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Wednesday, 01/05/05

Ostensibly, I bought a 200 GB bare drive yesterday from Outpost.com, now owned by Fry's. It was a darn good deal, with a $60 rebate on a $150 drive, including taxes and two-day shipping. A lot of other people apparently thought it was a good deal, too, because Outpost sold out.

What makes this sorry episode worth mentioning is that they sold out somewhere between seven and sixteen hours before the product page (now a 404) ceased to claim, "In Stock". I placed my order by 7:35 AM, and my dad bought the same unit by 4PM. We both received positive order confirmations.

This morning, dad's order was rudely revoked:

Please note that the item(s) listed below have been removed from your order per your request to Customer Service, or because the item is no longer available.

Sweet boilerplate, eh?

Though I didn't receive any nastygrams, Dad's went on to say, "Order request confirmations received from our web site do not guarantee delivery of the items ordered", so I thought it prudent to place a call to customer service this morning.

I was told that while my order wasn't being revoked, exactly, they were not planning to ship me anything unless they received more drives. They would have a better idea of if, not when, that would transpire "in a few days", though the rebate turns into a pumpkin if I don't postmark it in the next two weeks. Should I desire any more updates, I have to call them, because their order-tracking page has been returning a 404 for two days straight, a fact which took my customer-service rep by surprise.

Back in the nineties, Outpost was a fine upstanding dot-com, with a pleasantly ludicrous "same-day overnight shipping for free, on all sales" guarantee. I bought an iMac from them once. I haven't bought anything from them since they were acquired by Fry's in 2001, nor do I plan to, nor do I suggest you should, at least without placing a phone call before and after. 02:30PM «

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