Stuck in a Catch-22

I was following up on an online order and got caught up in a classic catch-22. I’ve always been a fan of Joseph Heller’s novel of that name; I’m not thrilled to have to experience the situation.

There are no stores in the town we live in. I suppose, strictly speaking that isn’t true. There is a small grocery, closed every afternoon and all day Sunday. a bakery (with similar hours), an optician, a cookware store (open mornings only) an antique store (that I have never been in) and some restaurants.

There are other businesses, physiotherapists, a dentist, a couple of psychiatrists, and several stores I have never seen open, including the bookstore. Two banks though.

What I am trying to say is that for most shopping I  have to leave town. And since we don’t own a vehicle (and there is nowhere in town to rent one – nor is there a gas station) that makes online shopping very appealing.

Most of the time it works well. Sometimes my merchandise is delivered with blinding speed. Then there are those other times….

I think I have mentioned some measuring cups that I ordered on November 8. Supposedly they were shipped the same day. This week, after I complained yet again, I received an email from the vendor asking for patience, saying of they didn’t arrive in a week to contact them again and they would send a replacement order. So much for using them for my Christmas baking. Maybe they will arrive in time for Advent 2018. It gives new meaning to the phrase “slow boat to China.”

Yesterday I was tracking another package, one that is technically not yet overdue, though it will be soon. The carrier’s website places it in Melrose Park, Illinois, as of December 21. No update since then.

I was wondering if it was still sitting there, or whether the website just hasn’t been updated. That’s where I got caught in the catch 22.

Under the Frequently Asked Questions section of the vendor’s website I find this:  Tracking numbers can take 1-2 days to appear in the shipping carrier’s system. Occasionally, the shipping carrier can lose an order. If the tracking number is still not working within a few days, please contact the shipping carrier.

So I headed over  to the carrier’s website. There I read: If you have not received your package, please contact the merchant that sold you the product.

As I read it, the merchant wants me to contact the shipping company first, and the company wants me to talk to the people who sold me the product. I have a  tracking number, you would think it is the carrier that has the package and should be answering questions, not the vendor.

At least both companies have customer service departments. I just hope the parcel shows up today so I don’t have to contact either of them.

Or maybe it too is on a slow boat to China.


  1. […] wrote last week about some mild frustrations I was experiencing with a couple of packages I had ordered online. […]

  2. Surprising…you haven’t entered the bookstore!?!?

    1. So far it hasn’t been open when I have looked. I think it may be summer only.

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