My son asked for a trampoline for his birthday. It was exciting to have him ask for something unrelated to video games, and we knew that his sister would love it as much, if not more, than he would.
His grandmother generously agreed to fund the venture and my wife – The Megger – agreed to purchase it. Easy enough, right?
Not so fast. Every other family on the eastern seaboard, also stuck in their houses during the pandemic, had the same idea before we did. There were no trampolines available anywhere. The Megger looked everywhere online. She called. She sent emails. She worked at it until she found one online and quickly paid for it.
What she didn’t realize is that plenty of companies online are happy to take money for products they don’t really have, and this company didn’t actually have any trampolines available. Also, instead of just giving the money back, they hid the refund button on the site and tried very hard to interest her in a store credit toward other (probably) imaginary products. The Megger kept at it, though, and eventually slipped through the site’s defenses and got the money back.
She then called a local sporting goods store – let’s call it Nick’s. The manager at Nick’s assured The Megger he was looking at several trampolines on a pallet. When she offered to buy one, he explained that he wasn’t allowed to sell them to her. He couldn’t take her credit card, and he said she couldn’t drive to the store and present him with a stack of cash.
The only way to purchase one of the trampolines was through the Nick’s website. That would have been easier if they were listed for sale on the site. The manager explained that he had asked his corporate office to put the trampolines on the site, but so far no luck. He offered, however, to put a note with her name and phone number on one of trampolines.
The Megger checked the site several times a day and called the manager a couple more times over the next two weeks, but no trampolines showed up on the site. The Megger called the corporate office and talked to people and was assured that they would be up soon. This went on until the day the stores were allowed to open. The Megger walked into the store that day and an associate explained that all of the trampolines had been sold in seven minutes.
The Megger was incredulous.
“But, my name and phone number was on one of them. You were holding it for me,” she said, practically in tears.
The associate said, “Yeah, when you didn’t call, we had to sell it.” It’s a good thing The Megger has self-control.
She then spoke to the manager who said, “Usually trampolines aren’t a high demand item, so I’m sure we’ll have them back in stock soon.”
After a couple more days of searching, The Megger found a trampoline at Nick’s in Rutland, Vt. She paid for it online, but saw that it wasn’t available to ship. She called and the manager there explained that the item was too expensive to ship, so it would need to be picked up. Rutland is about three hours from our house, but this was a woman on a mission. The Megger told the manager in Rutland that she would be there the next day, after work, to pick it up.
The next morning, The Megger received an email from the Nick’s in Rutland, confirming she had already picked up her trampoline.
She panicked – not again! She called the store and was told that, no, there had been a mix-up and that the trampoline was still there, waiting for her.
So, The Megger left after work that day and drove three hours to Rutland, Vt. She spent 15 minutes picking up a trampoline, and then drove three hours home. We then spent four hours the next day putting it together, swatting mosquitoes, until after 10 p.m.
Happy birthday, kid, your mother loves you.