A few years ago, I came across a toy consultant at a trade show and started buying toys from her. These are sold along the same lines as Discovery Toys or Tupperware or whatever – you place your order through the consultant and they order from their head office. Anyway, over nearly two years, I bought quite a few things from this lady and even referred some customers to her. The first year, some of the things I had wanted for Christmas were already out of stock by the time I ordered them. So the next year, I placed my Christmas order right at the beginning of November – it might even have been the end of October. My consultant told me that the toys I wanted were in stock and she would order right away, so I started making a big deal about one particular toy – a bathtub fishing rod with magnetic fish – that my three year old son had really wanted. I told him maybe Santa would bring it, and we even wrote to Santa about it. We made a big deal about it.
Mid November I emailed the consultant about when the order would be in. She hadn’t put an order in, but she was doing it the next day, and it would definitely be in on time. Another week or two later, I emailed again, and again, she was just about to put the orders in, things had been crazy for her and whatever, but it was definitely coming. I very particularly told her that this was going to be the big santa present for my 3 year old and that we were making a big deal about it. After another week and a half, I emailed again to ask if she thought the toys would be in by December 16, as we were attending a Christmas party, and Santa would actually be there to give out toys, so I wanted to use the fishing rod for that present if it was in on time. She didn’t email me back before the party, so I just used a different gift. The Tuesday after the party, she emailed me to say that she had not put the order in, and I should just call the company directly to place my order, and she provided a 1-800 number. I immediately phoned the company, because I knew they ran out of some items. The first thing they told me when I said I needed to order a toy for Christmas? The DEADLINE for placing orders to be received before Christmas was the day before. That is, the DEADLINE had already passed before she told me that she hadn’t placed the order and gave me the toll free number! After explaining what had happened and how upset I was (nothing they could do about it – it was Christmas and they could not get the toy shipped across the country any faster), I said I would just order the toy and make up something about how Santa had to deliver it late. Well, they had been sold out for at least a month, and there were no plans to re-order. The lady was very apologetic, but nothing. I fired off an email to the consultant about how upset I was that not only had she not placed the order, which would have just annoyed me, but she had failed to place the order knowing the importance I was placing on it and had repeatedly assured me that nothing was wrong. I have never seen her at any local trade shows or anything since. 0904-09