There is a supplement called NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) which I take for asthma as well as some issues arising from being “on the spectrum.” I used to buy it locally, but the only store here where you can buy it only sold one brand of it, and that manufacturer switched from a gelatin capsule to some sort of “vegetable capsule” without bothering to tell anybody about it. Turns out whatever vegetable that is, I’m allergic to it and it makes me itch like crazy. Amazon, however, carries another brand in a gelatin capsule and I have been ordering it through them for almost two years now. I get a price break by ordering it in a 3-pack of 100-capsule bottles from this one seller, which lasts me about two and a half months.
Unlike other supplements, though, it is inadvisable to just start taking NAC at full dose, or abruptly stop taking it completely. You have to gradually increase or decrease the dose over at least a two week period. Because of this, when I open that third bottle, I order more, since that seller offers free shipping, but not the two-day shipping of Amazon Prime, and it can take up to two weeks for me to get them.
So, I placed an order on July 12th, expecting to get my order within two weeks. After two weeks had come and gone with nothing to show for it, I went to Amazon and tracked my package. Their tracking showed it had gotten to my town on the 22nd.
Since it was now the 28th and I hadn’t yet seen hide nor hair of my package, I called my local version of the USPS* and gave them the tracking number. Apparently, in order to get to my city, USPS mail hitches a ride on UPS*’s planes. UPS had delivered the shipment of mail my package was supposed to have been in (or at least the one they told Amazon it was in), but according to the Post Office, when they processed the individual pieces of mail from that shipment, my package wasn’t one of them. Since the tracking number was a USPS number, UPS could not be expected to know where my package actually was, even though they told Amazon it was in Tx, because they had schlepped it there on their plane. So now what?
I went to the USPS website. Their phone is answered by a computer and none of the options it offered me included speaking with a live person. I opted to drop back 5 yards and punt, which is to say, I filled out their little email complaint form. Fortunately, I was able to cut and paste the whole nine yards of the tracking number into the email. After adding a verse and chorus of “Oh Where, Oh Where Has My NAC Gone,” I clicked “Send”
A quick consultation of Google revealed Wal-Mart also carried that same brand, but it wasn’t sold in stores locally, would take two (more) weeks to get to me from where ever it shipped from, and there was no way I could seem to get an expedited shipping option on just one bottle of it. CVS carried it, but not locally, and the brands they carried didn’t come in the right dosage. No joy with Walgreen’s either. I found another vendor on Amazon that offered the same brand and had Amazon Prime shipping, which meant I could get it as soon as last Friday, but definitely by Sunday, so I ordered a bottle from them to tide me over until payday, when I can get two more.
No package on Friday. Sunday came and went, and all I got was an email from Amazon saying “USPS wasn’t able to complete your delivery and needs addition information to try again.” *&%^$#<@!!
So, bright and early this morning, I boot up the ‘puter, and while I’m spending an hour and a half trying to get somebody to answer the phone at various locations of my local version of the USPS, I get an email from same, stating: “This message is to let you know that we have received your inquiry at the Fort Worth C&IC Office. Your service request will be redirected to the delivery unit to review, investigate and provide a resolution.” Well, yeehaw.
Finally, I got somebody at the USPS to answer the durn phone already. I told the nice lady my tale of woe, and (just for grins) read her the 22(!)-digit tracking number of the first package, which was still MIA. She proceeds to tell me it has arrived on the August 2 shipment from UPS and is out for delivery! So then I read her the 22-digit tracking number of the second, package, and apparently it’s out for delivery, too. So I thank the nice lady, hang up, mutter various and sundry general-purpose imprecations and go make myself a cheese sandwich**.
One cheese sandwich and a couple of YouTube videos later, it’s sneaking up on 11 o’clock when someone plongeth on the doorbell. I go to the door. There is nobody there, but — mirabile dictu! — lying on the doormat are two packages! So now I have four bottles of NAC, which is just as fine as frog hairs with me.
Along with the email from the USPS, I also got an email from my local utilities company stating my electric bill for July has dropped and I can view it on their website. However, since I know it’s going to be higher than giraffe’s ears and I have a whopping $8.58 in my bank account to last me until payday, you know what? Sufficient unto the Monday is the evil thereof, y’all.
*United States Postal Service is a department of the U.S. government, AKA "The Post Office." UPS is United Parcel Service, a privately-owned global shipping company.
**2 slices of Sargento Sharp Cheddar Cheese placed between two pieces of toast, put on a plate and zotted in the microwave for 23 seconds to gently melt the cheese. (20 seconds softens the cheese but doesn't actually melt any of it, 25 seconds melts it too much and makes it run out onto the plate.)