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Sending away

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Buying local is great when you can, but for specialized equipment and supplies you have no choice but to send away for it. Sometimes, problems ensue.

I bought a new bench sander earlier this week, ordering it through Amazon. The sander simply was not available locally; in a large metro area it might have been, but here, no. After checking around the various suppliers, I found the make/model I wanted at Amazon and ordered it.

My sander arrived Wednesday in a box that looked like Hercules had dragged it along through 11 of his 12 labors (skipping, thank goodness, number five). In particular, one bashed-in corner didn’t bode well, and I was right: A key part of the sander was bent at a severe angle, making it inoperative. Now, I’m adept at correcting minor shipping damage but this was way beyond that.

Fortunately, Amazon excels at correcting errors even when they weren’t responsible – the damage was clearly the fault of the shipper – and a few minutes chatting online with one of their representatives took care of everything. They immediately processed a replacement and arranged for pickup of the bad one. The replacement, according to tracking, should arrive just about any time now.

There’s nothing wrong with sending away for something you can’t acquire locally, and because of both my location and my varied interests I do it a lot. The real issue in all of this isn’t the seller (in this case, Amazon) or the buyer (me). It’s what happens in between.

The practices of the shipping industry are abhorrent, and firmly at the root of the majority of the issues and disappointments regarding mail order. I’ll talk about this some more in my next blog.



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