A couple weeks ago -- around the time of all the Big Games and the Lucky Halftime Rituals -- I came home for dinner one night to a bright, shiny package (very obviously hand-wrapped) by the Ex.
It wasn't my birthday, it wasn't Christmas. It wasn't even Valentine's Day. And he couldn't be making up for cheating on me, because we're not even together. The positive-reinforcement-ritual was well underway.... until I opened it.
And inside, was an electronics-store gift card... wrapped in a printout, of a picture, of a camera they didn't have in-stock in any of the local outlets ... but which could be ordered online (there was a print-out of a page of instructions). There was also a memory card of some kind, that was apparently supposed to go in this camera I didn't have. How many things did I not like about this present? If there's anything I hate more than shopping, it's online shopping. Nothing ever looks like it's supposed to look, and all the parts needed to make stuff work is always sold separately, but they never tell you that. All I saw in this present was: Great. Work.
I would like to say I was still gracious, and appreciative, but who would we be kidding?
The next day, I handed the whole mess to the Intern, and the process was exactly as irritating as I predicted it would be. The camera in the picture appeared to be permanently sold out, and on the third try, we finally found one that went through (only to get an email five minutes later that said, "Your shipment has been back-ordered.")
Every day, I got an annoying spam-mail, tracking the camera's progress as it made its way here cross-country. Until Monday, when it was pronounced "successfully delivered."
Funny. They didn't deliver it to me. The interns didn't sign for it. I investigated further. The delivery confirmation note said "left on front porch."
Seriously? They left a digital camera on the front porch in a neighborhood that hits the police blotter every single night. I mean, I'm sure the camera isn't all that valuable, but it could probably be exchanged for some sort of pharmaceutical in that neighborhood. Perhaps a nominal amount of meth? (I'm not sure how meth is measured other than what I've seen on Breaking Bad? Would it be a rock of meth? A scoche? A smidge?)
I went to the UPS site, which encouraged me to file a claim. Only I wasn't the shipper, so I didn't have a log-in, or account (nor did I want one). There is no number listed no matter how deep you go down the rabbit hole (I squirreled away their local number when I accidentally captured it on caller-ID about 12 years ago when they told me to come pick up a package. Suckers. I had to get feisty with them once before when a Tweeds dress didn't arrive in time for a Derby party. They wanted to re-deliver it Monday. I had to explain Derby isn't run on a Monday.)
I was not optimistic when UPS didn't answer, but, determined to never suffer alone, I called the electronics warehouse in charge of shipping the stupid camera in the first place. I spoke with "Adam," who proclaimed he was very sympathetic to my loss, to which, I responded that I did not care one bit for his sarcasm.
The first thing he encouraged me to do was "file a police report." I laughed out loud. "Yeah. I'm sure they're gonna race right down and find my camera. Which somebody left on a porch." I'm not a fan of blaming victims, but in this case, they'd be right: this was askin' for it. What kinda idiot does that?
Adam assured me he didn't think I was an idiot, and insisted this was not my fault. "Oh you got that right Mister," I said, "It's UPS's fault, but since they don't answer the phone, you are stuck with me til somebody makes this right." I didn't really think the electronics outlet should have to eat the cost of a new camera any more than I should, since neither of us had been stupid enough to leave it somewhere unattended. I was growing progressively less patient, partially because the office A/C has been out for a week and heat gives me Rage Problems.
He then read a prepared speech that included a lot of details about their loss and claims department until I finally interrupted with, "Young Man, I can not understand a word you are saying."
"Ma'am," he explained slowly, "I. Am. From. Pittsburgh."
Oh, I wasn't being xenophobic, I am just deaf from all those years as a rock critic, and Adam is a mumbler.
Then we enjoyed a nice "We are the World" moment, and he assured me he would get this resolved. I said I wanted my camera This Weekend, and not one minute later. (I didn't have anything special to shoot with it; I just thought it was important they have an established goal.) Honestly, I didn't believe a word he said.
But after all that hassle, there will be no gratitude Ritual. No nekkid photos either.