An Ordering Nightmare

Josie Leavitt -- September 9th, 2010

Last week a truly hilarious, vaguely disturbing order snafu happened, and I feel I must share the experience.

I needed 70 copies of Laurie Halse Anderson’s book Chains for a teacher order. There was some urgency for the order (and when are teacher orders not urgent?) and I thought I was being so smart by faxing my ordering to the publisher. Here’s something all buyers should know: make sure you’re sending the order to the right publisher. Why I didn’t think of sending this to Simon & Schuster is beyond me.

After the passage of several days, I called the publisher to inquire about my order and convey my urgency. It turns out that the “ISBN you ordered is not one of our titles.” Oh, insert expletive here, really, I said. What to do, what to do?

I was told by the publisher that they had another book called Chains that was $15.99 in paperback. I said no, that’s not the right book. I finally looked at my copy of Chains and realized I was speaking to the wrong publisher. I sheepishly hung up, thinking the matter was closed.

Imagine my surprise when three cartons of Chains arrived, from the wrong publisher. Three cartons of the wrong books can happen sometimes, but when three cartons of an adult S/M novel arrived with a photo on the  cover of a clearly nude woman in a suggestive pose with a chain wound around her ankles, it was more than a little shocking. Won’t be giving this to any school.

My squeamish staffer had the misfortune of opening the cartons and was horrified anew each time. Our teenage male staffer kept circling the cartons, dying of curiosity, but to his credit, he never peeked.

The problem with a mis-ship like this is two-fold. Do I wait for the call tag (the return shipping label from the publisher)or do I accept free books from the publisher(often given instead of paying for shipping)? I opted for the books just to get the books out of the store faster.

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