Alarms, prom dresses and postal delivery, OH MY

People who like to watch reality TV should come in to my house and live my life just 24 hours. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to. Every day presents itself with a new drama, and it’s all real.

Take today, for instance. At 12:15 a.m. while watching Jimmy Fallon, my house alarm starts to beep but, since we’d never heard that in the past three months we’ve lived in the house, we had no clue that’s what it was. My teenager hears something, too, and we track it down to the alarm system.

After pressing tons of buttons, I finally get it to stop. Okay, so I think that’s over. At 6:10 a.m., the alarm siren goes off, by itself. My husband is already up, so the alarm is no longer armed. Is Casper the Ghost now living in our new home? The only way we can shut it off is to pull a circuit breaker outside and take the battery back up out of the system. I call the alarm company, they will come out later in the day.

I meet the alarm guy, a very nice man, but he has no clue why it would have gone off like it did without being armed. He gives me the line I have heard so many times since we started in January 2011 building our new home in Metairie: “I’ve been in the 28 years, and this has never happened before. … Call me if it happens again.”

Okay, like I wouldn’t call him? Didn’t I just get him out to find out what was wrong?

While I am home dealing with the alarm, I realize another problem hasn’t worked out.  I know I shouldn’t get started talking about ordering a dress for prom season. It’s hell, pure hell. Dramarama isn’t even a strong enough word to use. We are on a budget since we built the house – understandable, right?. So my daughter – to her credit – searched all over the find the perfect dress. She finds one on line. I look at it and approve it – since it cannot be strapless or indecent it any way. It’s beautiful. Just perfect for a teenager, which is so difficult in this day and age and our culture.

We order it on March 4. We pay more than I wanted, plus pay extra for two-day express delivery.

I call to check on it last week to see when it might come in.  I learn that the dress isn’t scheduled to be shipped until June 5. JUNE 5!!!!! REALLY!!! The prom is in late April.

I call the company and tell them my dilemma and ask if they thought I would have ordered a dress had I known it wouldn’t be delivered until June 5. Basically I am told I didn’t read the fine print – just like another customer she had just spoken to – and there is nothing they can do.  (I guess us busy working moms just can’t read.) They will not refund our money. No way to get it faster, either because it is supposedly custom made somewhere in the world.

Finally, they agree to let me pick something else and they will charge me an extra $40 to allow me to do this. What am I supposed to do? Lose hundreds of dollars or pay an extra $40? The same day my daughter calls the company, unbeknownst to me. They tell her the same thing and add that they talked to me, had notes in my file,  and to pick out something else.            Well, it’s not as easy as that. She goes back on the website, and we discover now that most of the dresses that are supposedly custom-made like the one she originally ordered now have a date of, guess what, JUNE 5 on them. No longer does it say 6-8 weeks anywhere on the website. Coincidence? I don’t think so. If that had been clear to begin with, customers like me searching for “prom dresses” during “prom season” would not have ordered a dress from this company.  Why weren’t only the dresses available to be shipped in March or April only advertised as prom dresses? So deceptive.

And, when you call the company, the phone number dialed instantly puts you on hold for 15 minutes without even a person coming on and saying you are on hold. A person comes on, puts you back on hold and then we are disconnected not once but two times!!! So we try a third time and told the girl do not put us on hold. As we are on hold those three times, the availability of the dresses she likes goes from 2 to 1 to 0 all before our eyes. My daughter is crying hysterically. This is so ridiculous. We can’t even talk to someone and the dresses disappear.

If a dress is custom made couture, how can any size no longer available? We ask that question and were told it must be glitch in the computer system. I get so incensed that businesses blame technology for their lack of helping customers. HELP ME! I NEED CUSTOMER SERVICE WHEN I CALL!!

So she orders a dress, of course, even more expensive than the first, but at this point we just need to get this done. When parents are beaten to death emotionally, sometimes we just cave in. That’s something I struggle with all the time. But I know all of us can’t be strong every minute. I only have two kids. I just don’t know how people with many more children do it. I come from a big family and you would think I could roll with the punches better, but there are always too many punches to duck.

You think ordering the dress is the tough part. Think again – DELIVERY. The dress is delivered by USPS by Express mail within days on a Friday. Which seems great. Finally, something is working out. But, no one’s home to sign for it, so a notice is left. Easy enough, right? You fill out a form that was left, tape it to the mailbox and the postman is supposed to deliver it the next day. The package is not delivered on Saturday. So, we take the notice to the nearest post office. It’s not there. I call the 1-800-ASK-USPS, give the tracking number. They guarantee delivery on Tuesday with a confirmation number. Mail comes on Tuesday, and the dress is not with it.  I call the USPS number again, they say there are sorry. WELL IT’S EXPRESS DELIVERY AND THE PACKAGE IS RETURNED AFTER 5 DAYS. I am sweating it out here!! What are we supposed to do? The notice has been on my mailbox for three days now and no package.

I am given another local post office to call. They laugh when I explain m y dilemma. LAUGH. REALLY,  although the guy seems really nice. They have the package but close at 5 p.m. Luckily my husband works nearby. He asks for the nice postman who finds the package but doesn’t open it. I wonder what we will find tonight when it’s opened??


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