the parcel to Nowhereville
famous Canadian Science Fiction novelist
Mark A. Carter rants about on-line shopping, lost shipments,
misplaced packages, and poor customer service during the
Let me give you my two cents
worth about a major electronics distributor of feline nomenclature
and a delivery service noted for their
knobby-kneed drivers, and a simple order made at the
outset of the Christmas rush
or as I like to called it: the nightmare before
Christmas, with apologies to
I ordered a fifty foot length
of Cat 5 cable from this on-line
electronics megastore and
expected it to be sent from a warehouse in the
GTA, which for those of you who aren't acquainted with
Ontario means the
Greater Toronto Area. But instead, it was drop
shipped from a supplier in Indiana.
I tracked it on-line via the delivery service. And it
was supposed to be delivered in two days. But instead of arriving
at my door, it was delivered to the
DOCK in Nowhereville, Illinois
where it sat for ...
well ... forever.
When I e-mailed the electronics
megastore about my package's
delivery to Nowhereville,
I received a response a day later insisting that my order would
be on its way ASAP.
But four days later, when I tracked
it, my Cat 5 cable was still
sitting on the DOCK in
When I phoned the electronics
megastore to complain about
the delay and to suggest that my order was lost, the women I
spoke with insisted that she knew precisely where my order was.
It was in Nowhereville. And
it would ship out ...
to Nowhereville by Christmas GUARANTEED.
and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from
day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded
And all our yesterdays have
The way to dusty death. Out,
out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow,
a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour
upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound
V, v. ll. 17-28.
|I know exactly
where your package is, sir. It's been tracked to Nowhereville,
|But I don't live
Lame excuses just make me groan.
Birnam Wood will come marching
to my front door, with apologies to the
Bard and his vile Scottish
play, before I see my Cat
5 cable. Of that I am certain.
And so, a simple Ethernet cable
purchased by my wife as a Christmas
present is not here. It is not sitting beneath my tree,
wrapped and bowed. It is being used by someone called
Everyman who pocketed it in
Nowhereville and is having a thoroughly marvelous
Christmas with my gift and untold others. A lump of coal
would have been better compensation than the
lip service that I received from the electronic
customer service. Have you noticed that when companies
screw up, they fall back defensively on Policy and ridiculous
excuses in utter denial that anything is wrong. If anything,
they psychologically project
the problem upon their customers. So, of course, the problem
is mine. How dare I complain? How dare I not get my order.
Right. Sure. You bet.
Having once worked for the delivery
service in question as a scanner,
I know full well that my parcel may have been scanned into their
Nowhereville Illinois facility
and then been promptly lost. It will be found months or years
from now where it tumbled off a congested conveyer belt and fell
beneath the mechanism where no one ever cleans. It will be out
of sight and out of mind forever. Or the address label got ripped
off and it takes the mental midgets
at the delivery service days if not weeks to simply cut
open the package, find the packing slip, create a new address
label, and get my order to me pronto.
But no ... that's
too much to ask. They know where it is. It's in
Nowhereville. But it has simply
... poof ... vanished. It's all a mystery to them now.
Give me a break.
When I phoned the
megastore and spoke with their flat-toned female representative,
I was hoping that customer service would agree that my parcel
was lost and deem to send me an IN STOCK replacement from one
of their warehouses in the GTA.
It would have been here in a couple of days. Maybe, because they
had already inconvenienced me and upset me thoroughly, they might
consider putting a rush on delivery. But no
Postal Service is the only way to ship. My wife ordered several on-line items
this season, on the same day, from five different companies,
and only one package has arrived. People often dismiss the mail
service in Canada and in the
US as inferior to the courier
services. But I beg to differ.
The only package that has arrived, thus far, was shipping by
mail. That is why I always send packages by mail and prefer to
receive shipments that are mailed. I shipped a
Christmas parcel to Nova Scotia
from Windsor, Ontario a few days ago by Regular Post
on a Friday afternoon and
it was there by Monday morning.
But alas, we customers are often held hostage by the company
we purchase from and the delivery service they use exclusively.
And that is why my order was sucked into the
black hole that is Nowhereville,
or so I would like to believe.
Also, is it better to know or
not to know where your parcel is as it makes it journey from
the distributor to your door? Part of the problem with the delivery
of my Cat 5 cable is that
I witnessed it get lost in Nowhereville.
And it is upsetting to see. Perhaps it would have been
better to forget about the order shortly after making it and
stumble about in blissful ignorance. And when it arrived, I would
have been delightfully surprised. I am sure I have that to look
forward to as senility approaches. But for now
... forget about it.
|Years ago, I placed
an on-line order that took over a month to get here. It eventually
arrived after traveling around the world. Instead of being placed
on a plane bound for Toronto,
then traveling down the MacDonald-Cartier
Freeway by truck from the
GTA to Windsor, and
getting to me within the week, my order was placed on a
slow boat to China. Of course I'm kidding. It went farther
than that. It journeyed all the way to
Sydney Australia. And much like six year old
Bettina Miller who rolled out of bed and passed through
her bedroom wall into another dimension, I'm beginning to suspect
that my current order has also taken a circuitous route via the
fictional Indiana town of
Nowhereville and is lost somewhere
in the ether of the Ethernet courtesy of
The Twilight Zone.
TO SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
"Little Girl Lost," The Twilight Zone, episode
91, March 16, 1962 based on a story by Richard Matheson published
in The Shores of Space, 1953.
Christmas and Happy New Year from South
The truth be told, the brainiacs
at the on-line electronics
megastore eventually realized that my package was indeed
lost in Nowhereville along
with a considerable chunk of my sanity. And they sent me a replacement
order. It arrived in two days and just in time for
Christmas. "Joy to the world." And, once again,
peace and tranquility prevailed throughout the