A human being named Dhruba—and not a tentacled alien monster—answered my plea for help regarding my emptied Amazon.com shopping cart.
Thanks for writing us at Amazon.com.
I am sorry you encountered problems while using our web site.
Here are some suggestions that usually help:
Dhruba’s helpful suggestions included clearing my cache and my cookies and refreshing my screen, obvious things I’d already tried. I wrote back to complain my cart was still empty and then I went to bed, visions of Home Depot gift cards dancing in my head.
This morning brought another response, this time from an Amazon customer service rep named Raja:
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had trouble with your shopping cart.
Your Shopping Cart is related to your Amazon.com account. If you create your list while you are logged into your account, and then log out, your items will seem to disappear. If this is the case, you should be able to retrieve your cart by simply logging back into your account.
This is a basic concept of e-commerce I already understood, but which Raja probably has to politely explain it to thousands of clueless Amazon shoppers every single day; clueless, angry shoppers—shoppers who might accuse Raja of nefarious things, like trying to cheat them, or of being a tentacled alien who laughs maniacally at customer distress.
In fact, I expect Raja probably longs to express something other than the polite, apologetic message she typed out for the quadrillionth time, something along these lines:
If you create your list while you are logged into your account, and then log out, your items will seem to disappear. If this is the case, carefully insert your keyboard into your lower body internal cavity and see if that helps retrieve the contents of your shopping cart.
All politeness aside, my cart was still empty. As I prepared to close the e-mail and take my future Christmas shopping elsewhere, I saw I’d overlooked the end of Raja’s message:
As you are our old customer, I’m issuing a Promotional Gift Certificate of $10.00 which can be used for your future purchases.
Woo hoo! Ten dollars! Now I’m back to the amount I originally expected to pay when I first put my items into my cart, before Amazon raised the prices! In fact, now I’m ahead by five bucks!
I do appreciate good customer service. It’s good, old-fashioned customer service like this that will keep me coming back to Amazon again and ag—
Hey! Who is Raja calling “old”?