Two Plus One Does Not Equal Four

Josie Leavitt - July 20, 2015

Boxes of books and toys get delivered every day to all bookstores. We organize our deliveries by publisher and distributor, and then if needed, further organize the shipment by boxes. We look at the shipping labels to make sure we’re receiving boxes in the same shipment, so we get all the boxes together that say 1 of 3 and receive them at the same time so our receiving matches the invoice. In a perfect world, this is a foolproof system. As we all know, the world is far from perfect. 
Friday found us swamped with yummy boxes from one publisher. There was a combination of new releases and a large backlist order in the six boxes we were trying to organize. All was goingIMG_4519 very well until I found a box whose label said: Box 4 of 3. Um? 4 of 3 seemed kind of some kind of metaphysical joke for a Friday afternoon. As humorous as we found this, it did make receiving a little harder than it needed to be. First we opened the box that said it had the invoice. But there were two boxes that said “invoice enclosed,” and they were both for the same shipment. So now things were getting curious.
I got out both invoices to discover that they were identical. Then I had a small panic wondering if the shipment had been duplicated and we’d now gotten twice as much as we’d ordered. This sort IMG_4520of thing doesn’t happen often, but occasionally electronic ordering snafus can create a duplicate order. Usually though, this happens during the holidays and it almost always works out that we needed those extra books. But this was a hot day in July, so I received cautiously. As I was working on my order, Elizabeth was working on the new releases boxes only to discover an errant box labeled 2 of 1. We just kept receiving and hoping for the best. We needed all the books in the orders on the shelves immediately as our shelves were looking bare after a very busy summer week. Luckily, everything worked out to the penny, though we were still scratching our heads about those shipping labels. Why they were wrong is still a mystery, but the books were all present and accounted for.
Retailers and librarians, what’s the craziest shipment you’ve ever received?

1 thought on “Two Plus One Does Not Equal Four

  1. Stephanie

    This isn’t very crazy, but one time I remember was a day we were short one box. The vendor assured us it was delivered. I pressed further and found that it WAS delivered – to a “big box” store who had already shelved the books!


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