Yesterday I ordered four Hannukah gift certificates for my family members. Two apiece, since indigo.chapters.ca doesn’t offer the denomination I wanted. By gift certificates, this is simply a payment to them, and they issue an email to my recipients, telling them of the code number to claim it, the sender, the amount, etc. In e-commerce terms, this is like the simplest possible transaction, right? No meatspace – no books to be touched, picked, packed, shipped, tracked?


Whatever I did taxed the poor little hamster on a wheel that runs this crappy site. Eight hours later I had received one confirmation email letting me know that my order was shipping to my home address. I had also received a copy of the teaser email they sent to my recipient, letting them know that “something” was coming. The other three orders were just sitting, under “recently ordered” status. Today I called to ask what the hell was going on, and someone with a high school education lectured me that it takes a long time for the credit card transaction to process, and since they do it one at a time, that’s why the other three were still sitting. 24 hours later?

Here’s the emails I got

Within minutes of the order, four different versions of:

Dear Steve Portigal,
Thank you placing your order with chapters.indigo.ca. This automated e-mail confirms that we have received and are processing your order.

Within 7 minutes, I got one of these more detailed order confirmations.

Dear Steve Portigal,

Thank you for shopping with chapters.indigo.ca!

Your order number is #XXXXXXXXX. Please keep it for reference if youÔø?d like to check your Order History online, or if you speak to a customer service representative.

Your chapters.indigo.ca order includes of the following item(s):

1. Gift Certificate

These items will be shipped by Canada Post Xpresspost to :
Steve Portigal
1656 Palm Avenue
Redwood City, California 94061
United States

Four hours later, the teaser email (just for one) was sent, cc’d to me:

Dear Steve’s Relative

It is our pleasure to inform you that Steve Portigal has bought you a gift from chapters.indigo.ca.
Details about your gift will be sent to you via e-mail on December 09, 2001.

We’re sure you will be pleased with your gift when it arrives.

Five hours later, I got a single message confirming the “shipment” of that first gift certificate:

Dear Steve Portigal,

Thank you for shopping with Chapters-Indigo Online.

Please note that the following item(s) of your Chapters-Indigo Online order #XXXXX have been shipped:

1. Gift Certificate

So, they had completely handled one of four gift certificates (they were supposed to all go out and arrive at once, but clearly the ship had sailed on that idea.

Eleven hours later I got the next two order confirmations.

Two hours later, I got the corresponding two teaser messages.

Two hours after that, the fourth order confirmation arrived.

Four hours after that, the fourth teaser message was sent.

Five hours later, the final three “shipment” messages were sent.

All told, that was 33 hours to process four gift certificate orders. And, again, I phoned and was told there was no problem with their system. I sent an email to tech support (acknowledged, but not responded to). And still this happens.



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