A couple months ago I told you about how Jeff Bezos (whether he knows it or not) did me a solid when I’d forgotten to buy diapers for my newborn. Amazon—that retail giant! Saves the day again! It has a lot going for it when you’re in a pinch.
Except when it doesn’t.
Case in point: last week I had an important interview scheduled for a project I’m working on. I like to record interviews, because I find I listen to my subject better when I’m not worried about trying to type the important bits while the subject is talking. I can go back and review the interview, pull out accurate quotes, follow up with the subject if there are things I’m not clear about—you get the idea. Cut to the night before the interview, and I’m gathering what I need: questions, laptop and charging cord, recorder….wait—where’s my recorder?
I searched high and low, but the recorder was nowhere to be found. (I swear I’d just seen it…somewhere…but honestly, there is a toddler in our house, which means it could be anywhere. Don’t believe me? I found a spatula in a box of outgrown baby clothes recently.) It was mildly panic-inducing to be without a recorder, but I figured I had two choices. One, proceed with the interview sans recorder, and try and type and listen at the same time. Or two, buy a new recorder.
Normally I’d log on to Amazon, and within seconds a recorder would be ordered and on its way to me. But not this time, because of a crucial, critical sticking point for me: I couldn’t guarantee that the recorder would arrive in time. Yes, Amazon Prime offers two-day shipping. But I only had one day. And yes, Amazon offers one-day shipping as well.
But as a frequent Amazon consumer, I’ve been burned more than once by having an order not show up in the time that I need it. And when I’ve contacted customer service on more than one occasion and said, “Hey, I have Amazon Prime and I ordered this item on Monday and it says it won’t arrive until Saturday—what gives?” all they say is they can’t control fulfillment of third-party vendors.
Really, Jeff? You’re one of the biggest retailers in the world and that’s all you can say? #retailfail
This was too important an interview for me to risk not having a recorder arrive when I needed it to. So instead, I marched myself over to a brick-and-mortar office supply store, found what I needed, and marched myself back out. When people lament the decline of brick and mortar stores, it’s moments like this when I know that they may decline, and they may evolve, but they will always have a solid, necessary place in retail.
I was able to get the product I needed, when I needed it. Truth be told, I probably paid a few dollars extra for my items than I would had I ordered it through Amazon, but the peace of mind I had knowing that I had what I needed in hand—and wouldn’t spend the next 12 hours worrying if the recorder would be delivered on time or not—was priceless.