CamWorld Turns Nine

Just a quick note to mark this site’s 9th birthday. I do not know if I will ever return to blogging on a more regular basis. So many other things are happening in my life right now that blogging has had to take a back seat. I still post whenever something happens in my life that warrants a write-up.

Say tuned for some big announcements in July and September.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at June 11, 2006 04:59 PM

Deal or No Deal Casting Call in NYC

Deal or No Deal Casting Call

This morning my twin brother Damien and I attended an open casting call for the hit game show Deal or No Deal, which airs on NBC three nights a week. Following in the tradition of our audition last summer for The Amazing Race 9, we figured it was worth another shot at willing a million dollars.

Being identical twins with a similar physical look as that of the show’s host Howie Mandel we agreed the best way to catch the casting director’s eye (and make a memorable impression) was to dress like Howie in a dark suit with a brightly-colored shirt, no tie and at least one hoop earring each. Oh yeah, we also went to the costume shop and bought some obviously-fake stick-on goatees. What follows is a review of the casting process, some photos we took and some reflections on what the crowd had to say.

The Howie Twins

5:00 AM: The alarm goes off. I jump in the shower and run the razor over my head to make sure it’s as cleanly-shaved as possible. I put in my contacts, affix my fake goatee and get dressed. Howie has one of those goatees that is basically a tuft of hair on the lower lip, but nothing on the chin. I’ve never grown a goatee like this so having a fake one makes me realize it would take me quite a while to get used to it.

5:30 AM: I pick up my brother and we scoot across the Manhattan Bridge to Bowery Street. Right away we see that there is already a line of what we estimated at the time to be over 100 people, most of who camped out overnight. The casting call was being held at Blvd., a night-club on Bowery near Spring Street. I drop Damien off to hold our place in the line and I go to park the car. Luckily, it being so early in the morning I found parking pretty easily.

6:00 AM: I join Damien in line, which has already wrapped around the block on three sides. I realize my first estimate of 100 people in line was way too low. The figure is closer to 300-400.

A Hand-made sign

6:30 AM: I wander off to find something to drink and curse the fact that all the bodegas are not open yet and eventually find a place with coffee and juices. I later realize this is a mistake as there are no public bathrooms anywhere nearby. The closest, we quickly learn, is the Starbucks 3 block away on Delancey St. Later I spend more than 30 minutes in line just waiting for the bathroom.

7:00 AM: Lots of waiting. The line grows longer and longer. The police, who have finally shown up to do crowd control, wrap the line around the block and then straight up Chrystie Street. It’s fortunate that this area is mostly restaurant supply stores, a majority of which are not open on Saturdays – since the line is almost impenetrable. Any business that relies on walk-in foot traffic would have suffered, unless they were able to cater directly to the people in line.

Happy People

8:00 AM: Damien and I take turns wandering the line, talking to people. Incredibly, a few people thought he or I was actually Howie Mandel. A large number thought we were with the show, which I suppose is an easy assumption to make. Some people thought we were there just to keep the crowd entertained. We fell into this role easily and took a lot of pictures with potential contestants who “wanted their picture with Howie.” It was fun.

Lady With Hat

9:00 AM: The line finally starts to move as the casting people have arrived and started ushering people into the corrals in front of Blvd., where they then wait to be sent inside.

10:00 AM: We finally get to the front of Blvd. and the first people directly affiliated with the show spot us. One of them gives us a smile (we later find out she is a supervising producer for the show).

10:15 AM: We enter Blvd. and are handed a two-page application. The first page is 6-7 questions like “What is your most embarrassing moment?” and “What is your proudest moment?” The second page is a simple legal document stating that you agree to be considered as a contestant, etc.

10:30 AM: We are led downstairs in groups of 10 people. Each group of ten stands around a table with one casting person. The casting person tells us we have 8 minutes and each person will get 30 seconds to a minute to reply to her questions and tell her about ourselves. She asks similar questions as what is on the application, like “Why would you be a good contestant on Deal or No Deal?” and “What would you do with a million dollars?”

I get the embarrassing moment question and I reply “I once lost my car for 6 hours in a parking garage. She asks, “So, where was it? How did you find it?” and I reply “It was at a different casino.” The rest of the group laughs, because they know how similar all the parking garages are in Atlantic City. One of those true-to-life moments we’ve all dealt with on some frustrating level.

Happy Crowd

11:00 AM: After the group interview, we head upstairs and stand around the entrance for a bit. A TV crew spots us and shoots a few seconds of video from a distance. We also are cornered by a reporter from the New York Daily News, who had a photographer with her earlier who had already taken our picture. I would not be surprised to see it in the paper tomorrow or Monday.

11:30 AM: Damien and I decide to walk the line once more as we know there are another 2000+ people who have showed up who did not see us earlier. This time we get to walk the line together and people respond very favorably. Again, many people think we’re with the show but others plug us with questions about the casting process, realizing we’d just gone through it. We spend close to an hour doing the same spiel over and over again, explaining to the little crowds gathered around us what they are about to go through. Many people are very grateful for this information and tell us so. Many others tell us they are rooting for us to get on the show.

Damien Explains the Process

End Note: This was a fun and interesting experience. We’re fortunate the weather cooperated. It could easily have been pouring rain or 90 degrees out. Would I do it again? Perhaps, I guess it depends on the show and whether I have the time. I recommend everyone go to a casting call at least once in their life. Not all are fun experiences but the fun crowds and the professional casting directors can make it a pleasant experience all around.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at May 13, 2006 02:13 PM

What I’ve Been Up To

The past few months have been pretty busy here. After getting married in January and enjoying a wonderful honeymoon in St. Thomas, my wife and I came back to Brooklyn and I went right to work on two new BlogCorp client projects.

The first, called Gamezebo, launched a few weeks ago and is taking the casual gaming market by storm. Run by former Yahoo Games exec Joel Brodie, the blog seeks to be the definitive source for casual gaming news on the Internet.

The second project,, launched earlier today. It is a Wall Street gossip blog, conceived by former Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers. She has recruited some excellent writers and is busy building a blog network that could possibly rival that of Nick Denton’s. DealBreaker is just the first of many blogs Elizabeth has plans for. Expect great things.

Besides these gigs, I’m working with Rafe Colburn on a project built on top of Ruby on Rails. It’s my first foray into the Rails architecture and so far I’m pretty impressed. More about this project when it’s mature enough to talk about publicly.

Lastly, I am starting to develop my own niche market blog-hosting service that will reside on top of the excellent Lyceum derivative of WordPress. This is another projet I’m not ready to talk about as it’s nowhere near being ready to show the public.

And last but not least I am working on a long overdue redesign of CamWorld. The current design is over three years old now, so it’s definitely time for a new one.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at March 29, 2006 01:13 PM

Barrett’s Esophagus, Nexium and Prescription Drug Prices

In what might be considered the true irony of life my doctor diagnosed me yesterday with a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus (for those who might not get the irony, my last name is Barrett). Considering that I have had chronic indigestion for about 10 years now, the diagnosis is not a surprise. Changing my diet and eating better seems to help, as does taking some medications — but I am truly astounded that the prescription drug (Nexium) he has me on costs almost $300/month. Further research shows that Nexium is simply a chemically re-engineered version of Prilosec (omeprazole), a drug whose patent has expired and can now be found for a fraction of the cost of Nexium.

Several years ago I was taking prescription Prilosec and it worked very well. I also experimented with taking Tagamet (cimetidine) and Zantac (ranitidine) but both of those caused my stomach to feel weird, so I reverted back to popping Tums Extra Strength tablets several times a day. The Tums worked pretty well except for when the indigestion was very bad and often taking too many Tums resulted in constipation. I’m considering taking only one dose of Nexium before dinner and using Tums for the rest of the day.

I’m fortunate that my health insurance will cover the cost of the Nexium, so I will take it for a while and see if it works as well as the Prilosec did some years ago. As long as I can sleep better and not wake up with painful indigestion I will be a much happier man.

In other health-related news, I finally have health insurance again — thanks to my new wife whose plan has excellent coverage for spouses. I was able to see my hematologist/oncologist again (the same guy who diagnosed me in 2001 with Castleman’s Disease) and he agreed with my self-diagnosis that the Castleman’s is either completely gone or in long-term remission. This was all thanks to the wonder-drug prednisone and iron supplements (to cure the associated anemia).

It’s also worth reading this debate between Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnik about health care reform. Gladwell is th author of the New Yorker article I linked to above.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at February 23, 2006 01:11 PM

Blogs For Bob: My Experience at “The Price is Right”

Last week my new wife and I flew to Los Angeles on short notice. She had a business meeting on Valentine’s Day and asked me to go with her so we wouldn’t have to spend our first Valentine’s Day together 2500 miles apart.

I had the option of cooping myself up in the hotel room and working or heading on down to CBS Television City and waiting in line for 8 hours to get into the studio audience of The Price is Right, a game show I have watched off-and-on since I was a 4-year old in Wood, South Dakota. Despite the fact the Beverly Hilton promised me free and fast WiFi, a mini-fridge, a 42-inch plasma TV with HBO and a very comfy bed with a Simply Sleep mattress I chose to get up at 5:00 AM and drive the deserted streets of Beverly Hills and wait in line with 150+ other people to get a line ticket.

At 6:00 AM, they started handing out line tickets which only gets you into the studio lot and the audience waiting area; a covered-bench area with highly-uncomfortable steel benches. You are instructed to come back to the studio at 8:00 AM. Most people wandered off to find breakfast. The waiting begins.

At 8:00 AM, they let the line-tickets holders in and if you have a ticket the pages write your audience member number in big letters on it. My number was #126. Tickets can be requested before the show via mail or online. I got lucky and was able to get one of the last online tickets on February 6. Their online system emails you a confirmation, which you process and then you simply print your ticket and take it with you. Very simple. After you are numbered, they ask you to come back at 10:00 AM. More waiting.

At 10:00 AM everyone is asked to line up on the uncomfortable, covered benches by number. The benches have number ranges printed on them, and it takes a full half hour for this wide cross-section of Middle America to get in line. Only after people realize that you can’t really line-cut do they start moving to let others in who have numbers lower than theirs.

Once this is done everyone trades their line-ticket for a green studio audience ticket. You write in your full, legal name and Social Security Number on one half and the other half has your ticket number in large print. The CBS pages then collect these tickets and 2-3 other pages start the process of writing name tags for 300+ people. This takes several hours. The page (whose name was Mike) couldn’t fit “Cameron” on the name tag on the first try so he had to use a marker with a skinnier tip on the second try. The result is I have a spare TPIR nametag with “Camer” on it.

By 1:00 PM, they start processing the first 100 studio audience members. The first 80 are asked to walk around the corner to a quieter area, where a very brief screening is done. This is done by taking 8-10 people at a time, lining them up against a railing and a cheerful guy in a goatee starts asking the same questions over and over again. “What is your name?” “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” Audience members, all of who have been standing in line and waiting around for at least 6 hours (some for 12 hours!) are expected to remain happy and animated when answering these questions. Most people answered quickly and the screener went on to the next person I line. I was the last one in my group of 10 and answered “I’m Cameron and I’m from NYC. I’m a blogger and a consultant.” The screener asked “A what?” I repeated myself and he said, “A blogger? Well, enjoy the blogs!” which made no sense to me at all. It’s important to mention that I was also wearing my old navy blue Blogger t-shirt with the big letter B in an orange square.

After you are screened, you are asked to sit in another set of benches until about 2:15 PM. The audience is then led into the studio and seated. You do not get to pick your seat, but rather they fill up the rows from the front to back with the center section filling first. I ended up about three quarters of the way back in the right-center section, nowhere near an aisle. My plans for quickly running down to Contestant’s Row were foiled!

The first thing you notice about the studio is that is very small; far smaller than it looks on TV. You also notice the stage which is a gleaming white. On TV, it is white but you don’t realize it. The second thing you notice is that it’s FREEZING in the studio, probably about 60 degrees. I have pretty good blood circulation and can tolerate cold offices and apartments pretty well, but even I thought it was freezing in the studio. I felt bad for all those Middle Americans who showed up in shorts and t-shirts.

Once the audience is seated, the announcer Rich Fields warms up the audience, tells a few jokes and has us practice screaming and yelling when Bob Barker comes on stage. They also go over a few things. They realize that the audience makes so much noise that people cannot hear their names being called so they instruct people to look at one of the assistant producers up on stage who will be holding cards with a contestant’s name on it. They also test the sound system and wow is it loud. I realize this is partly to accompany the sheer decibel levels of 300+ screaming audience members. They also reiterate some of the rules they announced while waiting outside: no gum whatsoever. Most people do not realize how awful they look while chewing gum and the last thing the producers want is for some schmuck to spit their gum out on national TV or get it in Bob Barker’s hair or whatever. They also mention again that if you are a contestant and are caught with a price-list of any kind, you will forfeit any prizes you have won. This includes price-lists on family members or members of a group you are with. It never occurred to me that someone might try to cheat on this show, but the fact that they have this rule means that someone must have tried at some point in the past.

After 10 minutes or so of warm-up, including the announcer picking 6 people out of the audience to dance on stage, the show is about to start. Rich Fields announces the names of four people and the audience looks around to see who the lucky people are. Once they are down at Contestant’s Row, Rich announces Bob Barker and he comes out onto stage. He’s looking old. It’s amazing he’s even doing the show anymore. Part of me respects the man for his commitment but another part wonders if he’s going to kick the bucket in the next couple of years.

As soon as Bob is on stage, the show starts almost immediately. I figured that taping would take nearly two hours, because of commercial breaks and prize/game setup but I was wrong. The entire taping of the hour-long show took about 70 minutes (before commercials are added in, the show is about 42 minutes). And boy do they move fast. They really have it down to a science. The camera operators know exactly where to go and what to do at exactly the right time. During the taping, there are no less than 8-10 people on stage at one time. This includes Bob, the contestant, 2-3 camera operators, the Price is Right girls and the prizes, the guys who move the games (Plinko, Card Game, Double Prices, Flip Flop, etc.) into place, a couple of assistant producers and some other people who I couldn’t identify. Watching them move around stage was eerily like a watching a ballet with big television cameras on wheel.

In hindsight, I realized that contestants are not picked at random. The screening we all go through serves a purpose: it gives the producers a chance to craft the right mix of people to be contestants. They tend to choose people who wear home-made t-shirts that reference TPIR or Bob. Brand-name logo-ed shirts are not forbidden but it drastically reduces your chances of getting chosen to be a contestant, since CBS does not like giving away free advertising. Generally, it is a good idea to wear a custom-made t-shirt, a college t-shirt or sweatshirt or something that has no logo on it. Recently, the producers have been choosing a good number of people who show up in military uniform or who wear clothing that says they are “military wives” or some other kind of military affiliation. If I were to go again, I would spend the $10 or whatever and get a “Blogs for Bob” t-shirt made. It probably would increase my odds of getting chosen.

Lastly, I truly enjoyed the experience of being in the studio audience of TPIR and am not disappointed that I did not get chosen to be a contestant. It was fascinating to go through the process and see how a TV game show is made. As a learning experience it was very interesting, but after living in NYC for six years, waiting around for 8+ hours with a bunch of people I’d rather not be around was truly a test of my patience. I’m not sure if I’d go again if I had the opportunity to be in L.A. with a day to kill.

All six of the contestants on the show I attended a taping for lost their Price is Right games, only the 71st time that has happened in 34 years. The show I was part of was #3544; it taped on February 14, 2006 and airs February 23, 2006 at 11:00 AM EST.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at February 20, 2006 04:20 PM

A Friday the 13th Wedding

In just a few short hours I will board a plane at JFK to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico where I will then board a smaller plane and fly to the Caribbean island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is not just another vacation. This is the last vacation I will take as a single man. When I arrive back in the United States I will be married to a wonderful woman named Bonnie who I met via a Craigslist personals ad in August 2004.

Our wedding is scheduled for sunset at the historic Sugar Mill building on the estate of the Buccaneer Resort, just a few miles from the capital city of St. Croix, Cristiansted. Overlooking ocean and setting sun, we will cite our vows and pledge ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives. In attendance will be my twin brother Damien and his fiancĂ©e Katie, my mother (who is very excited about the tropical setting of the wedding; I think she is reminded of the formative years our family spent in American Samoa in the South Pacific), my older brother Craig and his wife, Bonnie’s best friend who she met in ballet school nearly 20 years ago, and Bonnie’s mother. A small group, a small wedding, and exactly what we wanted.

On Friday January 13, 2005 I will become a better man because I will have taken that difficult step of giving myself completely to another human being. Many people are shocked that we chose to have our wedding on such an ominous and superstitious date. However they nod understandably when I mention that Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day for me and my family. My twin brother and I were born on a Friday the 13th in April, and every 5-7 years or so we get to celebrate our birthdays on a Friday, making it even more special. My mother reminds me that she and my dad signed the leases on two different houses on two different Friday the 13th’s in the 1970s and 1980s. Having our wedding on a Friday the 13th is an obvious choice and one we will treasure for the rest of my lives. When I first started thinking about wedding dates my initial thought was to have it on June 6, 2006 or 06/06/06, but when I looked at the 2006 calendar I saw that January 13 was a Friday and realized it was a much better choice. Besides, having an anniversary the same week as MLK Day means I will be easier to vacation in warm places escaping the cold claws of winter.

On a professional note, I have big plans for 2006. I’ve neglected this blog far too much and need to get back into the habit of posting regularly about what I’m working on, sharing my opinions of what’s going on in the world and continuing this “blog” thing that has taken the world by storm. Who knew that when I started blogging nearly eight years ago that it would be one of the pioneers of a new media format. I’m working on a couple of projects that I hope to announce soon and probably beta-launch or pre-announce around the time of SXSW in March — where I will be attending for the first time with my new wife (she has never been to Texas, so we’ll need to introduce her to Stubb’s and the other wonders of the great city of Austin).

To the future, whatever it may bring.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at January 11, 2006 12:48 AM
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NYC Transit Strike, It’s all About Greed

Given today’s transit strike in NYC, I am pretty glad that I work from home even though I complain about it all the time. I’m not as affected by the strike as most people, since I ride the subway maybe once or twice a week and don’t have a need to get into Manhattan more than once a week.

I sympathize with the millions of new yorkers who are affected by the strike. Both the MTA and the workers union are being greedy. The MTA wants to hang onto the $1 billion surplus they generated this year, probably as a result of the recent fee hike that new yorkers have been paying for. The workers union wants pay raises and phenomenal health benefits for their workers, even though what they already have is some of the best in the city.

The estimate is that for every day the strike is on, New York City businesses will lose between $400 and $700 million dollars in revenue. This is ridiculous and completely unfair. The greed of a few people is outweighing the public need of millions. It is the people of New York City that are suffering and paying the price in the end. It is irresponsible and unethical for the union to strike, leaving millions of people out in the cold; struggling to get to work, hoping that the 5, 10 or 15 mile walk or bike ride to Manhattan doesn’t leave them in the hospital with pneumonia.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at December 20, 2005 12:37 PM

Fist of Light

Fist of Light

One of the first photos from my new Canon EOS Rebel XT DSLR camera. The light from the setting sun shines brilliantly on this carving of a fist I bought from a street merchant in Nassau, Bahamas last January.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at December 5, 2005 05:12 PM


If you are in the New York, Philly or New Jersey area and would like to join a group of 15-20 people going paintballing in Pennsylvania this Saturday, December 3, drop my brother a note. There are some extra seats available in the car caravan driving out of New York early saturday morning. It will be an all-day event with an approximate cost of $70 per person, which includes the rental of all the equipment needed.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at November 30, 2005 12:19 PM Scammiest Florist Ever

I guess I learned my lesson the hard way.

On Monday I decided to send my fiancee flowers. In the past, I had successfully used for many same-day deliveries (these guys have the local florist arrangements down pat). However, on Monday I decided to try a new florist and found a link to from a Google search. The site looked pretty legitimate and the prices were roughly equivalent with what I was seeing elsewhere.

I placed and order for the Shout for Joy! bouquet for $29.99, which was listed under the Same Day category. I submitted the order before Noon on Monday and received an invoice for $41.18 later that day.

Sometime in the afternoon my cell phone rang. It was a woman with a very strong Asian accent informing me that they could not fulfill the order Monday because they “had no fresh flowers.” She said they would fulfill it the next day and give me a free upgrade (a bigger bouquet). I agreed.

You can guess what happens next. Tuesday passes and I drop a hint that night to my fiancee Bonnie that she should’ve received something at her office. She said she had not, so I had to ruin my own surprise and tell her that she was supposed to have received flowers.

Today (Wednesday) rolls around and I get a phone call from Bonnie saying that the flowers had arrived (two days late) and that she hoped I hadn’t paid much for them. She described the flowers to me as being a dozen Carnations with no vase (which I knew was not included) and no greenery, filler or other flowers — as shown in the picture on UrbanFlorist/com’s web site.

Sure enough, I logged into my MBNA Mastercard account online and there was a charge for $45.35 from someplace called Artisan Flowers & Gifts in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Astute readers will notice this charge is for $4.17 more than their own invoice showed.

So, not only did I not receive the flowers I ordered but I was being overcharged $4.17, on top of the $1.36 “foreign transaction fee” my credit card company was charging because I bought through a canadian web site.

Needless to say, I was not happy. This morning I spent over two hours trying to reach someone in Customer Service who could explain why I was being erroneously charged and to get an answer for why their local florist delivered a product that was vastly different from what’s displayed on their web site. The phone calls were futile. When you connect to their Customer Service department, you get a “mailbox full” message and it spits you back to the voicemail tree. The only option was to press #1 and talk to the ordering department. All they could do was put me back into the phone tree, which left me with no way to even leave a message. After several tries I finally told the person who takes phone order to NOT put me on hold and to NOT hang up on me. I asked to be transferred to someone in Customer Service or to a manager or supervisor. I finally spoke with a woman who tried to give me a 15% coupon for my next order. I refused and said I’d like my part of my order to be refunded. At this point I was still trying to be fair since Bonnie had already received a cheap bouquet of Carnations — the same kind you can pick up from any bodega in NYC for $4 or $5.

You can guess what happened next. This woman put me on hold and 5 minutes later the line dropped. While on hold, I had filled out the dispute form for my MBNA Mastercard online and was on the verge of submitting it. I gave up on trying to rectify the problem with the vendor and pressed Submit.

Several hours later, after doing more research about Artisan Flowers & Gifts, I realized that everything I experienced was standard operating procedure for this “stress inducing employee abusive customer scamming hell hole“. I found reports all over the Internet about how bad this company is. I’m not the first person to have been scammed.

I was stupid to have not Googled this place before I placed the order. I was busy that morning and was conned by the legitimate-looking web site. I’m posting this to CamWorld because I don’t want others to get scammed by these guys any longer. The owner’s name is Alif Somani and he can be reached at (604) 677-2585. My calls to this number resulted in an answering machine.

I’m considering reporting them to the Better Busines Bureau, the Canadian Competition Bureau and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police but will wait to see what my credit card company does regarding my submitted dispute. After 20 minutes on the phone with a guy named Woody at the Billing Inquiries department I composed a letter that I have to FAX to them, clarifying my dispute. Hopefully, I’ll get a partial or full refund and Google will pick up this post and escalate it to the top of the search results for Artisan Flowers & Gifts and

Update: I cancelled my credit card and had them issue a replacement with a different number. A company this unethical cannot be trusted with sensitive data like credit card numbers. The last thing I need to is to wake up one moring and find miscellaneous charges to my acount from other companies owned by Mr. Alif Somani.

I’m also being pro-active and contacting every single company I can find that has done business with, including the vendors of the web software they are using to power their site. I’m asking them to reconsider their business relationships with such an unethical company. Google knows all.

12/12/05: Update: After many many attempts to reach someone at, I finally reached someone named Nelson who said that they would not dispute a chargeback of $4.17 and offered me a gift certificate for $29.99 to replace the cheap flowers that were received. This was only after I threatened to contact Eliot Spitzer (Attorney General of New York) and the file a report with the BBB and Canadian Competition Bureau.

My bank tells me that the only thing they can do is dispute the difference. To dispute the product quality I would need a written second opinion, something that is impossible to get now since the flowers are long gone in the trash. So my hands are tied and I’m going to have to accept the gift certificate offer.

Lastly, the people manning the phones at are trained to refer their customers to the Terms & Conditions page on their site that claims that all orders are subject to up to a 2% currency discrepancy. I argued that I understood the nature of international currnecy transactions, but that their overcharge was almost exactly 10% of the order total, not 2% as their Terms & Conditions statement says.

The bottom line is, this company is very poorly-run and will scam you out of your money if you let them. Their business practices are borderline fraud, and they count on most consumers not bothering with contesting their superfluous charges.

The old saying, “It is easier to steal $1 from a million people than it is to steal $1 million from one person” defintely applies here.

12/16/05 Update: I have filed a formal complaint with the FBI’s Internet Fraud division. If enough people file complaints they will investigate and help close this scammy business down.

12/23/05 Update: I logged into my credit card account (with MBNA) today and was pleased to find that they had credited me $45.35 and $1.36 (foreign transaction fee). This means that did not contest the bank’s chargeback and i have received 100% of my money back, despite actually receiving crappy flowers (2 days late) and going through this agonizing process. I stand by my accusations that (Artisan Flowers & Gifts) is a shell of a company designed specifically to rip off unsuspecting consumers by overcharging and delivering poor quality products. The evidence I’ve managed to find backs up everything I suspect, and the number of complaints from other consumers also confirms my suspicions. This is not just a bad company, it’s a company whose sole purpose is to scam people out of their money.

If Alif Somani has a problem with these accusations and wants to defend himself and his company, he knows how to contact me. He can also look up my formal complaint with the FBI. It’s Complaint #I05121615304725, filed on December 16, 2005 with the FBI’s IFCC division.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at November 30, 2005 05:42 PM