zen.org Communal Weblog

September 20, 2005

Gahhh online shopping is over-rated

Filed under: — brendan @ 19:22 IST

I’m helping with a project that needs three 100-foot lengths of CAT5 ethernet cable. And quickly. Fine, says I, this will be easy. I go online to TigerDirect.com, order them, and can’t get it to change the shipping from UPS Ground, but since it’s Friday hopefully it’ll make it in time. Well, up comes the order confirmation page showing me my order number and thanking me—and letting me know most orders will take 5-7 days because of a renovation or move or something at their warehouse.

Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! There’s no way in hell it’ll make it. Why didn’t they warn me?

I call them on the phone (screw email), but the guy said it’s not yet in his system; it could be 30 minutes to 2 hours before it shows up. Maybe try calling in the morning. Fine. I go to Cables-To-Go, spend about 3x as much for the same cables, but get it to promise UPS 2-day shipping. I reach the final page, but it doesn’t say if it’ll be shipping soon. Uh oh. I call them: their offices are closed and won’t open again until Monday morning. Jesus. So my shipment probably won’t happen til Monday, meaning it might show up on Wednesday.

Saturday morning, I call Tiger Direct back to cancel the order. The order’s been COMPLETED AND SHIPPED. What??? It was going to take between 5 and 7 days, I thought. So I’ve got two orders of 300′ of cable coming, with TigerDirect coming at least a day or two after Cables-To-Go. The guy on the phone from TigerDirect, Roberto, says my only real option is to refuse delivery when it shows up.

Ok. Monday, I try calling Cables-To-Go to see if I can cancel *THEIR* order. No answer, the phone just rings. Crazy busy day so I don’t keep trying.

Today, Tuesday, I get an email from Cables-To-Go confirming my order shipped today. TODAY? It was supposed to go out Monday cuz I ordered it on Friday. Well, the email says it shipped only 5 minutes ago so maybe it’s actually sitting in their shipping department and I can call and cancel the damn thing. I call Cables-To-Go, the guys says it’s too late, it actually did leave, so sorry.

Oh wait—they’re doing manual entry of all shipments because of a problem, and it did in fact ship on Monday. The email I got was incorrect. So it (the $200 shipment) should arrive on Wednesday. This is getting nuts. Well, we’ve got two orders en route now, in theory arriving within a day of each other. Whatever. We’ll have them reject the $200 order (C-T-G) and wait a day to accept the $70 order (TigerDirect).

Just to double-check that TigerDirect will really arrive when I expect it to, I check their site: a UPS tracking number. Ok, over to UPS.

The shipment is on its way—as of 8:35am Tuesday September 20th. Oh god. That’s today. But the person on the phone Saturday morning said it had shipped! UPS says it wasn’t even SCANNED until 8:36pm Monday night for its origin, and sat there for 12 hours til it actually scanned for departure Tuesday morning. Grr. TigerDirect, shipping today from Illinois, won’t make it til Friday or MONDAY. And it too can’t be cancelled. So now we’re forced to make sure they accept the $200 order tomorrow, and wait until the TigerDirect ($70) order shows up some days later to be rejected.

This was just insane. So much for the notion online shopping is superior to getting off your ass and going to RadioShack—their products might be a tad overpriced sometimes, but at least you can get what you need immediately.

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