Strike One: Amazon.com
Amazon.com has benefited from the Covid-19 virus because mail order is now a bigger part of our economy than ever before. Amazon’s profits increased by close to 30 percent. Indeed, on Wednesdays our village collects cardboard and just about every home is overflowing with Amazon boxes to be recycled.
Over the years Amazon.com has been a big seller of my 35 books. Like many authors, I have also had a special Advantage contract with them under which they sell autographed copies of my books. Amazon sends me the order, I then autograph the book, and mail it to the customer. I get to keep a part of the sale price, as does Amazon.
I’ve been getting orders that I can’t fill because the Advantage program suddenly didn’t accept my password. Okay, so I created a new password but Amazon did not recognize that one. Then I created another password and Amazon didn’t recognize that one either. I continually receive orders through the Advantage site, but once I log in using any of these passwords, no orders are listed. I can’t fulfill an order without knowing the purchaser’s name and address.
I looked for ways to contact someone at Amazon who could combine my three Advantage accounts and then figure out who had ordered books. We’re talking a good number of books here too.
No one was “home.” No chat, phone, or email was available to get through to Amazon Advantage.
Okay, so at the moment I have lost money that I would have earned had Advantage functioned. That isn’t a huge problem. But here is the problem: People who have tried to buy autographed copies are being told that they can’t because the orders can’t be filled! That frustrates the customer and makes me look bad.
Yes, my wife the Beautiful AP and I have been trying to contact someone at Amazon to solve this problem. We thought we got through to Amazon and were told there is no direct line to Advantage, but someone from Advantage would call us back within 24 hours. It’s been 168 hours and no call.
Strike Two: Delta Airlines
“I’m sorry but we have many phone calls and our agents are all busy. We cannot answer this call.” Click! Hang up.
The above is a paraphrase of a message I received from Delta Airlines when I called to find out about a refund or credit on my tickets. It took me several hours to get through to them. Well, to get through to the click!
I had two round trips scheduled for Canada, one in June (Montreal for three people) and one in July (Calgary for two people). That’s five first-class tickets in total.
On the website, I saw that they were giving me personally, but neither of the other two fliers, a few hundred dollars as a credit for the Montreal flight. Three first class tickets do not cost only a few hundred dollars. One first-class ticket does not cost that either.
I also received (now get this!) a notice that I could fly from Calgary to JFK in New York when I was originally supposed to—just me, no one else.
Of course, there was no such flight because Canada is closed to Americans! So I couldn’t fly to Canada but I could fly home from Canada. Indeed, the flight was cancelled by Delta even as they were telling me that if I sneaked into Canada I could get back to New York. Of course I would not be with my wife, the Beautiful AP, but I guess Delta figured we had been married a long time so we needed a little time apart.
Finally, yesterday, the Beautiful AP received a boarding pass for Calgary in an email. Yes, she could now fly to Canada. Wait a second; isn’t Canada still closed to Americans? So we checked Delta’s website to see if there was a flight taking place to a country that doesn’t want us there. No.
So we now have a boarding pass for a flight that doesn’t exist to a country that won’t let us in. But if I do get illegally in to Canada, somehow and in some way, I can get back home.
Strike Three: P.C. Richard and Son
I write just about every day and when I am done I either read a book, a magazine or watch a good movie or television show. Actually I do all those things. In short, I reward myself for my daytime efforts.
I had an in-house theatre installed when I came home from a particularly lucrative trip to Vegas, with speakers that can blow the roof off my house. “Will you lower that?” the Beautiful AP says constantly as she hides in the bedroom. “Wear noise cancelling earphones!” I yell back but she can’t hear me because the speakers are too loud.
A couple of years ago I bought an LG 4K HD television—a big one—so I could watch my shows with the fullest of pleasure. I figured I deserved that, right? I mean, I started my life in a cold-water flat where three of our six rooms were not heated in winter, and now look at me!
Yeah, look at me. My stinking LG 4K HD television is on the blink. Every so often the set pauses and displays the LG logo, interrupting the show or movie for about 30 seconds. This can happen over and over or just every once in a while. But it has now been going on throughout the virus lockdown.
I bought the set from P.C. Richard and Son here on Long Island, along with a five-year extended warranty from the store. So they should send someone over to fix the screwed-up set. That’s what the extended warranty stipulated. Yes, it stipulated that in clear terms. I have the paperwork. (Actually, my wife has the paperwork.)
P.C. Richard and Son states they will honor all warranties except those—yes, you guessed it —for television sets. Refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, clothes dryers, toasters, stoves, air-conditioners, microwaves – all of which by the way we have bought from P.C. Richard and Son over the years— are essential items and will be serviced during the Covid-19 virus. But no televisions!
On its official web site P.C. Richard and Son states clearly: “We Are Here for You!”
Mr. Richard and Son, I’m okay, but my television isn’t. Why bother with a warranty if you won’t honor it?
So, my friends, no autographs, no flights, and no television. This is almost as bad as the pandemic itself!
Frank Scoblete’s books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores. Receive Frank’s articles in your email. Sign up today.