The email hit me like Santa delivering a sack of coal. It was from the PBS Store where I had found an array of marvelous gifts. I went to PBS in search of the series "The Indian Doctor," the story of an Indian doctor and his wife arriving at a small
The email hit me like Santa delivering a sack of coal.
It was from the PBS Store where I had found an array of marvelous gifts. I went to PBS in search of the series “The Indian Doctor,” the story of an Indian doctor and his wife arriving at a small Welsh town and the challenges they face and how they change and how the townspeople change. I found what I was looking for in a couple of minutes. I checked off one gift from the list and marveled at how it had all been accomplished so quickly. I added the Indian Doctor to my cart and was ready to check out when I thought it worthwhile poking through the rest of the PBS Shop. That was a good and, as it has turned out, a bad decision.
My mother had a gift for giving. Key to her was that the gift was meaningful. The value was not in what the gift cost, but that it was personal. That could be something practical like a jacket that she had carefully selected because she had found the perfect tie to wear with it. It was the tie that prompted her to get the jacket. That was her way of putting a signature on her gift.
The PBS Store offered some eclectic items in addition to the shows and documentaries carried on the station. As I clicked deeper into the site, I was drawn to clearances. I discovered a gold mine of items that ranged from the fanciful such as the wine glasses with bent stems – you might say they were tipsy – to the smashingly colorful pullover decorated with the renderings of at least a dozen dog breeds. Nobody except a dog lover would wear it and even that would be a stretch. There were throw rugs in the shape of corgis and fawns and elaborately cutout cards that opened to reveal the story of the Nutcracker.
It was no wonder these items were in clearance. Who would want such stuff?
But it was a trove of the absurd, the unexpected and distinctly personal gifts. Even better, it was all on sale.
In less than an hour of pursuing, I’d added a dozen items to the cart and satisfied my desire to surprise relatives and friends with something out of the ordinary and hopefully meaningful to them. I placed the order.
A couple of days later, I got an email saying my order had been processed and would be shipped that week. Everything looked good to go. There was plenty of time before Christmas, and the bulk of the items were marked clearance, so obviously they were sitting in a distribution center rather than in a container on a ship off the California coast. My Christmas gifts wouldn’t fall victim to the supply chain, because they weren’t in demand.
How clever. I had found the perfect gifts that nobody else had thought to get.
Next came the email saying the order had been shipped. It was all coming together, or so I imagined.
The following email was the bag of coal. It was a list of backordered items, and a message saying my credit card would not be charged until they were shipped, which was of little consolation.
More troubling, the order that was supposedly shipped has yet to arrive.
Fortunately, there’s still a day left to roam the local shops and the malls.
And yet there’s another positive to consider: Assuming the supply chain is fixed and all those back orders are filled, I will have already done half my Christmas shopping for next year.
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