Thursday, May 15, 2008

Travelling Without Moving

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my TV. My lack of a TV. Well despite my efforts to remedy my lack of a TV, I continue to buy a TV on what seems like a bi-weekly basis. Artificially propping up the US economy is what I'm really doing.

After the whole Sears-returning-the-first-TV ordeal, I ordered a Philips TV from Dell. Two weeks ago in this space I described the liar Dell salesman. I canceled the order. I then ordered the same Philips TV, the one that's called the EcoTV because it uses far less power than regular TVs and enables me to hug a tree by sitting on my ass watching SportsCenter on a daily basis, from Amazon.

I didn't realize this before I bought this sorta big-ticket item from an online retailer, but Amazon actually farms out that type of order to a storefront who can take care of it directly after the money has been spent. Being that I was missing all this great HDTV resolution by having to cancel with liars at Dell, I paid extra for expedited shipping: 3x as much as regular shipping to get it in 3-5 days.

The storefront vendor is ANTOnline, based in Atlanta, GA. I get an e-mail from them updating me on where my TV is. The e-mail links to their website which says "Shipment moved from regional warehouse to local". Great. It's so close now I can smell the High-Definition.

But then a day later, the web message changes to "No information available at this time", and stays that way for the remainder of my 3-5 day expedited shipping process. 5 days turns into 6 and then the jig is up. I call ANTOnline and ask them what the holdup is. The nice lady on the phone tells me she'll find out and call me right back. And when she calls me right back, she tells me that they made an error, I needed to pay another $150 to ship this TV, they don't really have expedited shipping, and I'd receive it in another 7-10 days. After another round of customer service hold sessions, I cancel the order.

The next TV vendor turns out to be is based just south of Los Angeles. Close enough to walk the TV over in a few days. I order the same Philips EcoTV, I check my shipping status online during the 5-7 day period, and the end of the 7 days comes and goes. And on day 8, the shipping message changes to "Estimated Delivery Date: May 23". I can only venture a guess what my e-mail asking why they say 5-7 days when they really mean 18 days will get. Canceled.