A Chain of Errors

Once upon a time, I worked for a company where one step of a job depended on another. Despite various checks along the way, if someone happened to make an error, there was some likelihood that the error would wend its way undiscovered through the system. It was like a chain that was difficult to break. In theory, mistakes should have been caught, and some certainly were, but once made, they sometimes escaped every possible check, and the wrong product would be manufactured.

I was recently reminded of the self-perpetuating nature of errors.

traxOn January 04, I slipped and fell on ice hidden by a fresh fall of snow, and I blogged about it 8 days later. Ruth, in her comment, mentioned that the posties in her area used Yaktrax to fasten to their shoes when doing their winter routes. After a few days of humming and hawing, I ordered two pair, one each for Cuppa and me.

And the chain of errors began.

I ordered online, and while my payment went through with no problem, both neither actual order or my shipping address made it. That was the first mistake.

The company did have my email address, so they were able to contact me, whereupon I emailed the missing information … and made the second mistake. In a careless moment I gave them my old postal code from 5 years ago: a mistake that to my knowledge I hadn’t ever made. In my defense, let me claim that it was rather easy to do because the numbers of the past and present codes are exactly the same: same digits in the same order. The letters are different, but still …

Of course, I didn’t realize what I had done until I tracked the package only to discover that the parcel had been sent to Sarnia, our former town, on the other side of province. Tracking further revealed that it was immediately returned to Toronto, and I waited patiently for the mistake to be corrected. The address was correct after all. They only had to check and alter the postal code.

After a week of waiting and checking the tracking number to find that the thing hadn’t moved at all, I made inquiries to Canada Post who asked me to also have the shipper call them with the pertinent details from their end. When the shipper did that, they were told that it was too late — that the parcel was already on its way back to them — in Vancouver.


However, the company was very nice and promised me that they’d ship a second pair while they awaited for the first pair to be returned.

Two days later, the package arrived. I thought that they must have caught a tail wind for it to have made its way across country that quickly. Wrong. Mistake three had been made, for it was the original package that was delivered, not the second one. Canada Post hadn’t send it back to Vancouver after all but had corrected the error and shipped it to me. That was very nice of them, but we now had two parcels in play. The company advised me to refuse delivery on the second parcel, so that I wouldn’t have to pay return shipping.

traxThe upshot is that almost five weeks after my fall, I was able to use the Yaktrax. I am able to report that they work pretty well, certainly gripping the snow much better then just boots. Unfortunately, I found that walking on hidden ice is still problematic. I didn’t fall, but I certainly slipped. Oh, I am quite convinced that the chains/trax will be better on ice than boots, but if one doesn’t know that it’s there and therefore adjust one’s gait, one will still slip.

Life isn’t easy.

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19 Responses to A Chain of Errors

  1. Lori says:

    These must be the things my friend was talking about getting me because I keep falling on the ice and snow covered walks…which she claims is because of my shoes and that I am in too big of a hurry…lol…my husband mentioned getting them for me last winter when I went flying off our deck when I went out to start the car one morning but didn’t know there was a sheet of ice on everything…lol…there is a pattern here huh? lol…these might be in my future as well. Happy Monday!

  2. Hilary says:

    That sure is a chain of events but really nice of the company to be as accommodating as they were. Now, stay upright, willya?

  3. Mary G says:

    If those are the kind with a coil under the foot, they do slip. I used to have those and while they are perfect for packed (slippery) snow, they’re not great on ice. (Just typed ‘grate’ in error. Neat what that did to the sentence.)
    I now have a much better pair that the daughter got for her father that were too small for him. These have a stretchable frame that clings to the boot and actual teeth under the ball of the foot and the heel. They work well on ice if you plant your feet carefully.
    The horrors of shipped parcels. We all have stories! I am glad you got it fixed, sort of.

  4. I could have used a set of those last week!! Glad you got things cleared up!!

  5. Paul says:

    Our Yax don’t have the strap over the top of the foot. Never seen a pair with the strap. I like them but, like you, don’t trust them completely.

    Yes, life isn’t easy but, if it was, it probably wouldn’t be as rewarding – for me, at least.

  6. Linda Fraser says:

    It’s absolutely amazing how messed up orders can become through the phone and on line. Companies now have all these protocol they need to follow in order to deal with their customers. Unfortunately, they often do not have a protocol for the problems I encounter on the phone and on line. There is not much help for dyslexics, who confuse numbers. If something is stolen, there’s a number to press, but no number to press for canceling due to death of a spouse or for giving the company incorrect information in the first place. This complicates negotiations and lengthens the time needed to get the order straightened around. I’m happy you finally worked it out and got your Yaks. It is good they are somewhat of an improvement.

  7. Philip says:

    They look nifty. New boots?

    Lucky you are retired or you would not have time to do all the arranging for things in your life like trying to get your mail delivered. Getting older and confused about your postal code is inconvenient 🙂

  8. D. Hough says:

    I’ve heard about these and was thinking of ordering some, but in fact my winter boots grip very well except sometimes when there was packed ice on the roads a couple of months ago. What I did find was that if I just stamped around instead of walking normally, I didn’t slip.

  9. Lorna says:

    a “chain” of errors?

  10. Sorry to late with the wishes for the day but hope you and Cuppa had a nice Valentine’s day. Those thingies look pretty neat. I would have bad luck probably and end up on the downside anyway. Just saying

  11. Diana says:

    The postal system in the U.S. has gotten steadily worse. Horrible, so I think that despite the mistakes you fared well. Now if I could only get my husband to try these. He is a stubborn man!! Love Di ♥

  12. Mara says:

    I had a bad spell a few years ago where I would fall of my bike quite regularly every time breaking the little bell (?), which then required a new one. I got so fed up with it, I bought three bells at once and haven’t fallen since! Now I don’t know whether it has to do with the bells or whether nowadays I pay more attention.
    I haven’t fallen while walking, although I’ve had some near-misses. Perhaps I should carry a bell just to be on the safe side…

  13. AC, now you will just need lots of snow and NO ice to get practice in with your Yaktrax. I have seen similar products in outdoor stores, but never tried them. Usually try to avoid walking outdoors when it’s icy and now we can go to the YMCA and use the treadmill which works out much better — and safer too. That was quite an interesting tale of the postal system.

  14. Grenville T Boyd says:

    Yes my friend, definatly a slippery situation (couldn’t help it). On the few occasions we have ice i always hold the door for Beatrice and let her go first. That way i can call for help. I’ve memorized the number for 911 (used to have it written on my hand). And it sort of fits into the old ‘Land Mine Theory’ which is why i always let the Officer lead the way :-). I hope this adds a little icing to your cake.

  15. Kila says:

    Well, now that you have those, it will be an early spring! 😉

  16. Ruth says:

    Wow…what a runaround. I just buy them at the mall here. I found I could not slip with them on my boots even if I tried. Maybe your ice is slippery-er. We had freezing rain this morning…first time this winter, and it tempts me to call in absent at work.

  17. Pearl says:

    Falling ain’t fun. What a comedy of misdirections.

    I tried a different brand than those. They were kind of like rubber oversoles that you tugged. The bottom had metal grips. It was like opening a jar each time so they just got dusty.

  18. Jinksy says:

    And here’s me thinking I was the oly one who could create havoc with a slip of the typing fingers! LOL Isn’t is strange, the way errors tend to compound themselves? I had a taxi drive knock my door at 7.40 am yesterday. Having just got out of the shower. I poked my head out of the bathroom window to explain the taxi was meant to be here at 8.40, only to have poor little man tell me he’s alrady come round before at 6.40!!!
    Once dressed, I found his card on the doormat, and rang Andicars to check what their information had been…only to discover, half way through a puzzling conversation. the card was from Swifts taxi firm!!! I had to bluster an apology, and retire crestfallen. LOL
    Swifts made it on the dot of 8.40, eventually – third time lucky!

  19. Cathy says:

    I’m pleased to report that my unused Yaktrax will remain so for the duration of this year. It’s over. Winter. The sun has triumphed – yet again!

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