Delivery Note:
The New Bed I
19 November 2018

¶ The new bed was delivered on Saturday morning, shortly before noon. The doorman called to ask if I’d bought something from Bloomingdale’s. Not from Bloomingdale’s, I said, but yes, furniture. Send it up.

The headboard, carried by one man, arrived momentarily. Quite a while passed, it seemed to me, before the rest appeared: the footboard, the siderails, and the slats. Three of the five slats sported centrally-mounted perpendicular members, for increased stability. I was really quite delighted to see this innovation. (A standard on king-sized beds, Ray Soleil would tell me.) I had been worried that the new bed would turn out to be — delicate.

The arrival of these pieces of wood ended a saga that began about a month ago, when the Web page showing the bed and its specifications, which I had kept open in a browser to gratify some devious sense of anticipation or anxiety, did not refresh upon rebooting. Nor did the vendor answer the phone. By this time, the bed, purchased online in June, was more than somewhat overdue, and we had not heard a word. The sense that the business had collapsed and that its managers had absconded was suddenly overwhelming. What would you do? (The bed did, after all, cost about three thousand dollars.) I called the credit card company. The representative said that the company would “look into it.” 

The very next day, we heard from the vendor. Two days after that, I received a letter from the credit card company, informing me that it had credited my account with the price of the bed. It added that, if the vendor’s responses to its investigation warranted a reversal of the credit, I would be notified at once. 

The vendor called again, asking for information pertinent to delivery of the bed by a shipper — and also to be paid for the bed. I was leery; my belief in the vendor’s honesty had been shaken by the small array of unlikely coincidences. Certain nuances in the vendor’s explanations led me to believe that, contrary to advertisement, the bed had been manufactured in China, which didn’t bother me in itself but suggested further nefariousness. So I called the vendor and told the representative there that the matter had been taken out of my hands; the credit card company had decided to credit my account without actually asking for my authorization. But I wound up calling the credit card company again — for the third time, actually; for, in the meantime, my monthly statement had arrived, and it was a mess, apparently because the credit for the bed payment had caused my previous monthly payment to be credited to the wrong part of my account, indicating that I owed lots of money that I didn’t. On the third call, I was assured that the credit would be reversed. I was given a phone number to pass on to the vendor, in case the vendor had any further problems. 

I did not hear from the vendor again. I heard from the shipper. The shipper wanted to know what sort of insurance certificate my building’s management required for deliveries. It also wanted to know if the coming Saturday would be a good date. I was sure that Saturday would be a very bad date, from the building’s point of view. 

Now, here I must elide. I simply cannot go into the long and complicated history of difficult deliveries that made me worry about ever getting the new bed from the minute we bought it. There is too much old achy misery there. But it did inspire me to tell the shipper to talk directly to the building’s management. I crossed my fingers. 

That was on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week. On Thursday, while I was taking a shower, the shipper left a message. I could not understand the message; the woman who left it seemed — heavily medicated. From what I could decipher, my brilliant idea hadn’t worked; a delivery date would have be settled on an in awkward, three-sided arrangement. I stomped off to a doctor’s appointment. On the way, I asked the nice lady in building management if she had heard from the shipper. Oh yes, she replied, the delivery was on schedule for Saturday. 

Saturday? Over the years, I had learned that the building’s basement operations were run on a strictly weekday, nine-to-five basis. Surprises were erupting on every side. 

Much as I wanted to take the nice lady’s word for it. I felt obliged to call the shipper back to clarify the representative’s incoherent message. The representative was out to lunch, so I had to deal with a surly Jersey guy who, it turned out, was wrong about everything, including the assurance that the representative would call me back after her lunch. Wrong, too, to tell me that there would be no delivery on Saturday. In fact, the representative never did call me back. I’ve played her message for Ray Soleil, and he agrees that it disconcertingly suggests, in its incomprehensible way, that no arrangement for delivery has been made. 

Now I have given you the background for my entry on Friday, as well as what ought to be a perfectly clear explanation for why I could not have borne to write any of this before the bed actually arrived, putting an end to anxiety and muddle at last. 

The deliverymen expected to set up the new bed, but I told them that that wouldn’t be necessary. I had already engaged to set up the bed with Ray Soleil’s help. Before the new bed can be put in place, the old bed has to be dismantled. And that will be worthy of an entry all its own. Having been delivered, the bed is on schedule to be set up tomorrow. 

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