My mother-in-law used to live in Dover Plains, NY, a small town east of Poughkeepsie. For years, she's been giving me a gift card to an independent bookstore in the area (Oblong Books, in Millerton and Rhinebeck, NY) as a birthday present. We love Oblong, I've been going there pretty much since we got married (it's half a block from where Cathy and I spent our wedding night), so it was a real nice gift, and gave us another reason to visit -- crafty mother-in-law!
But then she moved away from the area! I had this $100 gift card I didn't know what to do with. I finally figured out that it was good at affiliated indies, so I planned to get to the one in Doylestown...and just never got there, even though it's across the street from Stephanie's; go figure! I finally got there about two weeks ago, and learned that the program no longer existed: my card was now only good at Oblong...three hours away.
Crap. So I called the store, and they said, you know, we have a website. How do I use that? Not sure, we'll have someone call you. How about email? That works, so I emailed co-owner Suzanna Hermans about the issue. I had a personal response in under 24 hours: "Thanks so much for your email - we can absolutely take care of this for you!" She walked me through how to apply the card, and said if I wanted to, she'd take the order by phone. Sweet, I was in business.
That would have been great, but...when I finally got around to making the order late last night, I got everything selected, entered the information, and hit the Checkout button -- I got an internal server error. And when I re-loaded, the order was still in the cart, but my card showed a balance of $2 and change. Did the order go through, or not? I emailed Suzanna again.
I got her response an hour ago: send her the card number. I did, and in under 5 minutes, I had her personal response again: "Got it! Your books should be shipping today or tomorrow via USPS Media Mail. Thanks for your patience!"
Suzanna Hermans? Awesome. Oblong Books? Still a favorite, even if they are three hours away. Independent bookstores? Essential, wonderful, a treasure! Please support yours!