In recent weeks, being just a little bit of a latecomer to the party, I have discovered eBay.
I made three purchases in one evening, for a total of four over the last 12 or 13 years. That first purchase happened to be from someone I knew, who lived in Battleford when I lived in North Battleford. I drove over to his place to pick it up.
Anyhow, as a lot of the specialty items I need can’t be obtained locally, I’m increasingly turning to online shopping. By the time I drive to Regina for something, anything, it’s easily $200 in food, fuel, and a whole day wasted.
I can buy a lot for $200, each trip. I might be buying used camera gear or computer hardware. Whatever it is, I try to shop local first, but sometimes there’s no other option.
I find that Amazon and Newegg, in addition to eBay, seem to be fitting the bill.
So you would think, by now, that the local couriers would consider my address to be something of a semi-regular dropoff. At least, not one that’s out of the blue.
That might be the case for Purolator, but I think there needs to be some work with UPS.
Which brings us back to eBay. I ordered three items from different parts of the continent. One was from Quebec, another was from California, and a third from Indiana. At the same time I ordered two minor items, one from Amazon, and another identical item from a Canadian camera store.
The two identical minor items arrived within minutes of each other, and in short order. The only difference between them is I paid $10 for shipping from the camera store and didn’t have to pay for shipping from Amazon, as I pay my $100 or so per year for Amazon Prime. So far, so good.
But these other items are driving me a little batty.
One, from Quebec, arrived today, via Canada Post. Everything was good, and the expected delivery date was from Monday to Friday this week. It actually came last Friday afternoon, and a tag was left in the mailbox. With me picking it up from the post office on Monday, I was happy.
Following the tracking on the two other items has been less satisfying.
The notes on eBay’s tracking noted on Friday, at 7:25 p.m., “The driver was unable to collect funds on the first delivery attempt. A second attempt will be made.”
That’s interesting. I was home at the time. I remember this distinctly as I had just got back from taking photos out of town and rolled into the driveway at 7:15 p.m. The next 15 minutes I was in-and-out of the house, unloading gear. And the kids had been home for several hours prior to that. No delivery truck drove up during this time, so I call bovine feces on their “first delivery attempt.”
The funds they are trying to collect are for import duties, which I though had been covered in the shipping costs, but whatever.
The next entry says for 5:01 p.m. on Saturday. “The driver was unable to collect funds on the first delivery attempt. A second attempt will be made.”
Where was I, my wife and two children at that time? Home. All of us. No one came to our door. And I didn’t see tracks in the snow the next morning when I shovelled the driveway.
So here we were, on day three of their supposed delivery, it’s after 5 p.m. (couriers usually get here around 3 p.m.), and there’s no delivery guy from UPS.
In the past couple days, there was a fair bit of snow. So I can understand if it takes the various delivery drivers longer to come around. And I’m an individual, not a regular business stop. Priorities. I get it.
At Christmas time I ended up ordering two copies of my wife’s gift, a year’s worth of nursing uniform pants. The first shipment said on Amazon that it had arrived. It did not. I waited a week, no pants, and no gift for me to put under the tree. So I squawked to Amazon and they sent a replacement order immediately, which arrived on the double-quick. Then the first parcel arrived the next day.
So now my wife had two years’ worth of uniform pants for her. Being the respectable guy I am, I contacted Amazon and paid for the second parcel, as opposed to sending them back. She’s going to use them anyhow, I figured.
I now am beginning to understand why people are installing doorbell cameras – to see who shows up to your house, and when. Or in this case, to prove a negative, when they do not show up, despite saying they had.
Online ordering opens up the world in a way Sears or Eaton’s could only dream about. But it’s those pesky deliveries that still need to be perfected, methinks.
Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.