Thursday, March 18, 2010

The mystery case of privacy protection done wrong

I've kept amazon.com wishlists in lieu of baby registries for all three babies. The practice originated when I was pregnant with E, and our out-of-town small town families, who don't have access to the baby megastores we have locally, wanted...something by which they could indulge their baby shopping fantasies.

I kept a small wishlist this pregnancy. It's hard to think of more items to NEED! for baby #3, but there were still those family members who craved...something by which they could indulge their baby shopping fantasies.

A few days after baby G was born we received a generous gift from the wishlist. It was the room monitor we had listed, a board book and a baby food cookbook. Unfortunately, though, the box contained another person's packing slip. A woman named Lucinda who lived in Oklahoma had ordered some toner cartridges for her printer. I had items from my wishlist but Lucinda's name and order information on the enclosed documentation.

I called Amazon's customer service to inquire about the identity of the generous gift sender. Their customer service confirmed that the package was for me, and was selected from my wishlist, but could not tell me by whom. To do so, I was informed, would violate the privacy of the purchaser. I could only have the information released to me if I could confirm the credit card number and billing address. Now, I understand the need to protect the buyer's information, but how was I supposed to figure out who sent the gift? Further, the customer service representative informed me that the package was not supposed to have been delivered to me. It was to have been delivered to the buyer, presumably who would later give it to us in person. So Amazon marked the package as a missed delivery, said they would inform the buyer that the package was lost, and would resend the package to the buyer. As for the items I already had in hand, I was free to do with them as I wished. 

Except, what did I wish? Especially since I believed I'd be receiving them again, officially, from the mystery buyer. I set them aside on a shelf in G's closet.

Meanwhile, I called Lucinda in Oklahoma, who was easy to locate via her distinctive last name and the small population of her town. I asked her if her amazon.com package by any chance contained my packing slip. She hadn't received her own package yet but took my email address and promised to contact me if she did have any information in her own box. Thankfully, she was amused and not overly concerned about her own privacy violations or my mad stalking skills.

She emailed the next day. She had no packing slip at all. And please call her Lindy.

It's been a month since the mystery Amazon box arrived. I haven't received this gift in duplicate. So I wonder: did the mystery purchaser get frustrated with the 'lost' package and give us a different gift? Did the mystery purchaser never get notified about the misdirected package and has assumed this whole time that we have the gift (which we do), and that we know whom to thank (which we don't)?

Do you know who sent it?
Was it you?

What's a mommy on the verge of thank-you notes to do? Pin It