Saturday, June 28, 2014

Homework from the Universe


Case Study 1

I order some clothing from one of my favourite American retailers, to test out the online shopping experience. The order includes a lightweight embellished jacket. The order takes a few weeks to arrive and, when it does, the wrong jacket has been sent to me. I contact the company, confirm that the correct item is still in stock, then return the jacket that was sent in error as per the returns policy. I ensure I have insurance and a shipping number and the company agrees to reimburse me for shipping. The correct item ships from the US and, after a few weeks, the online tracking system indicates that it has been delivered.

But I still have not received it.

Response A

Why does this always happen to me? Why is nothing straight forward? Why did I buy a bloody jacket in the first place? Australia post are total dunderheads. They said they'd look into it but nothing will happen. They said there was "authority to leave the parcel if no one was home" so they don't have to take responsibility. But I was home on the day and time it was supposedly delivered. They reckon someone nicked it from my mail box. Maybe one of the school kids that pass by my house every day. I feel like writing a really angry, shaming note and sticking it to my front gate. What a crappy thing to do to someone, to steal from their mailbox. And now I am out of pocket -- that jacket was not cheap -- and there's nothing I can do about it. It's not like the company is going to take responsibility either. I hate feeling helpless and victimised and I just about hate everyone in the world right now. I'm also going through list upon list of triggers that compel me towards impulse purchases and it's fair to say I hate myself most of all.

Response B

In all likelihood, it got delivered to the wrong house. Our usual parcel dude was on holiday and his subcontractors are not all that familiar with the area. If it was delivered to the wrong house, in all likelihood, someone will drop it off to my house or return it to the post office. People are pretty nice in my area. It was nice of our parcel dude to look into it, he's not really meant to but he is a helpful, caring sort (and I get a lot of parcels delivered!). I email the company on another matter and mention how sad I am the jacket has not arrived. They immediately offer to replace it. Even though a different person responds to my emails each time, I write to thank them for reinstating my faith in the universe.

Early the following Saturday morning (we do not have letter or parcel delivery on weekends), the original parcel is placed on my doorstep.

Case Study 2

My husband and I book tickets to see one of our favourite musos perform. We calculate that, by the time the show rolls around, our baby will be three-and-a-half months old and likely sleeping reasonable stretches of the night. My mum agrees to babysit. Our daughter is ecstatic. The night arrives and they blow up the inflatable double bed in our living room and plan to watch a DVD and enjoy a "midnight snack" at 7.30pm after we leave.

The inflatable bed starts to sag, it seems to have sprung a leak. Our baby, who has been sleeping from 7pm and waking only once or twice (and always after midnight), starts to chatter to himself just as we are walking out of the door. Mum reassures us that everything will be OK and encourages us to go. Outside, it is blowing a gale.

Response A

I send an SMS to my mum to ask how things are going: it's 9.30pm and the baby is still awake. I know that he is not going to settle without me to feed, swaddle and sing to him. Our daughter is going to be disappointed that her Yiayia's attention is exclusively focused on her baby brother, and then she will be woken up by his crying. Poor Mum is going to be so uncomfortable on that wretched bed... or the couch, if the bed proves impossible. She is so particular about conditions required for sleep and she will be so tired from settling restless little people, she will be exhausted tomorrow, the poor thing. All three of them will be so cold as the heating is set to cut out at 9.30pm. The wind is blowing freezing draughts through the house, and that will make it even more difficult for everyone to settle. Our daughter seems to be coming down with a wretched cold and this will just make it worse.

I shouldn't have booked those tickets, it was too soon for us to be making plans to go out of an evening. It was selfish and unfair on everyone involved.


Response B

Bambino was all cheeky grins when we left and had a ball sitting with his Yiayia and big sister on the big inflatable bed, watching the tennis. Mum held him until he was tired and cuddled him while he catnapped. She waved the white flag when he started to cry at about 10.30pm and by then we were only five minutes from home. After we got home and I got bambino to sleep, Mum slept like a charm, saying that settling the baby had tired her out and the bed was so warm she wasn't at all fussed by the sound of the wind outside. She also described the experience of sleeping on a slightly deflated bed as being dreamy, like a "li-lo in the pool". Our daughter happily put herself to bed at 8.30pm and got up to have breakfast with her Yiayia when she woke at 7.30am so my husband and I got a sleep-in until 8.30am. There was no sign of the cold and she was keen to go to her swimming lesson as usual.

We really enjoyed the concert and it reminded me of the importance of getting out of the house and out of my head every once in a while.


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