Add Them to the List

Of institutions with which I will no longer do business, that is: FTD.com. I will so no longer do business with them that I’m not even going to throw them the link. Anyone who wants to ignore my boycott recommendation can type it in for themselves.

Here’s the story: Friday, December 2, I place an order online for a birthday/Christmas present for my mother, a blooming-plant-of-the-month dealie, where you order once and plants continue to show up for some specified number of months afterward. The delivery, I am told by their server, is scheduled for Tuesday, December 6, which is ideal given that my mother’s birthday is Thursday, December 8; I figure this gives them a day or two of leeway, which means I should be in like Flynn.

I don’t hear anything from my mother on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I’m busy as hell anyhow, and I figure that she’s not calling me because she doesn’t want to accidentally remind me to call her on Thursday, preferring to test and see if I’ll remember on my own. Fortunately, I do remember to call her first thing Thursday morning. Unfortunately, when I ask her if she has received any deliveries from me, she says no. I grit my teeth and say that I’ll figure out what’s going on, and that she should keep an eye out.

I call the customer service number for FTD and speak with Alberta, a lovely representative who is profusely apologetic when I tell her that my order has not been delivered. She looks into the order history and discovers that it has somehow gotten lost in the system — this monthly plant thing goes out to a vendor for delivery via FedEx, and something has dropped sync in that communication. Of course, I tell her, the order did not get so lost that my credit card didn’t get charged, as it already has. Again, she is apologetic, tells me she’ll expedite the re-order and make sure it gets out by FedEx later that day. And, in fact, she calls back and leaves me a voice mail message later that afternoon saying that the order has gone out to a local vendor and will in fact be delivered that afternoon. So yippee.

I call my mother later that evening, now the day after her birthday, and ask her if there has been a delivery. There has not.

When I arrive in the office on the morning of Friday, December 9, the day after my mother’s birthday, I have a voicemail message from Vicki, another representative at FTD, saying that there’s a problem with my order, and would I call to clarify what it is I want. She leaves me a confirmation number that she says I should cite. I call, and the representative I get on the phone — the third I’ve now involved in this issue — says that there’s a note on the order whose confirmation number I’ve just read her saying that the florist is a bit confused as to what I ordered. “The order says ‘foil-wrapped floral bouquet,'” she says, “but they don’t know what kind of flowers you want.”

I begin a long slow process of combustion, attempting to explain as calmly as I can that I did not order a bouquet of any variety; I ordered the blooming-plant-of-the-month thing. “That’s weird,” she says. “There’s nothing about that here at all.” I tell her that when I placed the order originally on December 2, that I most certainly had ordered the blooming-plant-of-the-month thing, and that it was meant to be delivered on Tuesday the 6th, and that this was now Friday the 9th, and that the event had passed, and that I was looking very much like a Bad Daughter Indeed, and that I needed her help to get this straightened out.

“You placed the order when?” she asks me. “Because it says that the order was placed December 8 here, for delivery today, and that you ordered a foil-wrapped floral bouquet.”

I dig up my email confirmation, where I find a whole different order number, which I read to the representative. When she pulls the original order up, she sees that in fact I had not ordered any variety of bouquet at all, and repeats what Alberta had told me about the vendor and the FedEx and the order getting lost in the system. Not so lost that my credit card didn’t get charged three days ago, I tell her, but okay. She says that she has to pass the case to the monthly department, but that she’s going to fill out a form and send it to a manager, and that I should get a call back within 24 to 48 hours. I express my desire that I not have to go through this song and dance every month as each successive blooming plant fails to be delivered; “I hear you,” she says. “I’d tell that to whoever call you back.”

No one calls me back.

Mom calls, however, late that afternoon, and leaves me a message thanking me for the lovely red tulips. I call her back and say that I’m glad that she got them, but that she has to describe them to me. She tells me they’re red, and they’re tulips. I ask her if they’re cut or potted. Cut. I tell her that she was supposed to have received the first installment of her blooming-plant-of-the-month thing, and she says “oh. Well, that would not be this.”

Sunday, December 11, I call FTD again, and speak with my fourth representative. I tell her the story thus far, and that I have not received in the last 48 hours the phone call I was promised. She tells me that while there’s nothing she can do at the moment, as the monthly department apparently doesn’t work on the weekends, but that she’ll send an email message to her supervisor saying that someone really has to call me back and get this straightened out. I grit my teeth and say that that will do.

No one called me yesterday. No one called me today.

An hour ago, I call FTD again, where I speak with my fifth representative. I tell her the story thus far, and conclude by saying that I either want to speak with a manager in the monthly department right now, someone who will assure me that this will be rectified immediately, or I want her to cancel the order and refund my credit card. Right now. One or the other. She says, “so, do you want me to cancel this order?” She will not transfer me to a manager — she does not have the authority, she claims — and as far as she can tell, the fault with this whole debacle lies not with FTD but with either the vendor, who didn’t ship the order, or with FedEx, who didn’t pick up the order. Or, you know, with the weather, which has been bad, so that they might not have been able to pick up the order, because, you know, it’s weather. She says the only option she has is to cancel this order and place a new one for me, so that it’ll ship, say, day after tomorrow.

No, I tell her. Cancel the order entirely, and refund the money to my credit card. Right now.

And then I call American Express and tell them that I’ve just cancelled that order, and that I should be credited for the amount of that charge, and that if such a credit doesn’t appear before my next statement, that I want to begin a preemptive dispute of that charge.

So: that is the end of me and FTD.

And the one bloody Christmas present that I thought I already had taken care of, I now still have to buy.

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