Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hairballs in the Amazon, that is. I'm not linking. You all know where to find it.

I can count on one hand the times I've ordered from Amazon. We use them during the holidays, sending e-gift-certificates to distant relatives whose taste we cannot intuit. I've used it when Pegasus couldn't get me something. But I cannot recall when that last was, until Jane Grigson.

Try finding English Food in this country. If you can, please contact me. I will pay you. Really. Black Oak carries a copy of Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery. Or they did; it was a hardcover first edition and cost close to my salary.

So it was I ordered English Food and Good Things from Amazon on January 7th. I was duly informed these items would take time. Then, a few weeks later, I received an email saying the books were futher delayed, and would appear Februrary 28th.

Yesterday, after some struggle, I managed to email customer service. I received the following reply:

Thank you for writing to us at

We are very sorry for the delay in completing your order #---
I can see your experience has been far less than positive. We strive for
convenience and efficiency at, but in this instance we
have fallen short of our goal. I'm truly sorry that your impression
of doing business with has been so negative.

I have already contacted our appropriate department regarding this
situation and they have already contacted a different supplier to
obtain this item for you.

I can assure you that we are working hard to obtain these items for
you and we will ship it as soon as we are able to obtain it. This
means that we will ship these items as soon as we receive it from
our suppliers.

Please allow me to explain that sometimes unexpected fluctuations in
supply can add time to our original availability estimate. We have
learned that "Good Things (At Table)", "English Food" are now back-
ordered, and our supplier has not been able to let us know exactly
when they expect to have more in stock.

I'm sorry that you were not notified sooner of this change in

We will ship these items as soon as we are able to obtain it. You
won't be charged until we ship it to you. On the date of shipment,
we'll send you e-mail confirming the date, contents, and method of
your shipment.

In an effort to compensate for any inconvenience caused by this
situation, I like to give you $3.00 promotional certificate towards
your future order. You'll find all the details below. I
do understand that a promotional certificate cannot really make
amends for this inconvenience. Please accept it as a goodwill
gesture and apology.

This amount has been automatically redeemed onto your account.
You will not receive a claim code.

To use your promotional certificate, follow these steps:

1. Add the items you want to your Shopping Cart and click the
"Proceed to Checkout" button to fill out our order form.

2. You should see the promotional funds listed in the order cost
summary that appears just before you submit your order. As
long as the order qualifies, you don't need to do anything else
to receive the promotional discount.

3. If the cost of your purchase exceeds the amount of the
promotional certificate, you will be prompted to provide your
credit card information for the remaining balance.

4. Promotional certificates are subject to certain restrictions.
Please visit the following link for more information:

We would understand if you feel order is too late for your need and
if you'd prefer to cancel your order. You may cancel unshipped
items through the "Your Account" page, accessible at the top of any
page on our web site. To cancel your order, simply click "Cancel
items or orders." After signing in with your e-mail address and
password, you will be able to view your order history and cancel
your order for any item that has not yet entered the shipping

If you have further questions, feel free to visit our online Help

In addition to a wide selection of items, one of our aims at is to provide a convenient and efficient service; in this
case, we have not met that standard.

Again, I am truly sorry that we were not able to fulfill your
expectations for this level of service. I hope that you will give
us another opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you.

We thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter, and
thank you for shopping at

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:
If not, click here:

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept
incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help
section of our web site.

Best regards,

Vignesh S.

Still with me?

Though guilty for ordering from one of the behemoths, this rare case felt justified. Nobody in the greater Berkeley/Oakland area seemed to stock Jane. So I swallowed by misgivings and got smacked for it.

Now I have a couple questions.

1. Why didn't Amazon simply take the $3.00 off this order?

2. Where is Vignesh S.? I realize none of this is his fault and that wherever he is, he needs a job. But am I adding insult to injury by ordering from the behemoth who then farms out customer service offshore? Maybe not; maybe Vignesh is down the street. But the phrasing--"please allow me to explain", "I hope that you will give us another opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you"--suggest otherwise. Go ahead and tell me I'm wrong. Make my day.

I cancelled the order. carries English Food. They must also order it, and promise delivery in mid-April. At least they are an independent, and that if there is a customer service problem, I can actually telephone Portland and talk to a human. Or Fup.

(Why did I even order from a place that doesn't have a store cat??)

Two hairballs, dropped on my foolish head.


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