Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Your shipment has been intercepted" and other gifting disasters

I looked in horror at the tracking information on my computer. “Shipment has been intercepted.”

A few weeks ago I decided to buy Rebecca Reuben, the newest American Girl doll, for my daughter’s eleventh birthday. Why not see if it was going for cheaper on ebay? I went over and found it for about $20 cheaper than the company’s price. With about 11 seconds left to the bidding, I placed a bid and won. I was thrilled!

Eleven days passed. A serviceman at my door mentioned that I had no numbers on my house. I remembered that I had removed the numbers when painting my mailbox over the summer and, having broken some, had neglected to purchase new ones. I wondered if the UPS man was having a problem finding my house. I went to Home Depot, purchased the needed digits, and went out in the 30-degree chill to nail them onto the post.

I checked the tracking information. It had been returned to the shipper! Was it because of the lack of numbers on my house? Looking back a little farther, I found that the doll had arrived at the UPS center two towns away from me two days after I had placed the order. At that point, the shipper had requested an “intercept” of the package and turned it around. Further exploration showed me that the shipper was no longer a “registered user” on ebay. My paypal payment had gone through successfully.

I burst into tears. Maybe this was not an appropriate reaction. At that moment, it seemed to be a total disaster that my daughter was not going to get this doll in time for her birthday.

“Why don’t you tell her about the problem?” suggested my very reasonable 12-year-old daughter, who was busy baking gingerbread cookies in the kitchen.

“Because then it won’t be a surprise,” I said.

But then I realized that that was the best course of action. If I was going to go through the trouble of re-ordering the doll with priority shipping, I should see if this was really something she wanted in the first place.

So I went to my still-10-year-old and explained to her the problem. She was totally nonplussed. She said that she really would like to have Rebecca and that if it did not come on time for her birthday it would still be okay, as long as she knew it was coming.

Her sweet and calm reaction showed me that my own had been just a little over-the-top. I ordered the doll directly from American Girl (serves me right for having ordered from an unauthorized dealer), paying extra for two-day shipping; opened a complaint with E-bay; and wrote a courteous email to the seller giving him one day to reply regarding a refund before I filed a complaint with Paypal.

I realized that I had been temporarily overwhelmed by the responsibilities of organizing a Little Flower group on Friday night, Confirmation Class Saturday morning, and birthday party Saturday afternoon, with a whole lot of Christmas planning thrown into the mix.

Sometimes the things we think are of utmost importance for our children aren’t really that important to them. And when you put them into perspective of the grand scheme of the universe, there is no cause to be upset over tiny details such as finding the perfect gift on time.

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Karen said...

If I had been in your situation I would have been freaking out. I always worry so much about making sure everything is just right for my girls. And, of course, I'm always looking for the best deal I can find on whatever it is that I'm interested in buying. We're huge American Girl fans here, so I generally stalk their website looking for good deals. I think it was back in September or October that they ran a few good coupons that could be used on the dolls. That's when I picked up Kit for my youngest daughter. American Girl's customer service is so wonderful that I hesitate to buy their products from anyone but them.

Randy Beeler said...

I love this sacramental account of God lovingly working His Grace--even amid our panic! Thank you for reminding us of what matters!

In Christ & Mother Mary--Randy Beeler