Christmas online shopping roulette

Here’s the fun new game of the season!

Step 1: order something online
Step 2: get to the “shipping method” part of the order
Step 3: carefully consider your options

Here’s the fun: most of the time, if you’re ordering for family that you’re going to see, you’ll want the gift to arrive before the holiday does. And the online sellers give helpful guidelines:
Next Day Shipping: $45
Second Day Shipping: $36
Standard Shipping: $9.95
Economy Shipping: $3.50

Now clearly they want you to pick Standard at the very least since not all that money is going to the shipper and the box costs the same regardless. In order to make sure you don’t cheap out on them, they give helpful dates and tell you they guarantee that everything other than Economy will arrive by Christmas.

You can order this way on Halloween, and they’ll still tell you the same thing. That you live in New Jersey and the thing is being shipped from Delaware, but it *might* take 45 shipping days to get to you, and they make you click on the little button saying you accept all responsibility if Junior’s Christmas is ruined.

I’ve gamed the system a couple of times. One seller claimed the ship date wouldn’t be until the 26th with free shipping; I did it anyhow and I’ve already received a thank-you note for that gift. Last night, I caved and paid for standard shipping on something for Kiddo#3. And that one shipped already too.

Because in reality, the sellers know. They know that if the item isn’t in your hands on Christmas Eve, you the buyer aren’t going to blame yourself for not paying an extra six bucks. They know you’re going to blame them, and they want your return business. So they’re going to do their best to get it out the door ASAP no matter how much you paid.*

Still…is that six shipping days, or only five? Well, considering that this is Christmas time, and the busiest shipping season of the year, you’ve got to ask yourself a question: do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

(*Excepting last year, when my Patient Husband bought a CD for me from an third-party seller. He paid for Expedited Shipping so it would be here by the 24th. They didn’t *ship* the thing until the 24th and when they did, it went media mail. I think I got it February 3rd. The seller sent us an obnoxious email. refunded us for that debacle.)