No such thing as “a free lunch”

6 Jun

I am not one of the people who think amazon is the root of all evil–or even more evil than most corporations. Therefore, I tend to be philosophical about its quirks.

Since I don’t have enough disposable income to make Prime worth the expense, I look to group my orders so that I hit that magical $25 minimum and thus qualify for “free shipping.”

For the most part, and unless pre-orders are involved, free shipping means regular parcel post–or, since I mostly order books or DVDs from them, media post. No big deal, to be honest.

And, again for the most part, even when pre-ordering something, what usually happens is that amazon ships the item the day of the release, or perhaps the day after the release. Add four to five days for delivery, and I’m a happy enough camper.

Not so much at the moment, I have to say.

See, back on March 1st I place an order–or rather a pre-order–for two books. One of them released back in April, the other on Tuesday (no points for guessing which book ). On Monday evening I was online, participating in a series of fun, short giveaways hosted by The Book Pushers, and happened to check the status of that order. Imagine my joy at seeing the desired “shipping now” banner on it!

Happy dancing absolutely ensued.

Because usually, once the “shipping now” label appears, it takes all of ten to twelve hours for an email to arrive, complete with tracking number. This has been true of every other order I’ve place with amazon using their free shipping feature since…well, since the very first one, however many years ago.

Then imagine my consternation when I checked the status again just a few hours ago and found it (still) “shipping now” with an estimate delivery date of June 10 to 14. Now, for those few souls out there who don’t know, once an order is “shipping now” customers can’t change anything about it–I’m not even sure the order can be cancelled.

But wait, both books have been released and the order is “shipping now”–which I take to mean they HAVE the books, because you cannot be “shipping NOW” what you don’t have.

So, in all my innocence, I contact amazon customer service. The poor chap unlucky enough to answer my chat was somewhere in the other side of the globe (it was 3am EDT, after all) and tried his very best to explain to me that I will get the package sometime before 8pm on Friday June 14th. He had slightly less success in explaining to me why the fuck is my order held hostage for ten days before that.

I didn’t copy the chat so I can’t prove to you that I wasn’t abusive nor rude, but I readily admit that I was not amused by being talked to in circles.

Yes, I’m aware is a free service that amazon offers, and that therefore I’m expected not to complain about it. I am also aware that there is a misrepresentation of the actual service–when you pre-order something, it’s supposed to become available for shipping on the date of release, no four to six days later, and when something is “shipping now,” the rationale behind the “you can’t change your order anymore” is that the order is in the actual process of being put together and shipped.

The reality? Holding the order hostage to try to force the customer to change the shipping method to a paid one.

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One Response to “No such thing as “a free lunch””

  1. Lori 06/06/2013 at 1:48 PM #

    Usually Amazon works really well but now and then they fail. But I’ve been so pleased recently with returns and ease with their customer service.

    I have to admit to being just a big fracking Amazon fangirl.

    Although I was under the impression that for pre-orders you were supposed to receive the item on the day of release. You are getting screwed on that one.

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