Today is Karen’s birthday. Not just her birthday, mind you, but her first birthday as Mrs. Topp. As we do every year, we are celebrating. As I do every year, I bought her a present.
I always try to buy her something awesome, and this year is no different in that regard. Approximately three-and-a-half weeks ago, I found her gift. But I had to order it online. On the ordering page it says this:
Usually ships in 3 to 4 weeks.
Shit, I thought. That makes a 50/50 chance that Karen’s gift will actually arrive on time.
I clicked through the ordering process whilst contemplating the indicated timeline. On one hand, this was the gift that I wanted to buy for her. On the other hand, it would really, really, really suck if her gift arrived late. Should I order it immediately, to maximize the possibility of its on-time arrival? Or abandon the choice, and start my search over again?
I ordered it.
Later, I found myself on the phone with the vendor, trying to speed things up. The customer service agent was nice, but basically powerless. The gift needed to be assembled (and no, I did not buy her The Avengers), which is a process that Cannot Be Rushed.
With the days ticking down towards the birthday itself, I found myself in a panic. At this point, I had to assume the gift would not arrive in time. I needed a supplemental gift. A stand-in.
And what a puzzle this is — I don’t just need “a gift”. I need one that is simultaneously excellent enough for my wife, who is generally deserving of excellent gifts, on her first birthday as my wife; an excellent gift that is also incredibly inexpensive. Because the budget? I’ve spent it.
A gag gift? Sounds wonderful, but there seems little worse than receiving a turd in a box from a loved one, only to find out there’s no real gift.
Eventually it dawned on me that I had to buy a present, because today was tomorrow, and I was out of time.
Excellent! But … there’s still no box at home, and I remain without a clue as to when I can expect it to arrive.
Suddenly it hits me: I was promised that they would email me a tracking code.
I log in to my email.
No email with a tracking code.
Maybe they had shipped it, but yet to enter the code or email me?
A couple of hours later, I am back on the phone with my friendly customer service agent.
It’s in Norway, I am informed. We asked the courier to come pick it up yesterday afternoon. They should arrive to pick it up … tomorrow.
Tomorrow yesterday is today today. So on Karen’s birthday, her beautiful gift is leaving Norway. Hopefully.
In the meantime, she has a card.
And a picnic basket.