Update: I wrote this post in 2011 but I ordered the calendars again in 2012, and finally gave up in 2013. If your gift calendars are unopened (or you have an issue with your calendar) and Jacquie Lawson does not respond to your request for support you can dispute the charges through Paypal which is what I did successfully last year. It is such a shame that such a beautiful product causes such angst. I am done ordering.
For a limited time, Odd is offering to send you “The Advent Calendar From Hell.” Act now because this offer won’t last forever.
When Jacquie Lawson sent me an e-mail offering Advent Calendars for Christmas, I said to myself, “Now that is a good idea,” and I looked at the sample card. It was beautiful and magical, so I bought the cards in bulk to send to clients, friends, and my sweet mother.
This is where my troubles began….
My friends, my family, and my sweet mother, for the most part, are not techie people. Most of them have older computers, some use Macs, but more than a few use PCs—and I know you are not going to believe me, but some happily use Internet Explorer. Heck, my mom still cheers the AOL sign-in guy as he runs across her sign-on box.
Knowing this about my friends, my family, and my sweet mother, I would never send them anything that would thwart them on the computer, much less a holiday computer stocking stuffer that was supposed to offer them a magical holiday experience.
However, I did thwart them. Not one of the recipients I sent an Advent calendar to could open it.
The help desk at Jacquie Lawson took four days to respond to my help request. An Advent calendar is time sensitive; ideally, you open one window or door on the card every day. But hey—delays do happen around the holidays. I understand. Unfortunately, I did not understand the reply e-mail when the company did respond. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume they outsourced my request to a non-English-speaking country. They had no idea how to respond to my questions, so they just repeated my problem to me and appreciated my business.
Next, I went to the Jacquie Lawson Facebook page, which was filled with delighted senders and recipients of the Advent cards. Where do people find friends like these? I wondered…not that I would trade my mom and friends for those tech savvy friends. Never.
My help request was answered quickly on the Facebook page. Here is what I was told: “The Advent calendar has been so amazingly popular. But unfortunately it is very advanced technology—we’re pushing at the limits of what can be achieved in Flash/Air, and that means that a few people are having problems, especially on older computers.”
The message included a troubleshooting link…which is 752 words long and talks about start buttons, control buttons, installing, uninstalling, and asks if you are using XP, Vista, or Windows 7. If you contact the help desk after trying the troubleshooting, the reps will only help you if you can offer a detailed description of your problem—in other words, “The darn thing won’t open!” is not going to get you a reply e-mail. There is no phone number listed.
Just what everyone wants to find in their e-mail in-box over the holidays—a complicated Advent calendar that promises to be magical if you can open it. The calendars—in my opinion—should have included the warning, “Technical support not included.”
Now I’m afraid that if I send the calendars, my family will take back my Christmas gifts, and I will put friends and clients between a rock and hard place as they ponder, Do I thank her and pretend this was wonderful, tell her it’s the thought that counts, or never mention it and just let her assume I was rude and thoughtless for not saying thank you?
The good news for you is—my fear is your adventure and possible gain.
Misery loves company. Let me share a calendar with you. My only request is that after I send you the “Advent Calendar from Hell” and the troubleshooting directions, you try to open it and leave a comment sharing the experience.
To receive a card, just leave me a comment: ‘Send me the EFFEN ADVENT CARD FROM HELL. PLEASE.” Odd Loves Company!