Friday 28 Oct 2016

Matt Seinberg

How many  remember being a young kid, waiting patiently for something to show up in the mail that we had ordered through a catalog, and finally greeting the mail carrier, at the door with big hello and thank you, for delivering the package?

That hit me, today, as I was thinking about all the deliveries I have received over the last couple of months during the kitchen renovation. 

I remember a catalog from a company called “Auto World,” which was all about HO-scale electric cars and related items. My late grandmother gave me an HO starter set from Montgomery Ward. I later added the Golden Gate Bridge edition to it. What was cool about that was it had a cardboard cutout replica of that famous bridge and the tracks went through it.

I used to order all sorts of things from “Auto World,” such as parts for the cars, and specialty track pieces. When I lived in Poughkeepsie, NY, the track was set up in the finished basement. I had a sixteen foot straightaway. I had to build my own wall out of file folders to keep the cars from flying all over the place if they went off the track!

When we moved to Spring Valley, NY, I had a smaller track set up in the dining room. I had taken over the dining room table, so whenever my parents wanted to have dinner on it, I had to take it apart and store it somewhere. That was no fun.

The days of catalog shopping are pretty much over. Now, all we have to do is turn on our computer, use our favorite search engine to research what we want and, perhaps, buy that new toy we so greatly desire.

I remember an episode of the CBS sitcom “Green Acres,” from the 1960s and 1970s, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. They had found an old copy of the Sears Wish Book. That started a flashback, with what they wanted to buy in the 1800s. Even though the Wish Book first published in 1933, the “Green Acres” folks took some liberties with it just to have fun.

The Wish Book discontinued in 1993, but published in various smaller forms until 2005. In 2007, it came back to life in a much smaller format, nowhere near the 300 page behemoths of the past.

Recently, I got deliveries of the kitchen cabinets, dishwasher and microwave oven. I always take any delivery on one of my days off, Tuesday or Friday. The cabinets arrived nice and early. I was free the rest of the day. The dishwasher also showed up early, but the microwave wasn’t with it.

I went out to do some errands, and got back home by 3 pm. The next thing I know, there’s another appliance delivery truck outside! Lo and behold, they were delivering the microwave! I had no idea that they were coming and it was lucky I got home when I did.

Do you know what happens if you miss any sort of delivery? The items you purchased can disappear into the ether, of a warehouse, where no one ever never the items again. So make every effort not to miss any sort of truck delivery!

Here’s what got me going on this whole delivery topic. The quartz countertop, we ordered would finally be delivered. That and installation was set for yesterday, Friday. The delivery window was 10 am to 3 pm. What a way to kill a beautiful day.

At 3:15, there was still no delivery. I called the company, asking what happened. The girl on the phone, Sarah, said that I was called at 1 pm to tell me that the drivers were delayed and the new window was now 5 pm 8 pm. WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me? I told her that I was home the entire day and no one called me; whoever put that little factoid in the computer was lying!

Since yelling never does any good, I asked for a call when they were on their way; Sarah said fine. I go about the rest of my day, make dinner for the kids; I watch television and move things around the kitchen.

Eight o’clock arrives and no delivery. I try to call the office, but it’s after hours and I only get voice mail. About five minutes later, the phone rings and its Sarah telling me the truck was on the way. They show up at about 8:20 pm. Alex the installer asks if I have the balance.

I do, but I ask to see the three pieces first. I want to make sure they are the right color and ensure the main piece isn't seamed.

Everything is fine. They start to install the three pieces. I give Alex the cash. They finish in 45 minutes. They’re out the door by 9 pm. They did a good job, so I gave them a tip. I always tip for job well done. tip means to insure promptness. Marcy had come home during all this and couldn’t believe that they showed up so late.

She couldn’t believe it; how could the delivery fall so far behind. I couldn’t believe it, either. It took every piece of willpower I had to keep me from going ballistic, over the phone, with Sarah. I’ve been in retail sales for over 30 years, and I know if that happened to one of my customers, I would be sure to hear about it and it wouldn’t be pleasant.

All is well and now the contractor has to come over on Monday to install the dishwasher and hook up the sink and faucet, and our days of cleaning up everything in the bathroom is over.

The best part is there are no more deliveries scheduled any time soon, thank goodness.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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