The Great Christmas Card Debacle

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Even though money is tight this year, I still wanted to continue the tradition Greg and I had started last year by buying customized Christmas cards with Zoey’s picture on them to send out to family and friends. At the end of November, I ended up getting a bunch of deals from Shutterfly.com and since I’ve ordered stuff through there before and had no problems with them, I decided to order some cards.

I ordered 40 Christmas cards on December 1st, thinking OF COURSE I had enough time for them to be printed and shipped to me before Christmas. The only problem was, I couldn’t use all of the deals I had collected, so the next day I went back to Shutterfly.com and ordered another ten cards (the deals were for 1 free photo book, 10 free cards and free shipping. I ended up paying only sixty-three cents all together for the whole thing). So basically, I ordered 40 cards on December 1st and 10 cards on December 2nd.

Because I’m sort of a spazz, I was watching the account like a hawk and saw when both packages shipped. And then I started checking the tracking information all of the time to see how it was going. But here’s the thing: the tracking information for the 40 cards was unavailable for a good seven days or so. At first I wasn’t worried because it is, after all, the Christmas season when the postal service is crazy. But then I started getting nervous because my mom was planning on going to visit her family on December 17th and I needed those cards to get ready to send with her to distribute to my aunts and uncles.

It got to be December 14th and I still hadn’t seen or heard anything about that first package of cards. So, I e-mailed both UPS and Shutterfly.com, using the ‘Contact Us’ links on their sites. I e-mailed them both in the morning and by that afternoon, I still hadn’t heard back. At this point, I was getting pretty worried because there was still no tracking information online. So, I went on Twitter and sent a tweet to Shutterfly. And I got a response within three minutes.

I never did hear back from UPS.

Let me just say that I was so incredibly impressed with Shutterfly. Through Twitter, I was able to contact them, explain my concern and they took care of it. Seriously. They checked it out, broke the news to me that my cards had been lost in the mail (gah!) and that they would reprint my cards and send them to me with one-day shipping to make up for the problem. All of this took place in a Twitter conversation that lasted about a half an hour.

The next morning, I checked my Shutterfly account and sure enough, not only had the replacement cards been printed in record time, they had already been shipped. UPS delivered them the following night (at around seven at night. Those poor UPS guys. They must hate this time of year) to my parents’ house (because UPS freaks out at box addresses) and my mom dropped them off at our house the next morning on her way to the salon. I sat down, addressed the cards to my mom’s family and she picked them up after her appointment. And then she and my dad headed to Corning to visit her family. THAT’S how close it was time-wise.

The ten free cards got as far as Philadelphia before the tracking information just said unavailable. Dear Lord. That was on the twelfth and up until yesterday morning, I was freaking out that they had been lost too. But then I called the post office near our house yesterday to see if maybe, just maybe, my package had come in and it had.

So now my last Christmas cards are sitting at the Preble post office. The plan is for Greg to pick them up today (I have to go to work before the post office opens and it closes before I get out of work), I’ll address them tonight and send them out tomorrow. And hopefully, they will get to their destinations before Christmas.

What have I learned from all of this? Next year I’m buying boxed cards from the drug store and gluing my kid’s picture in them.

Update (12/21/11): Yesterday, when I went to the post office, I was excited to see that the originally 40 cards (the missing ones) had been found. So, all of the sudden, I had 90 Christmas cards. We don’t even send out cards to 90 people. I’m currently looking for creative solutions to use the extra pictures on the cards. Maybe Christmas tree decorations for everyone? Hmmm….

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