Don't get me wrong. I know that sh*t happens, that there will be times a package doesn't arrive on time due to unforeseen delays, etc.
But this seems more along the lines of policy: "When the item is being displayed, or is in the customer's cart, or has just been ordered, display the most optimistic arrival date that's even remotely possible -- then after it's ordered, change the projected arrival date to something more realistic."
It's not just one retailer, but this week it is, you guessed it, Wal-Mart. I was looking at similar items for similar prices at different places, and one of the deciding factors was that this product from this place was advertised as arriving on the 29th (tomorrow). That's what it said on the site. That's what it said in the cart. That's what it said in the "thanks for your order" confirmation email. And I was glad, because I had plans to be using it by, say, noon on the 30th.
Then I got the "it's shipped" notice, with a projected arrival date of the 30th. Based on usual carrier delivery times in my neighborhood, I'm expecting it on the afternoon of the 30th, after the time I had hoped to begin using it.
Another angle that doesn't apply in this particular case: In the past, I've ordered items that were advertised as arriving on a Friday, when I would be home, but then were subsequently re-designated as arriving on Saturday, when I planned to be out. Even though I live in a decent neighborhood, I don't just assume that something big and expensive won't disappear if it's left on the porch for three hours. Which means I get stuck recombobulating my plans for the day so that I can be home awaiting a delivery.
Two outfits this complaint does not describe:
- Amazon.com. I've only had similar problems with them twice in 20 years. Once was not their fault -- the item was shown as "out for delivery" but the USPS carrier just drove on by the house, presumably forgetting there was a package in the back. The other time, I ordered an item advertised as coming with one-day shipping; later that day, I ordered an item advertised as coming with two-day shipping; both items got stuck in one box with two-day shipping. When I mentioned this as a Bad Thing that they shouldn't do again, without asking for any compensation, they immediately apologized and threw me a free month of Prime service (which sells for more than I paid for the one-day item).
- eBay. Normally things ordered on eBay come with a stated shipping time frame, not a date certain for arrival. And even when those things are shipped from Hong Kong or China, they generally arrive by the end of the timeframe (in feedback, eBay asks if they arrived within the timeframe).