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Just over the first ridge of the Chino Hills, the tiny chapel was hardly noticeable, even from the air. The cast-iron archway over the driveway read ‘Sta. Isabella’. To call it a driveway was being generous. He doubted that dirt trail had ever seen a wheel, let alone a car. Nate didn’t drive anymore, but he wouldn’t have wanted to try the hairpin turn he’d seen on the path with anything bigger than a dirt-bike.
From downtown Los Angeles, he hadn’t flown thirty miles. In a car it might have taken him an hour, maybe more, even on the freeway. But he had places to be later that night, and he didn’t want any of the people he could get rides from to know where he was going or why.
The doors to the chapel were wide open, shedding a dull yellow light on the moonlit lawn outside. Nate set his feet upon the dry grass, in the shadows by the door. When he entered, he noticed the crucifix hanging above an altar at the far end of the church. The only light in the chapel was a baseball-sized, orange crystal light fixture behind the crucifix. It was almost too bright to look at, but the orange light reflected well off the white plaster, bathing the small interior in light which might be slightly dim for a human, but was more than enough for a vampire. He stopped between the four pews and knelt, bowing his head.
“Can I help you, sheriff?” a man in black robes with a priest’s collar asked.
Nate checked his clothes. He was wearing the uniform Dai insisted on. It was also his costume from his acting gig. The khaki pants and shirt bore the badges and patches of a sheriff. Only, instead of Los Angeles, the county on the insignia was ‘Midnite’, a town that only existed on television. The name on the tag said ‘Starr’, his character’s surname in the show. His real name was Silver.
“I’m not a sheriff,” Nate said. “I’m an actor. This is a costume. I am here to confess.”
The priest was one of two men in the tiny chapel. The other was a man wearing just a set of denim overalls, dusting the paintings on the walls. Each of the paintings depicted a woman. Perhaps Mother Mary, but Nate suspected they might be the Saint the chapel was named for. Nodding, the priest stepped to a small confessional Nate had almost mistaken for a coat closet. An alcove with open curtains sat to the side of an ornate wooden door. Behind the curtains was a small room just large enough for a single bench seat. Nate walked into the area behind the open curtains and sat on the bench. A window with close-set wooden bars was between him and the space between the alcoves. He pulled the curtain closed and waited.
The priest opened the door and sat in the middle alcove. After closing the door, he asked, “How can I help you, my son?”
“Like I said, I need to confess,” Nate said. “Is there something I’m supposed to say like, ‘Forgive me Father for I have sinned?’”
“Are you Catholic?” the priest asked.
“Do I need to be?” Nate asked.
“Yes,” the priest said. “If not Catholic, then Orthodox.”
“I’m Evangelical,” Nate said. “Or, I was.”
“I can’t offer you the Sacrament of Penance,” the priest said. “I’m sorry. I can offer my ear and anything you tell me will be between you, me and the Lord. But absolution through penance is reserved for those baptized as Catholic.”
Nate had always believed that to unburden his soul, all he needed to do was pray with sincerity. But his prayers felt unholy coming from the lips of a vampire. When Dai had suggested he confess to a priest, the idea of talking to a person who could be God’s ears seemed to offer some promise of hope. Nate didn’t come thirty miles for counseling.
“Can you see me?” Nate asked.
“I saw you come in,” the priest said. “Traditionally this is purely anonymous, but it’s really not. I saw you come in and I’m familiar with the voices of the people that do come to confess. To be honest, it’s not hard to see through this screen.”
“Then look at me,” Nate said. When he could see the outline of the priest’s irises in the whites of his eyes, Nate added power to his words and coerced the priest. “See me as a Catholic man—one who needs guidance to get the ceremony correct. Whatever I say, take it as truth and don’t panic. Don’t be afraid of me.”
“Start with ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been however much time since your last confession,’” the priest said.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been years since my last confession,” Nate said. He didn’t know how to quantify ‘never’ without bursting the priest’s illusion.
“Tell me your sins, my son,” the priest said.
“I’ve killed,” Nate said. He paused to wait for a reaction like a gasp or sharp inhale, but the priest remained calm. With that evidence that his coercion worked, Nate continued. “I’ve killed in the name of the Lord and I’ve killed in self-defense and I’ve killed those I’ve hunted for food,” Nate said.
“The work of a soldier can be forgiven,” the priest said. “There is no sin in defending yourself. There is no sin in hunting for your food.”
“My food is people,” Nate said. “I am a vampire.” Nate hoped his coercion to keep the priest calm held.
“I see,” the priest said. He was silent a moment. Even if Nate had coerced him to take his words as truth, the priest might need time to adapt his coerced beliefs to his reality.
“You’re safe,” Nate said. “I’m not evil, though I might be a monster.”
“I can’t condone murder,” the priest said. “You cannot see people as food if you seek forgiveness. To attain absolution, you must be penitent. To be penitent you must intend not to commit the sin again.”
“I never intend it,” Nate said. “When I first learned to feed, I did not have control over it. I have not killed accidentally in the past year. I have, however, killed three other vampires and two men in self-defense in the last month, but more than a dozen have fallen at my hands in total.”
“And how many of these were righteous?” the priest asked.
“I don’t know,” Nate said. “Certainly all but two meant to kill me. I am uncertain any of them were true threats. I am trained to battle my own kind at a level few are. I was a holy warrior, a vampire hunter, before I became what I am now. But, that title is misleading; that life was a lie. My teacher was a dark man and served a darker vampire. They are gone, and I am something different now.”
“A sheriff?” the priest ventured.
“I said the clothing is a costume,” Nate said. Dai, his queen and bloodmother, called him her sheriff and her enforcer and whatever else she felt like calling him at any given moment. These were details the priest didn’t yet need.
“But you speak like the law,” the priest said. “Either you still are a warrior for the church or you are a warrior for the government. You claim righteousness in your fights, which means you fight for a cause.”
“I do,” Nate said. “In all but two cases, I was fighting a war that was not my own and I believed myself to be following a benevolent leader.” The two exceptions had been his early attempts to feed before he knew how to control the bloodlust that accompanied the curse of the bloodeyes.
“Has your opinion changed?” the priest asked. “Is your general not kind? Is their cause against God’s will?”
“She’s a vampire and she’s a queen among us,” Nate said. “I would not call her godly, but she is not wanton. Her goal is peace among our kind in the city, and she enjoys the attention of those currying for her favor.”
“But she’s a vampire,” the priest says. “She condones treating God’s people as food, does she not?”
“People are food to us,” Nate said. “But we don’t kill, usually. The leadership before her was evil, without a doubt, and Dai is holy in comparison, but we are vampires and can never truly be in the grace of God.”
“The Bible is surprisingly unclear on the status of vampires,” the priest said. “I don’t have much guidance to offer. If you are a person, you must abide by the laws of man and the laws of the Lord. Have you considered placing your fate in the legal system on the matter of the murders you admit to?”
“I am a vampire,” Nate said. “There is no prison for me that is not death. No human can know our kind exists. The men I killed were the vilest of humankind. One was a slaver, a trafficker of women. The other was a druggist, a man who designed recreational drugs including some horrid variations of the date-rape substances.”
“And you are qualified to be judge, jury and executioner?” the priest asked.
“So I was taught to believe in the church I belonged to at the time,” Nate said. “Before I was a vampire, I believed myself to be a holy warrior, and when I acted in the name of Christ, I acted with impunity. I am less sure now of my standing with the Lord, which is why I am here.”
“You have a conscience,” the priest said. “Follow what you know and the Lord will guide you.”
“Is this the part where you tell me to say Hail Mary’s?” Nate asked.
“If I knew the measure of your sins, I could offer penance,” the priest said. “I don’t know how to measure what you’ve done or by which yardstick to judge it. You seem like a good man. Knowing that you are a good man, be confident that you can choose to do the right thing. And, foremost, try not to kill. Go with God, my son.”
“Thank you,” Nate said. “I have one more request.” The priest looked at Nate and when their eyes met, Nate added, “Forget I was here. Forget everything about vampires.”
The priest said nothing, turning his attention to the book in his lap. Nate took the cue to leave and set out to his true mission of the night: to find a killer.
The second Nate Silver, Vampire, Hunter book is now available.
The long awaited followup novel to Nine Princes of Blood, Law of the Blood Queen follows Sheriff Nate Silver and Queen Daiyu Long as they attempt to settle into a peaceful Kingdom of Heaven (as the vampires call Los Angeles). But, some question the relatively young queen’s ability to govern. Some even think she is falling back on her historically evil ways to cement her power. It’s up to Nate Silver, her sheriff, to find the truth, but he has his own struggles in trying to get control of his bloodlust. Worse, he’s one of the vampires questioning Queen Dai’s integrity.
Now that we’ve found another planet that is “just like Earth” the question is coming up: Is it populated?
(If you came here looking for a DC comics reference, this isn’t what you’re looking for. Stick around though. It’s fun.)
I once referred to the Fermi Paradox obliquely in the post https://wordpress.com/post/16293530/157/ about Alien Invasion several years ago. That post deals with all the reasons aliens would and wouldn’t bother with Earth. The Fermi Paradox says that the universe is so big and so old that if aliens existed, they’d have found us by now and said, “Hi!”
Well, the bad news is the Fermi Paradox might be right. The good news is that it’s probably not. Statistically, even if the chances of life developing on a given planet are one in a jillion, there’s billions of inhabited planets out there in the universe.
Seriously, we’re not alone.
Ignoring that Ed Snowdon tells us that aliens live under Earth’s crust, let’s leave the definition to mean species from other planets.
While extra-terrestrial life is a certainty, intelligent extra-terrestrial life is also a certainty. I mean statistically a certainty.
First, Earth isn’t rare. Earth 2.0(the nickname for Kepler 452b) might be 1400 light years away, but we’ll find closer ones. Planets are really small and don’t give off light. We’ve found very very few planets by ‘seeing’ them with a telescope. Most of those were in our Solar System. We discover most planets by occultation, meaning, we can detect a tiny dimming of a star when the planet passes in front of the star from our perspective. The odds of any given solar system being on the proper plane to produce occultation is very small. If we’re looking at a star’s north pole, we’ll never see a planet in orbit around that star pass in front of it. We pretty much have to be looking edge on at the star’s solar system to see an occultation.
We can also detect planets by wobble. As much as a star’s gravity keeps a planet in orbit, the planet’s gravity is always tugging slightly at the star, creating a wobble. For us to see a wobble, we currently need the planet to be massive, usually bigger than Jupiter, and close to the star.
As technology improves, we can see slighter wobbles, which means we can see the signs that smaller planets are out there. You need to understand this is very complex math and requires years of watching the same star. An astronomer on a planet ten light-years from Earth would have a damned hard time calculating that our sun has eight planets. After ten years, they’ll know about Jupiter, but Saturn would take decades to detect with any accuracy. Compared to the wobble on our sun caused by Jupiter, Earth’s gravitational effect on the sun would be negligible. Eventually they’d figure it all out. But the point is that we, when observing other stars, looking for planets, have to spend years, even decades to find them. That makes my more important point. There are lots of planets out there. The science and the statistics tell us they’re there. We just don’t know exactly where.
Now that we’ve established that habitable planets are common, we want to assume that all planets that could be inhabited are inhabited. Let’s just make that assumption, because, with the numbers we’re talking, billions of Earthlike worlds, whether a few or all are populated by some form of life isn’t terribly important. Important is acknowledging that some of them are.
After over a billion years of life existing on Earth, it’s been about 50 years since we managed to throw anything off our rock. There is only one significantly intelligent species on the planet. This basically means that no matter how common life is, intelligent life is far rarer. You might try to argue that humans have squelched out any competing species. That might be true over the past million years, but it doesn’t explain why no species managed to invent an iPhone before humans even evolved.
But, again, there are so many earth-like planets in our galaxy, some of them will have intelligent life. They will, that’s a fact. (Note that, for legal purposes, I only state opinions, so even if I say it’s fact, even if it’s actually a fact, I’m only stating my opinion. –see the side bar—>)
There’s still no guarantee we won’t kill ourselves off before we find a way to make it to the nearest other habitable world.
We don’t know what technology we can use to do that yet. As far as we know physics, there is no such thing as warp drive. There is a finite speed limit for a space ship that makes travelling light years simply infeasible. We don’t have the technology to get to the nearest stars, those less than five light years away. By the time we find speeds that would get us there in less than a thousand years, the speeds we’d travel would tear any material we know about apart. So, until we develop warp drive no person will ever travel to another solar system.
There is the concept of putting travelers in cryo-sleep, basically stopping their aging while they travel. Still, thousands of years. The best cars have ten year warranties. How do you trust a star ship not to break down over that time? Okay, so that tech is in the foreseeable future. Cryo-sleep and self-repairing ships might be possible in our lifetimes. Still: Thousands of Years. Let’s just say that, without some kind of Warp technology, interstellar travel is just not an option unless your planet is no longer habitable.
So, to continue this discussion, we have to leap to the assumption that warp technology is possible. If so, there might be thousands of civilizations bouncing around the galaxy, visiting new worlds and maybe spreading their species on new worlds.
The Fermi Paradox asks that if Intelligent Alien Life exists, why hasn’t it contacted us?
The real question is: Why would aliens want anything to do with Earth?
We’ve all seen the t-shirt or bumper sticker “Mean People Suck.” From an alien perspective it would just be “People Suck.” There is no benefit in engaging in commerce with a less evolved planet. We expect to trade our iPhones for their Hixoblups? Yeah, no. They won’t want what can offer.
Raw Materials? Earth has lots of iron, gold, and water. Honestly if you can get around space easily, there’s no reason to deal with such pesky things as atmospheres and pesky natives when mining. Asteroids and uninhabite worlds are just so much easier to mine. Water is not rare. Iron is not rare. Gold is not rare. Nothing on Earth is worth putting up with humanity. I mean we still think there’s something to reality TV. Well, there’s something we might be good for. Aliens might have sensors set up to monitor us for their own ‘Stupid Human Stunts’ entertainment. It could be argued that the most significant human development for the purpose of perpetual posterity might be cat videos.
Basically, unless they think our culture is the bee’s knees, any intelligent alien species is going to avoid us like the plague we are.
Even if the Aliens just need a new world to colonize, they have better options than Earth. Assuming intelligent life sticks around on Earth until the oceans boil away in billion years, intelligent life was only on Earth for half of it’s habitable time. That means there are other worlds to move their civilization to that don’t require them to deal with pesky indigenous intelligent species.
Basically, the Fermi Paradox is too simplistic. It’s not that alien’s aren’t out there, its that, any life-form smart enough to develop space travel is also smart enough to avoid any species as annoying as humanity. We can’t see them because we just can’t see that far yet. They don’t want to see us.
I don’t get political if I can help it.
Sexual Identity should not be political.
There is irony in people complaining that Caitlyn Jenner should not have received her Espy Award for courage.
Just the mere fact that people would be so vocally against celebrating her courage and the fact that she had to know they would be proves that she deserves it.
People incorrectly equate transgender to homosexuality. Coming out as homosexual is difficult. Coming out as transgender is nigh impossible. I can comprehend homosexuality. Attraction is physiological and psychological. Love is, as unromantic as it is to admit, more physiological than psychological. Emotions are triggered by hormones when it comes to love.
It’s difficult for me to understand transgender, which is not me saying I think there’s anything at all wrong with people who feel they are, in fact, the opposite gender. It’s something I accept that I am not sufficiently expert at, and I leave it to the doctors to know. Just because I don’t understand it, doesn’t mean I can’t sympathize. Part of me still believes its not the individual that’s broken, but it’s society that’s broken in forcing people into roles based on their sex, but that only covers the social aspect of transgender. That’s probably still true but it doesn’t mean that transgender people don’t have a valid need to be the sex opposite that which they were born with.
One thing I’ve known for years: Transgender is not a sexuality. It often goes hand-in-hand with sexuality, because women, whether born as male or female, are more often attracted to men. So a woman who is genetically male, would seem homosexual for being attracted to men. But, not all transgender people are attracted to the opposite sex.
Transgender is a condition entirely about the self. It’s not a man thinking that because he’s attracted to other men he must actually be a woman; its a person knowing their own body is wrong for them. Transgender isn’t a new concept. Every major civilization has had people who lived cross-gendered. Today, however, medical science can make the changes, hormonally and physically to help people feel comfortable in their skin.
The thing about Caitlyn that many people don’t understand. She didn’t used to be Bruce. She was always Caitlyn. For a time, even she didn’t know it. For a time after that, she had to struggle to admit it. Finding the courage to not only admit it to herself but to the public as well, especially knowing the American public expected her to live up to being an Olympian gold-medal winning athlete role-model, is why she deserved the Espy.
I don’t speak with any authority on transgender. I have done some research because I have someone close to me going through the same thing. Luckily, she’s young enough that she doesn’t have to contend with a world that already has another expectation of her.
The Blooddaughter Trilogy is now available as one book. That’s all three novels, over 500 pages.
Free on KU. $4.99 for everyone else. Traditional Vampire fiction; not paranormal romance. Blood, intrigue, mystery and history.
All three novels of The Blooddaughter Trilogy in one book.
Shauna discovers the vampires in her favorite novels are real, as she hoped they would be. Her initial encounter with them proves fatal for her.
She awakens as one of them, but the mysterious vampire who turned her has disappeared. She is taken under the wings of both the Countess of Philadelphia and the legendary Elizabeth Bathory and soon discovers that even immortality can be fatal.
Adjusting to life without the Sun and the need to feed, Shauna travels to Europe to track down the notorious vampire hunter, Henry the Inquisitor.
Her companion has particular difficulty adjusting to the new powers in Europe. Defending her friend will make enemies among the vampire royalty.
Blood Atonement on Amazon (250 pages, $2.99 on Kindle) – Free on Kindle Unlimited
Names and numbers populated the pages of the pocket-sized book Elsa carried. She stood over the crumpled body of a man whose name she didn’t know and, if she had her way, never would. Elsa gave the body another kick in the kidney. The man grunted, causing Elsa to feel a bit more satisfied. A girl, midway through her teen years, crouched in the corner, trembling. Elsa knelt by her, careful to get close without touching her.
“Do you have a name?” Elsa asked. The girl’s name, unlike the man’s, had infinite value.
The girl nodded as she responded, “Maria Esperenza.”
They were all named Maria in Havana and they all joined their middle name to their first. Elsa ran the name through her mind again and again. She’d need to remember it to write it down. Maria Esperenza would be number four-ninety-three on the second list of six-hundred and sixty-six names in the tiny red leather-clad book.
“Are you hurt, Maria Esperenza?” Elsa asked.
Maria Esperenza shook her head. The bruises on the girl’s naked shoulders belied the truth, or a part of it. The girl, unlike the man, still had her bloomers on. At least Elsa had arrived before the man had taken what the girl would never get back. Elsa couldn’t do anything for the bruises on her shoulders, but she could do something for the damage that didn’t show.
She picked up the girl’s torn dress from the floor of the tiny launderer’s shop and handed it to the girl. It took a moment for the girl to look up. When the girl reached for the dress, Elsa caught her eyes and spoke. She put her will into her words, coercing her as she said, “This man tried to take your money, nothing more. He got rough, but only wanted the money from the till. Another man came and stopped the robbery, taking this man away. Get dressed, lock up your shop then go home. Sleep well. You’ll not remember me or anything I did or will do here tonight.”
Elsa stood and walked to the door. She envisioned a hand in her mind, and used that hand to grab the man from the floor and drag him along behind her as she went out to the dark streets. The only lanterns or torches on the street were the ones hung from shops and those were not alight after business hours. It didn’t matter to Elsa. She preferred it dark. As a vampire, the light of the quarter moon was more than she needed to see clearly. She walked past several streets, careful to avoid the few people awake and about that late. The man she drug along occasionally grunted if he bumped over an uneven cobblestone. Finally, she got bored of dragging the man. She walked back and looked at his face. It wasn’t one she’d remember. She considered drinking her fill from the man, but he was dirty—too many days removed from his weekly bath, if he bathed that often. Lacking any further use of the man, and having separated him from the scene of his crime, Elsa pulled a razor from her boot and slit the man’s throat. His eyes popped open just before the life faded from them. The smell of his blood running down to the gutter made Elsa hungry, but there was nothing for her to drink there. The man was dead; his blood was dead. Elsa cleaned the razor on the man’s sleeve and slid it back into her boot.
From her breast pocket, she pulled out the little red book and a pencil. “Maria Esperenza, 493,” she wrote under Maria Bella’s name. Maria Bella had been the four hundred and ninety-second girl she’d saved. Though that girl hadn’t fared as well as Maria Esperenza, she’d live. Life and death were what mattered for Elsa’s book. A full list of the names of girls whose lives she’d stolen two centuries earlier preceded the pages of names of girls whose lives she’d saved. She’d imposed the penance on herself. It wouldn’t be enough to fill the second list, but it would be something. The one name that would never be on the list, the one name of a woman who could never be saved, was her own: Elizabeth Bathory.
Buy the rest at Amazon (250 pages, $2.99 on Kindle) – Free on Kindle Unlimited
PreOrder for June 1 release.
Blood Atonement: The True Tales of Elizabeth Bathory, Vampire is now for sale from both Createspace and Amazon in print. For Kindle, you’ll have to wait for June 1st. This is mostly because I can’t figure out how to reschedule a pre-order style release to an earlier date.
This is a stand-alone novel, but, works well with the other stories in the world of The Blooddaughter Trilogy.
This is, by far, the darkest of the vampire novels in the world of The Blooddaughter Trilogy. It’s about an infamous serial killer as the protagonist. I mean, if the good guy of the book is this evil, how bad does the bad guy have to be? To be fair, if the title doesn’t give it away, Elizabeth (or Elsa as she’s called–and she was Elsa in my other books long before that Disney movie used the name) is striving to be good, but what she considers good is from a unique perspective.
This is Elsa from The Blooddaughter trilogy, but from a time centuries before those stories–a separate story that can work as a prequel.
As you read, some of the story might look familiar, from history, from classic tales of vampires or from The Blooddaughter Trilogy. You’ll discover it’s much more than what you thought you knew.
Sidenote: This is a work of fiction, starting with the title, as if the word, ‘vampire’ didn’t give that away.
I obviously have not been blogging much. Honestly in a few months I haven’t blogged at all. I don’t use the blog as a diary, so daily boring stuff never makes it in here.
I have not been doing daily boring stuff. I can honestly say the reason I haven’t been blogging is that I haven’t had time.
I have too many hobbies. Writing is not one of them. Writing is who I am. I just don’t get paid much to write, so it looks like a hobby from the outside observer. I have been writing quite a bit. I am have just published the last book of my Blooddaughter Trilogy. I have three or four other active writing projects.
I am also closing in on publishing in print my roleplaying game setting. It’s more work than I thought it would be. Adding pictures to a book is not simple. Adding pictures with a license to actually distribute the book, for money, is exceptionally difficult when my budget is pocket change.
And I still have my forge and still work on knifemaking, though I haven’t actually hit much glowing metal with a hammer in a few months, but it’s been damned cold outside. And an 1800 degree forge really isn’t enough to heat the great outdoors. When it got warmer, I did go back out to the forge and promptly overworked some tendons in my arm. Right now my elbow hurts if I grip something like a hammer tightly.
And I still have my other dabblings in art and trying to learn music, which would be easier if I didn’t have other hobbies demanding my time.
And hobbies are not the only thing demanding my time. My family has been growing in unnatural ways. Somewhere in the last year, my wife and I took up foster parenting. So our house got another bedroom and lost a breakfast nook and the bedroom acquired it’s very own teenage girl. She’s a nice, quiet girl with an odd perception of reality. Luckily I, too, have an odd perception of reality, so we get along okay. I will say, as hard as it is to teach our biological children to learn from our teachings rather than their own mistakes, it’s harder when someone hasn’t grown their whole lives trusting your, or any parent’s for that matter, wisdom.
There have been other kids coming and going from our home. Foster parenting isn’t meant to be a permanent solution. Ideally these kiddos go home but sometimes, such as the one we have now, there isn’t a home to go back to.
Of my hobbies, my blogging is not the highest priority, but when I have something to say, I will.
I’m still not blogging until after the election. People get too emotional about every issue these days and often tend to be closed to actual thought. I’m not a fan of not-thinking, so I’ll be back when people turn their brains back on after November 6.
I shop at Best Buy now and then. Mostly I shop, but sometimes I actually buy something. Because I do sometimes buy stuff, I am a member of their rewards program. I occasionally earn a $5 rewards cash certificate. I am not an ideal rewards club member. Just because I earn rewards cash, it doesn’t inspire me to run out and use it. So last Saturday I was cleaning my office and came across a $5 rewards certificate that was due to expire that day.
It was 106 degrees last Saturday. I was not going out, driving 4 miles to Best Buy and searching for something I don’t need just to use the $5 rewards certificate. However they do allow people to use these at BestBuy.com. So I went online and ultimately settled on a 4GB flash drive for $5.99. Because BestBuy.com does charge local sales tax on internet orders, I ended up paying like $1.06 from my pocket. Shipping was free.
My flash drive arrived today in a box that was 8 inches tall, 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep.
Inside the box were some non-strategically placed air bags. I say non-strategically because they were only on the top of the package. Such things as say, dropping the package, would still result in most all the force reaching the actual item I purchased.
At the bottom of the box was my new flash drive.
These things are already overpackaged for the sole purpose of making the package just large enough to not fit in most jacket pockets. When the product is actually this big:
I don’t see why I had to contribute so much extra packaging to the local landfill. Okay, we recycle. I’m certain that we will actually be able to recycle all that packaging. Still, wouldn’t it have been easier to fold the original packaging in half and stick it in an envelope? I’m not entirely certain but these fulfillment centers are not completely robotic. Somewhere someone must occassionally think: Hey, we’re paying to ship a box on a $0.99 cent purchase that we’ve already paid a fulfillment center employee for two minutes of their time to run back down an aisle grab the item, run back to the conveyor that goes to the packing center where another employee spends time selecting the
right wrong size box, taping it shut and slapping on a label. I’m certain there are first class sized envelopes that would hold this package and it could be mailed for one first class stamp. But then again, it might cost them more to stop and think that the package could fit in an envelope, so they over-package with complete disregard for the wasteful material use and the outright silliness.
Of course this is all my theory. I don’t know why they do what they do or even how they do it. I do know that I got a 4GB flashdrive for a buck. I should also mention that the rewards certificate program did earn Best Buy my patronage when it came time to choose where to buy Diablo III for my kids when it came out. I had a certificate that was due to expire on that day too.