Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Borders war

For my birthday recently, I was given a couple gift cards to Borders, the mega-bookstore with locations everywhere. Since I'm cheap and broke, my bookstore of choice is usually Half Price Books. But it was a nice change of pace to be given the chance to buy brand-new books for once.

Borders' Web site offered free shipping with orders of $25 or more. The book I had in mind was John Krakauer's new one, "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman." I loved Krakauer's "Into the Wild," and I've been fascinated by Tillman's tale. So I put it in my shopping cart. Then I had some money left over on the gift card so I thought, what the hell, let's give Dan Brown's newest yarn, "The Lost Symbol," a try. (By the way, Mr. Brown - "The Lost Symbol"? Really? Couldn't you have thought of a more intriguing title?)

I placed the order. I'll admit here that I also get some kind of strange pleasure from tracking packages. I got my tracking number and the games began.

Now, a warning to you fellow online shoppers: BEWARE FedEx SMART POST! The "Smart Post" part is the key. What this means is FedEx ships your package to your city and then hands if off to the U.S. Postal Service to bring it to your door. So that means not one but TWO major international carriers get a chance to lose your package.

That's exactly what happened to me.

I've been on the phone with FedEx and the local post office (Oh, joy!), and they don't know where the hell my books are.

Just now, though, I called Borders' customer care line. A very nice lady didn't hesitate at all to ship me a new order at no additional charge. And, she's gonna ship it with FedEx express, not this lousy Smart Post option.

This was perhaps the best customer service I'd ever received from a major company, which felt especially nice after dealing with the Postal Service and FedEx for several days.

So by Friday I should have my Krakauer book, which I'll read for dinner. The Dan Brown book I'll savor for dessert.

--Matt Kelsey

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