A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Nov 28, 2007

Rain Boots

I've been quite enjoyably taking the bus to work since August.  I love riding the bus and MAX but now that it's officially winter in Portland I've run into my first trouble spot - the rain has been coming down and down and down, which means puddles.  Big time.  Big 'ol mess of 'em.  Having recently come to the realization that without taking some kind of action I would ruin all of my issues I decided I should buy some rain shoes. 

On the bus & MAX I already carry a laptop case and have a heavy coat for the cold, so I'm not really interested in finding a way to carry my shoes around with me as well.  I figured I would get some galoshes.  In my mind galoshes were a regular thing, like hair gel or wart removers.  Paddington wore them.  Remember?  They go *over* your regular shoes.  They are shoes for your shoes when your shoes aren't up for the job.

Galoshes are apparently a little more difficult to find than I anticipated.  Fred Meyer's, Target, Costco, all do not carry galoshes.  As I rode mass transit back and forth to work I began covertly checking out the footwear of my fellow mass transit riders.  Unfortunately my covert observations weren't very helpful.  I only learned that most people wear tennis shoes all the time no matter what the weather is. I did notice that rain boots are unfairly targeted almost exclusively at women.  Apparently girl feet get wetter than boy feet. 

Finally, without any other option available to me, I turned to the Internet.  Even on the Internet galoshes did not appear to be plentiful.  After a surprisingly long time I located a great pair of what are referred to as "Water Proof Overshoes" at workingperson.com.  Excited and motivated, I placed my order.

I have been less than thrilled with my experience at workingperson.com.  First off, I ordered the boots on November 11th.  I received the obligatory email immediately after placing my order letting me know that I had placed an order.  This was the last that I heard from workingperson.com.

I should have taken notice of a huge warning sign - the web site goes to pains to say that they don't charge anyone's credit card until an order has shipped.  Over and over.  They take great pride in this fact.  To be fair, they were as good as their word, I was never charged for anything.  That said, I never received my boots either.

When I went to their web site this weekend I could log into my account and see that I had placed an order but there was absolutely no status update on it.  It just said what address I put in and when I placed the order - that's it.  Frustrated, I sent them an email asking them for an update and reminding them that nearly two weeks had passed since it was placed.

Three days later, I hadn't heard anything yet.  I finally called them this morning and a person answered the phone who said that her "Internet" was down all weekend so she's way behind on email.   I asked if she could look up my order right then, and she reluctantly agreed.  She finally told me that the boots would come to her from the manufacturer on December 11th, at which time they would ship UPS ground for another 5-8 business days.  Of course, during this whole time there had been no indication to me that the boots were on backorder.  Disgusted, I canceled the order.

Based on the web site, I figured that workingperson.com was a pretty together organization but they obviously have a mess going on in terms of internal processes.  I've worked at a lot of places like this.  We can smell our kind. 

Not one to give up easily, I resumed my internet search tonight and after searching under the term "wellies" (a term I don't really even know the definition of but saw mentioned in a Portland forum during my search) I found just what I had in mind at zappos.com.  While they were a little more expensive than the boots I had originally ordered, what I found was more of what I was originally envisioning. 

Best of all, zappos.com has free shipping _both ways_.  They ship the shoes out OVER NIGHT for free, and if they don't work out you can ship them *back* for free.  Not only that, they don't have such a thing as back order.  If an item isn't in the warehouse, you can't order it.  Simple as that.

They also have a really cool feature on their web site called MULTI VIEW where you can see their shoes at all kinds of different angles to get a better idea of what you're looking at.  Also, they have an active customer review base so I could learn that since I wear a size 10.5 I should order the X Large size to accommodate all of my shoes. 

I'm almost glad that it didn't work out at the first place.  Hopefully everything will finish up as well as it started with Zappos.  If so I'd most definitely shop there again.

And most importantly, I will finally have galoshes.  Watch out, puddles!!!

Status Update:

Somehow one of the folks at workingperson.com saw this post and gave me a call yesterday to explain what had happened and apologize for the experience. It seems they had a number of technical problems in and around the same time that I placed my order that all kind of added up to what happened to me. The person who called me, Michael, was extremely nice and well spoken about the issues and did what he could to make the situation right by me. I very much appreciated the follow-up and will give them another shot, because they do have a lot of the cool work stuff I like.

Kudos to them for taking the initiative.