Thursday, October 28, 2010

Please Allow 4 to 6 Weeks for Delivery

Remember those days? How in the world did we ever wait so long between ordering something and having it delivered? Of course, there are still catalogue and internet companies that caution us about long waits, but it's not at all unusual anymore to order something online and have it arrive just a couple days later.

I was trying to think back to when the time for delivery got so much shorter, and I tend to think that for me, it was when I started buying things through eBay. And then, a few years after that, along came the Fat Quarter Shop and spoiled me even more. Since they almost always ship Priority Mail the day an order is placed, there's barely any wait. And, of course, there quite a lot of other shops out there that provide the same quick service.

A couple weeks ago, I placed an order with an eBay store--of course, this was a late night finger poking session--and by the next morning, the seller had sent me a Priority Mail tracking number. I anticipated my order would arrive in a couple days, but it seemed that I waited and I waited, and just as I was starting to think my order must have gotten lost in delivery, it showed up in my mailbox--a WEEK after the date printed on the Priority Mail postage label.

My first reaction was annoyance, because I suspect the package was prepared for mailing and the seller just never made it to the post office until several days later. But then I checked myself--what was the hurry? After all, it wasn't like I was going to rush that fabric into the Sweat Shop and have at it. Nope, it will simmer on the shelf for a little while like most of my textile purchases, so there was really no rush at all.

You know what still bugs me though? I paid a premium price to get this fabric because it was over a year old and hard to find. On top of that, I paid a small fortune for postage and handling, only to wait over a week for it to arrive. Overall, I guess I'd have to admit I'm not all that pleased with this seller and will probably avoid him or her in the future. But then again, how spoiled am I to complain about having to wait a week to get some fabric I really wanted? I'm sure I wouldn't have found it at all if not for the convenience of the internet.

What are your thoughts? Do we expect too much, or is it reasonable to demand superior customer service from merchants vying for our business?

16 comments:

leigh7911 said...

As an 11 year retail worker, I feel the person who first declared "The customer is always right" needs to be shot, and that's being quite generous. That said, I also feel that when you pay for a specific service, you should GET that service. There are always extenuating circumstances, of course, and I'd give more leeway to small sellers over big companies, but even so at the very least I'd expect an explanation and apology. And depending, possibly a refund for the over-and-above S&H paid. Sorry you didn't get your fabric quickly, although I'm glad you did get it!

Lorraine said...

I had an 'interesting' experience with an internet purchase - the seller didn't send my goods....and when prompted said they had been sent but obviously lost in the post...she did however have another item the same as the one I had ordered which unfortunately was a little bit broken but she would send same with no postage & handling costs...I was pretty desperate to get this particular item so told her to go ahead and send it ...it turned up some days later. I was a little miffed that I had paid for an article and had received a broken one instead (for the same price) but the seller said she had compensated for that by not charging me the p&h fee (again)....hmmmmm.....when I gave the seller neutral (not negative mind you) feedback they launched into a tirade of abuse and branded me as a buyer to beware of - it was really nasty!! ...and I have never been back for more!

Kim West said...

I always items shipped priority or at the very least, first class. Very rarely, media mail or parcel post. Coming to Hawaii, lower than priority or first class WILL arrive 4-6 weeks later because it comes on the boat. Some places, I am fine with that. Some things on ebay, if they are shipped via the lessor ways, I will ask for flat-rate priority if possible and am willing to pay the difference in price.

What irks me however, is those companies who won't ship to Hawaii, but they ship regular flat-rate priority mail. Those are the ignorant people who don't believe that Hawaii is in the US (and trust me, there are still those people out there!!)

I am willing to pay more for items from those vendors that do ship flat-rate priority (like the FQ shop) and do so quickly. I also will rave about those (like "I have A Notion") who will check the best rate for me to get my items and suggest to me that maybe I should buy a gallon of best press because two gallons will ship for not much more than two 16-oz bottles because of the shape of the boxes.

Kim West said...

Oh one more thing - those that charge us in Hawaii A TON MORE just because we live here. Just because I live in Hawaii, doesn't make me rich.

BJ in TX said...

I'd want an explanation as well. Most of the vendors I buy from lately ship same day, and don't charge extra for doing that - it IS customer service and good for their business, ultimately. (Yes, I DO expect customer service, even in this day and age - though it's hard to find.) With so many small retailers selling fabrics online - what makes them different anyway? You got it - customer service will make one or two stand apart from the crowd.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Occasionally it isn't the fault of the vendor but rather the USPS. I ordered some clothing last winter from a catalog and on-line shop and after ten days phoned; they said they had sent it and to allow a month. After a month I called again and they grudgingly gave me a refund and asked if I wanted to reorder. Of course I declined. Three days later the clothing arrived. And this was with a reputable USA company located right here on the east coast. I've not ordered from them again, but realize that sometimes once the package leaves the vendor, it is literally out of their hands.

Laurie said...

My girlfriend sent her mortgage payment in by priority mail..it got there 7 days later. So I'm wondering if its the mail system that we have.

Marie said...

My horror story is even worse. In the old days (pre internet) I mailed a set of payroll checks 65 miles away and the have YET to ARRIVE.

Every day when I boot up the C, I give many thanks for direct deposit and encrypted email. I still call and make sure it gets there!!!!

tami said...

I think that if you paid for expedited shipping you should GET expedited shipping. For the amount of time it took for you to get it you could have paid the lesser shipping. I think an email to the seller and ask for a portion of the shipping refunded so you actually pay for the shipping you got.

Denise in PA said...

Kim, I feel that same way. I've been so used to gettings things I've ordered in a day or two that when I have to wait, I get really annoyed. And, yes, would probably hesitate to order from those sellers again. And I know it's the instant (or near-instant) gratification thing). Maybe I need more patience o:)

Janet said...

I find that if the company has great communication and tells me what is happening with my order in a truthful, timely way I am usually fine with it. I do understand that despite a stores best intensions sometimes mistakes happen. But many store can't be bothered to continue their customer service once they have been paid. That is what really annoys me.

Jen in NY said...

I once ordered something from an ebay vendor, and I too got an automatic message that a postage label had been generated. I waited and waited, never received the item. I emailed the seller and she said she would go and check with the post office. What do you know, it sent out that day! Obviously she forgot to send it. Never ordered from her again. I gave her positive feedback but did mention the slow shipping time.

Beth said...

The one thing that gripes me the most is when some of these sellers charge an exhorbitant amount for shipping. I won't mention any names, but a few months ago I ordered a $2.99 notion that I needed and the seller charged me $4.95 for priority mail! That person is on my never buy from them again list. It could easily have been put in a business envelope with a 44 cent stamp! But I hear ya!

Vicky said...

I am patient with shops, especially if I didn't specify expedited delivery. That said, communication seems to be lacking with a lot of shops. That's one of the reasons I shop almost exclusively at the Fat Quarter Shop. Kimberly and her staff ALWAYS communicate with me, ALWAYS ship when they say they're going to ship, and ALWAYS fix it if the shipping service screws up. Many years a happy customer there, and will be for many more years!

Robin said...

I sell on Etsy and I pride myself on my quick turnaround time on orders. I also try to maintain EXCELLENT communication with the buyer, so they know exactly what's going on. The person you bought from should definitely refund you the Priority price if it took them several days to mail the package!

PunkiePie said...

If I pay the postage, I expect it in my mailbox in a couple of days, not a week. That would tick me off too. I wouldn't shop with them again.