Dear Amazon…


Amazon shipping
Dear Amazon:

Hello, it’s me, Ian. Yes, that’s right, the crazy guy who orders all those books. Yeah, the history books, the science books, the philosophy books, the ones on leadership and politics… you know, the guy who spends at least $100 a month buying books from you.

Plus don’t forget the pasta maker, the PC games, the laptop battery, the kitchenware, the ukulele tuners, the gaming mice, drawing tablet, Kindle and other stuff, I’ve bought from you… 26 orders from you in the last six months alone. Yeah, that Ian.

Well, I’m at it again. I just can’t get enough. After all, can you ever have too many books? Of course not! But I’m concerned.

Six days ago I placed an order for three more books. All of them were all marked “in stock” at the time. But every time I check my order, it tells me you’re “preparing to ship” them. And trust me, I’ve checked several times.

I don’t know where you and your staff shop, but six days to “prepare” something that’s supposedly already in stock seems like a very long time to wait. Would you eat in a restaurant where the waiter took your order and told you to come back next week?

Look, I know you’re busy and have a zillion other customers, but six days? You have long aisles and lots of stuff in your warehouses, but does it really take six full days to go to the shelf marked “Machiavelli” pull down three books and put them into a box?

And don’t get me wrong, but I was in the shipping business. I know that packing books is pretty easy. Box, some brown kraft paper, some tape, a label and Bob’s your uncle. Two minutes tops to fill the box, pad the sides and seal. Six days?

I usually get a confirmation notice of shipping within a few hours when I place a book order on other sites. I’ve never had anyone else take six days to simply “prepare” my order.

Sure, $120 isn’t much in your world. After all, there are a lot of books much more expensive than those three. But it is a lot in mine. And it’s also about customer service. I’m not a Prime customer, I don’t pay for the speedy shipping (because it seldom arrives on the day promised when I do). Is that why you’re using glacial speed instead of just normal walking speed to gather my books? Am I being punished?

And when you do finally ship it, it will take at least another week to arrive. Amazon shipping has become slower, Forbes Magazine and other pundits tell us. For another $5 or $6, I could have ordered from Abebooks and had the books on their way to me already. Think about that little thing called customer loyalty. It depends on getting good customer service. Six days is not, in my books, good customer service.

You’re busy but, believe it or not, I’m busy too. I have Things To Do just like you do. And those books are part of that. So I’d really appreciate it if you could just hustle your digital butt a teensy bit faster and go from preparing to actually shipping my order. After all, six days is way too long for three books.

After today, if you’re still “preparing” my order – which means you have done absolutely nothing with it – I think I’ll just cancel the order and go back to Abebooks. After all, they won’t arrive any slower.

You friend (for now)

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  1. Update: I sent a somewhat edited version of this piece to Amazon. And within hours they responded, admitting it was rather too long a delay, and promising to look into my order. Then I got another email saying my shipping had been upgraded to “standard” so I would get my order next week, instead of in late June (the estimated time was originally around June 21…).

    But oddly, they decided to send it in two separate shipments (one already shipped, the other supposed to be shipped today). Which doesn’t make sense to me, but hey, at least they listened and responded.

    Maybe they looked at my shopping cart too, and noticed I had already stuffed another half-dozen titles into it and they didn’t want to lose that order too. Whatever the reason, my library will be enriched with three more books (a three-volume set of the collected works of Machiavelli) next week. All part of my research for the revised “Machiavelli for Mayors” book…

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