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Thursday, July 28, 2005

What's The Worst That Could Happen? Well, You Could Order Something And 20 Weeks Later Still Not Have It

Those of you who are long-term Nuggets followers - and who also have long memories - may recall a post I wrote back in January about my worries over what gifts to buy my mental health dudes to thank them for everything they did for me.

Now, you'd be justified in assuming that, seven months after I wrote that post and three months after I left therapy (actually three months to the day I think, having just glanced at the date) the gift issue is sorted.

It's not.

In the end - and after a level of thought of which the dudes would not approve - I decided to order 'em some gifts from The Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas.

Wait, wait, that isn't as weird as it seems. See, a pretty important question I had to ask myself during therapy was: "What's the worst that could happen?" My clinical psychologist got me to arrive at this question by asking me whether I knew the Dr Pepper advertising slogan was. (He was showing a lack of understanding of my TV geekery at this point). Here in the UK, it used to be: "What's the worst that could happen?" (Now it's "Dr Pepper: So Misunderstood" which, frankly, still works for an obsessive compulsive).

So each and every time I walk past a Dr Pepper bottle, I can't help but grin. Hey - what's the worst that could happen? I tend to visualise a Dr Pepper can each time I'm doing something anxiety-provoking.

So I figured some Dr Pepper merchandise would be a good gift for the dudes. So I ordered them each a set of Dr Pepper pens, and this very cool (in my opinion) serving tray.

The order was processed on March 4.

I still don't have the products.

This pissed me off a bit, as you can possibly imagine. I thus sent several e-mails to the customer service peep at the museum, asking where the hell my products were, and why the hell I hadn't received them.

Well, turns out that she is about as unhelpful as my mental health dudes were helpful. For a start, she refused to believe my assertion that the goods were probably lost in the post until... I had waited 20 weeks. I'm not sure she understands that the UK is an advanced Western society with a postal service - she acted as though I lived in some remote African country or something.

Anyway, it was 20 weeks last Friday. So I e-mailed, asking her to send a replacement by a speedy, trackable method - preferably courier.

She refused:

"Please note that our carrier unfortunately does not offer a tracking method for items to your location, therefore a refund of the original invoice will be made to your original payment method, as we will be unable to re-ship due to the lack of a guaranteed method of shipping to your location. We regret that this shipment can not be re-sent, however as the package was never returned to us, we can not clarify the problem, and therefore can not take the chance that the same thing happens again, as typically items that have taken this long come back to us, and as of now, yours has not. The refund should show on your statements billing cycle within 30-45 days depending on your companies closing date. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

I wasn't gonna give in that easily:

"Thanks for your note. The issue here is that I very much still want the products - they are intended as a special gift. Can I ask why it's not possible to use a different carrier? I am aware of several companies which do offer a guaranteed method of shipping to the UK - indeed, a courier would be able to deliver the goods within 24 hours if necessary. It seems clear to me that the item has simply been lost in the post, and using a courier would certainly avoid the chance of this happening again. I don't think I'm being unreasonable in asking that an alternative method of shipping is used so that I can be guaranteed the products.

If this is not possible, then can you make another suggestion as to how I might be able to secure Dr Pepper merchandise? Is there another company within the States that might be able to send the products internationally or, alternatively, are you aware of a supplier in the UK?

Thanks in advance for your help."

She remained resolutely unhelpful:

"Please note that as stated in the previous email, a credit has already been issued to you for the funds you were originally charged$66.90, which cancelled your original order. As stated on our site, we are not a part of the Dr Pepper Co. and have no info on other outlets for Dr Pepper merchandise, as we produce the things that we sell.
If you wish you may place another order through the site, requesting guaranteed FedEx service (this is not a service we use, however we can try their service) in the comment section of the order form, however for an order similar to yours, the fees for shipping and handling could run you $90.00 or over for a similar weight shipment, and incur import export fees in addition, that would be the recipients responsibility in addition to the shipping fees. This service says delivery should occur in 4-5 business days from ship date to most areas in your country. However as this is not the shipper we normally use for overseas deliveries due to the high expense, we are only stating the info that their standard shipment states, and cost could run over the fees stated here once the package is delivered to their site for inspection. Thank you!"

So I think it may be time to give up on the Dr Pepper museum, with their George Bush-like belief that the UK is some poxy little country that often has to wait over 20 weeks for a package to arrive there from the States. (I mean, I know we are a poxy little country, but I also know that I often receive goods from the States, and it sure as heck doesn't take 20 weeks.)

So it's time to go to some sort of Plan B. The trouble is I don't really have a Plan B. So I'm pinning my hopes on eBay at the moment. I did actually look there first, but there wasn't any decent Dr Pepper stuff there at the time. Now there is. I just have to hope I can get two of any item I'm interested in - one for each of the dudes.


I did actually once discuss my worries over presents at a session. I explained that I spend loads of time thinking what to buy someone, and then once I have bought it, convince myself they won't like it and that I've made a big mistake - to the point I consider not giving it to them. It was suggested that I shouldn't overthink present buying - that if you put too much thought into it, nothing is ever good enough, and that you wind up buying (or giving) nothing.

Ironically, buying gifts for the people who told me that is proving to be a perfect case study of their point.


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