Recycling on another level

Saturday, September 6, 2008

In the interest of recycling, I am reusing an article that was published 18 years ago in June 1990:

There is an old saying that the cobbler's children never have shoes. Today, it might be described a little differently. If you mail-order your shoes, you will probably go barefoot. On March 9, I decided I had found a pair of dress shoes in a mail order catalog that would fit my needs. So I picked up the phone and talked to the friendly operator, gave my Visa number, style number, page number catalog number, and was assured they would be shipped right away.

In about three week, I received a computerized card saying that, due to the heavy demand, they were temporarily out of stock. They had back-ordered my shoes. Thirty days later, I got a second card, saying the same thing. By now, I figured they could have found the cow, stretched the hide, let it tan, and sewed the shoes.

Being a patient guy, I waited a little longer. Sure enough, after 75 days, the shoes arrived on my doorstep. I proudly displayed them to the family, whipped out the trusty black polish and began to shine them up before I wore them so any scuffs wouldn't cut the leather. I put the laces in and attempted to put them on. The left shoe slid on nicely. The right shoe didn't fit. I put the two shoes together and took a closer look. Sure enough, the left one was noticeably longer than the right one. Further investigation revealed that the left shoe was a 12 and the right shoe was a 9.

By now, I was getting worried, because if they employ people who don't know the difference between a 9 and a 12 to pack the shoes, I wondered who was making them. The next morning, I called long distance asking what in the world could I do about these shoes. I was told the UPS man would come by and pick them up, they would be returned to the factory, and I would be shipped another pair. Knowing that they had one shoe built, I didn't anticipate it would take too long to find its mate.

The UPS man picked up my shoes and away they went. I never heard from the company that they received my shoes, so I made a second call. When the Visa bill arrived, sure enough, I had paid for my shoes, which I didn't have. This prompted another call to customer service. I was assured that when I got my June Visa bill it would show that a credit had been given for the shoes I had returned. I hung up, wondering how I got myself into this. About a week later, I got another of the now-familiar cards, which began, "We are temporarily out and will fill your order in approximately 30 days."

I can hardly wait to see these shoes. They have been working on them since March 9. But it seems that 100 days is about long enough to wait for an order. I might conclude this whole saga with another saying: "Good things come to those who wait." As long as I have waited, those shoes had better be good.