Rants in This Holiday Season

The US Postal Service has been in heaps of trouble for quite some time. But they don't seem to deserve much sympathy because their services are obviously lacking, especially in a busy holiday season like this. On the other hand, I also have a bone or two to pick on Barnes and Noble, the remaining nationwide book store chain after Borders went out of business earlier this year.

I was a Borders card holder -- after all, they were a local entity in the Tree Town I had called home for many years. When they went out of business, they obviously sold the list of customers to Barnes and Noble. I got a offer in email for the new Nook tablet. Online reviews seem to give it high marks comparing to the Amazon Kindle Fire. So I ordered one as a holiday gift for my daughter.

The order was placed on November 22. I received an email the next day informing me about the shipment. I have been checking the status of it on UPS, which initially stated that the expected delivery date was December 3. But on December 2, the UPS tracking tool displayed a yellow notice saying that, "As requested by the sender, UPS has transferred this shipment to the local post office for delivery to the final destination."

Since then, the USPS tracking has been showing me that "Electronic Shipping Info Received". There has been no update whatsoever about the status of the package.

In this day of age, the Postal Service doesn't seem to face up to challenges in front of it. With the news that half of its processing facilities are to be closed, I guess we can expect the services from USPS to go from bad to worse.

Calling Barnes and Noble is no help either in this matter. I wondered from the beginning as why the chain did not offer in-store pickup of online orders. Having many brick-and-mortar stores across the country seems to be the only advantage Barnes and Noble has against Amazon, yet it doesn't seem to care to use it to serve its customers. Now that my table is nowhere to be found two weeks after it is ordered, all the Barnes and Noble customer service person could tell me is "call your local post office."

At this rate, I wish B&N and USPS both the best of luck staying in business. But on the other hand, I would not be too surprised if they don't.