Friday, October 24, 2008

Internet Nonsense

There has to be a first time for everything. Over the years I've ordered a lot of Stuff(tm) from Internet-based companies - everything from food to clothes to bike parts - and I've always had a good experience buying online. I received the items I ordered on time and in good condition, and my identity remains intact (knock wood). Me being a good-ole modern multi-tasking techie, I like using my machine for the convenience of 24-hour shopping at the same time I'm drafting a proposal, analyzing IDS alerts, writing a shell script, shuffling through my music catalog, and updating my Facebook profile.

So imagine my surprise when I came home yesterday to find a box roughly the size of a small car sitting on my front porch. My first instinct was to - of course - blame the kids. Closer inspection revealed that the box was indeed addressed to me, and was shipped from a company with which I had only days before made an online purchase. But I didn't buy a diesel engine. What could this be? Allow me to digress...

Like a lot of riders, I really enjoy cleaning my bike. Each has his favorite method and mine involves using a lot of rags - especially on the drive train. Cleaning the rags is another story. My wife makes her best effort, and she's told me a number of times she'd rather I throw the rags away if they're really greasy. Me being the insistent waste-not-want-not type of guy, would rather the rags be reused.

One afternoon Jane confronted me with the soaking tub out of the sink in the laundry room. It was obviously trashed. There was a black, greasy ring around the top inside edge of the pan, and all sorts of mucky marks and stains in the bottom. The result, she told me, of trying to soak the grease from my cleaning rags. Would I now please consider throwing the rags away? Oh, and I am appointed chairman of the Find A New Soaking Tub Today search committee.

To the Internet! was the cry. And search I did. For about 10 minutes. I found a plumbing supply house with exactly the same soaking pan for the low, low price of [see cart] plus free shipping. How's about them apples? I whipped out my trusty card and did the cyber deed. Won't Jane be enamored of my efficiency? I'll be out of the dog house in 3-5 business days.

So much for high expectations. Murphy being the wonderful lawyer he is, convinced the supply house to send me a whole new sink. While its nice looking and obviously well made, I'm afraid I'll have to send it back. Jane had a great laugh about it, and my youngest son is mad at me because he really wanted to keep the box. I contacted the supply house (online of course). Once I receive an RMA approval I can begin the Return Process(tm). Looks like my stay in the dog house has been extended another 10-20 business days. Oh the marvel of technology.

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