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Christmas Cheer

Online Gifts Not There Yet? You're Not Alone. 215

The Associated Press said in this story that Toys R Us has been telling customers that they are unable to keep their promise that all orders placed by December 10th would be received by customers in time for Christmas. A report on ABCNews.com claims that this is a "universal" problem, not just with Toys R Us, but I didn't have any problem with the online merchants I used this year, none of which were Toys R Us. What about you? Did all the gifts you ordered online this year get there in time for Christmas?
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Gifts from ToysRUs Not In Time for Christmas

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  • Anybody looking for a CIO job?

    I guess that's what you get when you promise too much.

  • I did what shopping I did either well before christmas, or I paid extra for fast shipping.

    Sheesh. Merchants shouldn't have to promise delivery-on-time, people should arrange for that themselves, or deal with the fact that they didn't do their shopping on time.

    Still opinionated, still grouchy.
    -Elthia
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...why i didn't get anything. Not that anybody likes me or would give me something, but now I know it's all the online retailers' fault.
  • I used BarnesandNoble.com and CDNow for all my online purchases and it took care of everyone but my girlfriend (And it all arrived on time!). For her, I just went to the mall at midnight on the 23rd. :-)

    Online shopping is god.
  • I was supposed to get a SWANKY 8x4x24x CD Burner for christmas. It did'nt come. I almost cried, My hard drive is so full of MP3s. All legal, of course. I did, however, get the stuff from Amazon that I was supposed to get. Seems like it'll take another year for this whole thing to get working. After all, when they first opened disney world in 1953, the Pirates of The Caribbean went crazy and ate all the tourists. Or something like that.
  • I did all of my "holiday" shopping online, and i received each and every bit. Actually, i received two microsoft intellimouse explorer, and i only ordered one. I chalk that up to the merger of Egghead.com and Onsale.com (i ordered from egghead) And let me tell you, it's a bitch to get customer service from that place.
  • DVDs via Reel.com and Amazon.com all arrived as promised, perhaps a day later than normal (credit that to USPS) but received nevertheless. I just made sure to order early and not allow myself to be gouged for extra shipping.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was one of the few people that bought from Toys-R-Us and my gift is not here. However I should have known that would happen because online retailing has taken on by storm. However my gifts which I bought from Amazon arrived on time and in good condition.

    I also am willing to bet that some idiot sues them for not being able to keep there promise given all the recent stupid lawsuits... (even though the lawsuit might teach online retailers a couple of lessons).

    Next year, I will pay eXtra for ontime shipping or do all my shopping at the mall (which stinks because of the crowds). It is interesting to note that e-commerce sales have risen so much that companies are having trouble filling orders, while supposedly more people that even go to malls... (i.e. e-commerce not effecting normal shopping)
  • Hanukah fell early this year, so I did my shopping in November. Got almost all the gifts I ordered by Hanukah.

    The only exception was LTD Commodities [ltdcomodities.com], which promised (in November) to deliver by X-Mas, and they still haven't on one item I ordered. But LTD is a B2B site, and I should have expected this looking at their web site.

    Never believe promises that businesses make. The current climate of brisk sales and consumer confidence, companies can afford to make promises they can't keep. Hold them accountable, but plan ahead anyway. That's what I say.

  • Thinkgeek.com... I ordered from them on the 14th, and recieved my orders two days ago, which was terrific. All the geeks on my list were pretty happy.
    ToysBUs are full of crap. I mean, for fsck's sake, I live in Canada and it only took 8 days for my order to get to me!
  • While most of my on-line orders this year were not gifts, and I used the cheapest shipping method, all arrived by Dec 24th. Only took about a week after placing the order. Toys R Us may be experiencing supplier problems.
  • I, like you, thought that I hadn't received any Christmas presents before. I stumbled around my apartment, blearily fixing breakfast. Suddenly, my doorbell rang.

    I hurried down to the front door, opened it, and found myself facing an overnight courier. She had a package for me. I signed for it, eagerly accepted it. According to its label, it had been shipped from the North Pole. Wow.

    Back in my apartment, I gently set the package down. With trembling hands, I unwrapped it. Inside, there was a lump of coal.

    Which just goes to show something. I'm not sure what, though.
  • When I ordered stuff last night then made it quite clear that even with overnight delivery it wouldn't arrive in time for Christmas. I thought that was rather redundant since I was pre-ordering the rerelease of Vernor Vinge's True Names which isn't due out until December 31st. They should have said it wouldn't arrive this year. ;-)
  • I ordered three packages online; two on the 21st that were sent three-day shipping and one on the 23rd that was overnighted. I tracked them online and everything looked good, until I went to my mailbox at Parcel Plus where they were shipped to and found out that they were closed on the 24th! Bastards.
  • Read a story in the local newspaper about them having problems with their internet site and them having to limit the number of users. Of course they do use NT, so they have a history of making poor choices.
  • First of all, everything I ordered came on time.
    Here's what I have to say on the topic. Online stores are just like retail stores in that they have to get from suppliers and warehouses. If there's no more of an item in stock, there's no more of an item. Some stores are nice in that they tell you how much of each item they have in stock, but some don't do that. In some cases, WYSINWYG (note the "not" in there). I think for the increased online shopping, online stores are doing a very good job at keeping up.
    Here's my advice. If it's sold out at many local retailers, you can bet it may be sold out online. Especially popular video games. To the parent on the ABC news story who didn't get his game in time... live with it. The kid will play the game if he gets it on Christmas or the week after. Give it to the kid as a new years gift if you must.

    Overall, I applaud the online retailers for saving me time and money. (I especially liked all those free shipping deals... a 40lb bag of dog food.. and you were willing to ship it to me for free. Wow!)

    - J. Marvin
  • I preordered The Matix with soundtrack from reel.com back in early October. It was supposed to ship on December seventh, but didn't. I called them and they said they had no clue when it would ship. It shipped last Sunday, the 19th, but did not arrive yesterday. My problems with reel, and I suspect any company could have these problems, are that the service representatives wouldn't or couldn't find out when the movie would ship, and the fact I ordered in October, far ahead of the release, and they couldn't get enough from their supplier ahead of time.

    Thankfully the purchase wasn't a Christmas presant. I bought it for myself.
  • ABC News is clueless. They have another article posted debunking the idea that online stores are cheaper than bricks and mortar, but get this: They went to B&M stores like Bath and Body, then priced the Same Item from the online version of the Same Store. Guess what, the prices were identical! Doh.

    Toys R Us has an online store because somewhere in their organization, there is a "Mee To" dolt. They didn't expect quite so many orders; after all, how many geeks and nerds can there be online?

    The etailers whose only business is online -- including all the ones from whom I ordered -- all managed to get their products here on time and intact. I did nearly all my Christmas shopping from this very keyboard, including some orders placed as late as December 21, all without problem.

    Let me restate that, for ABC's benefit: I received 100% of my orders on time and intact.

    I think for Christmas what I really need to do is take ABC News out of my Bookmark file.

    -- Norm Reitzel
  • For all the flack Amazon has been taking recently, I can honestly say I've never been dissapointed with their service. I ordered some gifts last Monday and had them 3 days later, waaaay in time for a wrapping session.

  • Sure, their ads may be rather annoying, but I've got no complaints - both my father and I have placed several orders from Outpost.com, and we're immensely satisfied. I mean, we ordered gifts on the 23rd and they arrived here yesterday morning!

    I guess it's just where you order from.
  • Ever hear of a thing called a "contract"? In one form, a contract occurs when party A makes a promise to party B, and party B relies on that promise, and party A knows that B will rely on the promise.

    The usual remedy for a broken contract is a lawsuit. Why shouldn't there be one here? Toys-R-Us got the benefit of the bargain here--numerous people bought from Toys-R-Us online rather than buying from alternate sources, and then Toys-R-Us failed to uphold their end of the bargain.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm petrified about shopping online. I don't want anyone to get my credit card numbers and start abusing them. I don't want to give marketers any information about me. And, lastly, I don't want to drive the storefront shops in my town out of business. Gee, they've got too survive, too! Just, like commercial companies in the wake of open source.

  • by psp ( 7269 )
    I ordered some stuff from Amazon, and I can be nothing but impressed of the swift service. I chose the cheapest method of shipping (which, for Sweden, isn't cheap at all), and 2 weeks delivery should be expected. 5 days later the books came, in nice gift wrapping.

    Way to go, Amazon!
  • I ordered quake 3 arena for linux from lokigames on tuesday to give to myself for xmas. 2 day fedex didn't make it here by friday. Too bad, I wanted to use it at the lan party tomorrow. I'll have to use windows instead. :-( Come on nvidia and xfree! My riva needs the drivers you've promised!
  • The only online shipping I did this season was for a couple Hannukah presents from Alibris. The books came much faster than Alibris said they would, and I was very pleased. I wish they had photos of the books, though.
  • by banky ( 9941 )
    I ordered from a few places, and it arrived faster than I had anticipated. Another place sent it very, very late - then the next day, I recieved the exact same shipment (checked the invoice, only ordered one thing). Same deal happened to my roommate, and a buddy of mine who works at Borders said that their shipments have been totally screwed up...
  • I haven't bought any "gifts" as such, but
    have bought stuff from www.bookshop.co.uk
    and www.linuxemporium.co.uk within the last
    week or so. All of it arrived by yesterday.
  • Well, I've heard the problem stems from the fact that the US Post Office, FedEX, and UPS were all sued by Amazon.com for using it's patented "one-click" technology - you know: *click* "sign here sir".

    As a result, all your toys are still in a warehouse which was seized by Amazon.com for contractual compliance.....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well this morning I opened up what I thought was going to be my new video card with NVidea's GeForce 256 chipset(woohoo). Instead I just found a small weight and a nice picture of it. It turns out that they are on backorder everywhere. I guess I'll just have to play with my little picture of it untill it arrives.
  • I placed 4 seperate orders 3 weeks in advance. Only 2 have arrived. I could just blame the seasonal mail clog, but by the look of the companies I ordered from I'd say it's just inefficiency and understock. I'd guess that alot of the late package problems are going to be due to stock problems this time of year. In the spirit of the season: ---------------------------- This post goes on a 50% markdown tommorrow.
  • by lance_link ( 97462 ) on Saturday December 25, 1999 @08:35AM (#1445683)
    I like this line from the ABC article

    "I would be absolutely amazed if there was an Internet company that did not have problems this holiday season," said industry analyst Ken Cassar of Jupiter Communications. "It's a new business model. People are just figuring out how to make it work."


    After several years of net-hype and decades of retail catalogs, to say that [ahem] "e-commerce" is new... Hm, yeah, getting buyers to give you nicely formatted entries in a database for fulfilment--whoa, really radical concept. Stand back kids, it might bite..

    Things aren't getting shipped on time because these companies aren't shipping them on time. And the reason they aren't shipping them on time is that their collective heads are spinning with visions of all the money to be made "on the internet" instead of the boring details of running a real-world business. Hate to break the news to you newly minted e-businesspeople, but maybe if you spent more time getting your sh*t together and less time drooling over the wealth of Solomon that flows to anyone who uses the letter "e," you wouldn't have these problems.

    Personally, problems like this make me really happy. I hope to god that "consumers" decide that e-commerce is a load of hooey so the whole PR front collapses and we can god back to the Good Old Days of the net. :)

    Get the e out of e-xmas and put the x back in xmas, I say.
  • by zbo ( 99921 )
    I ordered two cds on the 21st overnight air so they would get here in time. they still have not arrived. Last time I shop with them.
  • My experience ordering online from Thinkgeek and Copyleft was great! I also live in Canada, and both my orders arrived well before Christmas! I was very happy ordering from the Geekware vendors!

    Unfortunately, a friend of mine ordered from Archie McPhee, and has yet to see his order ... He ordered back in early November, I think.

    YS

  • I did a lot of online ordering this year, from all
    of the places. Only 3 of them were not arrived
    ontime. I have a stolen package(the stupid postman suppose to place all the oversize packages to the managers office, but he is lazy and drop it off my door)

    The other one is GT2, which is delayed and back ordered, Buy.com shipped it on 21th, but it hasn't reach me yet.

    The last one is simply out of stock, and the online shop's stupid shopping cart can not show
    the availibilty... so I'm still waiting.

  • Everything I ordered, including something I ordered AFTER I was told it would not make it on time, made it by Friday. The company I ordered from Fedex'ed it at no extra charge even though they were under no obligation to do so.

    On the flip side, another company has screwed up every order I've given them. Luckily I did not use them to buy any Christmas presents since they have not arrived and I don't expect them to.

    It seems just like everything else you can get good service or crappy service. Just a matter of luck and experience -- I'll keep ordering from the former into the new millenium, and heaven help me if I order from the latter ever again.

    P.S. The latter kept crashing since they use Microsoft ODBC and Microsoft servers. Coincidence? :)
  • got everything i ordered. got my "you are dumb" shirt from thinkgeek, quake3 from loki (minus the box...where is it guys?), but i did cancel my order from egghead and that wouldn't have gotten here, doesn't matter anymore.

    one last thing; i heard my cousin (7 years old) talking about his new N64 and how he didn't like it because the games suck. once again proving we don't care how great the graphics are as long as it has good game play...be creative guys!

    bye,
    -jimbo
  • While almost all of the shopping that I did online (Thinkgeek, Eddie Bauer, Spiegel, et al) were extremely pleasant, Eddie Bauer was both the fastest and the slowest.

    How is that you ask??? Well, I placed three orders.

    One order first, to get something for my wife.

    The second order (placed on an affiliate credit card) was a bunch of items for the whole family, and (most importantly) a winter coat for myself.

    The third order was placed as a result of the second order being out of some items, and me going back and making replacements for out of stock items.

    I ordered these December 22, just before midnight, with the third order not getting placed until about 1:00 am CST on the 23rd... The website advertised "guaranteed delivery by the 24th if ordered by the 22nd". Given this information, I expected the first two orders to make it, as they were placed before midnight, on the 22nd, and the third order, possibly not. No biggie, only a couple of shirts on the third order, and I can give those out late...

    Ironically, I received the first and last orders on time, with the third order not in yet, and not coming until Monday, as I was informed by Eddie Bauer when I called.

    This creates a dilemma, because the first and third orders were the LEAST IMPORTANT orders I made, and the second, not-yet delivered order by far the bulk of my Xmas shopping.

    Anyway, there was nothing I could do about it, but wait, and explain to my family and friends that their presents were 'on the way', and try to convince them that I had indeed thought about them beforehand, and not just putting them off.

    Rather embarrassing, in a big family. I'm opening gifts from everyone in the family, with nothing to return to the majority of the household.

  • I ordered on the 22nd from Amazon. I didn't expect to get the gifts on time. They arrived on the 24th. I have to say, I was impressed. Just goes to show, the real e-commerce companies (not the companies that went to the web because it was the next big thing) have a clue. Anyone else is debatable.
  • I placed two separate orders from L.L. Bean. The last one was on Dec 15th. Both arrived in the promised 3-4 days.

    It appears that L.L Bean's website is directly connected to their inventory system. There were two items (colors actually) that I tried to order that were out of stock. It was nice to find out up front, so that I could order something that was in stock and that chould be shipped right away.

    Jonathan

  • Some of our on line Xmas shopping experiences:

    Banana Republic - especially good, rapid delivery. Wife gave wrong billing address (we just moved), they called her at home, at work, and emailed her on the same day. Once things were straightened out, the stuff was here in 3 days.

    Cooking.com - paid $17 for expedited shipping on 12/12, arrived on 12/18. Called up and bitched, shipping charge removed, bonus cookie cutters sent.

    Yankee Candle Company - Very good, prompt shipping. Established mail order business, no surprise.

    Kitchens etc - Easy to order, sale items just like in store, goods arrived in two days.

    LL Bean - Easy to order, rapid on-time delivery.

    Bath and Body Works - cannot order online

    CDNOW - Wish list was nice. My mom was finally able to get me CD's that I want. Free shipping for 3+ cd's. One weird thing - now I get promo email addressed to me but with my mom's name on it.

    We did most shopping on 12/5, though. I'm sure that the earlier you ordered, the better off you were. All of the shipping companies' service deteriorates towards 12/25 as well, which potentially tarnishes your opinion of the e-tailer...

  • This year, towards the beginning of December I ordered (well, not I, but my old man...anyways...) we ordered some Sony equipment. The basic idea was a respectable, expandable, entertainment system for the lounge.

    After much research into products we decided with an all sony system. After giving up on getting a special card with which to order the products and benefit an extended warranty, when it became apparent that even just the card would not be on the horizon before the new year (let alone the products ordered with the card...)

    So, after ditching that idea we went back to basics, and noticed a nice cheap price for the goods on Sony's online retailer AV-Store. the goods were ordered towards the beginning of December, and we were assured they would be here in good time for christmas.

    After repeated delays and more reassurance they would be here in time for christmas, we are still lacking some serious electronics.

    We ordered an MD deck, Fully featured amp, and of course, a DVD/CD deck.

    The DVD deck arrived in time, and after the delivery guy had me stunned for half an hour when I read the invoice which congratulated me on my purchase and gave instructions for assembling my new indoor dog kennel... He came back and promptly gave me the correct package. On the invoice was a note listing the other two things we ordered with "to follow" written next to them.

    So here we are, and still amp and MD-less. The DVD works great, it was amasing that even a CD playing through the old crappy amp and old crappy speakers sounded so much better when played from the DVD/CD deck! I couldnt believe it! But then again, I guess thats what you payed the wad of cash for isnt it?

    An short email note was sent to notify us that the amplifier had not been shipped to the UK supplier in time, and so pre-Christmas delivery would not be possible, and it would be here sometime in January. But no word on the MD as of yet!

    As for the speakers, they were purchased from a local dealer (they werent Sony). After calling once, and confirming everything, we went to pick them up. There they were, sitting by the counter, ready for the taking! After waititng around a while and listening to the guys talk amongst themselves to find out who put the speakers there, we were pleasantly notified that they had just been sold to some guy in "a big package deal" and we'd have to wait for others to be ordered. Some time later we finally went and picked the newly arrived ones out of the back of the store... this time we didnt let them get to the counted to be flogged off in a package deal...

    So right now music is being played through the old Hi-Fi... The DVD is feeding through the Aux-in and playing through the killer B&W speakers.

    I cant wait for the rest of the kit to get here so we can get some real quality sound happening instead of this inept setup held together by chewing gum. (The quality of the old Hi-Fi is such that the speaker connections were through some miniature spring terminals, which we nearly snapped in trying to connect the ultra fat 18 strand silver coated speaker cable. Right now the whole thing is literally held together mostly by gravity)

    So thats my Christmas dissapointment rant. I really am dissapointed at this! Perhaps they sould adopt a similar policy to the pizza companies... if your stuff isnt delivered in 30 days you get it FREE!!!

    There was one good thing that came out of all this though... I guess its only a semi-good thing... but they did manage to hack the DVD to work in all the zones ebfore sending it. Seems we were one of the lucky ones, because they said only a small amount could be done, and the only alternative was to wait, or have them send it and then later pick it up again to put in the chip.

    I still cant work out what the deal with this chip is though. It seems to undermine the whole security thing! I can watch DVDs from anywhere, and even the copy protection is disabled, so I can make perfect digital copies, or record onto videotape, and its all legal and approved by Sony!

    Go figure!!

  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <[ude.saxetu.macit] [ta] [rngtsyor]> on Saturday December 25, 1999 @08:49AM (#1445695) Homepage
    Got this in my mailbox this morning from the Ditherati [ditherati.com] mailing list:

    PICK IT, BOX IT ... UM, WE FORGOT WHAT COMES NEXT

    "We sat down yesterday and felt that there were some orders that we were not able to ship for Christmas."

    Toysrus.com CEO John Barbour, on the lack of fulfillment felt by his company's warehouse workers during the holiday rush, The New York Times, 23 December 1999 [nytimes.com]
  • I know that I am not supposed to be using Amazon (you know the whole one-click fiasco) but, frankly, I don't care. I figured: "better order from a store that has enough resources to get all my stuff to my house on time" and it worked like a charm...I ordered on the 22nd and received it on the 24th.

    .{redmist}.
    -------------------------------------------------
  • I ordered some stuff from Thinkgeek.com too. Got it all last night. Whoohoo! :)
  • I ordered a DVD from CNL [cnl.com] on the 21st and received it yesterday morning without a hitch. Pretty good considering I'm at the extreme other end of Canada. What makes that interesting was the fact that I opted for Canada Post over UPS. Not only was it much cheaper, but UPS doesn't actually operate here and the minimum time I received a UPS package was about a week. I wouldn't have received it in time. Maximum time? A month. Ridiculous, even the USPS is much better than that.

    I also made an order from Digi-Key [digikey.com] which came in 3 days, despite the fact that I live in Canada. Probably had something to do with the fact that they let me use Purolator.

    As an aside, with many people having DVD players nowadays, Christmas shopping has never been easier. I got three today: Pink Floyd's The Wall (awesome DVD, very well put together with tons of extra features), Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock, and South Park.

    Needless to say, I'm happy. I'm inviting some friends over tonight to watch The Wall (twice, the second time around with commentary by Waters and Scarfe) and drink a lot of booze.
  • by SiW ( 10570 ) on Saturday December 25, 1999 @09:14AM (#1445699) Homepage

    Jeez, reading /. on Christmas Day, how sad is that? Posting on Christmas Day, how sad is that?

    Anyway, this was the first time we've done a significant amount of our shopping online, and we have had mixed service. Here's my little review:

    1. Amazon.com

    We ordered toys, a book, a CD, and a stereo system. Everything was shipped promptly, everything arrived looking in good condition. Even though they couldn't gift-wrap the stereo (which was to be a surprise gift), they did wrap it up in concealing plastic so as not to give the surprise away. Yay for Amazon's service. Boo for Amazon's patent silliness.

    2. art.com

    My sister-in-law bought us a framed print from here, arrived a little later than anticipated but still well before Christmas. They packed it up nice and securely, and they even have a little pic on the outside of the packaging so you can check to make sure it's the right thing without opening it. Nice touch.

    3. eToys

    My wife actually ordered from here before I could stop her, but it was at least a week or so before the eToy thing became huge news.. Anyway, eToys' service sucks. We ordered two items, one of which shipped fine (though arrived looking like it had been sitting on a Wal-Mart shelf for a few weeks), but the other one didn't. So we get an email saying it was backordered. Of course, when we ordered it, they didn't bother telling us this - I thought the greatest part about online shopping was a live inventory reporting system.. Anyway, the toy should arrive sometime next month. Happy end of January, son!

    3. Toys R Us

    We didn't order from here ourselves, my sis-in-law did. Ordered well before Christmas, but didn't arrive, like 90% of the other ToysRUs orders, apparently. When I read about the $100 certificate they promised, I thought "well at least that's something", but as I suspected, they managed to talk their way out of delivering: they told my sis-in-law (who had been waiting a total of 2.5 hours on the phone) this week that it had actually been backordered, so they canceled the order and refunded her money. Funny though, the week before they said it was in transit.

    So yeah, it was a pretty mixed bag. On the whole, we got cheaper prices online, and I didn't have to suffer the holiday crowds (my wife did, and she reported toy shelves were picked clean..)

    Now all I need to do is find out why Create & Draw in Elmo's World doesn't actually let you draw anything..

  • I ordered three Christmas presents online.

    One: Used LCD projector. Came within a week. Admittedly, this was back in October (early present - couldn't pass up the great deal I got, convinced the parents of that. :)

    Two: My parents ordered two cell phone accessories for me on Monday or Tuesday (can't remember exactly - Think it was Tues.) - they're already here. We weren't expecting them until next week. (BTW, these were from www.getcheap.com - Their selection isn't so hot, but their prices are VERY good.)

    Three: OmniRemote IR module/software from Pacific Neotek. Not here yet, but it wasn't expected due to the late order (same as the cell phone accessories)

    If only handsfree kits for the LGC-330/BAM-330 cell phone existed...
  • Darn this is gonna drive people into the loving arms of etoys.com

    Family members report last-minute orders from Amazon [insert *apology* here] arriving in like 2-3 days. Even my order from Forced Exposure was unusually fast for them (like 5 days). UPS and FedEx must've also been doing some good work.

    Enjoying my new Twiddler :)

  • I completely agree; if more than a tiny fraction of a site's stuff isn't getting there on time, it's the fault of the site, *NOT* the shipping company.

    Assuming they're using a big-name, FedEx, UPS, RPS, Airborne; you're taking chances otherwise.

    Frankly, most of these guys shouldn't even be using their own warehouses; the big shipping companies will do that for you, too. All you have to do is process the orders and route 'em over to the shipping co's computers, and they'll do the rest.
  • For the most part all of my shopping that I did online was on time and without problems.

    A preordered DVD shipped on Monday from DVD Express that got to me on Wednesday through priority mail. I also had a couple of DVDs that I ordered on Monday show up on Wednesday by way of FedEX. Books that I order from (insert name of insane patent holding company here) were also on time.

    The only thing that was negative was ordering a camcorder. The first place I ordered from took all the information online then after you validated the information, displayed a screen saying that they would call for verification and shipping information. Calls to the customer support line were hopeless - on hold for 30 minutes before I gave up. I called again and tried for the sales line - instant answer and I was told it was backordered. When I asked if I could cancel the order, they said they would do that when they called...they never called. I answered the ordering email that they sent, canceling the order. They did answer the email but I think they need to buy a clue.

    I did finally find a place that had the camcorder, it was also on backorder, but the price after discount was better than anyone else on the net (www.marketplace4u.com). The camcorder showed up before christmas so all was well.

    The companies that try to just push thier mail order operations to the net thinking that a form that collects information is good enough will not make it.

    RastaSaf
  • I ordered stuff from reel.com, amazon.com, bigstar.com, thinkgeek.com, and buy.com arround the 12th. All the orders except buy.com's were accounted for within 7 days, and were exactly what I ordered.

    From buy.com I ordered a book and a movie. First, their site was fairly broken when I was there, which should have been my first clue that they were useless. I got a couple of really ugly asp errors. Then they sent me an email which said that my book was not shipped yet, but the movie had (this was 7 days later). When the package finally arrived, it was the book, and not the movie. I had to leave to visit family for the holiday's, so I don't know if the movie ever showed up, but I left on the 23rd, and hadn't heard anything else from them yet. I am very dissapointed with them, and WILL NEVER order from buy.com again.

  • Let me know when they get 3.3.12 ported to Quake3 ;) Where's the party, BTW (and Merry Xmas from the Chainsaw :)
  • Everything I ordered for christmas was also delivered on-time or early, and in 2 cases received surpise free FedEx shipping (one was for an item priced much less than what it cost them to ship FedEx.) I have been _extremely_ pleased with delivery times on purchses - one was ordered 23 Dec. and arrived cross-country on the 24, AND I was not charged for express shipping. I also recieved follow-up email from one company asking me if I was "happy" or "unhappy" with any aspect of my order. I don't believe any storefront business has ever asked me this.
  • This year I went around ordering parts for a new computer. For two of the pieces (Athlon 550MHz CPU, and an Enlight case), I just pointed my browser over to PriceWatch and just found the cheapest price. Placed my order for those 2 parts on the 17th, and all those got here on the 22nd. The other three parts I ordered (Asus K7M motherboard, IBM Deskstar harddrive, and some ram) I order from [pricewatch.com]TCComputers. I did this with two seperate orders, but only one of the orders arrived. I placed the one that arrived I placed on the 17th also, but the one that has yet to arrive I placed on the 18th. I was actually quite amazed that everything amazed myself. Had a lot of problems 2 years ago with ordering online, stupid company kept on screwing me over. [tccomputers.com]

    This year with ordering online has been pretty good so far. But you still can't beat going out to the mall to get all the shopping done. And while your out shopping, you can preview all the ladies.

    Its not what it is, its something else.
  • I've been shoplifting.. er.. shopping.. online for about a year now, and haven't had any real problems. Amazon.com, Mercata.com, and ties.com have all had great service. This year involved books and DVD's from Amazon, a DVD player from Mercata, and a Pink Floyd tie from ties.com. Everything arrived on time, and without breakage.
    When 800.com had their promotion of 3 DVD's for a penny (about a year ago), the delay was outrageous, but with a deal like that, who could complain? :)
    -kris
  • A great example of good business if I've ever seen it. Ordered the movie "Spaceballs" from Bigstar.com a couple of weeks ago. They said it would be back-ordered until the 28th. Others obviously have good taste as well. Got an email from them yesterday saying it was being shipped that day. We paid for UPS ground, but Bigstar paid the balance for UPS overnight or same day. It showed up yesterday afternoon. With service like that, the other companies have no excuse.
  • So basically you are saying that you won't use your credit card ever, because fraud can't always be avoided...it can happen to anyone. Anyways, when catalogs first became really big people were woried that it would drive business out of the stores, and that didn't happen, so why will buisiness be driven out of stores because of e-commerce. There is something to be said about going to a mall and shopping...it is a total sensory experience
  • Business analysts know that etailing is all about fulfillment. Catalog companies already have this in place, so you are generally safe if you order from LL Bean etc. New etailers, especially if the company is already dubious in terms of organization are not trustworthy. Toys R Us has been having trouble with it's brick and mortar stores for years; they would be the last people I would place an order with. Wal Mart on the other hand has superb inventory control and organization on the brick and mortar side and is therefore likely to be equally great on the web side.

    Specific experiences I have had over the last year:

    AMAZON - good to great customer service. Relatively high prices. I ordered twice; my wife once. They were slow shipping this season, but got everything here on time. I complained about their slow shipping and they refunded all of my shipping costs plus sent a $10 coupon.

    Buy.com - crappy service but excellent prices on computer items. Other prices are not so great. Don't order anything time sensitive from these guys. They also have a 15% restocking fee.

    DVD Wave - low prices, and surprised my with valiant attempt to get late ordered (non present items) DVD's to me by Christmas. I placed one order for three items, and they made three shipments to me. I will use these folks again.

    Bookpool - Low prices on technical books and very nice customer service. Second only to Amazon in service.

    J&R Audio - Only electronics place I have used on the web. Prices ok, service has been very good. Bought my DVD player from them, was shipped same day.

  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Saturday December 25, 1999 @10:19AM (#1445715) Homepage
    I had problems with several online shopping sites this year.

    First, I placed an order at Toys 'R Us on the 9th and got screwed -- the package isn't here, but their idiot reps claim it was shipped on the 23rd. The problem is that I had to go out and buy the toys at the mall in the meantime, and I can't get the money credited back to my account until I send the stuff back.

    Second, I ordered a Palm as another gift. The site popped up an error message when I tried to complete the transaction. I tried for hours to reach their customer service line, but it was constantly busy. It turns out that they billed my card and didn't send the damn thing -- yet more money suddenly unavailable to buy gifts with.

    Finally I ordered some silk PJs from Victoria's Secret for my g/f. I paid for next day shipping, but they didn't get the package out the door for three fsck'ing days.

    Each and every gift I tried to buy online got messed up in some way, and I ended up having to go to the mall for the toys and the Palm (the PJs made it at the last possible second). Overall, I'm really pissed off at the companies who dropped the ball -- only Toys 'R Us made any real attempt to make right with the situation.

    I'm never buying off the Victoria's Secret site again -- in my book, if I pay for Next Day shipping and order before 10AM, the product better damn well be shipped that day, not a frickin' week later. Also, I'm sticking to large online sites for computer gear from now on -- the little places obviously don't have the manpower to handle a holiday rush if anything goes wrong with their website. I'll probably try shopping online again next year, but I'm going to buy extra early so I don't end up getting screwed over as badly as I did this year -- at this point, I'm looking at eating raman and walking to work (in Wisconsin in January) until the double-charges (Toys 'R Us and the place that charged to Palm without sending it) get taken off my stupid credit card.

    Christmas would have been far less stressful if I'd just gone to the mall. There ought to be some kind of consumer protection law against what happened to me this year, especially V.S.'s "not really Next Day" shipping rip-off.

    ----

  • After seeing a few people scrambling around 3-4 DAYS before Xmas, I'm amazed how much stuff was actually delivered on time.

    I, for one, like to order early. AND, I'm actually quite happy with buy.com. I have consistently found them to have the lowest prices on almost everything I want. (And they had free shipping for the first (?) weekend of December.)

    I ordered many of my X-mas presents direct from Buy.Com. The results were mixed:

    - A few items appeared within 2 days of ordering!

    - Most things were shipped within 7 days of ordering.

    - Two things are still on order. (A movie, and a couple of kids books.)

    Now the movie was a popular one that has been back-ordered, and so were the kids books. I'm not going to fault Buy.Com for not being able to deliver the goods in time because lets face it: If the manufacturer isn't able to produce enough for every distributor then there will be occasional shortages.

    Out of the 25 or so things I ordered online, 23 of them showed up well before X-mas. I'm quite happy with that fact!

    The kids books? Well, I just went to a local store and picked up something else. When the books do arrive, I'll just keep them until their next birthday.

    All in all, I'll continue to shop online. For those of us miles from a city, it's nice not to have to drive all over town (polluting the air and such).
  • Well, I ordered an ibook from MacConnection for my Mom, with airport, base station, floppy, USB hub, and even got her a copy of Linux. Everything came except for the base station which was able to pick up easily from the local CompUSA. We even got our "Barbie Airplane" on time.
  • A contract (IANAL) has a stricter legal definition than a "promise". Meeting of the minds, etc... Still, this may possibly be actionable, depending on the nature of the merchant's "promise".
  • Yep, I was smart enough not to wait till the last week :)
  • I've had serious problems with Reel.com [reel.com] in the past.

    I ordered a couple of DVDs, some were preordred and some were released. A few days later I received an e-mail that said that the released DVDs had shipped. About a week and a half later they show up in my box with a postmark 4 days after they said they were shipped.

    I was irate. I contacted reel.com's customer support via e-mail and explained the situation and asked what it means when I get an e-mail saying a product had shipped since I obviously didn't mean that it was turned over to the shipping company.

    I got back an e-mail explaining that sometimes there are problems fulfilling orders. I tried to explain that this had nothing to do with fulfilling the order and everything to do with being honest about when the product ships. I got virtually the same response about reel.com fulfilling orders. I gave up at that point.

    When I got the DVDs that I had preordred, there was no postmark on the box. Heh.

    I'm assuming that e-retailers think by telling someone the package has shipped that will get the customer off of their back. But as Toysrus.com [toysrus.com] just found out, it only makes things worse in the end.

    My mother ordered some gifts from toysrus.com on the day after Thanksgiving. They showed up on Wednesday. We were less than impressed.

  • My personal experiences: I ordered a Hong Kong movie from a rather small, independent looking merchant, and two albums from cdnow.com. The movie had arrived quite quickly with no problems, and I have to admit I was expecting some screwup or another from the "big name". However, not only did they offer a free upgrade to 2-day Fed Ex on orders before December 21st, it actually worked and arrived promptly as promised.
  • woah, let's settle on the lawsuit here. the culprit was more than likely the USPS anyway - hence the lateness of MANY merchants shipments. Good luck getting any money out of the Post Office! heheh.

    by the way...i ordered a few things off thinkgeek last friday, they didn't come untill yesterday. Moral: If you wait 'till just before christmas to get your stuff, odds are it's either going to be late, or a crappy present!

    Merry Christmas - and remember, it's not just about giving, it's also about a capitalist marketing scheme based around the exploitation of a nonexistant deity.
    --FluX
  • Sorry for this guys. What with all the holiday cheer, i just wanted to poll who was actually working on this fine festive occasion. (Unfortunately i am, but my arse is bursting with holiday flavor!).
  • I made the mistake of ordering Perfume from Macys.com two weeks ago, even though I'm not far from their store in NYC, I just didn't want to put up with the crowd. Even though I paid for overnight shipping, it's not here yet.

    After I realized that it didn't come, I called their customer service, and after 10 minutes of them blaming it on UPS, they finally said, "Oh, it's alcohol based, so it has to go UPS Ground".

    They shouldn't have allowed me to ship overnight, or at least sent me an email telling me that it was going to ship differently then I anticipated.

    So, after work on Dec 23rd, I stood for 2 hours in line with other schmucks to get the perfume, and now have to go through the hassle of returning the late bottle by UPS or whatever when it finally gets here.

    Other than that, everything was fast, ordered Geek stuff from CopyLeft (which was the best), EddieBauer, etc.

    Merry Christmas...
  • I got a $50 B&N gift certificate from my brother for Christmas. I spent about an hour getting my shopping cart together, only to go to the check out and find it empty. Went back, found everything again and it made it out.

    My books and cd's came to $42, which, through my keen math skills, I figured $50 would cover including S/H. B&N's checkout process wouldn't let me out without putting in my credit card nums. Plus after triing to get through without inputting the afformentioned CC nums, it lost my stuff again!

    After reacumulating the books and cd's I wasn't sure I really needed, putting in my credit card that wouldn't even get billed, I tried to complete the tranny, only to get an error that the Microsoft SQL server couldn't process my transaction. Annoying.

    So I calls up the customer service 800 number, waited on hold for 10 minutes between being tranferred three times, (30 minutes total) before getting someone to take my order. She didn't speak english (my overly complex native language) very well, but we got there after I spelled out every title of 3 books and 2 cd's. I talked to her about 15 minutes total, and she waived my shipping costs (good lookin out, kid!), leaving me well under my $50 GC amount, but still wouldn't let me off without broadcasting my credit card numbers yet again.

    All in all, I'm seriously over the e-commerce revolution. I'm also really tired of voice-mail systems that seemingly EVERY company hides behind. I'm getting a little online shop together for a skateboard shop I swing with, but I'm going to emphasize the 800 numbers and the ability to talk to real people more than the shopping cart ish.

    All this from a long time internet enthusist. I'm predicting a backlash of good old-style REAL customer service that actually makes it easy for people to get what they want. Power to the people! : )

    -=nft1999=-
  • I ordered books from both of the big Canadian booksellers this month.

    In the second week of December, I ordered a book online from Chapters for my brother, to be shipped via Canada Post, and it was in my mailbox two days later.

    And then last week, to compare how its competitor Indigo is, I checked their website and wound up ordering a couple of novels (for myself, not presents) that weren't in the Chapters database. Indigo listed them as being out of stock, to be available in a few weeks. I placed the order, not expecting it before Christmas, and sure enough, I got an email saying my order couldn't be shipped for Christmas and offering me a $10 gift certificate as a result.

    Needless to say, I'm quite happy with both of them, above and beyond the pleasure of not being stiffed by the US-Canadian exchange rate.

  • mine is on backorder as well..it'll probably get here some time in feb.
  • I ordered 3 items from Outpost.com on Sunday night. All were "in stock", according to the web site. Outpost.com says they have free overnight shipping.

    I received just one item on Tuesday. So I called about the other items because the web site's order tracking page didn't have any new information about my order. Turns out that one of the items wasn't in stock, and they didn't ship the other item.

    I changed the order, and both items got to my house on Friday (Christmas eve) while I was out at CompUSA buying the same items (for a total of $150 more than Outpost.com). I guess I'll be standing in line next week returning everything.

    That's 5 days for an overnight delivery. Not so good.

    I ordered a game from Amazon.com and asked them to wrap it. I even paid $5 for it because I'm lazy. It showed up on time, but they had forgotten to wrap it. I got my $5 back.

    I ordered a part from Palm Computing on Sunday. They said it would arrive Tuesday. It arrived Friday.

    These places have a lot to learn.

    I don't have a witty quote.

  • This holiday season, I had trouble with a couple of pretty established companies.

    The one that pissed me off the most was Victoria's Secret (ordered some silk PJs for my girlfriend). I could understand that a company which has never been through a Xmas rush to be unprepared for the jump in volume, but VC's? They've been in the catalog business for ages.

    That's why I was shocked with the lousy service. Specifically, they didn't send out my "Next Day" package until three days after I'd ordered it. I mean, if I order something before 10 AM their time and pay for Next Day service, I don't think it's unreasonable for them to get it shipped that day -- even the next day is understandible at this time of year, but three days? You gotta be kidding.

    Anyhow, my point is that even companies who have been doing mail and phone order business for a long time screwed up this year. I find that a little bit shocking given the fact that you'd think that the net wouldn't change their volume of business that much, just the ordering method. Granted that I did order a bit late in the season (the 15th), but I needed my Xmas bonus to finish shopping.

    In any event, I'm never shopping there again. Christmas would have been less stressful if I'd just gone to the mall on the 24th.

    ----

  • Let's see here. I went to amazon (unfortunately), CDNow, DVD Express, Barnes & Nobles, Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate, and despair. I got all of them before Christmas, although I will admit that I didn't buy anything in the last week.

    That, to me, is half of the equation. You've got to realize that a good number of these places are going to get slammed later in December. It's just like shopping in the mall. If you go in the first couple of weekends, you're not going to have a problem. You try going in the last week, good luck! e-commerce or brick and mortar, you run into those problems, depending on WHEN you shop.

    I think it'd be fantastic if some third-party site (like, say a bizrate or SOMETHING) would come along next year around December and say, "OK, this site had a n% success rate. Don't order from them past x date." etc. etc. It's this kind of objective (read: non-subsidized, non-associate) statistic reporting that can go rather far in promoting e-commerce. After all, the bad companies will have to shape up or be eliminated, and the good companies will be rewarded.

    I expect things to get better next year, though. I will once again advise people to shop early! It's easy. You're ON the web already, people. And if a company's burned you before, don't go back there.

  • 1. Amazon.com

    We ordered toys, a book, a CD, and a stereo system. Everything was shipped promptly, everything arrived looking in good condition.


    Happy for you. I had an amazon.com wish list. Four items... 2 single CD's (New Riders of the Purple Sage), a Grateful Dead box set (5 or 6 CDs), and a book. All the items said they would make it by Xmas... Well, all did except the Box Set. That was what I really wanted too.. My mother was really pissed b/c they neglected to tell her this until the 23rd.

    I got a $100 gift cert that is now just a waste. I wanted the $65 GD Box set, and nothing else... Why in the world would they lie? I feel like I got coal in my stocking, or I didn't get the puppy I always wanted...
  • Great experience with comforthouse.com..i paid by check instead of credit card and it still worked.
  • order with a deferred "will phone in credit card later" scheme. then write a check and mail it. it works. i ordered with comforthouse.com and it worked fine.
  • Last Christmas my parents ordered AppleWorks 5 (Windows version) from Apple over the phone and I don't think they could have screwed it up any more than they did. First they sent a Macintosh version (I didn't open it, but I later discovered that the Windows version is on the same CD). We called and complained to Apple's customer support, who claimed there WAS NO windows version (duh...). Then about a week later (after Christmas), we received two packages in the mail the same day. One was another shrinkwrapped Macintosh version, and the other was an unboxed CDROM and the Appleworks Windows instruction booklet. I ended up selling one of the Mac versions on e-bay for 40$, and I still have the other one.

    As for this Christmas season, everything went perfectly. I ordered most of my computer parts from egghead.com around December 10, (and one part from gogocity.com), all of which arrived by December 17 (and the all the shipping from egghead was free !!). Also I ordered a computer case from www.colorcase.com and it arrived in exactly 7 days.

    I also ordered two cd's from CDNOW.com at the beginning of December and they arrived within a week.

    And finally, I ordered some Kona coffee and some food seasonings from crackseeds plus hawaii (http://www.bvkmall.com/) and it all arrived promptly as well. I recommend them to anyone who wants to order food, candy, or music from Hawaii. (Try the Li Hing products!!)

    So basically I did almostall my christmas shopping online and was satisfied with every merchant a purchased from.

    Mele Kalikimaka!
  • They had something on the news the other day about this. Big, long segment about the horrible possibility that you might not get your toys in time for christmas.

    Funny thing was, they basically said the main problem is people waiting until the last minute to do their online shopping. Would people do their shopping through catalogs in this short time and expect things to arrive right away? Would they raid the toy store one week from christmas and expect the most-wanted toys to be on the shelves for them to purchase? No? Well, then why are they trying to do the same thing online?

    Online shopping is basically the same as using mail-order catalogs or phoning a far-away company to get an item. You've got to make the same allowances, because that's just the way the world works... everything gets gridlocked a few weeks from christmas. If you give your purchases plenty of time to spare (proportional to how in-demand the item is and how large the company seems to be) and then get burned, you should complain... otherwise, 'tis your own fault for trying to take the easy way out.
  • I ordered three tee shirts from thinkgeek, amazing timeing. My only qwalm is the non-cool not enough shipping options and no tracking number.. Damn.
  • My brother got me a Creative 6x DVD kit. He ordered it online. It is Christmas day, and I don't have it :P Why?

    He ordered it the 15, and it was supposed to be there by the 18th. However, by the 22nd it STILL wasn't there, and he called the company. Apparently they didn't think it was necessary to call him or email him and tell him that there was a delay in the order. They knew this the 17th or so, but didn't send any sort of email or phone call. He had to email them, fax them, and then call them TWICE to get through to find this out. Needless to say, he canceled the order and reordered it from another dealer. Also, needless to say I will not be ordering from that place EVER.

    So... online shopping can have issues, especially when you get idiots like that. If the company had half a clue they might've gotten the thing to me, but now here I am christmas day with 6 new DVDs but no player :P Kinda ironic.
  • This year I was trying to buy reprints of Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip. I found that both Amazon and bn.com had them. At Amazon, there was a desciption and a picture for each of the five books. Bn.com didn't even have separate titles for each one -- volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 were each just labled "Pogo." I had to check them by ISBN number at amazon to discover what their actual titles were. On the other hand, they were each several dollars cheaper, and could ship several days earlier.

    So, of course, I went with the cheaper option. They arrived two days later, right on time -- but the order was screwed up. Instead of volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8, I got volumes 3, 4, 5, 8, and 8. I haven't called customer support yet -- I don't really want to face it.

    So it occurs to me that this may be a problem with online shopping in general. Letting the mouse do the walking, a shopper can use service from one site while actually buying from another. This ultimately teaches resailers to be as cheap and shoddy as possible -- the world may not survive!

    Or maybe J. Random Customer will have loyalty to sites which provide good service. I would be interested in other people's experiences with this.

    --Jack
  • If it's the USPS or UPS, why have so many people ended up with particular items not shipped, while others come through faster?

    I had 5-6 business-related items shipped to me just fine within this time period, items purchased and shipped on Tuesday/Wednesday got here fine by THursday.

    I also know several parties who ordered CDs/books more than a week ago, only to call back and find that they weren't actually in stock/shipped even though they were claimed to be.

    I'd much rather be told the truth about shipping; while finding out that I have to wait 3 weeks might make me temporarily angry with a vendor, and cause me to go elsewhere, it doesn't stand to change my long-term attitude as much as an outright lie.

  • There are many kinds of contracts. One kind is essentially as I described. This not being a lawyers forum, I tried to put it in ordinary language, rather than dig up my contracts hornbook from my law school days and put it in precise jargon.
  • OK, I can believe that there has been an "explosion" in ecommerce this Christmas season, and so online merchants are having trouble meeting demand. Most of them are relatively new at this.

    Eventually, I suppose, all the orders will arrive. Invariably, some of them will be unacceptable--the merchandise is damaged, or the wrong item was shipped, and then we will have round two of the ecommerce explosion: how well these companies handle returns.

    So far, I've had two occasions to return things to Amazon. First was a defective CD, second was they goofed and shipped the wrong thing (I ordered the DTS edition of "Saving Private Ryan" and they send the Dolby Digital edition).

    In both cases, I sent an email explaining the mistake, and within a day or two, they sent back an apology, and entered a new order for the replacement item. With that, they sent a prepaid shipping label, so that when the new shipment arrived, I could put the old item in that container, attach the label, and mail it back.

    When I opened the replacement CD, there was a note inside the jewel case telling me that they had opened it an inspected it to make sure that it would not be defective like the prior one.

    Anyone know how the other online merchants handle returns?

  • I didn't buy a single thing online. It's just in the states that everyone buys every single christmas present over the Internet.
  • My "Orders around Christmas" list;
    • Barnes & Nobel - three separate orders of CDs, a package of 10 paperback novels, a set of language tapes. All but the tapes were "ships within 24 hours" stuff, ordered on either the 10th or the 14th. The books took 5 days to ship, the CDs took 3 days to ship, the tapes were ordered on the 14th of Dec and are yet to ship (they were 1-2 weeks to ship items). I live in Australia. The CDs are shipping via air, the books & tapes via surface. Nothing has arrived. The local postal system will not be running until Wed of next week...
    • 1942 for the GBC, (pre) ordered from "checkout.com" around the 29th of Oct. Supposed to ship around the 14th of Nov. Yet to be released.
    • A 1050mAh battery for my 8810 [geocities.com]. Ordered on the 15th, arrived early last week. (rocks BTW)
    • A USB-PSX controller adapter ordered on the 12th from "Borer's Nest" - no sign of it yet.
    The tapes and some of the CDs are sort of gifts, but Christmas isn't particularly significant by itself at my place. We typically start giving gifts and being festive at the Soltice, and work our way through to New Years. If the stuff doesn't arrive until next year it's no biggy. Anyone using On-Line ordering for important gifts that had to arrive for specifically Christmas day made an error in judgement.
  • I actually posted a story on this on the 23rd. I was extremely fustrated with Toys at the time. They were in the process of screwing me over hugely. I guess the story's content was a little too much flaimbait. The stroy goes I got the letter. Check the website, it said at 5pm that the order was in the warehouse. 4 hours later at 9pm on the 23rd it said on the website that it was delayed. I called Toys' 1-888 number that was a travesty. I waited 40mins on hold, then got dropped as soon as the rep answered. Dialed back in same thing after 40 mins. Third try after 40 mins gout a rep. The rep told me that my order was delayed and would not make it before Christmas. I was pissed so I did what any red blooded american would do. I asked to speak to a supervisor. Waited on hold for another 40 mins before someone picked up and dropped the call. I was turning purple at this time so I wrote a nice long letter to the CEO.. Not that he reads his email or cares but it felt good. I gave up and played some UT for a few hours then went to sleep. I called up at 9am 12/23 and the operator I got on the line told me it was being shipped that day for overnight delivery. Plus I was getting 100 Geofrey bucks. Around noon time the buzzer rings and its Fedex Overnight Express. They had shipped it the night before... They were totally screwed up at Toys this year. I will think twice about shopping Toys R Us online next year. Anyway here's the letter I recieved from the CEO:

    From: johnb@Toysrus.com
    Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 15:33:36 +0400
    Subject: Important Update Regarding Your Toys R Us Order Number XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX



    Dear Valued Customer,


    As we approach our holiday deadline, it becomes apparent to us that even with
    our fulfillment center working around the clock, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DELIVER
    YOUR ORDER BEFORE DECEMBER 25TH.


    Even though the vast majority of the orders we have in our system will be
    delivered on or before Christmas day, we believe that it is imperative that
    you be informed in time to react for the holidays.


    Satisfied customers are our lifeblood and I would hope you could forgive us
    for this very frustrating experience. IN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, WE WILL SEND TO
    YOU BY OVERNIGHT EXPRESS, $100 WORTH OF FREE GEOFFREY DOLLARS that can be
    used to purchase additional gifts at any Toys'R'Us, Kids 'R' Us or Babies 'R' Us
    stores - as a thank you for your patience and understanding.


    If you want to cancel your order please email us at cancelmyorder@toysrus.com,
    please include the above referenced order number in the subject line.


    We are rushing to get every order shipped as quickly as possible, so if your order is
    delivered and you do not wish to accept the shipment, please refuse delivery and we will
    make sure your credit card is credited for the full amount of your order.


    Over the last few weeks, Toysrus.com has become one of the most popular
    e-commerce sites on the Internet. Unfortunately, because Internet sales have
    been far greater than anyone expected, our whole infrastructure - from
    customer service through fulfillment - has been overloaded by the hundreds of
    thousands of orders placed on our site.


    As a father of two little boys, I can fully appreciate the annoyance and
    frustration that this email will cause. On behalf of everyone at
    Toysrus.com, we sincerely apologize for being unable to meet your
    expectations and promise you that we will be dramatically more prepared
    to deal with this level of growth in 2000.


    Sincere apologies,


    John Barbour
    CEO
    Toysrus.com


    Email address: johnb@Toysrus.com



    Runestar - Happy to have gotten the gifts. POed for the Angst this email caused me...
  • I'll toss in my very pleasurable experiences into the mix...

    1: Landsend.com Placed an order on the 10th for myself. Went home and let the wife pick out a god-awful amount of clothing. Called and asked if I could combine shipping on the two orders since they were placed in the same day. They said no, but gave me free shipping on my wife's order. Saved me 10 bucks, and both orders were there by the 20th. (This is with hemming)

    2: Think Geek Placed an order on the 10th, there on the 14th. But we are both in VA...

    3: CD Now Mom has already gotten 2 of her CD's and the 3rd is a back order. Acceptable, but not much else.

    4: Big Star WOW! Mom's movie arrived in 2 days. A movie I ordered for myself on Tuesday Night was there on Thursday. I didn't even expect that movie until after X-mas. This was with the normal shipping options. (2 day priority)

    5: B&N All gifts arrived on time.

    6: QVC Ordered late, but the delay other companies are complaining about gives me an excuse for it being late. Talk about your blessings!

    The bottom line here is this: I use the online shopping so that I can drop ship to my relatives who live elsewhere. Even the delayed items are no big deal, and the ones that I ordered late will get there on the 28th or 29th, and I can blame the company instead of saying that I forgot until I got your X-mas card....

    Loved the online shopping experience this year, will do it next year...

    Jason Maggard
  • Well, I managed a 2/3 success rate down here in Australia. I ordered some products from Wishlist.com.au on the 17th and they arrived on the 23rd. I ordered some toys from ToysAndMore.com.au - also around the 17th - again, they arrived on the 23rd.

    I struck out, however, with OzBooks.Com - again, I was placing the order around the 17th and was comparing prices with Amazon. If I had ordered from Amazon and taken the 2 week shipping, I'd have missed Christmas but saved about AUS$50 (using 3-4 day shipment meant an extra AUS$40). The indications from OzBooks were that the goods were in stock but would take 3 to 4 days to arrive. I figured I'd take the chance and save some $$$. Sure enough, no sign of it at the office on Friday - word via email from OzBooks were that they were waiting for product from the USA.

    Overall, I'd say that Wishlist.com.au has *really* got their act together and I have no hesitation in recommending them. I've purchased from them a number of times and their whole operation comes across as very professional. Emails confirming that an order has been received, processed and despatched (despatch emails usually sent around 3am on the day that I wind up receiving the goods).

    ToysAndMore was in a similar situation with good service and an on-line order query feature. Once the goods arrived, they had full instructions on returning them for refunds, etc. Unfortunately, they were shipping with Australia Post so once it was shipped, it was "into the void" :)

    While OzBooks didn't get here in time, their staff were honest and prompt in their responses via email.

    To sum it up, I found on-line shopping to work really well this Christmas, given that I left it late and it only took me a whole 2 hours (while doing other things) The companies I used appeared to have their real-world logistics closely integrated with their web sites (in stock/ship times/etc) and their follow up was excellent. It would have been nice if the books could have arrived, but at least everyone had something to unwrap on "the day" :)
  • My brother works for "big five" consulting firm. A few days ago he called me up and said, "well, I've learned all about E-Commerce!" Apparently he was recently dispatched to Toys R Us with a bunch of others from his firm to ... package toys. Apparently the senior VPs were in there packaging toys as well. My brother said that at one point he and a senior VP were both looking for a particular type of barbie doll..

    Funny stuff.
  • CIO job?

    To rehash a certain Userfriendly [userfriendly.org]. .

    Customer Dialup connection: 20$

    T1 for server: 200$

    VA Linux server w/ Apache, PHP, and SQL: 2,500$

    The look on the kids faces when the presents don't arrive: priceless

    Shopping online e-commerce. Ruined by stupid businesses everywhere.

    Of course, I doubt they used a T1 or a VA Linux server. They probably spent more on a T3 and an NT solution, which was less reliable or just not flexible enough to say "Sorry -- this item out of stock." It's not just the CIO who should be fired....
    ---
  • by Fizgig ( 16368 )
    I ordered most of my stuff online. Actually, most of my gift-giving was dictated by who gave the best coupons--hey, if they're going to be bleeding money, they might as well bleed it on me. I did order from Amazon (yes, they're evil, but they didn't make money off me, that's for sure). It came in time. BuyJewelry, yep. Bolt, no. Fortunately (?), the thing I ordered from Bolt.com was an inflatible chair for my brother. It did not come :( But what did my brother get me? An inflatible chair! How gift-of-the-magi-esque!

    My favorite purchase was with valueamerica.com. They are (mostly) a front for other stores. They also have "ValueDollars" that you can use to get 50% off your purchase. So for my mom I found a $20 box of chocolate that they had free shipping on. So I got it for $10. As of the 20th, it had still not come. Then on the 22nd, a package shows up. Turns out it came from "BuyCandies.com" or something like that. But they didn't have the thing I ordered, so they sent something equivalent (like I could tell the difference) as well as another box of stuff to make up for it. And they sent it next-day FedEx, which must have cost at least the $10 I paid. I was happy with that purchase.

    Stil waiting on that chair . . .
  • As with any credit card, since these items are in dispute, they can be 'deferred' - ie you don't have to pay for them - because you're disputing the transaction with that company. Call your credit card company for details.

    Also, with Victoria's Secret, write an _actual_ letter (not email) to their customer reps. Explain your situation. A lot of the time, they'll be very accomodating.

    Just my .02

    I'm sorry. What I meant to say was 'please excuse me.'
    what came out of my mouth was 'Move or I'll kill you!'
  • This is the way Victoria's Secret has always been. Get used to it.
  • I called my card company, and they said that I could dispute the charge and I'd get my money credited back once the dispute was settled. So, while I might not have to pay in the long run, it wouldn't do me any good in those few days I had to finish shopping.

    Of course, they offered to extend my credit limit, but this would have been a Bad Thing(tm).

    ----

  • by babbage ( 61057 ) <<ude.lahtuosu.sic> <ta> <srevedc>> on Sunday December 26, 1999 @06:43AM (#1445833) Homepage Journal
    A friend tried to send me O'Reilly's Palm Programming book.

    I instead received The Power of a Praying Wife.

    All things being equal, this sounds like a much funnier book. I might just keep it. heh



  • etoys.com:

    Last year I ordered some stuff from etoys.com - this was way before their idiocy. But, a year later and I am STILL waiting on them to deliver one of the toys.

    This year I did not use them at all, for the obvious reason, but I would not have used them anyway because of the crappy job they did last year.


    edmundscientific.com:

    Most excellent job. One of the things I ordered was back ordered. However, the item was shipped in plenty of time for Christmas day. Now, if I can get people to order my stuff from them next year, maybe I will finally get one of those lenses so I can melt concrete...

    bikeworld.com

    Only ordered one thing from them, but they had it to me the next day - and I even ordered it after the fedex cutoff time. Very cool.

    netmarket.com

    Pretty horrid. I did get the stuff in plenty of time to wrap, but it took them well over a week to get it to me. Not sure that I will buy from them next year for that reason.

    knifeoutlet.com

    Excellent place. Fastest shipper of the bunch. Not sure I should have bought cooking knives for my dad for Christmas though... he used one of them to cut something and immediately sliced his finger open. :)

  • Ordered 5 CDs from CDNow on Dec 12. All items were claimed to be in stock. The order did not ship until Dec 15 (why?). It is after Xmas and I am still waiting... -- Jacek
  • This is certainly NOT an untried business model. I've been shopping on-line for years and this is the first year that I've had any problems. There is a definate pattern too; it is the big new retailers that are failing to deliver. Little shops and stores are taking orders and making good on them.

    Here are some examples:

    1. X10.com [x10.com]: I had a great experience with them this x-mas. Many members of my family ordered from them, they shipped in about 3 weeks. Very trustworthy.
    2. chapters online [chapters.ca]: I ordered a Creative Labs Nomad from them and had it shipped "express" but several weeks later I checked the status of my order and discovered it had been canceled... but I received no notification of why it was canceled. So far I've sent them three emails and they have not responded at all. I am a Chapter's Online shareholder and I'm not impressed.
    3. PERL Magnets: I ordered some perl magnets (can't remember the URL right now). They shipped fast. No problems.
    4. Linux Mall: I ordered a "tux" (stuffed penguin) from Linux mall. Shipped fast, no problems.
    5. Future Shop: This was by far the worst experience. My mother ordered a Diamond Rio MP3 player on-line. She was told via email on two different occaisions when the product would ship. It never shipped. She phoned a 1-800 number and the staff were rude and explained there was no way they could possibly ship the product until the new year and asked why she didn't order earlier (she ordered in the first week of November!).
    6. Peter Zale [peterzale.com]: I ordered a copy of Techies Unite: Helen Sweetheart of the Internet (a comic strip). It shipped fast, no problems.
    7. Sound Forge: [soundforge.com] I ordered a copy of Acid Pro 2.0 for my brother. It shipped kind of slow considering I paid US$30 for shipping and while I called UPS to have them hold the package so I could pick it up at night it took them 3 business days to change process the "hold" order. UPS didn't please me. Other than that it was a good experience.
    8. Sears: I ordered several things for my mother from sears on-line order form. This was a great experience. Their on-line order form is kind of lame, but the shipping was lightning fast, dirt cheap, and their return policies are wonderful. Sears has been doing mail-order sales for decades and know how to do this stuff... these stores that say this is a new business model are lying... mail order is an old business model; Internet stores are just mail order stores with dynamic catalogs.

    If there is a lesson to be learned, I guess it would be: don't buy from big on-line stores. Buy from experienced mail order houses and "the little" guy. They'll deliver and they actually care that your satisfied.

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