Thursday, March 3, 2016

An Inkie Surprise

“Aren’t surprises wonderful?”

My wife was still living at Loretta’s in December; we didn’t have a great deal of Christmas spirit, and decided to forgo our traditional Christmas, which included a plethora of little gifts for each other and our family.
( One thing we did do was decide to attend a performance of “Sister Act” at a local dinner theater, but that’s another story. )

Nonetheless, Ellie decided to surprise me with a sample package of fountain pen inks, purchased from an online store which both of us had shopped at. It was a randomly selected group of a small amount of eight inks of various colors. I had only recently moved away from using solely black ink in my pens, and was discovering I delighted in using colorful inks. ( “Darn purist! Why didn’t I try this sooner?!?” I wondered. ) She knew this would be a wonderful gift and, at less than $10, didn’t really violate the ‘no gifts’ spirit we had agreed upon.

She planned to surprise me; she had some trouble creating the order; she had some trouble setting up payment for the order. Finally, close to Christmas she told me her secret, sought my help, and we created the order together. She asked me if I wanted expedited shipping, which added a significant percentage of the cost of the inks to the total purchase price but promised the possibility of Christmas delivery. I said, “Sure.”

Christmas Eve came and went; no ink. Christmas came and went; no ink. Days passed; still no ink. Disappointed, using the USPS package tracking site, I determined the ink made it to our local Post Office possibly in time to deliver on Christmas Eve, and certainly by a day or two after Christmas. I called the post office to see why my package had not been delivered.

“Your package is lost. I can see it’s a small package, and it made it in here and didn’t make it out. So it must be here in the building, or something. I’ll talk to your carrier and get back to you.” 

On the day he promised to call, well after the Post Office closing time, he called. “Your carrier remembers delivering a package,” he said. “But it wasn’t the one you’re asking about.”

“Yes, we did get a package just the other day.” Something Ellie had ordered and a bigger package than the ink was ( apparently ).

“I am sorry; it remains lost; it’s small. It may well be on the floor and we may find it when we move some carts around.”

“What are my options?” I asked.

“Well, you have to wait for 30 days from the date it arrived here to make a claim with the Post Office. You could also talk to your vendor.”

“Hmmm.” I had thought of talking to my vendor, but they did everything right and the package was lost well after the last time they saw it. But they have a stake in good customer service ( as if that exists anymore, my darker side thought ) and they might have access to remedies that I don’t. “Well, OK, thanks for your help. I’ll give that some thought,” I said, hanging up.

I called my vendor; she was immediately helpful, saying things like, “Of course we’ll refund the extra charge for expediting shipping,” “I am sorry your order got lost,” and “we’ll certainly make things right for you.” She took my order number, said she’d send out a replacement more or less immediately, and gave me a new tracking number.

Just a few days later an envelope from the company appeared in our mailbox. I eagerly it, wondering what eight colors the vendor had selected; I found names like Stormy Gray 1670, Jade, Silky Purple, Bay State Cranberry, Nightshade. The packaging was superb; eight small vials of ink tightly packed in a small plastic bag, much like a sandwich baggie. Then I noticed it, a smaller baggie, just big enough for and containing two vials, inside the larger bag. To my mild astonishment, my delivery of eight randomly selected ink color samples contained samples of ten ink colors.

I looked at the invoice, which of course noted this was a no cost replacement order, and the packager had penned, no doubt with a fountain pen, a note on the invoice, “Sorry your initial order got lost. Aren’t surprises wonderful?”
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