Chacos column: Twas’ the season for online-shopping

Andrea Chacos
Enjoy the Ride

I needed to have a Snoop on a Stoop seconds after the advertisement popped up on my social media feed. He’s like an Elf on a Shelf, only he’s black and he’s smoking. I don’t know anyone else that owns a smoking Elf, let alone a smoking Snoop, so I bought four of them. The reward for my bulk purchase was a 10% discount and free shipping.

Pleased with my late-night savings and forthcoming altruism, I closed my laptop and forgot all about Snoop until two months later when they finally arrived in the mail. Each Snoop was tightly bound in bubble wrap and stuffed into little cardboard boxes as if they were smuggled into the country inside the rectum of a bull. I appreciate the care given from the packaging team and made a mental note to give them a positive review. Everyone tells me their Snoop on a Stoop was worth the wait, and I agree. Thoughtfully wrapped gifts give me warmth.

Snoop’s delayed arrival reminds me of the Tyrannosaurus Rex cat costume I bought months ago for my cat Boodles. A reputable-looking online store sold me the pet costume for a limited-time BOGO, that’s a buy-one-get-one half off, and I couldn’t resist the deal. A countdown timer in the corner of the website let me know I was wasting precious seconds contemplating my purchase, so I bought the Tyrannosaurus Rex cat costume for Boodles before the sale disappeared from my screen.

Showing real restraint, I didn’t buy two cat costumes because Boodles only needs one cat costume, and I don’t know another cat that enjoys dressing up, even at half off. For the past three months, their customer service team assures me the order is in transit, and I can’t remember if this delay is due to high-volume shipment problems or because of weather overseas. I’m excited to see the cat’s enthusiasm when her costume finally arrives, and I doubt Boodles will care how the T-Rex is packaged.

The website for the cat costume reminds me of the savvy startup where I bought a trio of gifts for my slightly overweight dog Jenny. In all honesty, I think Jenny would have preferred a Tyrannosaurus Rex pet costume of her own, but the website for high-end dog accessories claimed a puzzle feeder could have Jenny savoring her meals instead of inhaling kibble like she’s the end of an aggressive vacuum hose. Everyone in my house agreed Jenny is slightly overweight so in addition to the puzzle feeder, I felt comfortable adding a matching water bowl and doggie dish mat, too. The dish mat collects the bits and bobs that will rain from Jenny’s mouth, so the add-on items are an easy sell. The only problem with my order is that it has been “out for delivery” for nine months.

A customer service representative at the website for high-end dog accessories reassured me that my order is on the way, but they eventually stopped responding to my queries. The website is no longer active, which is a shame because I want to let them know they have an outstanding marketing team that knows how to upsell if nothing else. If Jenny’s puzzle feeder, matching water bowl, and doggie dish mat ever arrive, I know the packaging will have attention to detail.

The year-long delay with Jenny’s high-end dog accessories reminds me that I bought wall calendars awhile back that displayed animals pooping in exotic locations, a perfect gift for the holidays. I clicked the flashing “Buy Now” button, and I even paid for expedited shipping because I want the calendars to arrive before the new year, as timeliness is crucial for a calendar. I couldn’t resist buying four calendars of animals pooping in exotic locations because I saved 15% for the lot of them. I guess others had the same idea because the customer service agent said, “There’s a sharp increase in orders and higher requirements for products making factory production somewhat slow.” I don’t know what that means but I plan to give one of the calendars to my boss because I think she will appreciate me thinking of her in a special way.

If all my gifts don’t arrive soon, I may have to start shopping in locally owned boutique stores that have employees earning fair wages. I worry I won’t find a gift that once housed contraband from a secret drug cartel, hidden in a shipping container for a year, held up at the border next to rotting avocados, and ultimately disguised alongside a bucket of hats. At least with my late-night online shopping I’m guaranteed gifts with a backstory, but first they need to get delivered.

Andrea Chacos can be reached at

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