Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Little Whine and No Cheese

Friday, I placed an order with a big, national bookseller. I was on their site for 1 specific book, but quickly realized that I'd have to add a few items so that I could get the free shipping that made ordering worthwhile in the first place. So, I poked around the bargain section, adding a few things here and there for the kids, watching the total ratchet up bit by bit. Then, I came across a book that was actually on my mental wish list, not just one I found interesting enough to consider adding to save money. I did a quick comparison check to discover the price I'd found was about half of what everyone else seemed to be quoting. Score!

So I dropped that sucker right into my cart and checked out. 10% coupon, check. Free shipping option, yes, please. Order in and printed, I'll be notified when it ships. Nice.

Fast forward about 15 hours, to late Saturday night, when most people are too busy out living lives to be sitting at their computer watching their e-mail come in (clearly, I am not these people). Up pop 2 e-mails from the bookseller, the second of which said my order was ready to ship. But it was the first that gave me the saucer eyes, because the subject line said my order was canceled?

How could they have canceled my order and then tell me it's shipping soon? I clicked open the note and saw that they were very sorry that they couldn't completely fill my order and they we canceling the item in question, which happened to be my bargain book treasure. Huh? It was in stock when I ordered it, so what's the problem? I could only guess, because that was the extent of the e-mail, and they weren't giving me any reasons.

I clicked back over to the main site and looked up the book directly. Yup, still in stock. But now the price was double. Oh, how nice.

I know this is no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it really chaps my hide, if this is in fact how it looks (and I'm not sure how it could be anything else) and they didn't want to sell me something for the original, lower price, that they would handle the situation in such a poor, unprofessional manner. For $8. That could not possibly break their bank. Oh, and I used a Groupon deal to pay for part of the initial order, and now the total comes in below my coupon amount, and I will end up losing money.

So what would you do in this instance? Cancel the whole order? Write to their customer service center? Write to their management? Take to the internet complaining (oops, I already did that)? Let it go? For one thing, I know I won't be shopping there again anytime soon. It's not like they're aren't other booksellers out there, particularly out here in cyberspace (which, by the way, seems to be the money-saving option because every book I looked at in a physical store was full price there but discounted on their sites).

Sometimes it just feels good to get these little, niggling things off my chest like this. Otherwise, I'll just stew them over in my head until steam comes out of my ears. So, thanks for keeping my from cooking my own brain. If you need me, I'll be at the library from now on.

(You can probably figure out which store I'm describing, but in case you need another hint, it's the one that doesn't live up to their own name, which sounds an awful lot like Smarnes & Bloble.)

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