment11:54:09 AM
Me:Something which it is now impossible to do.11:54:15 AM
Stacey:Found it.11:55:24 AM
Stacey:Physical gift cards can be purchased using Shopping with Points. However, gift cards printed at home or sent via e-mail cannot be purchased using Shop with Points.11:55:27 AM
Me:So the only thing I can do is physically mail myself a gift card, costing you extra money and me doing an extra inconvenience, and giving me a lot of time to go shop the item elsewhere - like Barnes and Noble's for example.11:56:17 AM
Me:Does that make any sense to you?11:56:23 AM
Stacey:I think shipping is free on gift cardxz11:56:40 AM
Stacey:cards*11:56:43 AM
Me:It's free to me - but not to you.11:56:47 AM
Me:It makes no sense.11:56:53 AM
Me:Unless of course you are TRYING To make it inconvenient.11:57:09 AM
Stacey:I can definitely pass your feedback along.11:57:17 AM
Me:Please get me your supervisor.11:57:25 AM
Me:I'd like to pass my feedback along to them personally.11:57:34 AM
Stacey:Sure, just a moment while I see if someone is available 11:57:50 AM
Me:Otherwise, I would like a personal response from the person who makes these policies.11:57:57 AM
Stacey:I am sorry for the long wait, I am still trying to find an available supervisor.12:01:27 PM
Stacey:I found you one. it will take just another moment to get you transferred to him12:02:19 PM
Stacey:Okay, ready to transfer you, 12:05:19 PM
A Customer Service Associate will be with you in a moment.
You are now connected to Amazon from
Amazon:Hello, is this Keith?12:08:33 PM
Me:No, Lee Drake, whom am I speaking to please?12:08:45 PM
Amazon:Hi Lee, I'm Donald, I'm a member of the Leadership team here at Amazon12:09:06 PM
Me:Hi Donald, have you had time to read my comments above?12:09:22 PM
Amazon:I was advised by Stacy there were some feedback about being able to shop with points to buy a gift certificate, but I have not yet read the previous conversations.12:10:05 PM
Me:Please take a few minutes to read over the chat log so I don't have to repeat myself.12:10:24 PM
Amazon:Alright Lee, sorry about that delay, I was able to read what's happened previously.12:12:03 PM
Me:no worries, it seemed more efficient than me explaining it all over.12:12:32 PM
Amazon:Absolutely!12:12:48 PM
Me:I want to know WHY it is no longer easy to transfer my amazon points into gift cards.12:12:51 PM
Me:And WHY amazon makes it impossible to buy digital media with points.12:13:05 PM
Me:The whole point of having the (heavily advertised) amazon credit card is so that points can be used to purchase things. But you make it extremely inconvenient to do so.12:13:41 PM
Amazon:Yeah it is, I completely understand how the situation would be frustrating and inconvenient when you're shopping with your points and want to use them towards your Kindle books.12:14:01 PM
Me:Or MP3s. Or Apps from the android store12:14:16 PM
Me:Or anything else you've pushed into Must Use One-click land.12:14:32 PM
Me:So, if you understand why it's frustrating - why is that so?12:14:49 PM
Amazon:So the main reason, overall, the shop with points is not usable with digital purchases is because you need to go through the full checkout process and select the points to be used, similar to using a promotional credit of some type.12:15:04 PM
Me:No - that is not the case. I can use a gift card balance to pay for those things and that requires going through the checkout process to.12:15:43 PM
Me:And even if that WERE so it doesn't explain why I can't just email myself a gift card.12:15:55 PM
Me:Instead I have to wait days while you mail me one snail mail - at a greater cost to you.12:16:17 PM
Amazon:The reason you can't email a gift card to yourself is because it's still considered a digital transaction and not a physical one.12:16:28 PM
Me:So?12:16:38 PM
Me:what difference does that make.12:16:48 PM
Amazon:Yeah, it's definitely not the best system in place for anyone who wants to purchase digital content.12:16:49 PM
Me:Then why don't you change it.12:16:58 PM
Me:I write software, including ecommerce systems for a living. A system does not arrive at a "no digital content using points" process unless someone consciously chose to make it inconvenient for a reason.12:17:50 PM
Amazon:To be honest Lee, I'm not sure why it makes a difference, historically it's been the choice of the bank who publishes the card. I think it'd be beneficial to have the shopping with points option available for digital purchases too though. I'd like to submit feedback to our business teams about this problem for you.12:18:10 PM
Me:Baloney - the bank that publishes the card used to email me gift certificates automatically.12:18:28 PM
Me:Then they started snail mailing them.12:18:54 PM
Me:Then they started making it freaking impossible to even do that.12:19:04 PM
Amazon:That has been the truth before Lee, I can't really argue it with you, but I would like to help you to the best resolution possible.12:19:13 PM
Me:The whole point of buying the kindle is that i can use my points to purchase books easily and quickly for it. Now I have to wait for someone to mail me something before I can buy something. Maybe I'll just go buy it at barnes and nobles instead - I can drive across town and pick it up in less time than it takes for you to mail me something.12:20:02 PM
Amazon:You can certainly order a physical gift card, we'll pay for the shipping and that will get you to the goal we're trying to reach even though there's a delay in the shipping in getting it to you.12:20:06 PM
Me:Digital product purchases are not about "waiting several days while we mail you something".12:20:36 PM
Me:I would like a reply from the actual people that make this policy, explaining to me why I should continue to use their products when they are purposefully making it inconvenient for me.12:21:07 PM
Me:And why I'm not entitled to a full refund of everything I've purchased through the kindle.12:21:41 PM
Amazon:I know this current process is a pain, Lee, I'm really sorry about that.12:21:57 PM
Me:Since I originally purchased it with the intention of using my amazon points to buy books on it.12:22:11 PM
Amazon:Believe me, we are in the business in taking money for products, we really want you to be able to purchase anything, from A-Z, as easily as possible!12:22:32 PM
Me:Please state - in writing, because this WILL be going up on my blog later today - that you will have them contact me.12:22:40 PM
Me:Then put your credit card points where your mouth is.12:22:54 PM
Me:email is xxxxx 12:23:24 PM
Amazon:I will inform our business team in charge of working with banks, policies and shopping methods of this process that really isn't customer friendly.12:24:03 PM
Me:No, that isn't adequate.12:24:13 PM
Me:I want a promise that someone will get back to me to pursue this issue.12:24:22 PM
Me:You may not close my ticket until I get a response.12:24:31 PM
Amazon:At the moment though the best resolution I can provide you is to order the physical gift card.12:24:43 PM
Me:"I will pass it on" is not the same as "someone will follow up with you"12:24:44 PM
Amazon:I'd be happy to follow up with you via email, xxxxxxxx, as soon as I get correspondence.12:25:53 PM
Me:I will be posting this conversation online, and all follow up conversations. Amazon customers deserve an answer to this issue, and one that follows your policy of making purchases convenient.12:27:02 PM
Amazon:Alright Lee, once again I'm sorry about the inconvenience, overall from this whole experience. Is there anything else Amazon could do for you today?12:28:41 PM
Me:Yes, you could allow me to purchase electronic items with points :)12:29:27 PM
Me:FAcebook post posted. I have several thousand followers. Just letting you know.12:29:41 PM
Amazon:Yeah, that's what I'm going to go to work on right now for you.12:29:42 PM
Me:Blog post will be next.12:30:10 PM
Amazon:Alright, I do appreciate you being this upwards, if we don't know about these problems or issues it makes it much more difficult for us to fix them! :)12:30:25 PM
Me:thank you for your time - I look forward to a reply ASAP. Be sure that I will follow up if I do not get one Donald.12:31:08 PM
Me:Barnes and Nobles has a gift card, and a perfectly suitable reader. Perhaps I should shop around.12:31:44 PM
Amazon:Barnes & Noble certainly have both, I'm always a big fan of competition and while I feel the Kindle is the best ereader and Amazon certainly has a great library, you always have to do what works best for you.12:32:48 PM
Amazon:Is there anything else I can do for you today?12:33:20 PM