A Tom B. Taker Christmas
There it was. In the mailbox. A legitimate Christmas miracle. It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes. Instead of darkness I beheld a world of twinkly light.
It was beautiful! I felt alive. I loved everything I could see. I sprinted out into the street and hugged the garbage man. He was beautiful. He looked really surprised. Maybe I should have worn pants but there was no time for that.
In my hands I held a Christmas card. It was even addressed to me. To me! Someone had sent me a Christmas card. A bona fide recipient of the Ribbon of Participation. I was finally somebody.
“God bless us, every one!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. I’d never felt a stronger sense of belonging.
Yes, it was time for a let down.
Amazonian Space–Time Continuum
Who likes to wait? Not me! That’s why I went back in time to write this post. Ah, here it is! What took so long?
Once upon a time I was in a serious quandary. I wanted some cheap, plastic, materialistic consumer shit made in China and I wanted it now. What to do, what to do?
As I saw it, there were two choices.
I could haul my fat ass up and out of my chair, somehow make it to the car, drive to a big-box store, somehow make it inside and navigate the maze to (hopefully) the right section where the object of my desire might be found. All the while being blasted by a tasty mix of songs scientifically designed to make me spend more money. (The mix is a rotation of two songs. Happy, by Pharrell Williams and anything by Mumford & Sons.)
I say “might” because I’ve tried this in the past and it didn’t quite work out. Ever go to the store to buy one specific thing? After expending incredible effort (see previous paragraph) you learn it isn’t even there. Out of stock. I do not believe there is a worse feeling in the entire universe.
And that other choice I mentioned earlier? Amazon. Duh.
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So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.
Survivor: Abyss Island – Finality and First Meal
Day 39 is here! Just in time, too, to help me ring in a new rash. No one can ever accuse me of not doing all that is required. By this same time tomorrow I’ll be on my way back to civilization. So sorry. I lived.
Tonight looms my final immunity challenge and, win or lose, the final tribal council. What horrors, disappointments and further humiliations await? Tune in tomorrow for the recap post.
So it’s the wee hours of the early morn on Day 39 and I’ve just been awakened by my host. There’s bonus tree mail.
Last and Final Tree Mail
Congratulations, you’ve made it to Day 39.
Pack your camp up and get ready to go. Your hostest with the mostest is taking you to a celebratory breakfast this morning at 7 a.m. During breakfast you will honor your fallen teammates … wait … there were no teammates. Well whatever, enjoy your breakfast cause you’ll need your energy for the last and final challenge of Survivor Abyss Island.
May you be crowned the Sole Survivor.
That last sentence almost sounds, dare I say it? Encouraging? Suddenly I’m very afraid.
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Wrest Buy Drive By Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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.
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I is a writer
Writing a blog post can be painful. It’s generally a two-step process. The first part is a raw download of a stream of consciousness where the excruciating detail of a narrative flies from your fingers to the keyboard. It’s easy to dump one or two-thousand words in the blink of an eye. Then comes the hard part. Editing and trimming that content down to a readable bite-sized chunk of about 200 words.
That second step is way too troublesome so I usually leave it out. I like to think that’s what makes my blog special and gives it a certain sense of charm. Of course, it is no small help that deluding myself is one of my favorite hobbies.
So the goal of this post is to tell a story and fit within 200 words. And, since I’m posting, we already know it will be about poop or work.
My boss and I have a slight disagreement when it comes to the mail. (Yes, work wins today. I’ll get you next time, poop!)
I believe that if you place your order by 10am we’ll get you shipped the same day. My boss believes that if you order by 5:30m, we’ll get you shipped the same day.
If we do things my way, the post office picks up the mail, usually around noon.
If we do things my way, the post office picks up the mail, usually around noon. And around 5:20 in afternoon (if I’m lucky) I have to schlep my ass down to the main post office in town. Which, by the way, is rude as hell, since he deliberately schedules his operation to be there after the post office has already closed to the public. “They don’t usually ship until 6 o’clock,” he likes to say. His way is to dump his packages in an employees-only area when they’re trying to finish up their day and meet their own deadlines. Sorry, folks. Here’s some bonus work. Yeah, the boss doesn’t much like to follow rules. Those are for the other people.
I asked my boss why we don’t just use the daily pickup. What’s so important about getting packages out the same day that we need to make an extra trip to the post office? Most customers know and expect that if they order after 10am their package will ship the next business day. That’s pretty routine.
He says, “When I worked alone, I always did it. I think it’s important.” Fine. Whatever. Except your lying. Remember the day I had off for jury duty? Not only did you not go to the post office, you didn’t even process any of my orders. Apparently getting customer order shipped the same day is only important when it’s me on the hook. Your actions that day spoke loud and clear and I listened. You friggin’ douche butt.
So last night we had another little incident. At 5:10pm I ask the boss, “It’s getting late. Got anything else you’ll need from me?” He said no.
Around 5:20pm I gather my lunch box, my sunglasses, and the shipping tub full of packages and I head for the door about to make my way to the post office (and in my own car).
“Hang on a second,” he says. “Come look at this.”
I put all my stuff down and went to his desk. He was showing me a product page on our website. “We’re going to need to remove pricing from this product and mark it as discontinued.”
“No problem,” I said. “Drop me an email like normal and I’ll let you know as soon as it is done.”
“I need this right away.” He’s so coy.
I chewed on that for a second. “Are you saying,” I asked, “that you want me to do that right now?” Saying I sounded incredulous would be the understatement of the year.
And so I went and put the shipping tub down, took off my sunglasses, stowed my lunchbox, and found myself back at my desk turning my computer back on. I mean, shit, it’s not like I didn’t proactively ask him if he had more work for me 10 minutes earlier. Assmonkeys!!!
And that’s the story of how I picked up 15 extra minutes of pay last night.
And look. I’m over 200 works. Fuck it.