Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Didn't Realize........

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Last month I wrote a post about campmor.com. Basically the jist of it was that I used to LOVE Campmor, but they had recently, without notice, changed their shipping policy. They adopted UPS as their primary shipper and ship things UPS Ground....except to Alaska. There is no UPS Ground shipping to Alaska. So that means if you live in Alaska what they call "Standard Mail" now comes USPS Parcel Post instead of USPS Priority Mail. The problem is USPS Parcel Post from the Lower 48 is not-so-fondly referred to as "The Slow Boat From China". It can take at least 4 weeks to arrive. Not good.

So anyway I wrote the blog post about my disgust with Campmor's new policy and received a lot of responses. One person offered to bring it up with a manager next time they visited the retail store in New Jersey. Today that person left me a comment....

Anonymous said...

"Regarding an earlier email about Campmor...I visited the store on saturday (while home at my parents) and mentioned to them the issues of delay and shipping/returns/service to AK and especially outside Anchorage. I also said that the blogs were recommending Cabella's instead of Campmor due to shipping policies.
They hadn't realized the problems and were going to address it ?!? Anyway, it was the head guy at the customer service counter, so something positive may come out of it for you."


The key phrase there is "hadn't realized". Of course they didn't realize because they hadn't given one moments thought to Alaska when they made that decision. They aren't the only ones either. We get that all the time. Some of it is silly stuff, like and ebay seller saying that he only shipped to the continental United States. I told the guy that last time I checked I DID live in North America and it's not my fault that he didn't know the difference between "continental" and "contiguous". Or LL Bean once telling me that the reason they canceled my order was because they don't ship outside the United States.

Sometimes "We Didn't Realize" is more serious. Take for example, No Child Left Behind. One of the rules says that all school teachers must be highly qualified. Sounds like a great thing, right? But what if you have a rural school with two teachers? Many schools in Alaska fit that description. Those two teachers must be "highly qualified" in math, science, reading, social studies, etc because they teach them all. It's hard enough to be "highly qualified" in one subject much less five. NCLB also said that instructional aides must have an associates degree. Do you think they were able to find people with associates degrees willing to work for $12-$14 an hour in villages like Kivalina, Igiugig, Allakaket, and Tuntutuliak? Um, no. It wasn't until the bill was passed and all hell broke loose that anyone in Washington saw what NCLB meant for Alaska. They didn't realize.

People don't realize a lot of things about Alaska. It's not dark 6 months of the year. No, eskimos do not live in houses made out of ice. The place is not infested with polar bears. No there are no PENGUINS here. Yes, we use AMERICAN money.

I guess my point is that it is interesting how as Alaskans, we often feel that we are under the radar. This, depending on the situation, is not always a bad thing. I know most of us take pride in our uniqueness, but there are times when it can be a major inconvenience. No one really thinks much about us when it comes time to make decisions. That leaves us to suffer with the consequences until they get things sorted out....if they ever do. People kind of forget that we exist...either that or they believe that we are an island in the ocean due south of San Diego and to the west of Hawaii.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep giving them hell kid.
D.

JackDaddy said...

Well said! NCLB was just asking for trouble!

Tracy said...

Well, in the case of NCLB, I HATE standards being across the board like that for a reason. One of which you mentioned. Making standards that are supposed to cover such a large, diverse country is nearly impossible and it either causes more problems than it's worth or takes away flexibility some situations require.

And I'm surprised about LL Bean. I don't even order their winter stuff because we have no use for hit here. You'd think they'd be more aware of AK where I'm sure they have a large customer base. Maybe it was a new person?? Crazy! lol

Adux said...

Well, I'm a new Alaskan, but happy to be so. My 76-year old MIL told me recently: "Oh, but Alaska isn't part of the US." To which I said: "Well, it's been a part of the US since we bought it from Russia in 1876 and it has been a STATE for 50 years." Also, One Step Ahead wanted $135,- in shipping (KID U NOT!) for shipping a $99,- baby play yard to Alaska!! I could have shipped it to my mother in the Netherlands for cheaper. WTF??!!

Trish said...

Amen.

and again i say Amen.

BTW.....South of SanDiego and west of Hawaii.....that's hilarious!

Karen Travels said...

I kid you not, when I moved to Alaska someone asked me how I was going to cross that gap from California - thinking the white line on the maps was something like the Grand Canyon?!

When I was in Anchorage it always interested me how it often took a less than 24 hours to ship something to NC, but 3 weeks to shipt something from NC.

Conchscooter said...

Geographic ignorance and lack of historical perspective is rife in the US. How many of your neighbors could put their fingers on a map showing the Hindu Kush where Americans (and Alaskans) are fighting and dying right now? People show up in the Florida Keys on cruise ships and have no idea they are still in the US. On the other hand perhaps you deserve your problems, after all it was Alaska, not Florida, that inflicted Sarah Palin on the rest of us. And she epitomises the notion that knowing nothing should be no obstacle to having an opinion.

Anonymous said...

...or you could just educate the masses (and do it politely so they listen) and then maybe you'll get your shipped items in a more timely manner.

sorry i got involved!

Cathy said...

Ummm....I'm not sure why you are upset. This was basically a post about people not knowing or thinking much about Alaska. It certainly wasn't meant to be insulting, although I guess there will always be somebody insulted about something. I like to think I am a fairly polite person but I guess I could be mistaken.

Liz said...

Oh don't get me started on No Child Left Behind! The government mandates NCLB then doesn't fund it and requires unfair grading of schools, rewarding school districts with wealthy, educated patrons and penalizing districts with large numbers of children on free and reduced lunches all based on test scores! There, my two cents worht. Happens in Oklahoma, too. BTW, Cathy, you are polite. :)

Liz

Kimberlee said...

YES! YES! YES! To everything you said. I saw nothing impolite in your post, but I'll bet some of those sensitive souls who did would be singing a different tune if they couldn't get their mail in a timely fashion or had to pay a surcharge on top of exorbitant shipping fees for literally everything they bought.

When I was preparing to move to Alaska, I tried to rent a U-haul trailer and was told (by the agent at the desk) that there was no way to drive to Alaska from Louisiana. When I realized that she was serious, I pointed out that I could drive through Canada. She was taken aback and asked, "Oh, they have a land bridge now?" Yes...she thought Alaska was out there in the Pacific Ocean with Hawaii (like they show it on the maps). Scary.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to order a cheese cake from Harry & David. Their policies allow them to ship it as far as Fairbanks, but not to my village because it was perishable. I reminded them that it was winter in the Arctic. Not much chance of anything melting. They didn't budge and consequently lost a sale. I was really disappointed.

YOU'RE POST IS RIGHT ON TARGET about NCLB too, but I won't even get started about that! :)