Monday, 19 April 2010

Carlton Epsom and Me


Carlton Epsom may well become a mean and nasty character in a future book, but right at the moment I never want to hear the name again... It's been one of those weekends that honestly could only happen to me.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

We, The Toyboy Trucker and I (re-united again!), had planned a weekend with Elle and The Doctor. We were going to forget all about me editing TWTAWH and him starting yet another newly-elevated job on Monday morning. We were going out shopping with them on Saturday to buy them a new bed for their new house as our house-warming present, then on Sunday we were all off to London for lunch with The Doctor's parents. A lovely, family weekend...

Sooo - on Saturday, we trailed round every furniture shop in four counties. Elle wasn't taken with any of the 23 million beds we looked at... She then announced that she remembered she'd seen "just the one they wanted" on a certain well-known furniture shop's website. Off we trotted (another cross-country trek) to the aforementioned store - and yes, the bed (the Carlton Epsom) was one they stocked, but not in-store - on t'internet only as it was hand-built to order...

With The Toyboy Trucker muttering that only Elle could find a hand-built must-have bed and it had always been the same with her, she could never settle for anything off-the-shelf even as a child, and then started on about the designer wedding dress that cost more than our first house and things were getting a bit fraught, we changed the subject back to volcanic ash (again) and politics (again) as these were much safer topics - and hurried back to Elle and The Doctor's house and t'internet.

And - yes! - there it was! The Carlton Epsom! As Elle provided refreshments, and The Toyboy Trucker and The Doctor discussed football and F1 and volcanic ash and politics, I snuggled-up to their laptop and tapped in all the complex details, mine as payee and Elle's as recipient, on several lengthy online forms and pressed the "buy now" button. Nothing happened for ages then I got a "sorry - page not loading - invalid order" message.

So, I tried again and again and again and again.... Each attempt took ages. Still nothing. The page wouldn't load and the whole thing was rejected over and over and over... However, there was a phone number to place orders verbally. So I tried. Sadly, there wouldn't be anyone there until Monday morning... As we'd then spent longer trying to order the Carlton Epsom online than we had trailing round the bloody bed shops, I was beginning to wish Elle and The Doctor would settle for a futon or a sleeping bag or even the damn bed they've already got...

As soon as The Toyboy Trucker and I got home I thought I'd just try one more online order attempt in case the problem was with Elle and The Doctor's computer - but no, the site still wouldn't accept my order. So, deciding to leave it until Monday morning when I could speak to a Real Person and place my order, I forgot all about Carlton Epsom.

Sunday dawned gloriously warm and sunny, and knowing the sort of fabulous hospitality we'd receive at The Doctor's parents' house, I made an early-morning sortie to the shops for visitor-gifts of posh flowers, chocs and wine... I got to the check out, realised I didn't have enough cash, so used my debit card - which was immediately humiliatingly rejected in front of a queue of people loaded with barbecue goodies and knowing grins... As this was clearly turning into "one of those weekends" I negotiated (slowly) with the check-out-boy and raked up enough cash for the flowers and chocs and had to abandon the wine and everyone behind me was getting pretty unpleasant...

Once home again, I rang my bank, demanding to know why my card had been refused. A very perky lady told me it was due to "insufficient funds". Well - I got pretty uppity I can tell you. The Toyboy Trucker has just been paid, I've just had more German royalties (yay!) and for once I knew the bank was wrong. And I said so in my most-exasperated voice. The perky lady asked if I'd like her to check my recent activities. After a moment's hesitation while I completely misinterpreted the question, I said yes, of course, but I knew down to the very last penny what we'd spent in the past week or so...

'Well' she said, still perkily, 'there's a payment pending of XXXX thousand pounds to XYZ furniture store for 6 online orders...."

I screamed... A lot. Noooo! SIX orders! I'd ordered SIX Carlton Epsom beds! Each time I'd tried to order online and the page had assured me it had been rejected, it hadn't!!!! Each order had gone through... And somehow, our bank account was about to relieved of all the money we'd just been paid plus far more money than we actually possessed and Elle and The Doctor were going to get enough beds to start a small hotel...

Sucking desperately on my electronic cigarette (really effective by-the-way), and hoping to God that The Toyboy Trucker was still immersed in Jensen's progress in the Chinese Grand Prix and not listening, I whimpered and asked the perky lady what I could do... She perkily informed me that I'd entered into a legally binding agreement the minute I'd pressed the buy button. My only recourse was to contact the furniture store and explain the situation and hope they were sympathetic... And of course, the furniture store was closed to telephone calls until first thing on Monday morning...

So, off we went to London and had a fabulous day with The Doctor's family eating an al fresco Indian banquet while I hoped we wouldn't need to use the debit card and panicked and wondered if there was ever going to be a right moment to mention to The Toyboy Trucker that I'd just spent all our hard-earned money and then some on SIX Carlton Epsoms, or to Elle that she better start clearing out several more rooms and setting up a B&B sign...

And this morning, after a sleepless night, I nervously rang the furniture store. And, oh joy! They were brilliant! Not only did they see the funny side (something I'd failed to do for 48 hours) but they assured me that all six Carlton Epsoms were firmly cancelled, my money was safe, and starting afresh we ordered one Carlton Epsom - just the one - to be hand-crafted and delivered to Elle and The Doctor in 30 days time...

And now I've told the bank, and they laughed (oh yeah - very funny...) and reinstated my money and I'm never, never, never going to order anything online EVER again... Oh, and if anyone mentions the words Carlton Epsom anytime soon I'll definitely spit.

20 comments:

Jilly said...

What a nightmare! Glad you got it sorted by a human being - we still need them in spite of how computers are taking over everything.

Christina Jones said...

Jilly - thank you, and you're right - but it sort of reinforced the idea everyone has that I'm a flake-brain and shouldn't be allowed near anything more tricky than a biro...

ptasia said...

Ah, I'm always afraid sth like this cd happen, after I was accidentally billed twice for a purchase. It's one of the reasons, apart from security & so on, that I always pay online through Paypal and/or my eCard, which is pre-paid, so you can't withdraw more than there is.
On the plus side, now it's all sorted, it's a great episode to use in a book :)

Christina Jones said...

ptasia - hmmm, I've always been a bit wary too - but I honestly thought it couldn't happen to me - hey-ho... And you're right, it WILL end up in a book one day.

Debs said...

Oh how horrifying! I would have died. Six beds. Nightmare. Thank heavens it's all been sorted out now. Mind you, that does look like one particularly gorgeous bed, though I shan't dare to mention it's name.

I once did that with a flight booking and bought two flights instead of one. The main problem was that I was using a Director's card at work as I was arranging his flights. Thankfully the airline were very helpful and reimbursed him for one of them. Phew.

Christina Jones said...

Debs - thank you - but it could only happen to me... Although you and the director's credit card run it a pretty close second! And yes, it is a lovely bed - but I HATE it! Cxxx

alzamina said...

oh no, you poor thing. Dontcha just lurve modern technology? My son saw an LP the other day for the first time and was really confused, and when he saw a tape - well.

Glad you got the bed sorted. Saw you running a Sunny Dene at home. i too use paypal. got my money back from a dodgy company through them!

Going off to watch Food Fighters that I recorded this morning to see how I sould be doing my job!
xx

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - yep, WILL use paypal in future... well, if I ever shop online again that is. Aw, how sweet - your son seeing "antique" vinyl and tapes for the first time. Elle asked me about Betamax the other day... Oh, and I'm sure you do your job brilliantly!!!

Colette McCormick said...

Nightmare!

Christina Jones said...

Colette - and so easily done, too...

womagwriter said...

Oh what an experience! Nightmare. Did you get email confirmation of each of the 6 orders? Or did the website fail before it sent those?

Denise T said...

You are not alone Chris. some time ago we (my other half and I) decided to go to Paris for the weekend. He insisted that He would do the booking and with trepidation I left him to it. Some time later he asked me would I check it because the printer was churning out "lots of paper", and yes! you have guessed it, he had booked it four times. We managed to cancel two so, looking on the bright side, we had plenty of leg room on that flight.He has never lived it down.

Christina Jones said...

womag - mmm, it certainly was an experience - and not one I EVER want to live through again! No, there were no email confirmations and when I checked my online account it said all 6 orders had been rejected due to an inputting error - so I feel it wasn't really my fault... this time...

Christina Jones said...

Denise - oh, thank you for letting me know I'm not alone!!! Nightmare for you (or the OH at least) too - but so glad you managed to sort it out. It was the bit about "legally binding contract" that scared me rigid...

Groovy said...

How stressful! As soon as you said you'd tried to order several times, I knew what was coming. But I shop too much online and learned to use credit cards (even through Paypal) -- no money is taken immediately and you have time to dispute it if something goes awry. Plus I earn reward points, lol.

Karen said...

Oh my God, it reminds me horribly of the time I didn't understand ebay and accidentally bid on an expensive dining table with six chairs. I emailed the company saying "oops, sorry I didn't mean to do that" and the most terrible pickle ensued, culminating in lots of tears (mine) and my husband having to fake a solicitor's letter to throw them off.

Charlton Epsom is a brilliant character name though :o)

NicolaSigel0508 said...

你不能和一個握緊的拳頭握手 ..................................................

Christina Jones said...

Groovy - OK - yes, thanks for the reassurance and I know I'll go back to online buying one day because it's so easy - hah!- but right at the mo I'm still scared...

Christina Jones said...

Karen - thanks for making me laugh! How very clever of your husband! Great material there - but can imagine your panic - been there... The Toyboy Trucker "accidentally" bought a police car type blue flashing light from eBay - swore he was only looking and must have pressed the wrong button... We've got it in the downstairs loo.

Christina Jones said...

Nicola - I hope this says something nice! C x