Or sometimes you can, it just takes a really, really long time.
All the human female wanted was some phosphoric acid. It shouldn’t have been difficult, right? The stuff is, after all, practically everywhere. They put it in soda, for Sleipnir’s sake!
So the human female, months ago, ordered a case of six three-liter bottles. (Well, 6 x 2.5 liters, but the Vendor Who’s Responsible likes to round up). They were part of one of the big orders back in May.
Now, sometimes I like to pick an item or two on a large order and have a little fun. You recall–the May orders sat on her desk for months, incompletely received. Part of that was test tubes. And part of it was the acid.
So, the acid didn’t come and it didn’t come and it didn’t come. When the human female called the VWR, they told her that it was delayed because the manufacturer had to make it. Because why on earth would they actually STOCK it?
More queries, more excuses, more delayed estimated ship dates. One after the other.
It was taking so long that she thought maybe she should order a different product, because sometimes the VWR has one version of a chemical if the others are out of stock. So she fired up the online catalog, and discovered that, sure enough, there was an alternative–and it was even less expensive!
Three cents for a case seemed like an awfully good price! But then she logged in or refreshed the screen or something and it came back as its regular price. And behold! The product she had ordered was by far the cheapest one–by a factor of ten. All the other options were ultra pure and ultra pricey.
She would just have to wait.
And wait she did! The shipment was delayed again and again. There were supposed ship dates all throughout June. Nothing. Finally, on the 19th, it was definitely, absolutely, 100% going to ship.
It shipped on the 24th.
The package took its sweet time, nordling all about the continent, seeing the sights and, no doubt, stopping at all of the quaint roadside attractions this part of Midgard is known for. Enormous balls of string, reptile farms, diners shaped like improbable headgear, that kind of thing.
On June 28, the acid reached Texas. And vanished.
How does one lose a shipment that, according to Unrepentant Package Squashers, weighs one hundred and thirty-four pounds? The human female called the VWR and called UPS and asked them to please, please find the shipment. It was if it had been swallowed by a black hole.
The human female followed up a hunch and confirmed that yes, phosphoric acid IS used in the manufacture of various illicit drugs. Perhaps it had been absconded with by some meth-making malefactor. Sigh. Probaby gone forever, then. She called the VWR one more time, and they promised to reship the whole case.
So, the replacement acid didn’t come and it didn’t come and it didn’t come.
But then–a miracle! (No, actually, it was me just deciding to have a little more fun.) In lateish July, the original shipment mysteriously reappeared in in tracking!
The human female waited with bated breath. The package went out for delivery, but then turned around and ended right back up at the freight center. How maddening!
But then–delivered! Huzzah and great rejoicings! Delivered at last!
Except, it wasn’t. It wasn’t at the stockroom, and it wasn’t at Central Receiving. No shipment, anywhere.
The human female called the UPS, who assured her it had been delivered. She assured them it hadn’t. UPS insisted they even had a signed delivery receipt. Signed in the stockroom, big and bold, by someone named “Jason.”
Except that there *is* no person in the stockroom whose name is Jason. And there isn’t anyone at all in the University’s directory whose name is Jason and who has a last name that sounds anything like what UPS said was the receipt. She had UPS send her a copy of the receipt. Yep! Jason Kl~~~~ squiggle -something.
It was at this point that the human female had what I believe is known in some parts of Midgard as a “spittle-flecked nutty.” She ranted to anyone who would listen—and anyone who couldn’t scuttle away fast enough–about how someone’s head was going to roll for this. She wanted answers. She got none. She wanted a full investigation by a Congressional Subcommittee. She got excuses. She wanted an army of workers to start building the gibbet and making a path for the tumbril. She got crickets chirping.
She demanded that Unrepentant Package Squashers launch an immediate investigation. The delivery driver must be found and made to say where and to whom he had “delivered” the goods. Probably, there was no Jason at all, and she had uncovered a far-reaching conspiracy to divert honest, hard-working people’s phosphoric acid into the seamy world of clandestine drug laboratories. Wasn’t the acid actually identified on the external shipping label for all the world to see? The VWR was practically asking for people to intercept and misuse their goods! Yes, indeed, she was going to break the story Wide Open. By gum, she was going to see this through!
And then one morning, the nice lady in the stockroom asked her if she knew anything about a large, unclaimed parcel that was just sitting in the basement of an adjacent building.
Could it be? Was it?
It was! Filthy, plastic-wrapped, holey, and with its attachments all torn up–but undeniably a big batch of phosphoric acid!
The bottles, despite the total lack of packing material, hadn’t broken. All 18(16) liters accounted for and perfectly intact.
The paperwork, not so much.
Oh, how she wished the boxes could talk!
The human female, while undoubtedly relieved to be able to FINALLY close the PO, was nonetheless disappointed that she had not, in fact, busted up a drug ring. She does lead such a boring life.
Some questions remain.
—Where was the shipment between July 2 and July 22? Three weeks is a long time to misplace such a hefty shipment.
–Who is is the mysterious Jason? Is he actually a Jason?
—Why did the Unrepentant Package Squashers let some random humanoid sign for such an important shipment?
—Why was it just left in sitting in the basement, with no attempt to find out who it belonged to?
—Why does the shipping statement from the VVWR say the weight was 73.58 pounds, while UPS has paperwork that shows it weighs 134 pounds?
–Just what did the UPS charge VWR for the shipping? Did they bill for 73 pounds and change, or the nice, round, entirely-fictitious weight of 134?
—Why did the VWR say they couldn’t ship until late June because the acid was, “being made” when the made-by date on the bottles says they were born in early May?
–And finally, since the Internets says, “Phosphoric acid is made from the mineral phosphorus, which is found naturally in the body,” what—or WHO–is the manufacturer making this stuff out of???
And, oh yes–where will Loki strike next? What will his next mischief be?
There’s really no telling. Rest assured, though, human female, you won’t see it coming until it hits you right between the eyes. . .