Amazon has pretty much set the bar for online shopping, especially if you're a Prime member. Click, order, and a couple of days later, you have a box with your items. It works great. So great that other retailers have had no choice but to offer online ordering. Walmart Site to Store is one such offering, where you can order from the retail giant and pick up at a nearby store.
You'd think that a company the size of Walmart, one of the biggest in the world, would have this process down. However, as our recent experience shows, thinking this is kind of, well, wrong.
Christmas Gift: New Bikes For The Kids
Both of our kids learned to ride bikes without training wheels this last summer. Our youngest, age 5, actually caught on first, which then pushed our oldest, age 7, to get it down. Our daughter was riding a bike that we bought secondhand, and she loved it, but by the end of summer it was apparent that she was too small. This wasn't a big deal as we only paid $15 for the bike (and we can probably turn around and sell it for that).
We actually, toward the end of summer, went out and bought her a new bike in a bigger size. Instead of giving it to her, we actually kept it aside, hoping that we could line up new bikes at the same time.
See, we knew our son's bike was also too small for him, but we didn't want to get him a new bike until he learned to ride without training wheels. The size of bike he was moving up to didn't even come standard with training wheels!
Once he learned, it was toward the end of summer. We hatched a plan that we would let them ride it out for the rest of the year on their current bikes. Then, we would give them new bikes for Christmas. This seemed like a great plan so we hid our daughter's bike in the basement.
Ordering Another Bike From Walmart Site To Store
As we got Christmas gifts together, we started looking around for bikes. We drifted toward buying one from Walmart. We've looked at getting them more expensive bikes from a bike shop, but have steered away from them. At their current age, they're going through them rather quickly, so the more expensive bikes seem more appropriate in a few years.
We looked around at Walmart, for a couple of reasons. They had a good variety. We found one that looked nice and had good reviews. Plus, we had a gift card that my wife had gotten a while back at a charity auction.
This all added up to a purchase that looked like it made sense.
We ordered the bike in early December, with an estimated arrival date to the store about a week before Christmas. This was perfect. One reason that we did Site to Store is because they will assemble the bike for you. The bike we had stashed away for my daughter had also been selected this way for this reason. That worked out great for us.
All together, this should have given us plenty of time for the store to get the bike, assemble the bike, and for us to pick it up.
But, you're hear reading, so of course you know it didn't turn out that way.
The First Delay
The initial estimated date came and went. At this point, we still had a few days before Christmas but a late arrival date would be workable. This would just mean that I'd have to assemble the bike myself. I really didn't want to, but since just about every Christmas since we started having kids has involved me putting together something big, I knew I could make it work.
Well, that didn't happen either.
The Second Delay
After the date passed, they updated the estimated date. The new date was December 27th. They were going to miss Christmas!
Thankfully, this wasn't the end of the world. See, we live in Michigan and it's winter. This means that it gets dark by 5pm and it's either really snowy, really cold, or both. All these factors together and kids just aren't riding bikes now. They probably won't be for at least a few months.
So, we figured that we could just tell them that they were getting another present and surprise them when it came in.
Great plan, right?
The Third Delay
After we got the new arrival date, we made even more progress. Or so we thought. They provided real time tracking data! Which is just like Amazon! We could see exactly where in the country it was, and watched it move closer and closer until on the 27th it actually arrived at the store!
The status changed to “Processing In Store – Not Ready For Pickup.” And it stayed at that status. And stayed and stayed and stayed.
I called a couple of days after and had them pull up the order. They told me that they were running behind on getting everything ‘sorted out' and asked that I please be patient. The lady said that I should probably be getting my pickup notification “within a day or two.”
But a day or two passed, actually five more, and no notification.
Finally, A Bike
I looked again at the tracking info and found something more interesting. The bike had been shipped to the store via FedEx from another store. So, I called back and spoke to the same woman and explained that it didn't come in out of their regular delivery, but via FedEx. She looked around and she still couldn't find our bike.
BUT, she did find that they actually had the bike in stock. So, she was able to pull the bike, and as it happened, the assembler was there and got it all put together. They assured me that the bike they found was not mine. I guess they have ways of tracking. I'm not sure I actually believe them! LOL.
In any case, within an hour after that call I finally did get an e-mail and the next day I went in and picked up my bike. The same lady that had helped me on the phone was there to get it, so her and I laughed that we had finally gotten this done. I have to say, for as crazy as an experience as it was, she was extremely helpful. Quite honestly, without her help, I probably would have never gotten the bike and would have ended up cancelling the order.
Two Happy Kids
We did end up presenting the bikes to the kids on the very last day of their holiday break, so we felt that it worked out in the end. They were happy and I know that in the end, their enjoyment and their smiles will make the painful memory of getting the bike fade away. But we did learn a couple of lessons. First, don't order something before the holidays using Site to Store that you actually need before the holidays. Second, nobody beats Amazon at shipping. Nobody.
Readers, did you have any close or missed calls with getting your stuff? Let me know how everything went for you in the comments below.