Herewith the transcript of a conversation with a BestBuy chat agent. Backstory: I was trying to make a purchase online, and the webpage stalled after I entered the gift card number. The circle revolved slowly and eternally, like the fate of a hamster in hell. Or heaven; who knows.

I called up the chat function to see if there was a problem with the site at the moment.

• Thank you for choosing Best Buy, my name is ******. How may I assist you today?

8:37 p.m.
• Hello, I'm trying to make a purchase on the website. (not mobile.) The page hangs after I enter the gift card # and PIN.

• The price goes up in a few hours, and I'd like to buy the item before it does.

8:38 p.m.
• Eliza
I will definitely look into it and will assist you with this .

• Is it a store credit?

8:39 p.m.
• Yes

8:39 p.m.
• Eliza
I would like to let you know that store credit cant be used for the online orders.

8:39 p.m.
• The website payment information says "Use a Best Buy Gift Card, Discount Code, or Store Credit."

8:40 p.m.
• Eliza
You can use store credit can be used only for store purchases

• can you check if you see anything on store credit?

8:40 p.m.
• I'm not sure what you mean

8:40 p.m.
• Eliza
Can you see anything written on store credit?

8:41 p.m.
• To clarify, I'm using Best Buy gift cards that were issued after a price adjustment on a purchase. They literally say "GIFT CARD."

8:42 p.m.
• Eliza
Is it issued by online or at the store?

8:42 p.m.
• At the store.

8:42 p.m.
• Eliza
That has be used for the only store purchases you cannot use that gift card online.

8:43 p.m.
• Then why does the website say "Use a Best Buy Gift Card, Discount Code or Store Credit" in the payment options?

8:43 p.m.
• Eliza
I am sorry for the in convince  The Best Buy credit card is a form of in-store credit and so can only be used in Best Buy stores and when making purchases online through the Best Buy website.

8:45 p.m.
• That's exactly what I'm trying to do.

• The card's fine print says it is "redeemable online at"

• And it's not a credit card. It's a Gift Card.

8:46 p.m.
• Eliza
Its a store credit.

8:46 p.m.
• So to sum up: even though the website has an option for paying with a Gift Card or Store Credit, I can't. Even though the Gift card says it is redeemable at any store or online at, I actually cannot do any of that. Do I have that right?

8:48 p.m.

• Eliza
Its a store credit.

At this point I stopped copying the chat. It got worse. She said she would consult with the Management Team or some such group of serious people sitting around a table wearing crisp white short-sleeved shirts and narrow black ties, then she got back to me and said some utter gobbledeegook, ending with the note that she had "activated my card" and I should enter the number, leaving off the first two digits.

Of course, the site would not accept the card without those digits. I tried the whole number, and it went through. The site had just been down.

That was yesterday. Tonight I had another help chat with Oculus, because I am convinced my device is blurry. It's not just my glasses. I asked a clerk if the Home Environments were supposed to be crisp, and he said they were. I might have a display problem. The chat person told me to take a picture with my phone of the view through the headset, which, if you ask me, a layman, is probably going to be blurry. But apparently this qualified me for a return, so there's that.

In other news, I bought some Altoids at a store in the lobby today, paid cash, and got some change in return. The Altoids work perfectly.


And now, this year's Above-the Fold Kul-chah Feature, or ATFKF.

Opzittende hond in een stoel bij een raam, anonymous, c. 1900 - c. 1910 You can sound out exactly what that means, right? It's an Opposite Hound!

Either this fellow had a fast shutter or that was a remarkably still dog. And I'm sure he'd like us to appreciate his use of lighting. All so. Can I tell him the door annoys me? No? Okay.








I love this part of the week so much. I just do.

Named after the president of the railroad that serviced the town. Originally "Pelican Rapids," which is also a town in Minnesota. I went here once with a girlfriend who grew up here, and went to the Knight Gallery. It was a long trip and the relationship didn't last the summer. Ah well.

Let's take a look around together, shall we?


I love the entrance to this old dump. The modernization of ancient hotels was really a con job, and everyone knew it; just because you put up some thin brick and “landscaping” didn’t mean the place had old bones, and probably lost its modern veneer the moment you left the lobby.

"Our offices are on the 2 1/2th floor.”

What did they do to this thing? Cut it in half and slide in a slice from another building?

This one looks as if it has a second floor for little folk. And the inlaid decorations should not jump around like that.

Ah, that’s better. The off-the-shelf mail-order Sullivanesque designs were always a nice touch.

Used to be Woolworths, for a few decades, but not since the 60s.


He was the president of the Rhinelander Brewing Company.

I suspect this is a skin, with the corner addition as new construction.

The arches were as classical as you’d get in those days.

The Italianate style always classes up a street.


It’s the light thin brick and the delicate adornments.

Then there’s the other Italian style, the palazzo, more suited to power and money.

I’m reasonably sure it was a hotel; those have to be the bathroom windows.

This would have looked quite modern at the time - not for its style so much as its plain-spoken shape and lack of excessive terra-cotta ornamentation.

I’m reasonably sure it was a hotel; those have to be the bathroom windows.

Perhaps apartments. In any case, the small windows make for an odd and unquiet facade.


The Pub Cafe!

Looks like a very thin building. Something burned or fell down, and was replaced by something that looks as if it was Buckaroo’d from the start.


The Chalet style was never good.

With the Tudor next door, it all looks vaguely northern European, but unconvincingly so.

Well, if you stayed out in the sun that long, you’d peel, too.

Nice post-war rehab on the ground floor, but I’m a sucker for that 50s brick and angled windows.

The State. 1921 - 2016.

Cinema Treasures: “A dropped ceiling covers over all the original decor of the lobby. In the auditoriums all the old decor has also been covered over in the conversion to the four screens.”

The interior was fantastic.

  No theaters have their own crests anymore.


That’s harsh.

Nice old vitrolite on the corner, if that’s what it is. (Vitrolite, I mean, not the corner.)

Say, I wonder if they ever fixed it up . . .

Somehow that’s not exactly better.


I should just end here.

But that would deprive us . . . of this fellow.

No, not the magnificent building, althought that's quite the piece of work. This.

Someone in the comments knows exactly what it was. I’m not from Wisconsin, I’ve been to the town once - and I know what that is.





That'll do! Restaurants await.




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