Wednesday, between 9am and 5pm?

onlineYou know me well enough by now to have gathered that, whilst I’m fairly mild-mannered and evenly balanced most of the time, there are some things in life that drive me barmy. Usually, they’re the sort of things for which there is no real justification, but somehow we choose to tolerate them and put up with the inconvenience without a whimper of malcontent.

Anyone who has ever felt stupid about walking through the whole length of the zigzag maze of barriers to get to the front of the queue at the post office – when there’s no-one else queueing – will know exactly what I mean: we could, of course, just walk around the outside of the barriers,  or even duck under them, but deep down inside we know that’s a terribly bad thing to do, so we tolerate the inconvenience and never say a word.

Then there’s the bane of modern mail-order shopping… the dreaded delivery date. “I waited in all day for a delivery that finally arrived at 5pm”, lamented a friend in SL recently, and everyone knew exactly how he felt. I find it hard to believe that we can land a spaceship on a spinning comet, within a window of a few seconds, yet the best we can do when delivering a washing machine across town is, “It’ll be with you next Wednesday, sometime between 9am and 5pm”. The same is true of gas fitters, telephone engineers and plumbers – you may be lucky and get a choice between AM and PM, but the truth is you may as well book yourself a week or two off work, just to make sure you’re in when they eventually decide to turn up. As for sofas, forget it: one of the constants of the universe, along with the speed of light and Jeremy Clarkson offending someone, is that you’ll never be able to have a sofa delivered before Christmas. I’ve never understood why this should be the case, it’s not as if they have to grow the damn things from seed!

In fact the whole delivery business is a complete fiasco – the massive growth of eBay and Amazon means that, if we ever want to see our goods, we’re practically held prisoner in our own homes, afraid to pop to the loo or make a cuppa, just in case we’re indisposed when the delivery van turns up. Or, you can just leave it to luck… hoping that your parcel won’t require a signature, will fit through your letter box, won’t be thrown in your garden and isn’t going to be taken away and a card left explaining all your ‘options’ for redelivery. Speaking of which, since when was it helpful to offer to deliver a parcel in exactly the same manner that the company was unable to deliver the parcel previously? Why are these people never prepared to offer collection or delivery outside working hours, or on weekends, and why are their collection depots always located further away than you’d normally travel on a long-haul holiday?

Things, I fear, can only become worse as online shopping and store to door deliveries become ever more the norm. At least in SL things are a bit easier… but, wait a minute, there used to be a time when we couldn’t even say that.

vague_001It doesn’t seem all that long ago that the SL Marketplace held all the charm of online shopping, but with none of the advantages. You could peruse stores at your leisure, knowing the goods displayed would always be in stock; you could breeze around from store to store, filling up your shopping cart, happy in the knowledge that you’d have a second chance to reconsider your purchases before committing to buy. Then a couple of simple clicks, and everything was done. Everything, that is, apart from the butt-clenching, nerve-wracking, heart-stopping wait between payment and delivery, which is where it all went horribly wrong. Items you’d bought would arrive in no particular order and at no specified time; some would turn up twice, whilst others would disappear forever, leaving you with the frustrating dilemma of working out just how long you should reasonably wait before you gave in and screamed ‘failed delivery!’ Inevitably, within seconds of receiving your replacement goods, the originals would miraculously appear inworld!

However, that was in the bad old days, and things have improved tremendously – the vast majority of our purchases arrive – if not instantly – shortly thereafter, all neatly sorted into our ‘received items’ carrier bag. It’s a fairly rare occurrence these days for things to go missing and – best of all – you don’t have to be ‘at home’ to take delivery of anything… so much better than RL! No UPS drivers going postal with your parcels, and no trekking across half the country to collect your latest purchase, just because the delivery driver won’t push it through your letterbox without a signature.

Isn’t it great when the virtual world performs so much better than the real one?

Now, if only the Lindens could sort out Marketplace search so that it actually worked, I’d be a happy bunny 🙂

s. x

No one on the corner has swagger like us
Hit me on my Burner prepaid wireless
We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going hell just pumping that gas
M.I.A. – Paper Planes

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