Why I'd rather catch a bus to Fort Kinnaird than risk online shopping – Susan Dalgety

Living life online has its ups and downs, particularly when it comes to shopping.
Online shopping can be so convenient, but also so infuriating (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA)Online shopping can be so convenient, but also so infuriating (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Online shopping can be so convenient, but also so infuriating (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

I relish being able to order new curtain poles or a dishwasher from the comfort of my sofa, without having to spend a rare sunny afternoon stuck in a shopping centre.

But when it goes wrong, boy can it be frustrating. My husband spent two hours in a virtual queue last Thursday trying to get tickets for this year’s Book Festival. Luckily our picks were still available when he finally reached the head of the line, but his morning was wiped out.

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I got locked out of my online banking service a few days ago and gave up trying to speak to a human being after hanging on the telephone for 30 minutes. Not even Bowie’s Jean Genie could keep me on the line after my left leg went numb. Luckily, it’s not my main account, or I would be in trouble.

Then I popped into my local convenience store to pick up a parcel – curtain hooks as it happens, to go with that pole – only to be told it wasn’t there.

“But I have an email saying it was delivered here two days ago,” I said, waving my iPhone. “I have an app that says it was not delivered,” said the shop assistant, brandishing his device.

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Stalemate. “Phone the company,” he told me before turning to his next customer. If only it were that simple. It seems the courier company – which recently changed its name from Hermes to Evri in an attempt to polish its image – is rather shy.

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I couldn’t find a telephone number anywhere on its website. Its helpline is a chat bot which doesn’t understand simple sentences like “My parcel was not delivered, can you help me?”

After wrestling with it for nearly an hour, I gave up and in desperation contacted the company’s press office.

“Why is it so hard to get in touch with you?” I asked. “We’re investing in customer experience and striving to improve,” came their reply, along with an apology for my missing parcel.

It seems my curtain hooks have now turned up in the shop. A happy ending, but in future, I will just catch a bus to Fort Kinnaird.

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