Thursday, January 02, 2014

How Things Slip Through

Hey guys, I just thought I should point out that there's a hole in the Internet. Actually, there are lots of them. That's why the call it a "Net." It's also the reason why nobody should be surprised when things go missing or appear out of nowhere. All those bits and bytes find it pretty easy to squeeze between the cracks and crevices left unguarded by our ever-vigilant bots and systems.
Costco isn't really trying to get in touch with me to let me know that the sixty-inch plasma TV someone ordered for me got stuck somewhere in transit. That was spam, the potted meat of communication. It's also a drag that the funny hand creme that I ordered for my niece never made it to me in time to send it to her for Christmas. In spite of a number of automated responses that told me my item had been shipped and I tracked it from upstate New York to somewhere in the Midwest, when that magical day came when I would no longer be able to receive, wrap and resend that particular item came and went, I went looking for it. The obsequious folks at wrote back to assure me that they had sent a prior e-mail letting me know that all their hand creme was sold out until January. I found this odd on two levels: I had received notification that the item had been shipped, along with a tracking number, and since I am obsessive about checking my e-mail including those items that get caught in my mostly diligent spam filter I know that I never received the out of stock notification.
Holes. If I had been interested in making sure that this transaction took place to my satisfaction, I would have found a local establishment willing to sell me this item for cash money. Then I would have driven home, wrapped it, and headed for the airport. At this point, I would have purchased a ticket to Colorado, where I would have been able to deliver this gift by hand. Instead, I chose to deal with the situation in the way I have become accustomed: remote control. I sent a message to the retailer, insisting they credit my account, to which they promptly sent back an automated reply letting me know that they had received my message. A day later I got the personalized apology that detailed the refund process and was there anything else they could help me with?
Not just now, thank you. I'm going to be busy trying to fill in some of those holes.

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