WORD OF THE WEEK—Perturbing: per·turb·ing (adjective) \pər-tûrb’-ing\: causing worry or anxiety (synonym = distressing or upsetting).
There I was, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my newest order of books for the book signing in May. It usually takes weeks for them to arrive, so I ordered early to be certain they would be here in time. After all, what’s a book signing without the books, right?
Well, as it turns out, I came very close to finding out.
The books arrived in record time. Eerily so. Yet all I felt was relief knowing that I had knocked one item off the to-do list.
Until we opened the box.
At first, I thought they had been sitting on their sides too long and just needed a little nap on a flat surface with weight on top. Then I realized that all of the books were having the same problem. In the exact same place. On the exact same page.
Light bulb moment: check the spine widths, Lisa. Sure enough, the width was about a millimeter too short. A millimeter, you say? How could that possibly be a big deal? Well, it can. Trust me. The spines are measured EXACTLY based on the number and thickness of the pages. One millimeter means a portion of the pages were being crammed in with nowhere to go. What that leaves you with can be summed up by the picture above. Every single one.
Email to printers: here is all the information you need, including the reason for the error that we have determined (the measurements we sent were correct, as all previous orders have been fine, and we double-checked this), along with some pictures of the issue.
Years (okay, maybe days) pass.
Response: Thank you for contacting us, and oh, could you please provide us with all the information you previously provided (which is currently at the bottom of our email to you in the form of quoted text—which we obviously didn’t read when you sent it), along with a picture (which we obviously ignored)? Also, please explain the nature of the issue (again, explained in detail in the initial message that we didn’t read). And, if you don’t mind, we’d also like the Product ID of every single book in the order, so kindly turn to the back page of every single book and give us that long string of numbers—because we obviously don’t keep a record of the Product IDs for our own orders or else we’d be able to look it up via the order number.
So that was my Easter evening. Flipping through books and trying not to flip anything else.
I’d love to share my entire response to them, as it is extremely funny in a sarcastic way, but it is also very long. Suffice it to say, I was cordial on the surface.
After a week of them “researching to determine who is at fault,” they finally admitted that the error was on their end. They are sending corrected books. I let them know that, while I was very happy to receive an order so quickly, I’d much prefer to wait a reasonable amount of time in order to avoid wholly perturbing matters in the future.
So, in the end, things should work out okay, and I’m happy that someone fixed the issue. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. I honestly wasn’t that irritated until after the first response I got from them, which demonstrated their complete dismissal of my initial explanation and details, including the picture. The picture might look like the book is being forced that way, but I assure you that is their natural state. They look warped, like someone left them out in the rain and then left them to dry.
At least I didn’t end up feeling the same way.