In today’s world ordering a product and having it shipped to your home is commonplace. This process works, except when it doesn’t, such as my recent experience with the amazing traveling shoes.
Last March I ordered a pair of shoes from a company called Express Shoes. That’s not it’s real name, although they take pride in speedy delivery. In fact, its full fictitious name should be “Express Shoes — Especially for Fat Fee.”
I order from this company primarily because they serve people like me who have very wide feet. The width of the shoes I need to fit my feet is EEEEEE. Most people have shoe width ranging from B to D. E width is odd. EEE is strange.
I’ve ordered footwear from Express Shoes before and received my order promptly. However, this case would be different.
I called in my order on March 9 (I didn’t go online but called in my order because I wanted to talk personally to someone in Wisconsin where Express Shoes is located. I wanted specifically to tell the shoe salesperson I had to have extra wide shoes. And as a native of Illinois, I like to talk with fellow Midwesterners.)
The customer rep was friendly, and between the two of us we found what I needed, a simple pair of black Oxfords in size and my width. He said he’d work to get them shipped to me ASAP.
However, on March 14 I received an email from the company saying the shoes were on back order. No problem, I thought, I can wait, so long as I have the right shoes. However (once more), on April 8 I received another email saying the shoes were on back-back order, now with an expected shipping date of June 3. OK, I thought; I’ve waited this long, what’s a little longer?
On May 30, another email came from Express Shoes saying my order had been shipped. Finally, I would be getting my shoes. The company even gave me a tracking number.
On June 6, after I thought I should have received my shoes, I decided to check that tracking number. It redirected me to a Federal Express site, which told me a FedEx partner, the U.S. Post Office, had delivered my shoes on June 5. That sounded great, except no shoes had arrived.
The next day I went to the Los Banos Post Office and asked a friendly person if my shoes were there, perhaps on hold for some reason, and I gave her the tracking number. After doing some checking on her computer, she came back to tell me, “Your shoes were indeed delivered — to North Carolina!”
Flummoxed, I went home and called Express Shoes to explain my situation. Another friendly person checked my account and said something like, “Well, I’ll be darned. They were delivered to North Carolina!”
“How could that happen,” I calmly queried. “Sometimes,” she said, “the same tracking number is put on two different shipments. That seems like what happened here.”
“But how could my shoes end up in North Carolina?” I pressed.
“Well, according to what I see on my computer,” she said, “they were shipped from Minnesota and before they landed in North Carolina they also traveled to Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and West Virginia. In any case we’ll get you your shoes.”
I checked my tracking number again and happily found my shoes were shipped to me — again — on June 6. Great, I thought. I should get them in a week.
On June 14, when I still hadn’t received my order, I called Express Shoes. A cheerful person at the call center checked her computer and then said, “Yes, your shoes were re-sent but for some reason they’re now in Wendover, UT.”
“Well, from what city were they shipped this time?” I asked
“It says here,” she said, “they were sent from Sacramento, CA.”
“Are you telling me,” I said as calmly as I could, “that my shoes were only two driving hours away from my home in Los Banos and they were routed to Utah?”
“You may not believe this,” she lightly chuckled, “but those shoes have also been to Colorado.”
I’m thinking now that these are some amazing shoes, which seem to magically travel on their own all around America. “Have you ever,” I asked the customer rep, “seen anything like this before?”
“Not in my experience,” she replied. “This is truly remarkable.”
On June 24 my shoes finally arrived at my home. They were the right design, color and, most importantly, size. I tried them on, and they fit perfectly.
But I was disappointed. Based on their history, I was expecting, once I put them on and clicked them, they would take me to Oz. But then I realized they weren’t ruby red and neither of my dogs is named Toto.