Shopping: It Pretty Much Stinks
If you're looking to give a DVD of Jurassic Park or Christina Aguilera's new opus as a gift, shopping online is fine. The vendor is likely to have your items in stock and ship the order effortlessly. If your looking for something that's not also available at your local Wal-Mart, we wish you luck. Depending on when you're reading this, we wouldn't shop with any of these vendors, except Amazon, and be confident that our packages would arrive in time for Christmas.
As for fulfilling orders, we have one order that was placed on August 18 and finally shipped on October 7. Another was placed November 9 and we're still waiting. CDNow doesn't feel the need to upgrade your shipping to ease the pain of your waiting, even with ridiculous delays such as these. To be fair, these items were listed as "backordered". The problem is, you don't learn of this status until after you've selected the items and put them in your shopping cart. Furthermore, "backordered" can mean anything and there seems to be no rush to define it. We've also ordered some popular chart hits and these seem to ship within days.
one point were incredibly low at CDNow. Now they have sales, proclaiming
savings "up to 30% off". Savvy shoppers know the difference
between "up to 30% off and "30% off" and that difference
can be huge. In fact, with shipping and taxes, CDNow can end up being
no deal at all.
We ordered the two volumes of Dame Edna's Neighbourhood Watch. Volume 2 shipped immediately and we were advised Volume 1 was backordered. When Volume 1 finally shipped, it was another copy of Volume 2! The very nice telephone rep promised to correct the situation. That is, once we sent back the incorrectly shipped item (at Buy.com's expense). Despite thinking it stupid that we should have to wait even longer, we went ahead and returned the mis-shipped item. Buy.com promptly sent us yet another copy of Volume 2. Are you confused? So was Buy.com. We spent quite a long time on the phone trying to convince them there was a problem in their warehouse, like the fact that whoever was pulling the order couldn't tell the difference between the numerals "1" and "2". This should be a red flag for any business!
We started to get a little frustrated. At one point a "resolution expert" suggested we send back the DVD, get our card credited and we purchase the title elsewhere.
did get someone at Buy.com to realize there was an internal problem and
they fixed the problem immediately. In fact the next day.
Despite this wild situation, we would order from Buy.com again.
The problem comes, like with most of these vendors, with backorders. We ordered the DVD documentary, Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For. Not exactly a collection of Backstreet Boys hits, but not an obscure Monica Vitti film, either. What was supposed to be a one to two week delay became five weeks. We spotted the DVD in a Barnes & Noble store and were reminded that we had ordered it and never received it. We sent an email suggesting that since the DVD was so late, they might want to upgrade the shipping at no cost. A very nice email came back, saying they would be happy to, once the DVD came into stock. Now this is fine, but if Barnes & Noble were a fabulous store, they would have had one of their stores send it directly. Even still, we were satisfied and continued to wait.
Several weeks later, we received an email stating the DVD had finally been shipped, via something called Smart Mail from the post office. When that didn't arrive (2 weeks later), we called and were told it was lost. The telephone agent told us our card would be credited and she would rebook the item with free overnight shipping. We then received an email stating that they couldn't send our compact disc because they needed credit card information. Compact disc? We ordered a DVD! Why did they need our credit card information again? We wish we could tell you this story has a happy ending or that it ends here. It doesn't. The details are somewhat tedious but we can sum up the experience as "Never Again!" Nothing was done as promised and nothing is worth the frustration of dealing with this company.
We called the public relations department of Barnes & Noble to clarify their policies. A nice person took down all the details and we never heard back from them, which pretty much sums up the Barnes & Noble experience.
it worth it?
If you've changed your mind, given a wrong address or done something to confuse the issue, be patient and polite and try to correct the problem. But your order with a vendor, online or in person, is an agreement. You agree to pay and they agree to ship as promised. Any variation on this theme is not your problem and it's up to the online store to correct it. Demand excellence, readers, and you just might get it. Accept shoddy service and you will in fact end up with a culture that honors Backstreet Boys as Soul music and Barry Manilow as Classic Pop.
Now let's go get a drink.
Are you on the MrLucky Mailing List? Subscribe today and recieve monthly updates via email. Why not fill out the form today? It's so easy to do!
Want to drop us a line? Email email@example.com
Coconut Grove Media. All Rights Reserved.