Greek-American Stories: How to Order by Mail

“I’m really mad!” John told the guys around the table at Dixon’s that Sunday. “What about?” asked Dimos, setting down his coffee. “I ordered a mixer for Penelopi three weeks ago, and it didn’t come yet. So, I called the company and they said I didn’t include the sales tax,” shrugged John. “The ad didn’t say anything about a sales tax. I didn’t know I had to pay a sales tax. But, they cashed my check. They made sure they did that!” Nodding, Dimos said, “well, as soon as you pay that, you’ll get your mixer, that’s all.” Brows meeting over his nose, John wasn’t convinced. “How do I know I’ll receive it even when they receive the sales tax check?”

Dimos explained, “they can’t risk getting bad reports, John. Bad for business! Send in the taxes and then wait and see. I’m sure you’ll receive your order. If not, then, we’ll take it to the Better Business Bureau. You have the cancelled check for proof, you know.” Kipreos, full of sympathy, said, “I know how you feel, John. I sent for a pair of slippers I needed and I waited a long time. I telephoned them and waited a long time until she checked the order. Then, she said she couldn’t find the order. I had an argument with her. When she came back on the phone she said the order is delayed because I didn’t include the color. So, why didn’t they call me on that? I might have forgotten to check the color box. I don’t remember.” “When you told them the color you should have received your slippers. Did you?” asked John.  “Well, when I gave them the color another week went by. The floors are cold in my apartment. But, I finally got them.” Turning a little shy, he admitted, “turned out they’re too big. But, I’m keeping them. Better than going through that again.”

George told them about a pair of pliers he’d ordered by mail. “They sent a letter explaining that I didn’t check off what type of pliers I wanted. My wife got on the phone and told them there was only one type. I’m still waiting, too!”

Yiannis, looking smug, told them about an order he’d made. “I wanted a knife sharpener that was advertised in a magazine I picked up at the dentist office. I cut out the coupon and mailed it in.” Saying nothing more, they waited for the conclusion of his mail order. No further explanation was given. George asked, “So, what happened”

Taking a bite into his second donut, Yiannis explained that he, like the others, hadn’t received his order as yet. “But, I got satisfaction. I got a letter from the company where they explained that they don’t do business that way.” They all looked up at Yiannis, confused. John asked, “I don’t understand! What way, Yiannis?” Leaning back, he explained, “I’m not like you guys, sending money, arguing, worrying, and waiting and getting nowhere. I don’t trust easily, you know. If I had sent them a check with my order how do I know they’re not going to keep my check and then tell me we sent out the item. Then what? Or, they could tell me we don’t have that item anymore. I’d be out my money and no item, either.” “I still don’t get it, Yiannis,” Dimos shook his head, confused. Leaning back in his seat, Yiannis, nonchalantly, explained. “Easy! I wrote them once describing what I wanted. I wrote, ‘Please send me the knife sharpener. If it’s any good I’ll send you my check.’” John grew impatient. “Well? What happened next?” Looking pompous, Yiannis said, “I got a reply from them. Now I was sure that they received my order. They wrote me, ‘Please send us your check. If it’s any good we’ll send you the knife sharpener.” Reaching out for another donut, he concluded, “you have to be cagey when dealing with mail orders.” Falling into deep thought they began to think that, maybe, Yiannis had the right of it.


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