Amazon gets a lot of bad press. For me, anyone that sends me books gets a warm fuzzy association. Besides, returns are a snap. Amazon has sent me the wrong item a time or two. You simply let them know and they’ll refund you. No fuss, no muss. Twice recently, in my effort to support both the planet and used book vendors, I have received the wrong item. Here’s where I praise Amazon. The most recent vendor (reputable and an old player in the used book market) required a multi-step effort to even make the claim of a wrong item, and then wouldn’t pay for the return. Let me get this right: it is your mistake and I have to pay for it? Just because someone who apparently can’t read the title put the wrong book in the bag and it took two weeks for me to receive it? Is there any wonder people buy from Amazon?
To err is human. I get that, believe me I do. But if you make a mistake you fess up, you don’t charge the customer for your error. Have they not realized that looking at the price tag after a trip to the grocery store is more effective than watching a horror movie? I can’t afford to pay for their mistakes. Then my existentialist friends come to the rescue. Yes, they remind me, this is all absurd. A world based on inheritance and privilege, where an active and alert mind sees that when an error is made, the one who did not make it takes responsibility. I’m no fan of capitalism, but Amazon doesn’t make me pay for what I didn’t order. I guess size matters after all.
Perhaps there should be caveats plastered across the internet: buy at your own risk. If we make a mistake with your order, you will be responsible for it. It just kills me to complain about book vendors. Probably I care for books a little too much. I try to buy responsibly, otherwise there’d be no house to, well, house the books. I just don’t like feeling cheated when purchasing a used book. It’s out of character for book vendors. They’re the modern saints, those who are looking out for the good of the world. Eventually the seller relented, but not happily. My associations of Amazon will always go back to when I first discovered that there was a website on which you could find just about any book and have it delivered, and often cheaply. I miss those days and their optimism. I need that warm, fuzzy feeling again. I need to buy a book.