Let’s start with the known facts:
The human female likes flowers.
The human female likes embroidery.
The human female likes books.
The human female likes to order things.
It should come as no great surprise to anyone, therefore, that she has ordered some embroidery books. She’s fond of the work of a certain Danish designer named Gerda Bengtsson, who is famous for having designed patterns of hundreds of wildflowers, herbs, and garden plants. Her books are hard to find and very expensive.
A while back, she found three of them that she didn’t have, all listed on the website of a German book dealer. She decided she could order them and only feel a little guilty, if they weren’t too much.
This is where I got involved. I saw to it that the prices weren’t listed on the website. The website wouldn’t let her put them in her “cart,” either. There followed a lengthy email exchange between the human female and the bookseller, whose native language is not English. (Why humans have not invented a usable equivalent of Allspeak is beyond me.)
HF: I’d like to buy these three books, but the program won’t let me because they don’t have listed prices.
BS (see what I did there?): The prices are < this many euros>, <some more euros>, and <more euros on top of that>
HF: Thanks! But I still can’t get the program to let me put them in my cart.
BS: Is there a problem?
HF: Yes! I’d like to buy them but I cannot do it on the website.
BS: Oh, just send me the funds and I’ll mail them. Here’s my Kto-Nr.
HF: (Demonstrating ignorance) Your what, now?
BS: My Kto number.
HF: (still baffled) Um, would you take PayPal?
BS: Sure. My account is email@example.com
She stuffed her fiscal prudence behind the sofa and made the payment.
BS: We have mailed the books. Your tracking number is <insanely long string of numbers>
HF: And what carrier would that link up to?
BS: Why, German post, of course!
Note that the German post hands off to the U.S. post, where tracking becomes an entertaining fiction and where customs delays are capricious.
She’s been waiting and waiting for the books to arrive. She wants to study them and learn how to design some patterns of her own. (They’re sure to be the botanical equivalent of stick figures, but I love to watch her spend money stupidly.)
Great Frigga’s Fripperies! There’s a package here. Sigyn, do you think her books have come at last? I think I’ll deny her the fun of opening it herself.
The first book looks all right. It has at least one of the multi-plant designs she’s interested in.
Looks like weeds to me. She doesn’t have a teapot to make a cozy for, Sigyn, but perhaps you could ask her to make you a little embroidered hat?
Sigyn is enchanted by the pattern for “Johanniskraut.” Can you really make sense out of all those little boxes, my love? It’s just scribbles to me.
The second book is in fine shape as well. The cover illustration is nice, isn’t it? Can’t go wrong with red and green!
The patterns inside are in color too. These actually look like plants.
So far, the human female is very happy with her purchase. Let’s look at final book, shall we?
Dear me. There’s a few little blossoms in the corner, there, but this doesn’t look very flowery.
Or very Bengtssony.
And now my mischievous genius is revealed. I have cleverly substituted a book on general stitchery for the one she wanted.
It’s not in color, and the human female doesn’t read Danish. Time for another email conversation:
HF: The books arrived, but one of them is wrong. I ordered 52-200 and you sent DK-118.
BS: Sorry! Our mistake. Please send the wrong book back. When we get it, we’ll send you the right one.
Now, I know for a fact that it is going to cost her in the neighborhood of $40 to mail that back. And they may or may not reimburse her…
So, let’s recap: Late, wrong, expensive, and inconvenient. I was wrong– it wasn’t a trifecta, it’s a… quatrefecta!
Some days I impress even myself.