I went to Borders the other day because I hate myself. I wanted to pick up Warren Ellis’ new book, Crooked Little Vein, but they didn’t have it, even though that was the day it was released. I looked on their shitty computer and it said “on the way”. Fuck that. I was there with my wife three days earlier to pick up the new Harry Potter and they had a fuck-ton of them. I hate that goddamn store so much. It’s exactly like amazon.com if amazon.com had an actual store location and sucked at everything they did.
Which brings me to the point of my story. I moved a bunch of books from downstairs to upstairs recently and while organizing them back on the bookshelves, I realized I was missing a couple different books I thought I had. One of these books was Volume 5 of Hellboy. So I went to amazon.com as I tend to do when purchasing books or movies these days and looked up Hellboy. I found the volume I wanted and then checked out their Used and New section and found it for less than cover price. Used and New means you’re not purchasing from amazon.com, but from some third party seller. Amazon just handles the transaction. It’s pretty sweet actually, and you can find a lot of out-of-print stuff that way.
I’ve never had a problem when making a Used and New purchase. So of course the book showed up in a shitty envelope, bent to shit. The book was so fucked up it wasn’t even worth keeping. The reseller was a store called Things From Another World. I called them and left them an angry voicemail. Not surprisingly I never got a call back from them. I wouldn’t call someone who felt the need to verbally abuse my answering machine either. A couple days later I wrote the following (still angry) email to them:
“I recently purchased Hellboy: Conqueror Worm from you guys via Amazon. You shipped it to me in a crappy little envelope and you didn’t even bother to stamp it with a DO NOT BEND label. So it arrives at my apartment beat to hell and creased in half a dozen different places. I’ve never such lazy and crappy packaging from someone from whom I’ve purchased a comic, trade, or book.
Angry, I called your customer service number and left a message, asking for a call back. Two days later, and I’ve received no call back. I’m pretty sure I bought the book used but there’s no way it was described as in this kind of shape. This leaves me with the following questions:
- Was the book this beat up prior to sending it to me?
- If so, why didn’t you describe it properly and are you going to refund my money?
- If not, is your shipping usually this poor?
- Is your customer service usually this poor?
- Do you care whether or not your customers are satisfied after doing business with you or would you prefer they just shut up and disappear?
I really hope to hear back from you soon.”
I wrote that email from my Yahoo account, which I never check and only use as an address to give out when signing up for something on the internet. Three days later, I came home from work to find another package waiting for me. It was another copy of the same Hellboy book I ordered, this time shipped in cardboard. Stunned, I went upstairs and checked my Yahoo account and found the following:
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please accept my sincere apologies on behalf of the USPS for the condition your book arrived in. We actually did try putting ‘DO NOT BEND’ stickers on all of our envelopes for a while, and unfortunately it did nothing to stop mail carriers from folding mail. We got just as many complaints about folded mail as we did before. In fact it almost seemed like some mail carriers saw the stickers as ‘challenges’ or ‘dares’! We regularly receive compliments from customers about our packaging and the great condition that their items arrive in, but I could see how 7-14 business days via USPS Media Mail is more than enough time for a few disgruntled mail carriers to severely damage just about any packaging.
The book you purchased was not used, it was a brand new book and should have arrived to you that way. I have arranged for your book to be re-shipped to you as soon as possible, free of charge. It will ship via USPS 1st Class/Priority with an estimated delivery time of 2-4 business days from the day it ships. Your new shipping number is xxxxxx in case you need to reference it with us. Normally orders take 2-4 business days to process before they are shipped, but re-shipments get the highest priority so it should be closer to the 2 days than the 4 days. There is no need to send the book back to us, it sounds like it is too damaged to be worth it. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.
TFAW – Customer Service
So, yeah, the guys at Things From Another World fucking rule. I have pretty good luck with my online purchases but when they go bad, they tend to go really fucking bad. Larry with TFAW is the first person to ever even try to turn a bad situation into a good one. Their web site is located at www.tfaw.com, and if you’re a geek, you should go there and buy something from them.