Shortly before Christmas the online store known as Best Buy had a sale on iTunes cards. Twenty percent off. A $100 iTunes gift card was only $80.
What? You mean I’ve been paying full price this whole time in iTunes when I could have been getting my balance at a discount? Idiot… idiot… idiot…
I had never heard of such a thing. Of course, I’m always the last to know.
So I did something I rarely do, maybe a handful of times per year. I went on the information superhighway and made myself a purchase. I spent $80 on myself. “Merry Christmas to me!”
I figured Best Buy would link me to the code and I could punch it into my Apple device and the alternative death metal would soon be music to my ears. Sure, the order said “free shipping” but why would they spend money on that when they could be all digital up in that grill?
Boy, was I wrong.
Almost a week later I received a strange email from Best Buy. My order had shipped. What the hell? Didn’t they ship it when I ordered? Nay, they did not. With all of the Christmastime hubbub and what not apparently I was small potatoes. They waited about a week before getting around to it.
The notification included a tracking number. I clicked it and it took me to a UPS page that said “electronic information received.” Great. The package hadn’t even been given to UPS yet. But at least it was UPS. I can live with that. Especially for free.
Note: When you see the words “free shipping” on the internet that means: “We’ll ship it by Pony Express if we can find a way. Or better yet, Turtle Transit, one of my favorite shell corporations. “Slow and steady wins the race” is their motto. The point is, “free shipping” equates to slow boat to China. You’d better settle in for the long haul. This is going to take a while.
I’d check my order daily. And daily I’d be disappointed. It sure said “electronic information received” for a long time. This part of the process took about another week.
One day, though, something glorious happened. My package actually moved. Dreams can come true.
I was able to track my package from the shipper’s location in a neighboring state (we share a border) to the big city 30 miles away from where I live. This was getting exciting. Then something disturbing happened. It went back to “electronic information received” but this time it said it was waiting on USPS.
What the hell?
That’s when I noticed the shipping method. “UPS Mail Innovations.” What the fuck is that? That’s where you ship something UPS, they transport it to your galaxy, and then USPS takes over for final approach. It’s what happens when USPS is the only ship in the quadrant, and with a trainee crew, too. It’s the fucking Kobayashi Maru. Well, I don’t believe in the no-delivery scenario!
What is “UPS Mail Innovations?” Yeah, I’d never heard of it, either, so you know it just has to be something good.
I waited about another week for USPS to fly like an eagle and do something with my package. I waited in vain.
So I decided it was finally time to start calling and kick some ass. I figured I’d start with Best Buy since they held Primary Asshole status regarding my order. (One of the many stakeholders involved.)
I called Best Buy.
If I’m elected President I will create a law that requires retailers to disclose before you make a purchase if they have a “phone calls will be monitored or recorded” policy. By the time a consumer learns about that policy it’s way too late. They are already knee deep in the shit.
The system gleefully informed me the call would be recorded. I fucking hate that. For fun, ask them to not record your call. This advice is intended for serious Don Quixote’s only.
The automated telephone system known as “Best Buy” ordered me tap in my order number. This is a 98-digit number that screens out 98% of phone calls from ever getting through. I made a typo. I had to enter that abortion from Hell twice before admittance beyond the golden gates.
I then talked to Best Buy Customer Service Rep #1. She was utterly amazed. “Tracking a package we sent you? That’s the most esoteric thing I’ve ever heard of! I don’t know if we can do that. You’d better give me your 98-digit order number.” Aarrgghh!! Why the fuck did I already enter the goddamned thing if you don’t even get to see it?
She decided she couldn’t help me but got me in touch with Best Buy Customer Service Rep #2. You guessed it. She made me fork over the 98-digit order number for the fourth fucking time! Then she said she was putting me on hold.
That telltale sound could only mean one thing. My Best Buy customer service experience was over. Like an idiot I waited with the phone by my ear until I heard confirmation in the form of an annoying repeating beep. Who dares to say I lack the capacity to hope?
I looked at the phone. It said the call lasted nine minutes. Somehow I opted out of ever trying to call them again as long as I lived. You win, Best Buy.
I waited a few more days. Finally I figured, “What the hell? I’ll call UPS. If anyone knows how to track a package it should be them.”
UPS was helpful and was practically gushing about their “UPS Mail Innovations” service. They explained that once the package had been handed off to USPS there was absolutely nothing in the world they could do to help me or ascertain the status of my package. I was forced to admit, yes, that was very innovative.
The best advice UPS could give me? Pray to my God, offer a sacrifice (if possible) and call my local post office. They felt confident that the poor soul assigned to answer those phone calls at the post office would be totally informed about my important shipment. Yeah, right. Instead I ran out and bought five Powerball tickets because I prefer to play better odds.
UPS said I could wait seven more days and then they might be willing to “trace” things for me a bit. But we had to give USPS their dream shot.
At this point I was done. I wasn’t going to call the post office. I decided to wait it out. And, finally, one day the package did come. It was a dramatically anti-climactic moment.
Now I know what a twenty percent savings is really worth.
Hey, be nice. Corporations are people too, and apparently, like stupid people, there are very stupid corporations.
Corporations are not people. They are an organization made up of people. If Einstein was here to see what we have done I feel he’d call for a do-over.
The supreme Court would beg to differ with you.
Well no, not beg. More like cram it down our throats whether we like it or not.
I’m hoping one day a negligent company gets arrested for homicide and tried as a person.
That would be awesome.
And disagreeing with the Supreme Court is usually a badge of honor. Especially if Scalia is in the majority.
I saw that offer too, but I kept figuring there was a catch. I didn’t anticipate that the catch was they’d make your head explode before you could redeem the card.
No real catch except for the wait. And the horrible customer service. And being recorded. Mind boggling.
It is nice getting $100 for $80, though. And I currently have a positive balance. Yikes.