Going Dutch

By Ron Rosenberg

2015-09-05 09.32.04We had a real treat a few summers ago. One of our friends had learned to make crusty Boule-style bread. He brought it whenever we got together for dinner, and it was good. I mean really good!

So Lorie naturally asked if he would share the recipe, which he did. The only problem was that one of the "ingredients" was not something edible, but rather something involved in the process: the bread was cooked in a cast-iron "Dutch oven" like the one you see in the image above.

We didn't actually have one of these, so we took to the Internet to see where we could order one. As it turned out, the best option was to use Walmart.com and have the item delivered to our local store.

Walmart_#1 - CopyWe placed the order on August 24 with a  delivery date in the store of August 31, That was fine because we were actually going to be in Portland, Oregon, for a conference and wouldn't be returning home until the 30th.

Let the Fun Begin!

When we got back on August 30, I went on line to check on the status of the order, and was pleased to see that it had arrived at the delivery facility. (You can see the history of the item on the final Tracking Details image below.)

Walmart_#3 - Copy

You're probably already ahead of me since the next line above that says that it was "In Transit to Store" on September 1.

So when I didn't see any status update on August 31, and hadn't received an e-mail notification to come and get it, I called the Customer Service number listed on the web site.

The Item is on Its Way...

The rep was as helpful as she could be. She looked up the order number, and found the exact same shipping status that I had - it had arrived at the delivery facility in Hope Mills, NC, near Fayetteville, and about an hour away.

Then she looked up another screen and told me that the order page said that the item would be in the store on September 5. I double checked the order-confirmation e-mail and it said August 31.

Then I went to the website and reviewed the order-status screen, and it also said August 31. I asked the rep how I could pick it up when it wasn't even in the store, and expressed my concern that her system showed a different delivery date than the website.

She had no answer, but offered to take 15% off for the difficulty and confusion.

But Wait -There's More!

When I checked on September 1 to see if there had been any change, I was encouraged to see that it was now marked as "In Transit to Store" but was still wondering why the order-status site still said that it would be available for pickup on August 31.

What really confused me was when I checked another section on the same web page that showed the following status:

Walmart_#2 - CopyYes, you read that right - the Dutch oven that was supposed to have been available on August 31 - the one that was currently in transit to the store and wouldn't arrive until September 5...well, apparently, somehow, I had magically picked this item up on August 31!

Adding Insult to Injury

Shortly after actually picking up the item at the store (on September 3 - two days earlier than they eventfully said it would be there, by the way!) we began to get e-mails inviting us to purchase other related products.

In most cases, this would be a smart move, but in light of the difficulty we had experienced in getting our hands on the original item, it's not very likely that we'll be ordering anything else in the near future.

And in case you're wondering, when the Dutch oven finally did show up, we made our first batch of bread.

It was great - and tasted even better than it looks here!