Note: This afternoon, Friday, June 17, 2011, a nice young lady named Jodi from Sears-Kmart in Des Moines called to fix the problem. Her Mother has bouts of sepsis and she understands what a hassle it can be. She refunded the shipping charges on the old order, and reordered the item with free shipping and a moderate discount. If she had not done this, I would never have visited another Sears or Kmart store again. A very nice young lady indeed. So Jodi's supervisor, Beth, should be pleased with her. She did the right thing and kept a customer from never returning.
What has UPS done? NADA. So I've left the page below unchanged as a cautionary tale to those who ship by it.

Business 101 Multiple Choice Pop Quiz

1. If a Shipping Rule Stands Between a Customer and the Merchandise What Do You Do?

a) Change the damn rule.

b) Renegotiate your contract with the delivery company.

c) Change the delivery company.

d) Forgive customers unintentional errors in shipping addresses.

e) Guarantee delivery no matter what.

f) All of the above.

2. If a Shipping Rule Stands Between a Customer and the Merchandise What Do You Not Do?

a) Lie to the customer about how much you appreciate and want the customer's business when you have no intention of changing or doing anything to facilitate delivery of the merchandise.

b) Cancel the customer's order without the customer's express permission, have the order shipped back, and charge the customer for the shipping.

c) All of the above.

3. What Can Brown-Sears/Brown-KMart Do For You?

a) Ship a package to your local UPS Center and then refuse to deliver it because, in a moment of illness or confusion or simple inattention, you made a single-digit typographical error in your address.

b) Make the sick even sicker when one gets out of the hospital and finds out about it.

c) Stink on paper.

d) Threaten to ship the package back, if you don't come to the UPS Center to pick it up, regardless of whether or not you have transportation or are well enough to drive. In other words, make ill seniors on antibiotic medication, even little old ladies on oxygen, either hump packages home on the bus or lose them.

e) Refuse to accept your identity and right to fix your mistake, even though they are sending notices to your e-mail account.

f) Refuse to make any changes or accommodation whatsoever to any mistake, even when you fix it days in advance of any deadline for return of the package.

g) Cancel your order, have it shipped back, and charge you with the shipping, all without your permission.

h) Be the Fastest Screw in the Screwing Business, and the Swinging Dicks of the Shipping Business.

i) Send you canned e-mail messages of fake concern and desire for your business, even while they take your money and refuse to ship your property.

j) Not give a damn if their business practice and behavior falls hardest upon and discriminates against the elderly, disabled, ill or just plain poor.

k) Terminate your online account if you complain too much about it.

l) All of the above.

How, might you ask, did this come about?

I live on disability and have been trying to use artwork to get off for some years. See and Maybe two years back I got interested in airbrush equipment and methods. I got a compressor on sale with about a 1/5 HP motor which could just barely keep up with an external feed airbrush by adding two more reservoirs to the air system. See I was looking for something larger that might also drive a larger spray gun without driving my neighbors batty with the noise. I did research in online stores, including the reviews, and came up with this:

A small, quiet, oilless compressor with good reviews on It has a 1/3 HP motor and an accessory kit including a brad nailer. I've also wanted a brad nailer for some time to use on small wood projects or artwork frames.

So on May 15, 2011, I put in an order online. I hadn't been feeling well for some time, and two days later, I got a high fever that went from 99.6 deg-F at about 4:42 PM to 102.1 at about 7 PM. A few years before, a similar high fever had put me in the hospital with a bad prostate infection and my kidneys shutting down. So on May 17th, I took no chances and called the ambulance to take me to the hospital. I was too tired, dizzy and unsteady on my feet to drive. I could have lost my license if I did.

This time I spent two days in the hospital with a kidney infection. They sent me home with a one-week Rx to Ciprofloxacin. Cipro has an interesting effect. It liquifies bowel movements. Besides that, I take a number of senior and other meds that can and do cause persistent nausea, dizziness and fatigue. I don't drive much any more, unless I feel competent to do so. And I haven't felt like doing it on Cipro, not to mention the sleepless nights this business has caused me.

That afternoon or evening (May 19th), I checked up on my K-Mart order, using the UPS tracking number to find out where it was. The UPS site claimed that they could not deliver to an "invalid address". UPS was holding it at a shipping location where I live, and would send it back if I did not come pick it up or the shipper did not change the address. At first I was angry. Then I looked closer and found that instead of typing in "51st St" into the shipping address in the personal profile I had set up on the K-Mart site, I had typed "52st St", hitting the wrong key. I immediately corrected it, and called the K-Mart customer service number to ask that this be forwarded to UPS.

K-Mart customer service turned out to be Sears. They refered me to UPS. UPS refused to accept any changes in address, even though I had the order and tracking numbers. They have some Rube Goldberg setup where they send a postcard with a "control number", or password, to the Post Office, asking that the address be corrected and sent to the customer's correct address. Although UPS further screwed up my address by substituting "52nd PL" for 52st St, I eventually got the card. But that makes no difference because they will not ship to the correct address unless the shipper (K-Mart/Sears) allows it. Apparently UPS charges the shipper for this "service". So, of course the shipper won't change the address, making the card and its "security" password useless.

I made two more calls to K-Mart, and wrote seven e-mails to both parties trying to get them to budge. But Noooo, fugedaboudit. They are not in the business of serving customers - especially those of us who get tired, make mistakes and get too sick to drive. No, they both act like they are in the sole business of keep those rods pushed so firmly up their asses that they explain their pointy little heads.

I've lost patience with all of them. A pox on all their houses. And without my permission, Sears/KMart has cancelled my order, claiming the intent to refund my money - minus the shipping charges. Which pretty much defeats the purpose of getting something that has a $20-off sale price. Which now I won't get. Talk about loyalty to the customer. Then when I went to the air compressor web page to complain in their customer reviews, I found that my K-Mart online account no longer works.

I've gotten a number of e-mails from them expressing their fake regret for my difficulties (of their making), and their desire to have me as a customer. Imagine what I think of that. They took my money and latched onto the smallest excuse not to deliver. The difference between a 1 and a 2. I imagine that if they do this a enough customers, they can make some real interest on the money while they keep it.

I think that doing this to those of us who don't have much income or many resources is unethical, predatory and discriminatory. I hope that legislators and the appropriate authorities will take notice.

As noted above, Sears-Kmart made the effort to correct the situation. Which I appreciate. All is forgiven. Presuming the order comes as promised at the promised price, the angry language above no longer applies to Sears-Kmart.

© 2011 don baker