Thursday, January 16, 2014

In which Sly, the smartest man in the room, cannot figure out how to return a gift that Primo sent him

Recently, Primo sent a watch to Sly. He bought it on, which is a site that offers flash sales. Woot shipped the watch to Sly. The watch didn't work.

Sly did not try to deal directly with woot. Instead, he asked Primo to deal with it.

Note that when I return a gift that Doris has bought me - which is almost every single time she has bought me a gift - I deal directly with the vendor to return the item.

Part of this is because if I told Doris I wanted to return a gift, she would be grossly insulted, which frankly, I don't care about, but it's just not worth it for Primo because they pile on him.

Yes. I, too, think he needs to hang up the phone when they do this. I think he should cut them off. But I cannot make him do it. Trust me I have tried.

Last night, Primo and I were on a plane back from my sister's wedding, which I must say was a total blast. I had been a little cranky at the short notice and the timing - she told us in early October she was getting married in mid December. We already were planning a trip to San Francisco for Primo's work and my vacation, so we had to juggle a few things, but it worked out great and it was a really fun weekend with my sister's friends, many of whom I had not seen for 30 years, and my aunts and uncles - all six of my mom's siblings and their spouses attended. Primo and I were standing in my aunt Mary's kitchen talking to four of my aunts and then my uncles pulled Primo away because they never get to talk to him and everyone likes him and thinks he's fab, which he is.

"Too bad your family isn't close," he said.

"Yep," I answered. "We hate each others' guts." Then I asked him, "Would you rather spend time with my family or yours?"

"I know I'm not supposed to say this," he said, "but yours. They are all so nice."

Which they are. I suspect most people have nice families, which makes it very hard for us to imagine life in a not-nice family, which is why when we encounter a not-nice family, we are so disbelieving and horrified. I read Carolyn Hax in the Washington Post and any time someone writes to complain about her in-laws, there are commenters who doubt the letter writer. They think she is exaggerating or that she is the real problem. Perhaps that is sometimes the case, but I can guarantee you that there are Bad In-Laws with nice daughters in law or sons in law. But until you live it yourself, you really don't know.

So we were on the plane and Primo opened his hotmail to find a note from his dad.

Primo had arranged for Sly to return the watch to woot. He had contacted woot and gotten a shipping label and forwarded it to Sly.

Sly prepared the package and mailed it.

It was returned with a note from the PO: The bar code had been wrinkled and unreadable; the link from woot with the shipping label had expired. Sly explained this to Primo and wrote, "Please advise."

1. Is there really no process at the PO to have someone process such a package manually? Would they really rather return a package to sender than read the address? I am not pleased with the USPS.

2. Is Sly, who is the Smartest Man in the World, truly incapable of solving this problem by himself? Does he really have to delegate it to Primo?

If it were me, I would have tried these things:

1. Ask my postman if I can re-send and have the PO have a human being read the address label.
2. Ask my postman if I can re-send with a new label without a bar code.
3. Email woot myself and ask what to do.

I would not have asked Primo to solve the problem for me. I would think to myself, "I have a PhD from Michigan. I am super super smart. Doesn't everyone know that? I tell them that all the time. I am so smart that I can figure this out by myself. I am not going to ask my son, who has only a BS, to solve this problem for me because he is probably not smart enough."

What I suspect Sly thought was, "Why should I do this work? I will see if I can get Primo to do it for me, even though I don't do anything all day but read stuff online and drink."

Primo emailed woot last night. I will suggest that he forward the response from woot to his dad with the note, "Please handle this yourself. The customer service email and the order number are included in this note." He was pretty cranky about Sly, so I think he might be open to the idea.