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Re: Big Al's

James Purchase, whom I have always found to be a calm of reason even
during the occasional storms of controversy on this site, suggested

"Could the problem be more with your expectations than with the speed
their service? I notice that you also mention the slowness of their web
site, even though you have a T3 line. That slowness could be due to any
number of reasons, most totally beyond the control of the company in

I know that in these days of "intstant this" and "instant that" we
sometimes get frustrated when something doesn't happen as and when we
might wish, but until some company starts selling  "Transporter
Devices" or you you can go to your local appliance store and buy a
"Replicator Device", we are all going to have to learn to exercise a
bit of patience when dealing with real companies staffed by real
employees and with a mail system which is currently in crisis.


I would like to say that I have a lot of respect for James's comments. 
 I would, however, suggest that, James, you are perhaps being a bit
impatient with me.  But maybe it's just I; I wasn't clear enough in my
remarks.  I don't think my impatience is in question -- I was trying to
report my experience with a vendor -- about which I have more to offer
-- in case others found the info helpful.   All that I said was true
and if that helps others to make vendor decisions, great; if not, I'm
sorry if I wasted your time.  

I don't expect instant anything, even though my remarks, admittedly,
contained a sarcastic remark.  I had, and still have, no complaint
about the delivery company -- in this case Fedex's newly acquired
ground service formally known as RPS.  What I did make note of was that
the order processing by the vendor was very slow compared to many other
on-line purchases.  That, I think, is worth knowing, not as conclusive
proof of anything about the vendor, but as a bit of information. 
Others have also reported experiences with vendors and when you put the
reports together, they can be helpful.

I can happily report that the slowest part of Big Al's order handling
now appears to be its messaging and not its packaging or making goods
ready for shipment.  For indeed, the package arrived about the same
time as the message that the order was approved for processing.  So I
would call that fast packaging and shipping and slow
messaging/tracking.  (BTW, I'd call that normal travel time on the part
of Fedex given the distance from Big Al's to my home in NJ.)  I think
this is a further indication that Big Al's is not as computerized as
some other vendors, where shipping would have automatically triggered a
tracking message at the time of shipment.  You have to deal with them
by telephone, but they answer the phone quickly, friendly, and
helpfully, or so I've read and so has been my small experience.

I can happily report that plastic bags that Big Al's packaged around
the item that I ordered contained all of the liquid product that
leaked.  I can unhappily report that the bottle was half empty -- would
a more patient person in time of crises be happy that it was half full?
 I can happily report that Big Al's is sending more, free of charge, no
questions asked.  And that further bears out other people's testimony
about Big Al's service with a smile.  I hope this info might be helpful
to others also.

Lastly -- and I hesitate to bring this up but we've been candid so far,
so -- 
Perhaps I reading something into James's response, but he seemed to
suggest that I am insufficiently aware of the set of crises that began
on September 11.  I am not.  It was part of my job, along with
thousands of others in the agency for which I work, to deal with the
crises that day and it is part of my job to deal with them each day
since -- certainly not in a heroic way like the police officers with
whom I am employed -- but I am glad, as a civilian in the department,
to be involved and able to help.  That's more personal info than
belongs on this site, but I wanted to try to set the record straight on
what seems to me a serious misunderstanding, even if -- or maybe all
the more so because -- it was I that was the original cause of
misunderstanding.  After all, I enjoy the sharing of information that
takes place on APD and respect the views of those, like James, who
always try to offer reasoned remarks.

Scott H.

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