Hey boomers.  Ordering stuff online is a recipe for aggravation. Guaranteed.

I made that mistake while in Florida (pre COVID-19).

Though a little voice told me not to order online, I went ahead and broke the online ice by ordering a jacket.  I immediately received confirmation noting the jacket would arrive in 3 business days.  Looked good to me.  Too good.

However, I immediately noticed our address was missing our condo unit number.  No problem.  Let’s re-open the order and add it. Unfortunately, the website had no option reading, “Click here if you botched up your address.”

We clicked on “About” and that raved about the company’s services, noting, “We’ll deliver our products right to your door, as long as we know where your door is.“ OK, I’m throwing in that last part.  Bottom line they didn’t know where our door was.

We considered placing a second order, hoping there would be room for comment, like, “Hello, remember us?  Please also send that jacket we just ordered to the same place.”  Not an option.

Then we noticed a “Contact us” tab.  We telephoned and hit a robot called Isabel.  Isabel offered numerous options, including billing, promotions, and more sales info.   I told Isabel, “Address error.”  She responded, “Your dress does not fit?”

Eventually I got through to someone live, Reuben.  I asked where he was and he replied, “offshore.”  That sounded reassuring. I imagined some guy floating around in a raft off the coast of the Cayman Islands, trying to figure out a way to get rescued.

Reuben said he could add the unit number but that there was no guarantee it would be corrected before 3 business days.   He asked how else he could help me. I was tempted to ask if I could help him by maybe alerting the Cayman Islands Coast Guard.

Before disconnecting, I received a survey prompt. There was one broad question: “Was your problem resolved?” I shouted back, No. And go rescue Reuben.”

Three days later, we received an email notifying us that the item just left Pittsburgh and would be arriving at the UPS office in Charlotte North Carolina later that day. As we were in Naples Florida, I suppose there was some sense for that jacket making a pilgrimage firstly to Charlotte North Carolina.

The email had our address on it, but sans unit number.   Reuben was right about no guarantee about that door.

The next day we received another email saying the package arrived at a U.S. Postal Service depot In Naples.

We called the post office to see if we could pick it up. Unfortunately, we could not get through.  The message said, “Due to the high volume of calls…expected waiting time is between 88 and 94 minutes. “. In all fairness the voice did make a useful suggestion, that we could visit them online.  Silly of me to ignore this sage advice.

I got a brilliant idea. We decided to attend the post office. This added a new dimension to going postal. After all our jacket should be there, after a strenuous voyage, from Pittsburgh via Charlotte.

Ten minutes after arriving, we were successful. We figured out which line to stand in.

Then it happened.  While standing in queue, I noticed a gentleman walking by who looked like my vintage, grayish beard, glasses, and hearing aids. His name tag read, “John”.  Unlike a millennial Cal, Jared or Zach, a John speaks to me.

I jumped in front of him pleading, “online purchase hell.”

He smiled and kindly said, “Of course sir, come with me.”

John took some info and told us the package was there. BUT he could not give it to us as the system required delivery by mailman.  However, he took our unit number, and said the area mailman, Bob, would deliver it the next day, between 11:20 and 11:30.  A Bob also speaks to me.  John was a savior. He added, “Guaranteed”.

That’s the stuff boomers are all about.

The next morning around 11:30 AM Bob delivered our package, right to our door.

I thought about the online ordeal, entailing a maze of frustrating bureaucracy. Fortunately, we had a gratifying and redeeming experience interaction with an old school gentleman, going benevolent postal.I don’t know whatever happened to Reuben.



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