Tim Key: I am playing cat and mouse with Amazon. Over some pink roller skates


Tim Key@timkeyperson
Saturday 06 December 2014 01:00

Cat and mouse. That's what I am currently playing with Amazon. I am the cat: writing notes on my door, tracking my order online, trying to respond to emails where you're not really allowed to respond, being bounced back, weeping. And they are the mouse: continually attempting to deliver pink roller skates to my address, constantly finding me out, bunging the box back in the van, being on their way. This dance has lasted a week now. I am becoming tired of it.

There's no bigger fan of Amazon than I – I should say that right off the bat. My bookshelves are bowing under the weight of Amazon's deliveries. I once considered going Prime, in fact. I am also a huge fan of Luxembourg. I went there with my Venture Scout Unit in the Nineties and was impressed by the architecture, chocolate and street performers. But these caveats not withstanding, I am frustrated. I pinned my hopes on them getting me those skates. They were for my niece's sixth birthday. And they just haven't delivered.

In an effort to win the hearts and minds of Amazon's delivery mice, I have recently been putting more work into the notes I Sellotape to my front door. I think I started too cold with these.

"Sorry, I'm out. Could you leave the package in dry cleaners next door, thanks."

I think this might have been where I lost them. They're out in the wind and the rain with their consignments of books and skates and I'm giving them these stark, colourless orders. No wonder they don't go the extra mile for me.

My second note was therefore much warmer. "Hey guys – thanks for bringing the parcel AGAIN! Appreciate all your hard work on this. If you could pop it next door to Barbara at the dry cleaners that'd be lush. Cheers again, Tim."

They obviously hated my tone and left me nothing but another Amazon-branded failed-delivery card.

Two days ago I went a bit more professional. I spent about half an hour creating something using WordArt.


It really leapt off the page. I also included a black-and-white photo of me with my niece, so they could see they were dealing with actual human beings. And I threw in a photo of Barbara, so they knew who they were looking for, and one of Davina McCall. Again, nothing for me, just another failed delivery card, again scribbled on. And again, no skates.

And now it's too late. My niece turned six yesterday, her feet wheelless. I feel angry with Amazon, and I don't like feeling that way. This isn't what I want our relationship to be like. I want it to be nice, like before.

When I sat Isy down in her kitchen and explained why uncle Timmy had only bought her a DVD that he'd got free recently from a production company, she was very understanding. I blamed Amazon and she nodded, "I know how frustrating they can be," she said, her eyes narrowing wisely. "I guess they have a lot of things they have to deliver, though. Particularly coming up to Christmas." I nodded. She was seeing the best in Amazon, and I knew that I should, too. I told her I would continue to try and retrieve her pink skates and even if it got close to Christmas, I would try to resist seeing the DVD as her birthday present and give her the skates for Christmas. She confirmed that, no, that wouldn't be acceptable.

And so here I am, sat at The Independent offices writing this column. And trying to have faith in the Amazon guys. And trying to have faith in my latest note. I have left them some mince pies and some carrots this time, to sugar the pill. Anything, at this stage, to melt their hearts. Anything to persuade them to go see Barbara.

Anything to get my hands on those skates.

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