Monday, May 24, 2010

Feeling Special

It's Monday, LOST has come to an end, and the cocktail reception for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards is looming. Yikes!

You may be glad to hear I will NOT be wearing pajamas to the reception. After much planning and consultation with my "fashion experts" (read: friends and family) I have picked my outfit, found suitable jewelry, and purchased a cute little red bag.
Which just leaves... (insert ominous music here)... the shoes!

More consultation with my "fashion experts" helped me decide that what I need are red strappy heels that are dressy, but not too sparkly. Add to that my budget and difficult-to-fit feet, and my assignment basically became to find the Holy Grail of shoes.

But I had hope! You see, I've heard about for a while. Perhaps you have too? It's an internet shoe store that is supposed to be all about customer service. The word on Zappos was that they have free basic shipping, free return shipping, and a great selection of shoes. Also, I'd heard from a couple of sources that Zappos "always" upgraded their free basic shipping to free overnight shipping because they "want their customers to feel special."

Feeling special sounded good to me, so Saturday night I logged on to see what they had in my size.

Now, to give you a bit of background, I have my dad's feet, so my feet are really long. Let me tell you, it's hard to find a women's size 11 shoe in a store. At least in a traditional brick and mortar store.The internet, however, is a whole different story. I found SO MANY shoes at Zappos that I wanted to try on. So, I ordered them, and hoped I'd be lucky enough to be upgraded to the free overnight shipping.

My fingers were crossed, but no way was I going to leave myself without a safety net, so Sunday I went out shoe shopping for a backup pair. Just in case. Well, as I expected, I had a very limited selection of shoes available to me in the stores I checked. None of them in red. I ended up with a sparkly pair of silver strappy heels. Not bad as far as insurance shoes go, but not the Holy Grail. My fingers were still crossed for that free shipping upgrade.

This morning when I checked my email, I received the shipping notice from Zappos. No shipping upgrade. Now, I totally understand that they were in NO way required to upgrade my shipping. I mean, nowhere on the Zappos site did it even hint that such an upgrade was possible. I knew I had no one to blame buy myself that I didn't shop earlier or pay the $25 to order overnight shipping. I knew all these things. But still, not receiving a free shipping upgrade that's supposed to make you feel special, makes you feel... well... unspecial.

I debated ordering the shoes a second time and paying the $25 for overnight shipping, but I just couldn't justify paying $25 to try on shoes that might not fit. Especially when I have the silver shoes sitting in their box, waiting to be called into the game. I took a deep breath, went to the Zappos site, and checked to see if I could cancel my order. After all, if the shoes couldn't arrive on time, the least I could do was save Zappos the cost of the shipping, and the return shipping, right?

I couldn't find any way to cancel the order on my own, so I clicked on their "live chat" option, to text a customer service rep. The rep, Laura, was friendly from the start, and checked to see if she could cancel my order. She could not, but she seemed genuinely sorry that she couldn't help me. I felt so sheepish about asking to cancel an order right after it shipped that I explained to Laura that I needed the shoes tomorrow, and had heard they sometimes had free overnight shipping. I expected Laura to say something like, "The only way you can get overnight shipping is to pay the low, low price of $25," but, she surprised me. Instead of pointing out how ridiculous I was to order something for basic delivery in the hope it might magically arrive overnight, she offered to process an exchange for me and ship me the exact same shoes overnight! Seriously? Well, let me tell you... I started to feel special!

Laura upgraded my account to VIP status (so THAT'S how people got the free overnight shipping!) and while she processed my exchange, she asked me about the event to which I would wear the shoes. I told her about the Next Generation Indie Book Awards cocktail reception, and she seemed really excited for me... which made me feel excited for me too!

I mean, this is really thrilling! I've gotten so caught up in the details the last couple of days that I lost sight of the really important thing, the writing and the awards. Even if I did show up in my pajamas, people aren't there for me, they're there for my book, and, quite frankly, I prefer the idea of people admiring my writing, to the idea of them admiring my outfit.

And that is the real reason to feel special.


  1. They should admire both
    -Your Fashion Consultant

  2. Was wondering if there was any substance behind Zappo's cute commercials. Could you post a photo of your shoe selections or one of the complete ensemble? Please? We KNOW you're a good writer, but we are talking SHOES here!