Something disturbing happened to me this week with an order I placed through Barnes & Noble online. Something that has never happened to me before, and something I think that you all should know about, in case it happens to you.
In January I pre-ordered 2 books, both of which came out on March 5th. Knowing the way of it, I knew they would ship that day, and based on the shipping option I chose, I would have possession of my shiny new books 3-6 business days later.
When March 8th (the 4th business day) passed and the weekend came, I thought I’d check my tracking info. What can I say, I’m impatient, and really isn’t this one of the benefits of tracking numbers – to know where and when something might arrive?
I learned 2 things from my tracking information provided by B&N:
1. My package was expected to arrive the 11th, which was the coming Monday, and subsequently this made it’s arrival land on the 5th business day – early in my book!
and more worrying
2. For some reason, my package was no longer in the hands of UPS but had been handed off to the United States Postal Service and was currently at a St Paul branch 8 miles from me.
This confused me, I must confess. I have ordered from B&N more times than I should admit because my husband might see this and be all like, “Hmmm, oh reallllly book hoarder”. Never once have my books arrived in any other fashion than by a happy UPS man in a brown suit driving a brown truck.
So I called B&N. Because I’m a bit out of sorts about why I paid for UPS shipping and was getting the unreliable, slow and irritatingly uninformative assistance and shipping procedure of the Post Office. This was their ONLY answer (and I might add that this is a scripted answer, I got it 3 times from 3 different customer service reps)
Yea, thanks that totally helps. And I though the manner in which it was shipped, was decided upon what shipping option I PAID FOR?
After getting no where with the Rep, I let the situation go, knowing that my books would arrive on the Monday to come, and I would wash my hands of this whole weird situation.
But then Monday came and went. As did Tuesday. I’ve now, not just passed my 3-6 day shipping promise per what I paid for, but according to my tracking info my box was STILL sitting at this office 8 miles away, waiting to go to my local branch, and then to me. So I called B&N again. They told me to call the local Post Office branch, and as predicted they were totally and absolutely not helpful.
In case you are not aware of this, even when you purchase a tracking number from the post office, they are NOT required to scan it at every stop it makes. This has always fascinated me, because what’s the damn point of the thing if when it passes through a branch no one bothers to note it was there?? Isn’t it called a TRACKING NUMBER for a reason? Sure I can prove that it left my hands and landed in yours if I send you something, but it’s the in-between bits that I would like to know about.
The Post office Rep had no way of knowing if my box was still in fact at this branch or if it was on it’s way THE 8 MILES to my local branch (.3 miles from my house according to Google Maps….mind you), OR if it was on it’s way to me. What she could tell me was that per this particular shipping arrangement, called Innovations, where they take UPS items and deliver them – my items were expected to have an 8-12 day delay. Minimum. Even though it was scanned in just 8 miles from my house. Apparently, they are not a priority. There is no way to rush this and no I could not go pick it up. I asked. Twice.
Understandably I am now sufficiently angry. I want my damn books and I’m pissed they shoved my shipment off on the post office. And I’ve just been told I’ll be waiting until God knows when to get them.
After yet another call to B&N demanding my shipping cost be refunded, (much to the extreme confusion of the Rep) I still sit here staring at an unchanging tracking info screen wondering IF my books will ever arrive. The B&N Rep offered to overnight me new books, if I agreed to take the other box, when it actually arrived, to a UPS store to have it shipped back. I was too angry to think this was a good idea at the time because all I heard was “I’ll get you your books if you do something for me”. And that is NOT good customer service. At. All. I’m busy and shop online for a reason, so I don’t have to leave my house with a potty training toddler who’s been known to announce she peed her pants AS she walks to the bathroom.
So if you are planning to buy something from B&N, and don’t want this to happen to you – I have been told if you call them to place your order (how annoying is that?) you can tell them you don’t want the Innovations shipping option and they will TRY to make sure it stays with UPS. *shakes head*
In the end, I will NOT be buying anything online from B&N. Ever. Again. And you should be careful as well.