Buyer’s Kvetch

ipodI ordered this cute iPod dock from Amazon.com so I could share all my fabulous music with my new coworkers, but it’s been over three weeks and I still haven’t received it. So I checked back with the Amazonians, who in spite of being a huge conglomerate that sucks the life out of independent bookstores usually manages to be very efficient; my pre-ordered copy of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was on my doorstep yesterday morning before I’d even brushed my teeth.

Turns out this is one of those instances when Amazon partners up with other businesses to sell shtuff; my stereo’s fate was actually in the hands of a company called Adorama Camera, so I sent off a polite email to their customer service department at the beginning of last week. I received an impersonal, unapologetic response three days later with a UPS a tracking number. I figured that due to the lame hourly wage, not everyone who works in customer service actually understands the concept, so I checked with UPS myself. I found out my little iPod dock had traveled more than I have this summer: Starting out in New York, it flew all the way to San Carlos, CA, then stopped in Oklahoma, then found its way into the correct state to Atlanta, then, inexplicably, was sent back to New York. Poor thing. Two more emails to Adorama later I received the news, delivered by someone who couldn’t be bothered to write my name at the top of the note, that they had the wrong address. Did I send the correct one immediately and ask kindly that they now overnight the package? You know I did. Did they comply? I wouldn’t be writing this if they had, nu? And this does have a Jewish twist, so bear with me.

Pissy and very tired of listening to the same freakin’ Three Doors Down CD while on deadline, I decide it’s time to take it to the next level: I pick up the phone, which I only do when the written word ain’t workin’ its charms. (You may or may not be surprised to know that I am not such the balabusta in person.) A phone call placed at 3:47pm on Thursday EST informed me that Adorama’s offices were closed for the day; another call first thing Friday morning let me know that they were closed Fridays and Saturdays.

So then the little yiddishe bell in my head starts to ring: Adorama is owned and run by frum Jews. I remember reading about them in this NY Times article about religious Jews and the Internet awhile back, and how they close up shop early Friday afternoons and reopen on Sundays.

This is no problem, but when did the Sabbath begin drawing its veil on Thursday after lunch? Tisha B’Av isn’t until Monday night and while I understand we are in the midst of the semi-mourning period of the Three Weeks, is there some other level of observance I’m not aware of that is preventing this company from doing its business and delivering me from trying to work to BeyoncĂ©? And what part of the Torah admonishes merchants to be total schmucks when dealing with customers?

I’m not trying to commit any lashon hora here, and I’m sure the people at Adorama are fine people and pious Jews, but my experience with this company has really crawled under my skin. I’ve canceled my order and am heading out to Best Buy, where some courteous, pimply teenager will fall all over himself to get my business.

Update: Great. In my research for this post, I find out that “buying items that will bring us joy” is forbidden during the fist Nine Days of Av. So, fine, I’ll wait until Wednesday, because sometimes even a bad Jew has to be respectful of the traditions. But there’s no way I’m putting off bathing or doing laundry.

7 thoughts on “Buyer’s Kvetch

  1. Yeah, we ain’t allowed (aloud?) to listen to music during the 1st 9 days of the Hebrew month of Av (or maybe all three weeks – how should I know?

  2. Yenta- I think that it makes sense for them to close down Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday, that way they can give their employees two days off while maintaning sabbath observance.

    As for their shabby treatment of you? I think that you should write a letter expressing your disappointment in their poor service, and explaining your decision to take your business elsewhere.

  3. Kol Ra’ash and Schvach ~ Yes, I should thank them for doing me a favor. Except at work, where there is not another Jew for many miles, let alone one who isn’t listening to music this month, I am now being subjected to the extremely sinful beats and lyrics of Peaches.

    Dan ~ I know, man. The older I get, the more I tremble.

    Annie ~ Of course I understand the F/Sa; it was Thursday that’s the issue. Don’t have time for letters. Let ’em read the blog 🙂

  4. Checking their website, their stated hours are very different from their practices. Hence, maybe their customer service problems come from the fact that they are from New York, New York.

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