Where This Meets That
When we unwrap Christmas with my in-laws tonight, it will “wrap up” an epic search of Earth, cyber-space, and soul for one special gift.
My mother-in-law wanted to give my son an Atlanta Falcons jersey for Christmas. He had been specific: he wanted a white Julio Jones jersey.
So far, however, she hadn’t been able to track one down after checking a couple of sports stores, so I puffed up my chest and said, “Worry ye none fair woman, and trust in my expertise on the worldwide web to track down exactly what you want at the very best price . . . by Christmas!”
Note: the last time I’d associated my online mastery with a transaction in which my mother-in-law was associated had also been my first crack at using eBay to sell a good. That instance left me paying my buyer face value to take two pairs of Simon & Garfunkel tickets off my hands! Some lessons just plain HURT!
But I digress . . . the point is, I was determined not to look afool again this time around.
So, I did a quick check and found stock then promptly diverted my attention toward some more pressing issue. A day later, no stock. ANYWHERE! No problem finding red or black jerseys. And no problem finding other players’ jerseys in white. But somehow, white Julio Jones jerseys had vanished from the collective world of retail.
Within a couple days, I found one for a deal that seemed too good. It was an authentic white Julio Jones jersey for the price of a midgrade and with free shipping. Nevertheless, it appeared legit, it was the only source that claimed stock, and the site’s FAQ claimed a typical delivery time of five days or less, so I sprang for it.
My PayPal confirmation said my order had been accepted by . . . and the company name was comprised only of three Chinese characters!
I immediately pictured this jersey sitting in some freight crate on a cargo ship docked on the Pacific coast two months from now awaiting delivery to a boy who – according to Murphy’s law – would probably have hit a growth spurt and outgrown it by then.
So, while I began pressuring this supplier for delivery info, I began looking at alternatives closer to home in parallel.
I awoke two mornings later to an email from China apologizing that they had lost stock in the white jersey and had spent the last two days looking at other stores to buy from to fill my order. Alas, no more white Julio Jones jerseys in China either. But they’d be happy to send me a black one; those were in stock.
Meanwhile, my sister had invited my kids and me to Medieval Times with her and my niece as a Christmas present. That meant “mall”, which hopefully meant a stroke of luck. Of course, I never got lucky at the mall in high school, why should it change now?
Same as before: plenty of red and black Julio jerseys and white jerseys for other players. Time was precious, as my sister was watching my three kids in a market laden with maces, swords, battle axes, and drunken corporateers kicking office Christmas parties medieval-style.
I narrowed my options to a RED Julio jersey or a WHITE Roddy White jersey. I decided on the former, thinking Julio’s newness would win out over Roddy White’s, uh, whiteness, and the cashier bagged it in a crystal clear plastic bag. I visited a couple other stores on my valiant return to Medieval Times to ask cashiers for more opaque bags to better disguise the jersey.
After the show and meal at Medieval Times, we all took a stroll around the mall. When my son saw all the jerseys in the sports store, he tugged on a white Roddy White one and said, “See, this is the kind I want. The white ones look so sweet!”
So, again, I subtly shooed the kids off with my sister and niece and returned to the jersey store. A quick exchange and I was done. Tired of this whole ordeal, but done, nonetheless.
On returning home, I instructed China to cancel my order since they weren’t going to be able to fill my order before Christmas. By next morning I received the reply that the black jersey had already been submitted to their shipping department and that they were unable to cancel the order. After a clear email reminding them that I had not ordered the black one and did not authorize the black one and informing them that I already secured a replacement, they fortunately relented without further ado.
Still, I can’t help but wonder if some wayward black Julio Jones jersey will be showing up on our doorstep over the next couple days.
Please, Santa, if you’re reading this . . . all I want for Christmas is that shipment stopped! Well, that and a Falcons win Monday night!
Postscript: Just when I thought this post was ready for print, my wife and I had date night last night. And who in the world should we run into, sitting not ten feet from us, but RODDY WHITE! I’m not normally the autograph type, but come on, I couldn’t pass this up. So, I interrupted HIS date night, explained that my son was getting a Roddy White jersey for Christmas and, well, you know . . . he chuckled and graciously made his autograph out personally “To: Aidan” and wished him a “Merry Christmas”!
An awesome end to an epic quest. I can’t wait to see the look on Aidan’s face!