the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Conclusion to the JCPenney/Dockers Free Round-Trip Ticket Saga

Back in July, I had plans to go to BlogHer in San Francisco, living it up with hot mommybloggers from across the country.   Since I was already in New York, I intended to use this free round-trip ticket that I was promised because I bought $125 dollars worth of Dockers products at JCPenney.  The tickets from this promotion never arrived.  Phone calls were never returned. Thousands of other customers complained to the Better Business Bureau.  The phones to the marketing company handling the promotion went dead.  I wrote six posts on my blog cursing out both JCPenny and Dockers.  I mockingly wrote about an annoying customer service guy and was criticized by a blogger from India for my lack of sympathy.  I fought with blogging friends for accepting $500 gift certificates and writing glowing reviews of JCPenney after the company became BlogHer’s SPONSOR!

This afternoon, five months after my original flight, I received a call from the “new” marketing company running the promotion.  A sales manager was NOW ready to give me a free ticket.

“Hello, this is Jane calling about your JCPenney/Dockers free round-trip ticket.  Where would you like to go?  And what are your departure and arrival dates?”

“Huh?!  What?!  Now?  I don’t know.  You want me to tell you now?  You’re ready to give me a reservation NOW?”

“First, can you tell me your full name?”

“Neil Kramer.”

“Do you remember who you first spoke with and what list number you were assigned?”

“I don’t know.  What list?  This was months ago.”

“I found you on our list.  You are on List 17.  Do you still want to a trip from Kennedy to San Francisco?”

“Not now!  I wanted to go July 16th for this BlogHer conference.”

“Where would you like to go?”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t know you were going to call today.  Can I think about it and call you back?”

“I have a very long list to cover today.”

“Can YOU call me back?”

“We really need to do this now.  Your last day for making reservations is on Monday.”

“On Monday?  Says who.”

“That is the last day to make reservations.”

“How was I supposed to know that?  No one ever called me back.  I figured you were never going to call.  I haven’t been sitting here for five months waiting for you.”

“In the original instructions, you were supposed to present us with a destination and a date.”

“I did!  I gave you a destination.  San Francisco.  It was on July 16, 2008, five months ago.  But the specific reason for going to San Francisco isn’t there anymore.  You can’t just call me on Friday afternoon to tell me that Monday is the last day to make reservations?”

“If you want a flight, you really should make reservations now.  It might be difficult to reach us on Monday.”

“Understatement of the year.  OK, where can I fly again.”

“Boston, Washington D.C. Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Dallas.”

[this is where I pause for a moment to think about which bloggers I know in these locations, and who is most likely to put me up for a few nights]

“OK, I know where I should go.  I’d like to go for two week in January to…”

Ta-dah!  My free trip — is to Los Angeles.  January 6 – January 20th.  I know… I know… weird choice…

Now I need to tell Sophia.  Stay tuned.  This is when the blog gets interesting.


  1. Alison

    *Alison’s ears perk up*

    (But seriously, REALLY? They’re that late?)

  2. veep veep


    Not sure what’s worse..

    You are leaving me in the cold for the city of los crazies for two weeks or that you had a pushy arse sales manager pressure you to pick a place and you forgot BlogHer does Chicago in 2009.

  3. Nancy

    Hummm, maybe it was all for a reason =)

    I HOPE you DO go to BlogHer Chicago.

  4. Neil

    I did think about BlogHer 2009, but the trip needed to be completed by June 2009.

  5. anna

    Oooh, intriguing.

  6. kenju

    I’m glad they finally did what they should have!!

  7. gorillabuns

    Can’t wait to hear what Sophia’s reaction might be.

  8. patois

    I was hoping you’d pick LA. (And not because I live elsewhere.)

  9. Nat

    Are you sure you didn’t book a seat on the Hindenburg?

  10. Stacey

    They really expected you to make a decision RIGHT THEN? That’s ridiculous. I’m glad you got your flight though.

  11. sassy

    ooh ! …romance?

    ooh ! ooh ! ooh ! (insert intelligent remark here)

    ooh !

  12. pam

    Adding myself to those seriously surprised you didn’t pick NY>Chicago for BlogHer 09.

  13. threeboys1mommy

    Son of a Nutcracker! Who’s Sophia?
    How far back do I have to scroll to find out?
    (this is why I hate adding established blogs to my reader)
    … anywho… if she doesn’t take kindly to having you stay with her, my sons have bunk beds. You can stay on the top one (Nasa mattress, Snoopy bedding)

  14. Janna

    Assholes. That’s really ridiculous. and now you’ve annoyed (and intrigued) me with the continuation of this story.

    Agree with Pam- No Blogher in Chicago? I’m trying to decide if I should go/if we can afford it.

  15. Dana


  16. Dana

    You could have come to Seattle, you know.

  17. margalit

    I think you made the right decision. YOu did good. Now you can either decide what your next steps are, or you can decide that there aren’t going to be any next steps. You couldn’t stay in NYC forever without some closure back in LA. This is a very adult move. I’m proud of you!

  18. Charmarie

    You were quicker on the draw than I would have been, good for you.

  19. Annie

    That is insane, but I am glad they pressured you into going home, you miss Sophia and the visit will do you good.

  20. Avitable

    LA seems like the absolute last place you should go!

  21. Miguelina

    You’re right – that does make it interesting…But I just know there’s gonna be a plot twist!

  22. Peeved Michelle

    Good luck with your visit. I hope everything works. If it all goes to shit, we have a comfortable spare bedroom.

  23. Jozet at Halushki

    I’d like to take a little of the credit for making you feel all hot and desirable again. You can thank me with cold hard cash. And Dockers.

    Dockers. Really? You bought that much in Dockers? I thought you were just a secret geek.

  24. Fancy

    I’m guessing Sophia knows, NOW! Best of luck and tell us what happens. Maybe this will push you guys to piss or get off the pot! I’m hoping for your sake it’s the piss part, and I mean that in a good way. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that.

  25. SciFi Dad


    /Keanu Reeves

    Seriously dude. I don’t know if I think this is a good idea or a bad idea. I need to mull this over.

  26. maggie, dammit

    No, Chicago! BlogHer 09! I’ma be there.

    Then again, this choice will make for excellent blog fodder.

    I can’t believe those people.

  27. Emily R

    I live in L.A. Let me know if you want to know anything…

  28. schmutzie

    This whole fiasco has been so f’ed up, I can barely believe it. At least you get to go somewhere warm and sunny for a bit.

  29. vodkamom

    but I don’t LIVE in LA.

    (good luck, dude.)

  30. teahouseblossom

    Argghh…stupid customer service!! My heart aches for you just reading this story.

  31. sya

    Hm. Free stuff. Maybe it’s just my cynical heart, but free stuff seem to always come with a catch. But with an unexpected trip, you could look on this as an adventure. (And I’m all for adventures, even if they turn out to be the opposite of rainbows and puppies.)

  32. deidre

    Seriously, the next few weeks is going to be GOOD blog reading. Agirlandaboy – are in labour; and you’re going to LA!

  33. mommyknows

    Better late than never —
    Sort of!

    LA sounds good about now, it’s -30c here!

  34. Annoyed Consumer

    I was one of those victim of Dockers JC Penney FREE Round-trip flight Summer 2007. I send the application form and called them. Finally they got back to me last Summer 2008. They asked if I prefer to get cash instead of the round-trip ticket instead. I agreed to the cash, but never heard back from them. BUYER BEWARE!! This DOCKER JC PENNEY free stuff is a TOTAL SCAM!!!

  35. Elisabeth

    So, did you tell her yet?

  36. headbang8

    Not a bad idea to visit LA. Closure is good. Openure…well, maybe not so good, but that’s just one man’s opinion.

  37. better safe than sorry

    i’m a romantic at heart, but this seems like a bad idea to me.

  38. sarah g

    i’m glad that you chose Sophia.

  39. Kelly

    If you make the trek up to Pasadena, let me know.

  40. Pamela

    So, did she ever say what the name of the “new” company is? I was sucked into this scam also, and just now found the brochure to follow up on this. I know I have a snowball’s chance in Mumbai of getting the ticket I requested, but I won’t be happy until I try. Thanks

  41. Ray

    To those of you who were taken in by the Dockers scam I have a little bit of good news. We filed a class action suit in Los Angeles this past July 13,2009.

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