The headline says it all, but it's a lesson I had to learn the hard way. On Aug. 1, one of my loveably misguided friends sent me $25 of Flooz, online Web dollars that can be redeemed for goods at many Web outlets like BarnesandNoble.com. Weeks later, that $25 gift certificate is worth less than Confederate dollars in 1866. The whole miserable experience unfolded when I tried to spend my $25. Torn between The Dirt, a behind-the-scenes tell-all of Motley Crue's heyday in the '80s, and a DVD of Goodfellas, I settled on the blood-soaked Scorsese classic and went to Barnes and Noble's virtual bookstore. I searched, selected and added to my cart. I checked the Flooz box as my form of payment. I entered my 16-digit Flooz code number. I clicked "Go." I waited a few minutes. And then BarnesandNoble.com told me the Flooz system was down. Boy, was that an understatement. The Flooz system was out. As a journalist and an unhappy customer, I wanted to get to the bottom of what would become of my Flooz money. Below is a journal of my travails.