A new semester means another opportunity to rant about textbook prices – but we’ve been over this before, so I won’t waster our readership’s time. Instead, a tale of global business, intrigue, and, hopefully, happiness.
Some background. That great engine of entrepeneurial opportunism, E-Bay, also operates as another company called Half.com. Half.com specializes in selling used textbooks to poor, desperate students like me at prices that typically undercut our local "college bookstore" by about 30%. Hey, every dollar counts.
I found out about Half.com from a buddy earlier this year; I ordered a book and the seller turned out to be his ex-girlfriend who had just taken the class. The price was right, the service impeccable, she sold the book for more than our "local bookstore" was willing to pay for it, and I saved about $25. As Steven Covey would say, it was a win-win.
Naturally I upped the ante for this semester. I decided to order as many books as I could; in the end, the grand total was 3 books. Patting myself on the back for being thrifty and ingenious, I moved on the next items of the preschool checklist.
School started today and only one of the books is on my bookshelf. It came from Jacksonville, FL. This morning, my mailman dropped off a card telling me that an items is ready to be picked up at the post office, and, by the way, the postage due is $7.00. That order has come from Banning, CA. Still no sign of the third book, although I do have some email correspondence with the "vendor".
The missing book is "Understanding Financial Statement", published in 2009, in the USA. I sent an email to the "vendor" on August 24, and got this reply:
Hope you must be doing good. As per our order book, the order for the book ‘ Understanding Financial Statements’ was placed by you on August 18,2009. I am glad to tell you that the book was shipped on August 21,2009 using the "DHL" shipment service. You may track the book’s status by putting in the tracking number ‘1329118663’ in the required field of the link ‘http://dhl.com‘.
Sorry for the inconvenience. Hope to serve you in a more efficient manner in the future.
Alarm bells immediately rang. First, broken English. Second, DHL. Aren’t they that Dutch company that ships everything via Air in all of the countries of the world except the US? WTF?
So here is the tracking info:
|Date and time||Status||Location Service Area|
|8/25/2009 1:23 am||Transit through DHL facility||Cincinnati Hub, OH|
|8/24/2009 10:37 pm||Depart Facility||East Midlands, United Kingdom|
|10:36 pm||In transit.||East Midlands, United Kingdom|
|5:33 am||Scheduled to move||East Midlands, United Kingdom|
|8/23/2009 5:46 pm||Depart Facility||London-heathrow, United Kingdom|
|9:05 am||Processed at DHL Location.||London-heathrow, United Kingdom|
|8:45 am||Transit through DHL facility||London-heathrow, United Kingdom|
|12:44 am||Depart Facility||Delhi (new Delhi), India|
|8/22/2009 11:12 pm||Processed at DHL Location.||Delhi (new Delhi), India|
|1:08 pm||Transit through DHL facility||Delhi (new Delhi), India|
|3:23 am||Depart Facility||Mumbai (bombay), India|
|3:18 am||Processed at DHL Location.||Mumbai (bombay), India|
|1:48 am||Departing origin.||Mumbai (bombay), India|
|8/21/2009 11:38 pm||Shipment picked up||Mumbai (bombay), India|
Yes, you read the report correctly. My $65 textbook (used) is coming to American from Bombay, India. Somehow, this entrepeneur will sell a book, published in the US in 2009, ship it back to the US, paying the air freight charges, and make a profit. Is this a great world or what?
I just hope it is written in English…