Op-eds

Nightmare on ‘ecommerce street’

  • Julie (2)
My husband has a bee in his bonnet. “We must order everything for delivery – including groceries,” he says after reading the infection statistics for Gauteng. I don’t respond. The prospect of ecommerce for everything looms. And it’s not one I want to embrace.
by JULIE LEIBOWITZ | Jul 16, 2020

It’s not that he’s wrong. We would be much better off staying at home altogether and ordering everything in. As the adult who does the shopping in a household with three hungry teenagers and one hungry toddler, I spend a lot of time at grocery stores. However, my recent experiences with ecommerce haven’t been good.

It started with Cotton On. I needed to buy my aged mother some clothes. “She needs vests, pajamas, and warm jerseys,” the aged home shrieked. I hopped online fast, and ordered and paid for them. Nothing happened. After two weeks of silence, I went onto Cotton On’s chatline. “I ordered winter clothing for my aged mother in a home and they haven’t been delivered. Can you please advise what’s happened to my order?” Silence. I tried again. I waited. Nobody answered. My chat timed out. I tried calling them. Silence. After three weeks, I got desperate. I went onto Twitter: “Does this company still exist?” I asked. Silence.

After three weeks, my order arrived. It had “got lost, and was returned to the depot”. I was ridiculously grateful.

Then, my husband and sons needed winter clothing. Their clothing from last winter was, quite simply, shredded and riding up their ankles. I’ll try Woolies, I thought, (trying to restrain myself from going into an H&M store and actually picking out some supplies). For some reason, H&M has no online presence. Maybe it knows something?

I ordered and paid in full. I heard nothing. Two weeks passed. The delivery eventually arrived after two and a half weeks, but not before we had forgotten all about it and grown a few inches.

My sons were celebrating their birthdays (within a month of each other). “I’ll get them some trendy winter clothing from Zara,” I thought – and moment of honesty here – I had my eye on some boots. I ordered, and paid in full. Nothing happened.

This time, I knew that I should be patient. After three weeks, I went onto Zara’s chatline. “My purchases haven’t arrived,” I bleated. “Give us 24 to 48 hours to investigate,” the chatline said. Nothing happened. After three days and counting, I went back online. “What’s happening with the enquiry about my missing purchases,” I asked. “Give us 24 to 48 hours to investigate,” Zara said. “That’s what you said three days ago!” I yelled (if it’s possible to yell online). “Is there anything else we can help you with?” Zara replied.

After four weeks, like a delivery by stork, Aramex arrived with a parcel. It was my Zara order. In disbelief, I crept up to the box, opened it, and found that my boots were missing! This time, it seemed that even the Zara machinery couldn’t believe what it was hearing. “Give us 24 to 48 hours to investigate. Is there anything else we can help you with?”

My ecommerce journey hasn’t been all bad. Yuppiechef delivered a veggie cooker in four days. Needless to say, it used a different courier. At least now I have another way to let off steam.

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