This story would be funny if it weren't so frustrating.
A few weeks ago, I bought a book on Amazon and had it shipped to my friend Erik in San Francisco. The book never arrived. This is unusual for Amazon; I have seldom had trouble with orders. So I poked around on their website, trying to find a way to lodge a complaint of a missing book. It took a long time--maybe 10 or 15 minutes--but I eventually found something that might be what I needed. I filled out the form and hit "enter."
Then I called the post office, since they were the ones who lost the book. But the post office won't let you talk to real people unless you know their secret phone numbers, which I do not; instead, I got immediately trapped in voice mail hell.
The patient, mechanical voice kept presenting me with irrelevant options, so I punched zero, hoping it would connect me to an operator. It did not. The mechanical voice paused, and when it spoke again it sounded downright testy. "I'm sorry. I do not understand what you want," it said. But of course I couldn't tell her.
Eventually I hung up (and can you imagine what the mechanical voice might have had to say about that?) and went to their website. I poked around and finally found a form. I wrote out in great detail what book I had bought, who I had bought it from, who it was going to, when it was sent, and that it had never arrived.
Your item was sent Bound and Printed Matter Mail® on March 19, 2009. I will document this issue since your item has not been received within 14 Postal business days from the date of mailing. However, I need some additional information so this can be sent to the correct office and you can be contacted:
- Your home telephone number or preferred contact telephone number
- Full name of the sender
- Address of the sender
- Full name of the recipient
- Address of the recipient
- Type of mail (letter, large envelope, package, large package, or unknown)
- Class of mail (Express Mail®, First Class Mail, international, military, Periodicals, Priority Mail, Bulk Mail, Parcel Post®, Media Mail®, or none)
- Services added (Certified Mail™, Registered Mail™, Return Receipt for Merchandise, Insured, C.O.D., Signature Confirmation™, or Delivery Confirmation™)
- Label number
- Location the mail item was sent from (sender’s residence, other residence / business, Post Office™ ZIP Code™, Collection Box®, or unknown)
- Time and date the mail item was sent
- Contents of the mail item and value
- If you suspect foul play:
- Do you know who was involved?
- Do you know the name(s) of whom you suspect?
- Was it a Postal employee?
- Do you have a description?
If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service®.
Label number! They need the label number! And oh so much more than that! By the time I got to "do you suspect foul play?" I was pretty much gasping with laughter.
Fortunately, I have not had to answer any of their questions, have not had to finger a Postal Service employee for pinching my package. Instead, thank goodness, Amazon got back to me.