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When It Rains Coffee, It Pours Coffee

, , , , , , | Working | April 14, 2022

At Christmas 2020, one of our sons gifted my wife and me a monthly subscription from a fancy coffee roaster business near his home in Toronto. According to the card he gave us at Christmas, it was a six-month subscription for two bags of their specialty roasted coffees per month, with the first delivery in time for Christmas.

Like many businesses in 2020, this coffee roaster had to pivot to incorporate and/or ramp up more online sales for the Christmas season. Based on what happened to us, it seems they had some challenges dealing with the volume of orders for these subscriptions.

The first hint that this was not going as planned was a delay in the first delivery. Christmas came and went, but there was no initial delivery until New Year’s Eve day when a box showed up on our doorstep with not two but twelve bags of coffee: two different flavours, with six bags of each.

We contacted our son to let him know the gift had finally arrived, but not exactly as he had described it. He apologized, and we all wrote it off as an error when placing the order on their webpage. No worries, we said, we got what was intended, just all at once.

Fast forward to the third week of January. Another box from the coffee roaster company showed up, but there were only two bags of coffee this time. There was one of each flavour — the same two flavours as had arrived in the initial box of twelve. We mentioned the shipment to our son and he said he’d look into his emails about the order and sort out what had happened.

February rolled around, and… another box arrived. We got the same two bags of the same flavour coffee. We found that two bags a month matched our caffeine consumption, so we had only made a modest dent in the first box of twelve. As you might imagine, our pantry was slowly being overrun with coffee. Again, our son was surprised that they were still shipping more bags, but at that point, he basically told us not to worry about it and that if they billed him for the extra bags, he would take care of it.

So… lather, rinse, and repeat through March, April, May, and June. Each month, a nice little box of the same two flavours of coffee arrived. By now, the “bottomless coffee subscription” was a running joke within the family as we waited to see how long it would take for them to figure out the mistake, stop sending the coffee, and contact my son. But they never did.

We certainly enjoyed the coffee, but we confessed that we were getting tired of the same flavours and resorted to giving some bags to other family members as well as our son when he came by for a visit. At that point, we figured the original monthly subscription was done and that was it. But no.

On a Sunday in the middle of July, I was out packing the car with my wife in preparation for our departure on a two-week vacation. A small car rolled up to the curb in front of our house and a young woman on delivery stepped out and walked up the driveway with — you guessed it — another box of the coffees we had been enjoying for the last six-plus months. I thanked her, and we wished each other a nice day and tossed the box in the house before locking up and leaving.

To our muted relief, that was the final delivery. A total of twenty-six bags of coffee for the price of twelve was a good deal for us, and our son never heard a peep from the coffee roasters.

I hope that for Christmas 2021, they improved their internal controls and had better-trained staff picking orders!

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