Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Amazin' ineptitude of Amazon

IF YOU DON’T LIKE READING POINTLESS RANTS…well, I can’t help you there.

So I put an order in for a couple of books back in September with Amazon, remembering that they have trouble with order fulfillment. As in, they tend to tell you “yah, yah, you should plan to see that reach a shipping date between next month and your third prostate exam”. I tried to order some Christmas gifts from them, two or so years back. But I did it in mid November. So they told me they would be booked up until February with delivery issues if I continued with the order.

I cancelled, of course, because that’s absolutely atrocious fulfillment. They said “sorry”, I said, “get a new business model you lazy-assed, cheeky fuckers”, and we parted ways. Until last year when Mothers’ Day came around and I got this coupon for something I thought my mother would like. It was a good month out from Moms’ day, so I figured they could handle it.


“Please expect delivery to be beyond the actual holiday, as we are experiencing a high volume of orders.”

Oh really? No fucking shit? You mean to tell me that coming up on Mothers’ day, you’re getting MORE requests for Mothers’ day items than normal?

Get OUT!

Needless to say, I chose to do nothing for Moms’ day, until my girlfriend convinced me to go on a midnight run to Randall’s for a last-minute gift basket that kicked so much ass, the Amazon gift was an insult to have even been considered in the first place. Seriously, the gift basket was tight, and put together with begrudging love, as my girlfriend rightfully insisted it should be. It really was nice, and I’m glad I did it. But that’s another story for another time.

So I ordered two books from Amazon on September 7th. They estimated the delivery to be somewhere in the following two weeks. I figured, what the hell? Better than digging through the bookstore, right?


The first book was sent for delivery on October 20th, which isn’t that bad, really. A month and a half to deliver a book... Certainly not stellar, but not entirely stupid either. Things can get complicated. It happens. They sent me an email beforehand, asking me if I still wanted it, explaining that I would not be charged for it until I agreed to finalize the order. A month and a half after I made it, for only half of what I ordered. Awesome. I got the book just after Halloween. It’s an okay book. I should have done better research, since it did not end up being the “internet impulse buy” that I initially took it for. Oh well.

Today, the 22nd of November, I got a notification from Amazon asking me if I wanted to complete the transaction for the second book, which would be delivered by December 24th, according to the message. Christmas Eve? THE Christmas Eve? What mail route runs by my crib on that day?


After passing through some hoops, hunting down my password and whatnot, I got to the actual page where one agrees to complete the (retardedly retarded) order. It stated that I should expect delivery north of January 16th…

For a book I ordered on September 7th. A book which was supposed to be in stock and available at the time of order. I ordered that shit when it was 100+ degrees outside, before hurricanes started wrecking shit on the coast DURING HURRICANE SEASON. Why the fuck am I in line behind the Christmas shoppers for delivery?

Yeh, I agreed to take the delivery. I really do want the book, and I have enough other shit going on right now that I can wait to read it. But that doesn’t excuse how ridiculous the whole thing is. I’m no super-star employee or anything, but the efficiency of the Amazon system makes me feel like a human amongst walruses in a Pick-Up Sticks competition.

So I wrote them a letter to accompany my agreement to complete the purchase. They make me feel better about myself, and that’s gift enough, I suppose.

Dear Amazon Employee Who Has to Read This,

This order was put in ON SEPTEMBER 7TH. I will be getting the book FIVE MONTHS LATER, AFTER CHRISTMAS. This makes NO sense whatsoever. Did I need to wait for a classroom of kids with Downs to finish reading them first? One by one? Oh, lighten up. I’m the one who should be upset here, not you.

Let's be reasonable here.

I realize that your company is in the business of collecting information, not selling "things" (that’s just the method, which is fine by me), but... wow. It isn't like I live in an electricity-free, thatched hut in the Andes Mountains where books must be delivered by three-legged burros. Or that you need to wait for a time machine to be invented to *actually* find these books you claimed to have access to. I assumed they had already been written when I ordered them, five hairstyles back.

The point being, I didn't just want to ORDER them back in September, I wanted to have them DELIVERED BEFORE THE CHRISTMAS NIGHTMARE that will besiege your company in the next month. I planned properly for this, knowing that Amazon, without fail, will become so constipated by the deluge of Christmas orders, that its shipping department will choke, seize up entirely, and deny anyone delivery of anything beyond disappointment. Happens every year.

But how could this ruin me if I ORDERED IN SEPTEMBER?

You miraculously found a way to scuttle my diligent efforts. My reasonable plan: unreasonably scatted upon. I am left a broken man, with nothing to read. Please weep for me. But only briefly. Then kindly get crackin’ on filling my order.

Since I am a man of honor and have respect for (however egregiously late) purchase fulfillment, I will continue with this purchase. I really do want the book. But until such time as Amazon is capable of selling and delivering items WITHIN the average lifespan of a healthy hamster, I am afraid it will be my last of such orders with your company.

Hopefully I will not be too old to read by the time this book arrives. Or perhaps you’d be willing to trade it for one on tape. If I can still hear.

Trying to laugh it all off,


For the love of internet commerce, Amazon, get your shit together.