Online Ordering Isn’t the Best

Online Ordering Isn’t the Best

I used to think that retailers were putting themselves out of business by failing to stock adequate supplies, leaving the door wide open for online sellers to fill this gap.

However, after my latest, fruitless foray into trying to order my favorite brand of writing pen, I think online sites have met their match. At least with a retailer, I can walk in, ask for a certain product, and learn immediately whether it is there. Even take a short test-drive, so to speak.

Favorite Writing Pen

pen-and-paperThe source of my frustration comes from the pens that I discovered long ago best fit my hand. They also allow me to write without the nagging slowdowns that come from sharp points. Or the sometimes-blurry mess that comes with “roller balls” or other gadgetry.

At one time I ordered these pens from a large office products supply company in another state. When they stopped carrying them, I found them at the nearest branch of a national retail chain.

Then, one day to my dismay, I learned the store had quit stocking them.

“Wonder if I can find them online,” I thought. I could, and quickly ordered three dozen. Broken down on a per-pen basis, the larger quantity made the shipping charges fairly reasonable.

For several years, this system worked just fine.

Down to One

However, when I switched to my laptop as my main computer and started doing most of my note taking on it, my need for pens dwindled. I mention this because it had been awhile since I ordered any pens.

Let’s face it, just as there is no such thing as a paper-free (yuk, yuk) office, there is still a need for pens. For example, I use mine to jot down quick notes or scribble reminders on a wall calendar (seems simpler than recording it electronically).

Given my modest pen use of late, I waited until my inventory had dwindled to one. When I got online recently to order a couple dozen more, I encountered a jungle that ultimately defeated me.

Since the last time I ordered pens simply and quickly, the company’s website’s easy-to-navigate system had turned into a plethora of types, brands, sizes, shapes and labels. It proved so bewildering that I finally gave up. Even the search function didn’t bring up what I wanted.

Frustration Supreme

IMG_1270Finally, I typed the medium-point black pen I wanted into Google and clicked on a few options. The retailer that no longer stocked them supposedly had them on their web site, but they only offered a single, fine-point red pen.

So I tried the chain whose nearest location is 45 miles away, figuring I’d just get them shipped to me. Trouble is, shipping is only free to a store and the charge seemed a bit high. So I closed out the order page.

However, the next site I tried didn’t offer what I wanted. So I decided to bite the bullet and went back to the distant retailer. Only instead of starting over, when I clicked to order two dozen it remembered my previous attempt and now showed me wanting four dozen.

Since I hope to never need that many pens again—and now had wasted half an hour trying to do what I thought would take a couple minutes—I quit.

When I realized I had several back-up pens nearby, I decided I would just use those for now. My love affair with that particular black pen is over. Next time, I’ll just grab whatever the nearest retailer stocks.


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