Every once in a while you have to laugh at the absurdity of large companies, the behemoths of consumerism.
My husband Lawrie had recently discovered Costco On-Line with lower prices, more choices and best of all – direct delivery anywhere in Mexico. Anywhere.
We decided to replace two eight-year-old appliances that were disintegrating in our salty Caribbean environment. A phone call to Costco confirmed all purchases would include free delivery to our front door on Isla Mujeres.
Encouraged, Lawrie ordered a new washer/dryer and a wine fridge. Costco On-line said we could expect delivery of our appliances in about 20 days. The small fridge would fit perfectly into the spot recently vacated by the demise of our third dishwasher, and we decided that for two people and two pets we sure as heck didn’t need another electronic-nightmare dishwasher.
Sparky, our terrier-cross pooch, is a willing dishwashing apprentice. The pots and pans are easy but he has to be careful when cleaning the sharp knives and pointy forks. The cat, Thomas, on the other hand hasn’t quite mastered the art of dish drying. More lessons are required.
A few weeks ticked past, and we happened to be shopping at the Cancún Costco store. A very helpful English-speaking employee checked the status of our order and pointed out that the invoice said 20 working days.
Saturdays and Sundays were considered non-working days so we could expect our delivery to arrive around November 9.
On November 3 we received an email from Costco. The appliances were now on their way from the distribution center and would be delivered to our front door by Almex, a worldwide transportation company whose modernized name is a shortened version of All-Mexico.
Another week ticked past and the on-line status showed that the appliances should arrive on Isla by November 16 — a little later than promised, but no big deal.
November 16 came and went, and once again we happened to be shopping in Cancún at Costco. The store manager got involved this time and attempted to reach the Almex trucking company distribution center to find out what was happening with our order.
After an hour and many minutes later on his cell phone the manager finally got through to a real person at Almex.
The response: “We don’t deliver to Isla Mujeres, it’s not really part of Mexico.” Well that’s strange, our address says we live in Mexico, the islanders speak Spanish and the local currency is Mexican pesos. Who knew we weren’t really living in Mexico?
Very patiently the Costco store manager explained to the Almex branch manager, “Yes, you do deliver to Isla Mujeres. It’s in your contract. You deliver for Costco anywhere in Mexico.”
“No we don’t!”
Really, a ginormous trucking company giving Costco, another worldwide ginormous corporation, the proverbial finger? Wow!
Eventually the manager fought his way through the maze of Almex personnel to someone higher in management, who very grudgingly agreed to deliver to Isla Mujeres.
The Costco manager told us the trucking company would call within an hour and arrange a date and time convenient for us.
I did a mental eye-roll. Sure. Sure they’ll call.
For the next few days we hung around the house, concerned about missing the delivery. By November 21 our patience was getting a bit thin. We were not happy being stuck at the house waiting.
Lawrie sent off yet another email inquiring about the status of our order. Costco head office replied they had had a very up-close and personal conversation with Almex head office. We would be getting our appliances delivered on Saturday, November 28. Guaranteed!
Well, just when we thought it was never going to happen, it did. A day early. On Friday, November 27 early in the morning, when both Lawrie and I happened to be out – the appliances arrived!
Fortunately, Lawrie was visiting next-door and his brother-in-law noticed the truck at our house. If we had missed the delivery I am pretty sure that Almex would have refused to try again.
We have to say we are delighted with our purchases, especially the pretty, and I think very necessary, 42-bottle wine fridge. The Costco staff went out of their way to help us. The store manager even called on the following Monday to make sure we had received our order and that we were happy with the new purchases. Yes, and yes!
Almex on the other hand might need a lesson in geography. Isla Mujeres really and truly is part of Mexico.
It’s all part of the daily fun of living in paradise.
The writers are Canadians who have been full-time residents of Isla Mujeres for eight years.