Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hey, Amazon! "Shipping Soon" Does Not Belong in a Time Distortion Field

Amazon and I go back a long way, mainly because I like their service. The delivery is speedy; sometimes, so speedy that I receive an order of CDs before I receive the email shipping notice, which somehow defies logic.

Anyway, this year, as part of our company's Family Giving Tree holiday event, I went to Amazon to order some toys for local children. Knowing that delivery time would be close, I first opted for "Super Saver Shipping," and then I immediately checked order status to see if I needed to change the shipping method or cancel the order altogether.

This is where it gets really irritating. The two most expensive items I ordered, both handled by Amazon itself, were instantly in the "Shipping Soon" status, meaning I could not change the shipping method or cancel the order. The gotcha? The estimated ship date is December 4, five days from today. WTF? If you are talking about geology, the Age of the Universe, or the pace of climate change, then I would agree that five days is "really soon." If you are talking about the Holiday Shopping Season, then "soon" is more like two to eight hours, but certainly not days.

I'll be more careful next time....


Here it is, the next day, and:
  • I got a reply to my nastygram to Amazon, which to paraphrase said, "Sorry!"
  • All the items in my order have shipped!
This tells me that I should not believe any estimated shipping dates from Amazon, and instead trust the status. When they say "Shipping Soon," they seem to mean it.

Maybe the same folks that designed the shipping estimator for Amazon also designed the Windows Explorer progress meter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lowering My Doggie Bag Footprint

Debbi and I usually prefer to eat in when dining, even on the rare occasions we go to a classic fast food place. It bugs me that the food is served with disposable wrappers and utensils -- just another reason to avoid standard fast food.

But what about the classic Doggie Bag? After a nice meal at a restaurant with regular place settings, I feel guilty when the leftovers are boxed and bagged up in disposable containers.

So here's what I'll try to do from here on out: Keep a couple of those reusable plastic containers around when we go out and have the leftovers dumped into them. Saves on trash for one thing. For another, those reusable containers are more durable and leak-proof than the foam containers typically used.

Now, should I bring my own flatware and cloth napkins when going to a fast food joint?