So, the Vikings couldn’t outright fire Dick Solomon. They justrearranged their defensive coaching staff and hoped that we didn’t notice itis the same group of stiffs, just laid out in a different arrangement? Yesterday, we went into San Francisco and saw the movie State and Main. It was a very funny movie and if you have the chance, I recommend seeing it. Slate is maintaining a periodically updated list of Bushmalapropisms.

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve had our groceries deliveredby Webvan. This morning’s delivery, however, was a completedisaster. Before using Webvan’s services, I suggest that you read thee-mail below, which I dispatched to their customer service department thismorning.

—– Original Message —–From: David BogenSubject: Re: Update on Webvan order XXXXXXXXXXXTo: service@webvan.comTo Whom It May Concern:Allow me to explain why you’ve lost my business forever. I ordered 27items. Webvan delivered 15 of those items. Missing one or two items inan order, while certainly inconvenient, might almost beunderstandable. Missing nearly half of an order is inexcusable.

The driver who delivered half of my items this morning, had no explanationfor why he did not have the other half of my order. He had no detailed listof what I had ordered so that I could check what he did deliver. He couldnot print out a receipt for what he had delivered because his “computer wasdown.” He could not give me a receipt for the three crates that I returned,also because his “computer was down.” His only suggestion to remedy any ofthis was that I “call customer service.” He then fled back to his truck andsped recklessly down my quiet residential street.

So, after printing out a list of what I had ordered from my email, Iinventoried the half of my order that had been delivered, and calledcustomer service. After sitting on hold for just over ten minutes listeningto predictably inane hold music, I was connected to a customer servicerepresentative.

This woman offered to schedule another delivery for me, but it wouldn’t betoday, and perhaps not even tomorrow. She could only snail mail me areceipt, tomorrow, for the half of my order that had been deliveredtoday. Her explanation for the missing half of my order was that “the conveyor beltbroke down.”So, your one(?) conveyor belt broke down, your customer service reps.’computer was “down,” and your delivery people can’t give receipts becausetheir computers are also “down.” Does anything at Webvan function thesedays? My guess is that you’ll have no trouble charging my creditcard. Everything else might be broken but you can still take my money, Iimagine.

What do you think I did, after speaking with your customer “service”department? I went to Safeway and finished my shopping in just a bit underone-half hour. So, let’s add up the time it would take me to shop forgroceries using Webvan:- One Hour - Compiling order on Webvan’s web site

  • One Hour - Sitting around the house waiting for half of my order
  • Twenty minutes - On-hold and on the phone with Webvan customer service
  • Thirty minutes - buy the other half of my groceries at Safeway For comparison, let’s add up the time it would take me to shop forgroceries at Safeway:- Forty-five minutes - Buy complete list of groceries at Safeway. So, it’s two hours and fifty minutes to get groceries from Webvan andforty-five minutes to get groceries from Safeway.

I stopped using Webvan six months ago after you had trouble delivering whatI ordered. Once, I ordered a food item, and got cold cream facial cleanserinstead. While I got to keep the cleanser for free (it sits, unopened, inmy bathroom), I was forced to go out and buy the food item at the grocerystore. For a long time you couldn’t carry hot dog buns. Your explanationfor this was that they were “difficult to acquire.” Rather than ask if youhad bothered to check at a bakery, I simply stopped using yourservice. Nearly every time I placed an order, I ended up at the grocery store anyway. What was the point of having groceries delivered to my house at a smallpremium if I ended up at the grocery store anyway? It appears that you havenot solved these problems in the last six months, and in fact, theseproblems have just gotten larger.

Ironically, I recommended your service to several people over the lastweek. I urged them to try Webvan and see if it made their lives anyeasier. I cansee now that my endorsement of your service was vastly premature andill-considered. In the future, I will make every endeavor to explain toothers the perils and pitfalls of doing business with such a poorly runcompany.

Sincerely,David Bogen