As followup to what was otherwise one of my most annoying days this Fall, I received a nice little surprise in the mail today.
Take a journey back with me to September 22 of this year, and what I announced to the world through the annals of Facebook:
I had just left the volunteer first peek of my first (and last) consignment sale. I went in with really hopeful expectations and yet a pretty small wishlist in the first place, but managed to walk out with very little to show for it. I was annoyed and disappointed in what was purporting to be a colossal waste of time. (And on top of that, it turned out I actually managed to make less than my predicted profit, which I really didn’t think was possible.)
I came home just in time for my 9:30 appointment with a little website called Totsy (aptly named because it is geared toward all things “tot” for desperate deal seeking mothers, like me, who like to outfit their children in really trendy shit but not actually pay premium prices for any of it). From my very limited experience with Totsy, it seems this website advertizes for and then conducts closeout sales for any number of different stores and websites. It looks like the majority of their sales revolve around brand new products trying to gain customer attention, or seasonally old products, simply trying not to go to waste. The sale I had marked on my calendar (let the patronizing begin), and the only time I’ve actually utilized Totsy, was a Stride Rite shoe sale.
Most parents know that Stride Rite pretty much owns a monopoly on decent children’s shoes, which is why they can get away with charging $50 for a pair of shoes that is only meant to last six months before the kid outgrows them. This is also why I had the Totsy Stride Rite sale marked on my calendar. The way it works is the sale is advertised, but you cannot see any of the items nor the prices until the sale opens at a specific time. Once it does open, you must shop and pay in a hurry, because your cart empties itself every twenty minutes. I’m sure you can only imagine what happens when two hundred thousand mothers are all attempting to purchase $10 pairs of brand new Stride Rite’s at the same time, online.
Long story short, the crashing Totsy server managed to occupy me through four episodes of Dawson’s Creek. It seemed like every time I got my cart filled and my information down, the order would fail to go through. I’d refresh and refresh, and then my twenty minutes would be up and my cart would suddenly be empty. It is like the virtual equivalent of running through a crowded Walmart on Black Friday, sucessfully grabbing the exact five items you had your heart set on, and just as you get in line to pay for your rightfully obtained deals (and celebrate your luck) a big man in a black coat comes up behind you, grabs your shopping cart out from under your unsuspecting gaze, and chucks your treasures to the back of the store. There’s no time to retaliate (or cry), because you have to go retrieve them before someone else does, and start the process all over again. It was an adrenaline rush, if nothing else.
My sale opened at 9:00. At 11, I finally got a confirmation email. This should have been cause for a double fist pump, but by this time, between Dawson’s Creek, a hot laptop, and the whiskey, I was pretty much just ready for bed. Big surprise, the next morning our credit card called with news of some “potentially fraudulent activity” from the night before, as I had been charged for the same order a total of five times. I called the company and prepared myself for a morning of sitting on hold and more frustration.
Not the case. I was pleasantly surprised to find the lady answering the phone spoke English as her first language (point for Totsy), one, and was actually really cool about the entire thing from the night before. I was right when I guessed that they’d been fielding phone calls all morning from other moms (who were possibly much less cool than I was about the whole thing). She ended up canceling all but one of my orders and said I wouldn’t actually get charged until it shipped.
I sort of chalked the entire thing up to “lesson learned” and though I’ve been diligently checking my credit card statement for the past few weeks, I wasn’t about to go into this deal with the same high hopes I’d had for the consignment sale.
The good news of the week is that today, almost a month later, I received four of the five pairs of shoes I had my eyes on that night (for a grand total of $46). My credit card was charged appropriately, and I also have a $5 credit in my Totsy account as an apology for the big man in the black coat. Can’t say I’m in the mood to fight the same laundry-basket-wielding moms who elbow each other through consignment sale doors, literally or virtually, again any time soon, but Totsy has officially scratched a competitive mom itch for me, this month.