Monday, 6 February 2017

A Tale Of F**k Ups & Bullying AKA Why I No Longer Advertise Amazon On My Blog

Fair warning, the writing style of this post is going to be a little different from the norm. Truth be told, it's partly for my own amusement, and partly because I realise that to some, the subject matter may seem ridiculous...so I'm rolling with the ridiculous. Whilst to many the issues I raise may not seem like problems, as someone who is the carer for a disabled person who also suffers mental health issues, they are problems to me.


PROLOGUE...

The following tale of woe, is a tale of the fate that befell a blogger and his wife. It is a tale that spans long back, back to the year 2015. It is a tale of an ongoing battle, a battle between the bloggers, a villainous corporation, and it's minions...


Chapter One - The Obligatory Backstory...

There once was a blogger and his wife. They lived a simple, quiet life in the town of Bolton. A town made famous by a man whom said 'gaaar...lic bread, gaaaaaaar...lic bread?!' and 'cheeeeese...cake?!' (PRW - by the way, we do sound like that! Ian didn't realise til he met me and my family that it's all spot on! Also, Peter Kay is a very shy man if you meet him! Anyway, onwards with the tale of woe...).

The blogger's wife was not a well woman. Not many months into marriage she was taken ill. It was revealed she had Fibromyalgia, a condition that rendered her disabled, confining her to a bed bound state a large portion of the time. For many years before, the wife had battled both depression and severe anxiety, conditions Fibromyalgia worsened...The blogger's wife had other ailments too, but for our tale, it is unnecessary to list them.

Because of the wife's conditions, the blogger spent as little time away from home as he could. Trips to the likes of the apothecary, or mail carrier were completed post-haste. The collection of goods from the local market became like gazing upon the spectacle 'Supermarket Sweep'.

In an attempt to make their lives easier, the blogger contacted a corporation called Amazon, signing up for a service they called Amazon Prime...this, this, dear reader, was a mistake!


Chapter Two - What Are These "Delivery Instructions" You Speak Of...

Upon the ordering system for Amazon, there appears a section titled 'provide delivery instructions'. Within this section, one tells Amazon what you wish them to do, should you be out. The trouble with this ordering system, the outcome would be greater should you express your wishes to the nearest wall.

One might cry the blogger should have conversed with customer services regarding his instructions. He tried this. He found it as advantageous as wishing while blowing out birthday candles. There was also times when the blogger, for varying reasons, had to change the date goods would arrive. Almost every time, despite customer services assuring him this would be actioned, he would receive a notification of 'failure to deliver'.

Should the blogger be out, his wife, in her bed bound state, found it impossible to reach the door. Due to this, upon the ordering system for Amazon, he asked that parcels be left in his enclosed, rear yard. Time and time again, those wishes went ungranted.

Upon a few occasions, the blogger's goods could be found with a neighbour. Upon the majority of these occasions, as will be revealed shortly, this was not due to the courier visiting the neighbour. Once, the blogger's goods were left with a stranger who lived two lanes down, simply because, they happened to be in the lane when the courier arrived.

As any reasonable person does when they don't receive the service offered, and whilst at the request of his wife being careful to not go full Yorkshire, the blogger complained. This seemingly reasonable action lead to more problems for the blogger and his wife...


Chapter Three - How Dare You Complain, We're Going To Make Your Life Hell...

Before continuing this tale, we must go back a little way...

The blogger's wife suffered from severe anxiety for a number of years. Should people talk loudly as they passed the house, she would, at times, descend into a panic. One of the reasons the blogger decided to sign up for Amazon's Prime service, was the knowledge of the date the goods would arrive. That way his wife could mentally prepare herself as best she could for someone at the door.

Another coping mechanism they used, or at least tried to use, on the door, where one would see a door knocker, was a polite notice asking people to use the bell...and explaining why!

Now, on with our tale...

Whilst most people respected this, couriers from Amazon displayed the attitude that they were above this. One acted particularly worse than the others.

After giving what they believed to be sufficient 'benefit of the doubt' regarding the ignoring of the delivery instructions, and the ignoring of the sign, the blogger complained to Amazon. After many times of having to calm his wife down, he had reached the end of his tether.

Expecting that to be the end of that, the blogger and his wife went on with their lives. The calm however, was soon interrupted with the arrival of their next delivery. The driver, upon arrival with their goods, pounded on the door so loud, the neighbour three doors away rushed into the lane expecting to see an accident.

Things got so bad, the blogger wrote to the Amazon UK CEO. The CEO palmed the blogger off to his secretary, who in turn gave him the generic, customer services template answer, minus the month free Prime membership (sometimes when you complain, to keep you using them, they give you a month free extra membership to Prime...the blogger had received at least 12 months worth)...and the behaviour continued.

At this point in the tale, continuing to use Amazon probably seems a little daft to you. Ordinarily in this situation, the blogger would have not bothered ordering from them again. Sadly, due to the nature of his wife's needs, Amazon was the only financially viable source for some things. Because of this, the blogger was forced to continue using their services, all the while looking for better alternatives.

Unlike many delivery companies in the land, Amazon did not supply the blogger with a delivery window. All they would tell him was the date the courier would attempt delivery. Because of this, on days when goods were due, he was unable to perform his duties fully. Having to leave his errands as late as possible into the day. As the carer for his wife, this was not always possible. Many times he would have to visit the apothecary, or the market before it closed. Without fail, whilst the blogger was out performing necessary tasks, the courier would turn up. Ignoring the sign, the courier would knock, loudly. Then, when nobody answered, he would proceed to knock even louder, to the the extent that the door frame, and the windows in the front of the house would shake. The knocking would get so loud, the neighbour three doors up would hear it. He also, on multiple occasions, ripped the sign off the blogger's door.


Chapter Four - The Plot Twist AKA Let's Change Our Policy But Not Tell Our Customers AKA Things Start To Look Up...

On one outing to the apothecary the blogger received a telephone call. The telephone call was from a courier trying to deliver from Amazon. Having read the note on the door, he thought it best he tried calling the blogger. Much to the blogger's shock, after the history he had with Amazon couriers, the courier said he would wait as the blogger was less than five minutes away.

Upon the bloggers arrival he and the courier had a chinwag, the courier telling him all about recent changes implemented by Amazon. The courier told him how Amazon recently informed the drivers, they were no longer allowed to leave parcels in customer's designated safe place if they were what Amazon deemed 'unsecure'. This was despite the fact, they still, to this day, offer the option as part of the ordering process. As best the courier could tell, these changes came about because Amazon wanted to 'downsize' it's logistics department.

This was the courier's first time on the route that included the blogger's house. He was under the impression that from that day forward, that was to become his route, having heard rumours the driver who used to do it, was fired...he was wrong.


Chapter Five - Ignore Previous Chapter AKA The F**k Ups Continue...

A few days passed and things looked like they may improve. An arrangement was made between customer services and the blogger. They'd phone him in advance of a delivery, that way he could get home to receive the goods, and they wouldn't take them away. This arrangement lasted one delivery attempt before it broke down...

Unbeknownst to the blogger, on the first delivery with this new arrangement, when the courier tried ringing him, his phone had no signal. He thought nothing of this. The courier had done as was asked, it hadn't worked, it was just one of those things. Whilst out the following day the blogger made sure his phone had a signal, but no call came. Again, he thought nothing of this, the courier was probably not near delivering his goods yet. When the blogger arrived home however, he found a 'delivery unsuccessful' notification, and his wife in a panic. Despite countless assurances from customer services, and the glimmer of hope offered by the previous days delivery attempt, it was back to service as usual...


Epilogue...

I'll wrap this up in my 'normal' writing style...

I realise to many the issues I've raised may seem trivial. You may be right. The thing is, as a carer, and from my wife, Jan's, standpoint, as a disabled person, life is quite difficult at times to start with. Amazon offered a service promising, amongst other things, convenience. A convenience we thought would help improve our lives. Because of this we paid them money for a service, a service which they have, on many occasions, failed to deliver. Not only this, when we complained about the behaviour of the driver, behaviour which I can't get across to you how bad it is (two of our neighbours have wanted to 'readjust his attitude'), nothing meaningful was done about it.

As I said in my 'story', it may also seem stupid to keep ordering from them. The trouble is, without going into too much detail, Jan requires certain things to live comfortably due to her conditions. Things that aren't available either as readily, or in the same quantity, or a cheaply as they are on Amazon. Because of this, until I find something else, we're stuck with them.

Having spoken to our neighbours, and having looked online, this poor service, the behaviour of the drivers, and the lack of giving a shit about it isn't limited to our route. Nor are these issues limited to Amazon UK. It seems to be bordering on worldwide pandemic.

Whilst I can't make people not use Amazon's services, you have to decide for yourselves..if you receive excellent service, that's great. I envy you! What I can, and have done, is remove the Amazon adverts from my blog. I don't want to find that my blog was responsible for someone ordering from them, and having the same issues we have had...I don't want to find myself responsible for Amazon causing someone else distress. Please also bear in mind that this is the truncated version of a very very long story, going into each and every time this has happened would take too long. For example, the last delivery mentioned above, my wife fell ill and needed to go to hospital (PRW - despite my repeated refusals! I was taken kicking and screaming....well, screaming, my legs don't work well enough to stand or walk never mind kick!) so we tried to change the delivery date. We were promised the request had been actioned yet for 4 days straight they attempted to deliver despite the numerous emails and phone calls over the issue. In our mind there was no point dragging the drivers out to us when we knew we wouldn't be in was a waste of their time. Apparently, they disagreed!

So, in conclusion, we are still locked in a battle to the death (dramatic? Me?) with Amazon and Amazon Logistics with no resolution or happy ending in sight....which will annoy my wife as she won't watch a film that doesn't have a somewhat happy ending so this is driving her insane!


Ian
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