Gather ’round, children, because it is STORYTIME! Do you have your blankies and your snacks?
SIDE NOTE: once, during storytime at the library, the girls were all braiding each other’s hair, and I had such long pretty hair then, and when it was my turn to get my hair braided (and it was a FRENCH BRAID, which my mom couldn’t do) the librarian was all “STOP THAT AND PAY ATTENTION” so I never got my French braid and I was so, so sad.
It is The Nephew’s birthday on Monday, and he is four. I know. That’s a very prestigious age. On Sunday, we are having his fourth birthday party at his other aunt’s house. It is a pool party and there will be many adorable kiddos running around being cheerful and all hopped-up on cake and such. I haven’t seen him since February so I’m looking forward to seeing him. He grows quickly, that little guy. He’s all legs. He’s going to be a tall one.
So Mom’s coming up Saturday afternoon, spending the night and we’re having all the adventures, and then Sunday we’ll go to the party and then she’ll head home.
Now, the question was: what do we get for an almost-four-year-old we love more than anything in the world?
Mom spoke to The Nephew’s mom (K.) and K. said that he wanted an iPad. Well, he’s only four. I don’t even have an iPad. And I was worried that maybe that’s too much of a thing for a kiddo. I knew that sj got LeapPads for her kids for Christmas, and they love them and use them all the time, and they’re LIKE iPads, only for adorable kiddos…so I said, hey, Mom? Ask K. what her thoughts are about LeapPads. She did, and K. researched them and said, “Yes! LeapPads are a VERY good idea!”
So I researched the best deal I could find for a LeapPad and various accessories and the best deal was from Walmart.
Now, I’m boycotting Walmart, because many Christmases ago, I went shopping there (and it was stupidly crowded, as it is) and I was trying to get something off a very high shelf and had to ask for help and the employee was SO RUDE to me. And that was the straw that broke this particular camel’s back, because every time I went there, I had some sort of issue. Rudeness or price problems or people shopping there being weird or things not being on the shelf or hearing about their practices with employees…so I decided, nope. No more. I have randomly bought things from them online, when I didn’t have another choice and that’s the only place a thing was sold (you know I love to win gifting) and if I was in a place where Walmart was the only shopping option, well, of course I had to shop there. A person can’t go without deodorant or jerky. But otherwise, it’s Target or Kmart for me.
(Also, Dad worked there for a brief period of time when it first came to his town and then he quit, but he likes to say “WALMART FIRED ME! Those bastards” and he also hates to go there more than he has to, so he’s down with my Walmart boycott.)
But I like to win birthdays, especially for The Nephew…and I like to save money…and Mom and I were splitting the cost of the LeapPad…so I bought it from Walmart. It came with a green rubbery skin thingy and a recharger and an adapter so all I’d have to buy was a pair of earbuds and some rechargable batteries and WE WOULD WIN BIRTHDAYS. (Mom also bought him a bunch of other things, like clothes and toys, but you can hardly blame her. He’s her only grandchild.)
I ordered on a Monday. Walmart said it would arrive a week later. I kicked back and lived life. At the end of the week, I got a package with the charger and the adapter and the recharger. “Huh,” I thought. “That came early. Where’s the LeapPad?” So I went online to check it out.
According to the site, the LeapPad had been delivered to my front door days ago. Funny, because I never got it.
I called FedEx, a touch panicky, and explained the situation. “It’s been delivered,” said FedEx, very helpfully.
“No, it really hasn’t. And I’ve been here for years and no one’s ever stolen a package from my front door. Plus my neighbor sits in his front doorway all day long and watches everything that happens and when I get home and I’ve gotten a package, he says, ‘you have a package!’ as if I’m blind so I think he’d notice if someone nefariously stole my package.”
“Well, we can open a case about this. It’ll take a few weeks.”
“Um. My nephew’s birthday is a week from Sunday. Can…anything we can do to speed that up?”
“Well, ma’am, since it’s been delivered, you’re lucky we’re opening a case, honestly.”
I managed not to scream “IT WASN’T DELIVERED AS I’M NOT HOLDING IT IN MY HAND!” and wrote down the case number.
On Monday, I called them again. They still knew nothing. They did, strangely, ask me what color my building was. When I told them red and cream, they asked “Are you sure?” Um. Pretty sure?
I asked them what, exactly, they recommended I do about this. “Maybe call Walmart? I don’t know,” said the very helpful FedEx lady.
Listen, this wasn’t Walmart’s fault. I wasn’t even sure it was FedEx’s fault. It was either delivered and stolen, or misdelivered (that happens here a lot), or not delivered at all. But I love my nephew, and LeapPads are expensive. I really didn’t want to have to buy another one. And I couldn’t ask Mom to halfway-reimburse me for ANOTHER one. It wasn’t HER fault.
So I emailed Walmart. I explained the whole situation. I poured on the pathos. I mentioned The Nephew. I mentioned he was the best. I mentioned he was four. I mentioned I like to win birthdays.
They sent back a form letter explaining how much their delivery options cost. Sigh, I thought. Of course they did.
But at the bottom, it said “if this doesn’t answer your question, respond to this email and explain your problem again.”
So I rewrote the whole thing. Crossed my fingers.
Not five minutes later, I got an email back.
“It sounds like your package was lost after delivery. We’ll start another order for you at no cost to you.”
Whaaaa? Lost after delivery? They accepted that was a thing? THEY WERE RESENDING THE PACKAGE?
I emailed back. Thanking them. PROFUSELY. I said I only needed the LeapPad, not the accessories; I’d received those. And I asked if I could pick it up in the store, since it was now less than a week until the party. And I thanked them. Again. And wondered amazedly over their customer service.
I got an email back, stating they’d expedited shipping and I’d get it in no more than two days. APOLOGIZING FOR THE INCONVENIENCE. What? WHAT? Holy crap. Asking if, somehow, I ever received the original package, to send it back to them at their expense; I could print a return shipping label from their site. And? AND?
“Please wish your nephew a very happy birthday from all of us here at Walmart.”
Hear that sound? It’s the sound of my self-imposed Walmart boycott slipping away.
We do not live in a very customer-service-oriented society. And when a business goes out of their way to help someone who needs it – I am loyal to that business. My garage treats me like a human being, not a stupid girl; I will never, ever, in a million years, get my car worked on anywhere else. My hairdresser is the coolest, funniest person, and a single mom struggling to make ends meet, and works around my schedule to get me in; I’ve followed her to three salons and would follow her to a dozen more. Walmart just sent me a product that FedEx lost (or was stolen) at their own expense, when they didn’t have to. And put a personal touch on it. It might be their policy, but it’s a damn fine one.
I will no longer boycott Walmart.
And? AND? When I got home from work Wednesday, I had a message from FedEx. I was trying to find a way to embed it here, but it had my real name and address on it and that’s how you get stabmurdered, so I stopped trying to do that.
Here’s the message, paraphrased:
“Hi, Amy. This is FedEx. We’ve investigated your case, and found out what happened to your package. The deliveryperson brought it to your home, but was unable to find you. He then gave it to someone he assumed to be a maintenance person in the parking lot, who said you no longer lived there, but he would take care of the package for you. So…that’s really all we can do about that. We suggest you contact Walmart and see if they can help. Thank you for using FedEx.”
OMG FEDEX WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.
You gave my nephew’s LeapPad to a random person in my parking lot who may or may not have been a maintenance person? Is this your policy? To just give packages to strangers? Did you even TRY to find my home? Because a couple days later, you found it just fine and delivered the other package there! WHO DID YOU GIVE MY PACKAGE TO? And did it strike you as odd that the person said they’d “take care of it?” And how did that person know I no longer lived there? Did I move out in the few days between ordering the package and getting it delivered? AND, why did you write on the website you’d delivered it to my front door when that’s a flat-out lie? And WHY ARE YOU TAKING NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS, as if this is a thing that just HAPPENS sometimes?
I listened to this message three times to be sure I wasn’t misunderstanding it. Dad is FURIOUS about this. Mom just doesn’t understand how this could happen.
Dear FedEx: you can be assured that, if I’m even given the option of shipping, I will not be choosing you. It’ll be UPS or the post office from now on. That’s what crappy customer service and giving The Nephew’s LeapPad to randoms in my parking lot will get you.
In happier news, I got the new LeapPad Wednesday after work; it was waiting for me, all shiny and packaged and wonderful. Mom and I will win birthdays and The Nephew will be happy with his new technology and all will be well in birthday-land.
So, in summation:
- Birthday: won.
- Walmart: customer service win.
- FedEx: WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.
Happy Friday, people of the blog. I hope your weekends are good and randoms in your parking lots don’t steal your LeapPads.