I like my gadgets (as most people know) so recently ordered myself a new flash for my D-SLR, I say recently very loosely as I’m slightly annoyed!

I’ve been a customer of the company I ordered it from for several years, they’ve not always been the quickest to deliver (particularly with my EEE PC as I had one of the first into the country!), but generally I’ve been happy with them – so happy that I became an affiliate of theirs. Not so much to make some cash, but when I did refer people to a product they were selling I’d earn something from it – something I was happy to do…

Now I’m not so sure!

I ordered on: 28/04/2010 17:45 and immediately received my confirmation email:

“… expected to be delivered within 2-5 working days. Please note that in most cases, delivery is faster than stated as we want you to start enjoying your purchase as soon as possible.”

Great I thought, today is Wednesday, I could have it by Friday at their minimum, most likely Saturday though which would be really handy for the bank holiday weekend so I could play with it whilst we were visiting family, and as they say I’ll be able to enjoy my product as soon as possible!

Saturday arrived and there was still no sign of anything, so I logged into their website –

“Status: Processing”.

Processing? What’s that all about? You’ve had the order for at least two whole working days and nothing has happened with it!? We live in an “instant” world these days. Amazon are probably partly to blame they get things to you like lightning, heck I think they’d teleport them if they had the chance!

I thought I’d ring their customer services line and check on the status of the order, hmmm closed on weekends, and this is a bank holiday weekend! Right then that will be a job for Tuesday, but it will probably turn up on Tuesday and although I haven’t had it over the weekend at least it will be here for the wedding the following weekend!

I submitted an email support enquiry anyway, and was surprised to find them working on bank holiday Monday:

“I can confirm your order has been received and is progressing through our system as normal. The stock allocation process will begin shortly, if not already.”

I replied, telling them I really needed it for Friday – it was of the utmost importance.

Tuesday arrived and I got a response,

“There has been a slight delay with the order however all appears to be on track.

Under the present conditions, your order is expected to be dispatched within the next two days. A dispatch confirmation email will be forthcoming as well with the tracking information once the order has been shipped.”

Hmmm… I couldn’t really complain could I? Much as they say they’ll get it to you quicker than their quoted delivery time, Thursday would still put them inside their 2-5 working days (even excluding the bank holiday where they appeared to be working!).

Wednesday arrived, status? You guessed it “Processing”. I emailed and rang! They assured me they were looking at my order right now and it would either go out that day or the following,  Thursday… Hang on I’m supposed to have it by Thursday! At least if they dispatch it with Royal Mail it will be next day before 12 so I’ll have it Friday lunchtime – before I head off to this wedding mid-afternoon.

It’s now 12:00 Friday… I’m packing up the car, and I have a notice from their couriers… Not the couriers fault I know, but they’re coming from Gloucester…

“Your order is out for delivery today and is due to be delivered between 16:39-17:39.”

Argggh! That’s it then – it will be next week!

Like I say, maybe our expectations of mail order have been raised in recent years with companies raising the bar quite regularly.

I was listening to an interesting podcast this week on SmallBizPod, it was an interview with Brad Burton of 4 Networking – and he quite rightly says:

“People buy from people before they buy products or services.”

He’s right, maybe next time I’ll pay a little more for the product and order it from Amazon (or even, perish the thought… go somewhere to buy it in person!), as I know what kind of service I’ll get from them! Maybe I just expect too much!

I was “slightly annoyed” when I started this rant, I’ve got to the end of it and realised exactly how annoyed I am!!! Hmmm I think I ought to chill out a little before getting the car!