Posted by: thedirtybaker | November 5, 2012

Thin Blood, Lightweight Wardrobe

Most places experience a season called “winter.”  In Tucson, that means that the highs are in the 60s or 70s, and the lows are probably in the 30s-40s.  Every winter, it freezes a few nights, and there are usually a few days with highs only in the 50s.  We pay for it with long, hot summers, but our “winters” are beautiful and fantastic, especially for those of us who like to play out in the dirt.  I used to live in places with winter, but it’s been a long time, and I have lost my tolerance for cold.  I only experience real winter when I travel – 3-4 days in Tahoe a couple of years ago, for example (but skiing makes everything better!). In short, I’m a thin-blooded wimp.

Moreover, I’ve been a thin-blooded wimp without a good winter coat, and my annual conference this year is in Chicago.  In November (cold-cold-cold-cold-coooooold!!!).  Reassurances that “sometimes it’s nice in Chicago in November” weren’t very comforting, especially since I heard something similar when this conference was in Boston, and it was godawful cold and windy (people from Alberta were cold!) that time.

Last January, in a rare feat of not-procrastinating, I ordered a coat from J.Crew (black, stadium cloth pea coat) in their winter sale.  They said it was back-ordered, but I still had plenty of time.  When I didn’t hear anything more in a few months, I figured it got lost in their system: no charge, no worries.  Then, in September, I got an email asking me to call J.Crew about my backordered item.  Wow.  A 9-month backorder?  I called.

Did I still want it? (Yes.)

Is navy ok?  They aren’t making it in black anymore.  (Seriously?   Who doesn’t make such a basic coat in black?)

I got tan instead, and looked forward to it.

After more than the promised 7-10 business days, I checked the tracking number; the coat made it to Phoenix 2 weeks earlier.  I called UPS.  They couldn’t find it, but J.Crew had to initiate the search, not me.  Sigh.  I contacted J.Crew.  After a week, UPS called me to find out if I really, truly, genuinely, honestly, actually, sincerely, and pinky-swearing fer-totally-realz hadn’t gotten the package.  I confirmed that no such package for me reached me, my neighbors, my office, or the ice cream shop 2 blocks away, to my knowledge.  They promised to get on it.  A week later, I heard from J.Crew.  Did I really, truly, genuinely, honestly, actually, sincerely, and pinky-swearing fer-totally-realz still not get the coat?  I confirmed that I had not.  So they apologized, asked if I still wanted it, and offered to send me a new one.  Please note that there were several one-to-two week breaks in there?  Time was getting a bit tight.  I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen if you didn’t procrastinate?  They offered to send it 3-day express for free.

Good news:  After 11 months, I finally have a winter coat to wear to a conference next week!

Conclusions: UPS is on my “un-impressed” list, and J.Crew, while they should have told me how far back-ordered the coat was, had good customer service otherwise.  They will continue to get my patronage. (This is fortunate, since I like their clothes.)

And now, back to writing that paper to give at the conference.  Or maybe I should pretend that I sent it by UPS and it got lost?


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