Monday, March 28, 2011

Four Bikes And Crying

My daughter turns eleven on Wednesday and all she has wanted for months is a new bike. Not any old bike, but a beach cruiser. With big fat rims and the old fashioned styling. With wide handle bars and a basket. Being the type of mother who gives in to her children's every whim, I set out last week on what shall now be known as "The Great Beach Cruiser Quest". I hit the two stores that are in a 2 mile radius from my house. Target and Wal-Mart. Target and Wal-Mart were lacking in the beach cruiser department. They both had mountain bikes. Road bikes. Bikes with training wheels. Bikes with spinnin' rims. No beach cruisers.

When I returned from my great 2 mile radius journey I found that she had searched the internet for beach cruisers and found a hot pink one at that she wanted. I praised her for being so industrious. And then while she was at school, I bought it. This would be bike numero uno (bike number one).

When I first went on the website,, it informed me that I would receive free shipping on the hot pink beach cruiser. But when I checked out, they charged me $40.00 in shipping. Not exactly free. It had pushed the $130.00 price tag up to around $180.00 with tax. I may give in to my children's every whim, but only if it comes with free shipping. I called up customer service and was greeted by a man who spoke exactly like Apu in the Simpson's. He then went on to apologize that while the website might be advertising free shipping, my hot pink beach cruiser did not qualify. "Well, that sucks," I told him. "Yes ma'am, it does suck," he said in an Apu accent.

Feeling very taken advantage of, I went on to look at and low and behold they had the same bike. For $10.00 less! And FREE shipping! And they could get it there a whole FIVE days sooner than I ordered hot pink beach cruiser number two. Then called up and cancelled bike numero uno. I then also wrote a scathing email to about how I would never shop in their stores again (a lie). They sent me back an auto-reply about how they were so very sorry to hear that (another lie), but they were looking forward to serving me in the future.

I went on with my day, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, counting how many times my neighbors leave and then come back and other mundane things I use to fill my time when all of sudden I realized that I didn't check If I got a good deal at, I would probably get an even better one there. I run back upstairs to the office and immediately log on. Much to my surprise, has an even bigger and better and cheaper selection of bikes. And they will ship it and assemble at my local store tomorrow. And this time it isn't any trashy hot pink beach cruiser. It is a mint green, classically styled beach cruiser with cream rims and brown leather seat and handle bars with a wicker basket for the low, low price of $89.00. I was instantly in love. I order it. It shall now be known as bike number three. I then called up and explain that I needed to cancel the order I just placed for bike number two. The woman on the other line (who does not have an Apu accent) tells me that my order that I placed two hours ago has already shipped. She has a tracking number and everything. Crap. I now have two bikes on their way to my house.

Later in the day Wal-Mart sends me a text that my mint green beach cruiser has arrived and is ready for pick-up. I take the seats out of my very large sport-utility vehicle and drive down to collect my daughter's new bike. But when I get there, there is a problem. No one can find it. I stand in customer service for 45 minutes while they search shipping and receiving, high and low, front and back for my bike. They finally tell me to just go home and they will call me when they find it. Two hours later I get bad news. I drive back down and they inform me that the bike was sold by another associate out of the back of the store. Turns out a Wal-Mart employee will sell you anything that isn't nailed down out of the back when no one is looking. And so my bike was gone. Even though it said purchased by me. It even had receipt stapled to it and said customer will be in today. Good-bye bike number three.

Wal-Mart places another order on-line for the same mint green beach cruiser. Hello bike number four. They tell me that it will be there in 48 hours. "Not good enough!" I tell them. I'm trying really hard to give off the annoyed customer vibe but all I can manage is the tired customer vibe. Apparently it's enough because the Asst. Store Manager gives me a gift card for $20.00. I'll take it.

Meanwhile, an unwanted bike number two, a hot pink beach cruiser has been delivered at my home (thank heavens it was in a box). My daughter is dancing around the living room singing "I know what that is! I know what that is! It's my birthday bike!" Very annoying. "It's not a bike. It's a desk. And it's going back." I tell her. "Then why is it from Toys-R-Us?" She counters. "Because," I answer. "It's a desk for your brother but it's too small so it's going back." She still doesn't believe me. But you should have seen her face when UPS showed up with a call-tag for the package and she watched them carry the box out and load it in the truck. She stood there not knowing what to say. "See? I told you it wasn't your bike." Her eyes welled up with tears and she ran upstairs. That scene alone should get me nominated for Mother Of The Year.

Anyway, Wal-mart called me early the next morning to tell me that bike number four was there and assembled and had an armed sentry standing guard until I picked it up. As the bike was wheeled out to me the Asst. Store Manager kept apologizing. "This has never happened before. I'm so sorry." "It's okay," I told her. "I got the cute bike. I got $20.00 bucks out of it. Let's call it good." She seemed very relieved that I wasn't going to be causing a ruckus in the middle of the store. I don't know. Maybe I should have. I probably could have gotten the bike for free.

What lessons did I learn from all this?
Lesson #1- The internet does not make things easier.
Lesson #2 - The internet gives you too many options.
Lesson #3 - Hide any packages that are delivered to your house before child thinks they are for them and then is crushed when they are picked up.
Lesson #4 - I need to be a more decisive shopper.
Lesson #5 - It probably would have been easier if when I went to Wal-Mart, and didn't see what I liked, I just grabbed the nearest associate and asked, "Whatcha got in back?"

Bike Number Four

Well? What do you think? Was it all worth it?


  1. Oh my gosh! I want one too! :) I can't wait to see her cruising the neighborhood on that. Too cute.

  2. OH what a FUNNY story! The things we go through for our kids! I must say I really like bike #4. Hope she loves it!

  3. Love the bike! Just think how excited she'll be now that she thinks the bike isn't coming!

  4. That was great! And, hey $20 richer (Minus time and gas wasted...oh well.) and the mint green bike!


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