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December 22, 2005

PROBLEMS WITH AMAZON SHIPPING? Reader Nora Cannon writes:

Are you hearing anything about Amazon having an awful Christmas season for delays and cancellations? I have 2 shipments that still haven't left them and 1 in transit - all ordered at the beginning of December. Our daughter-in-law is in the same situation, even though she ordered at the end of November. I have heard the these sorts of complaints from a couple of other moms, though I don't know their details of ordering. It has been years since I went "to the mall" for Christmas shopping, because on-line with Amazon and others has always been so satisfactory, but anecdotally at least something is bad wrong.
Nora

PS If they would quit filling my in-box with e-mails suggesting that I order by the 23rd for Christmas delivery, I might be more tolerant, LOL.

Yeah. I've been getting some deliveries very quickly -- yesterday I got a DVD I had ordered the day before. And I just ordered a book that promised delivery tomorrow. On the other hand, I got an email today saying that the Serenity DVD I had ordered had shipped via UPS -- but that I wouldn't get it until 12/27. I don't know why. Maybe it's a UPS problem, or maybe glitches are just inevitable this time of year. I haven't heard anything, and their home page is still pushing 1-day "accelerated delivery." What are you folks experiencing?

Anyway, to be safe I just bought one of these (the old one died, and this one has an iPod dock!) and chose to pick it up at Circuit City rather than have it shipped, just in case.

UPDATE: Mixed reviews so far. Reader John Pike emails:

hey, glenn....like a good instapundit reader I ordered serenity (for my geeky but sexy girlfriend) from amazon on 12/19 and specified 2-day delivery....received it yesterday on the 21st...see attached screen shot from Amazon...

I have probably gotten 12-15 packages from Amazon in the past 2 weeks; none took longer than expected (I also ordered a 32-inch LCD tv that made it here in 4 days).

Geeky but sexy? Geeky is sexy! On the other hand, reader David Hodges emails:

I ordered a Christopher Buckley book on December 6 and it still hasn't come yet. I e-mailed them and said if I didn't receive it by Friday that I would cancel my order. The only explanation I got was holiday glitches. I suspect they are having a lot of trouble with orders right now.

Reader Kevin Myers emails:

Regarding your post about Amazon shipping, I ordered a digital camera from them to arrive before Christmas. It was advertised to ship within 24 hours, after that time period they placed it in the dreaded "shipping soon" phase where I couldn't cancel it. They charged my credit card, and it was still "shipping soon". When I emailed to complain (after 4 days) they assured me it would arrive by the 23rd, even gave me a $15 gift certificate (which leads me to believe they know they're having problems). The next day the item went back to "not yet shipped" and I was sent an email saying it wouldn't ship until after Christmas.

As I told them, it would have been nice if I would have been told sooner of their problem in inventory as I could have purchased the camera somewhere else. I also checked the item again on their site, and it is still listed as shipping within 24 hours.

And reader Eric Owens emails:

I had ordered a ton of stuff for Christmas, on December 4. None had been delivered. I finally called, using the online call feature. The problem was that Amazon planned to ship all the items at once (an option I may or may not have selected) and one item (which shall remain unnamed lest the recipient be a reader of instapundit) was backlogged.

I canceled that one thing, causing everything else to get shipped pretty much immediately. Then, I ordered the backlogged item through a z-shop, and I am confident it will arrive on time since most of the z-shops are just little stores throughout the country, without huge warehouses.

Maybe others will have success with this method if they are having problems.

Good point. I've had that problem before, though since I got "Amazon Prime" with free shipping, I just set everything to ship as items come available, rather than consolidating orders to save on shipping.

And reader Ryan Kelley emails:

Hey Glenn. I had two shipments put in on the 13th and 15th that hadn't shipped. One just went out this morning and they put it as 2-day UPS shipping (even though it was 'Super Saver'). I'm betting the other goes out today too and both arrive on my doorstep tomorrow.

I had the same experience last year. I started to get concerned but they ended up getting it to me on time. Looks like they're doing it again this year. I don't think it's particularly good marketing but this year I'm not freaking out. They did say it'd be here on the 23rd when I ordered them.

It doesn't sound as if they're having huge problems, but obviously if you're ordering stuff today and absolutely have to have it tomorrow, well, you could be taking a chance. But then, it is December 22d.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Lots more emails, reporting both good and bad experiences, in roughly equal proportions. Doesn't sound like they're having a big systemic problem, but some stuff is falling through the cracks, which I guess is no surprise. My email is proof that Amazon enjoys a lot of customer loyalty, but that you can lose that loyalty pretty fast if people have a bad experience.

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