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Topic: Orders cancelled due to computer difficulties

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Subject: Orders cancelled due to computer difficulties
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 25
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I suspect there isn't really a solution to this, but maybe it can be a cautionary tale.

In the event you have an unreliable computer/dubious internet service (like me), I'm thinking it might be a good rule of thumb to go ahead and mark a book as being sent, even if, technically, it hasn't yet, just so as to avoid having this happen.

A member here had requested a whole batch of books from me recently. A bit of a shock at first, and given my financial situation I wasn't sure about being able to accept. Upon some consideration, though, it did look doable, and I went ahead and said yes, I would send them out. Got them all boxed up, got the address, but decided to wait until I knew the box was actually en route to the Post Office before marking it as sent. What I didn't count on was the computer wonking out on me, so that I couldn't access anything, including PBS, with the result that, because I had cut things fairly fine, PBS cancelled the order.

Now, the member is getting their books. The box is en route and will hopefully show up (or has already) at its destination safe and sound. The only one losing out in the transaction is me. Disappointing, of course, I could have really used those credits, but at least it's a lesson learned: don't delay in marking something as sent, even if you're maybe fudging the truth by a couple of days, because you could wind up letting down another member and losing those credits.

 

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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"don't delay in marking something as sent, even if you're maybe fudging the truth by a couple of days,"

The only thing is Rebecca this is not something you should be advocating as there are only three reasons one is allowed to mark books sent before they actually are....

If you've contacted the requestor of the books and they haven't reordered the books, they still have to mark the books received when they get them.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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In case it helps others in similar situations, don't forget you can often get quickie computer access at your local library, for emergencies like this.

Cheers,
Catt

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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DId you PM the recipient?  There is a possibility that their requests went to the next sender. But if not (if there were no other copies of those books in the system), the recipient could go to their archived transactions.  The cancelled transaction will be there and they can mark it received.  I had to do this one time.  The sender PM'd me about not being able to mark the book mailed.  He did mail it.  I received it, and was able to find the transaction in the archive and mark it received.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,168
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Hopefully the sender will just buddy you the credits- I would.

But one thing bothered me. You said you weren't sure if you'd be able to accept the books she requested from you due to your financial situation. Why, then, are you on here? I would suggest putting your account on hold so that people are not frustrated by ordering from you and being declined repeatedly. I also think that if you let your stuff time out too much (due to money or whatnot), PBS will remove your account.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Sorry that happened to you, hopefully you contacted the receiver and they were able to cancel the new orders so you get your credits. Despite the disappointment, it shouldn't lead to advocating that people not follow the rules, just in case some freak thing might happen. What I would suggest instead lining up a computer you can access in an instance like this, or teaching someone else you know how to access you account to mark books mailed for you. If you do mark books as mailed when you haven't done so, please PM the receiver and let them know what day you will mail it so that they can adjust their expectations on the book.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 2:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 25
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My goodness, I'm sorry I mentioned it now.

My acount was on hold. That was part of the shock, because I had been so certain I'd set that to run on through February. I've now shut it down through June, however, and I may even delete the account entirely now.

So sorry to have given offense.

 

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Gee... WTG gang!  The woman was trying to follow the rules, is now probably out several books, several credits and the postage for sending them and what happens?  You all jump all over her for advocating doing exactly what the rules say.

Even those of you with the most restrictive views on when to hit that "Mailed" button all repeat those three "exceptions", one of which happens to be for unreliable computer access.

End result?  A member who has been here going on three years is now considering closing her account.

Feeling proud and righteous now are you?

 

Rebecca... How many books did you send?  I'll personally give you credits to cover your loss.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Computer issues are frustrating.  I have used the local library in a similar situation, although it's easy to forget that resource when we are so used to doing it from home. 

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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Here's what the Help Center says about marking books mailed before actually mailing them:

A book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed

  • It is okay to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it if:

    • The deadline date falls on a postal holiday
    • Your computer/Internet access is unreliable
    • You plan to mail the book on your way out of town
  • It is not okay to mark your book mailed and delay Mailing it for longer than 48 hours
    • We understand that sometimes circumstances interfere with prompt mailing!  But this should not be a habit.
    • If your mailing is delayed, you must inform the requestor as soon as possible, so that she doesn't think the book is lost in the mail if it was merely mailed late.

And I agree that if you can't access your computer, try going to the library or using a friend or relatives computer. I know if my PC were down (I also have a laptop for emergencies), then I'd ask my hubby or Mom to use their computer to check PBS.



Last Edited on: 2/20/09 3:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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That is a frustrating situation.  If computer server is wonky... I wouldn't be upset if someone predated books a little before they mailed them.   I think it would be a good idea if you "mark mailed" earlier than physical mail date,  you might want to PM the folks to let them know the situation.  I wouldn't imagine anyone would cause a ruckus if they knew the situation and that you were planning to mail them on _____ date instead.

Don't let this get you down.  There are always folks that have different views may disagree with what you think and do.  However, there are also people who agree.  The bottom line is to do what works for you.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,518
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Rebecca, did you PM the recipient and explain to them what happened?  If they have not already received the books from someone else, they are obligated to mark them received and give you your credits when the box arrives.  Hopefully they caught the requests when they rolled over to other members and cancelled them.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Oh No! Thank you for the advice. Knowing the internet is not stable here I hit the mailed botton right before I head out the door to the mail box. If something happens between me and the mailbox then I will have far bigger issues than PBS ones.

I am sorry this all happened to you. I hope you can message the person and work something out as I think you did the right thing.

Also, some places do not have a Library, like the military post I live on! And some Librarys do not have internet believe it or not! Being that we moved here not to long ago I would be asking if net went out for more than a day (I see the creak and I know there is no paddle!) so finding easy net some place else might also not work. Life happens, I think we need to work on being kind to one another.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Oh wow!!! There has definitely been some over reaction on this...I don't see as some have advocated that members have jumped all over the OP, many have said they were sorry that it happened, most have offered suggestions, and yes it has been said that advocating breaking the rules is not right...any of us might at some random time loose internet access but, I do believe the rules state "unreliable computer/internet access" and my interpretation (note I said my...yours may be different) is that this is something that happens routinely.

I really think the situation has the potential to work out ok if the sender contacted the requestor as soon as she got access...knowing the situation I'm sure the requestor would be more than happy (I know I would be) to work with the OP to make sure she got her credits.

Also, I think the suggestion that was made that if you have to mark mailed a couple days early you let the requestor know...that does seem like the polite thing to do...

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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I do believe the rules state "unreliable computer/internet access" and my interpretation (note I said my...yours may be different) is that this is something that happens routinely.

I posted the PBS Guidelines for this above.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 17
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Rebecca... How many books did you send?  I'll personally give you credits to cover your loss.

Bernhard, I think I love you :-) 

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Yes, Ivy you did post the guidelines but, I was simply stating my interpretation of "unreliable computer/internet access" to mean your computer/internet access routinely has issues...not to mean the rare computer/internet access issues.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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I am so sorry that this happened. Computers can be so annoying. They help us so much but oh how they can mess with us when they are not working well.

 Rebecca; I feel like that the people who posted were trying to be supportive and just wanted to state the rule ,which was appropriate. No one was trying to be mean or push you out of PBS. I do hope that you will not leave. Hope that you could reach the receiver in time.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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(Quoting Christy): The only thing is Rebecca this is not something you should be advocating as there are only three reasons one is allowed to mark books sent before they actually are....

(Quoting Christy): Oh wow!!! There has definitely been some over reaction on this...I don't see as some have advocated that members have jumped all over the OP, many have said they were sorry that it happened, most have offered suggestions, and yes it has been said that advocating breaking the rules is not right...any of us might at some random time loose internet access but, I do believe the rules state "unreliable computer/internet access" and my interpretation (note I said my...yours may be different) is that this is something that happens routinely.

(Quoting Christy): Yes, Ivy you did post the guidelines but, I was simply stating my interpretation of "unreliable computer/internet access" to mean your computer/internet access routinely has issues...not to mean the rare computer/internet access issues.

 

Christy, read the second paragraph of the original post.  Here, let me help...

 

(Quoting Rebecca [bold mine]): In the event you have an unreliable computer/dubious internet service (like me), I'm thinking it might be a good rule of thumb to go ahead and mark a book as being sent, even if, technically, it hasn't yet, just so as to avoid having this happen.

Would someone, anyone, care to show me exactly where she advocated breaking the rules?  Anyone?  Anyone at all??

 

{crickets chirping}

 

Rebecca sent ten books in that box.  I know because I PM'd her and asked her.  I've already said I will give her credits to cover her losses.  I will also cover the postage cost.  She believes it will all work out and that the requestor will make good for the books.  I hope that is true, but if not, she's covered.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Bernhard, against my better judgement I'm making this comment to you but, I really don't know why you have to be so condescending...!!!!  I really do not know why you always misinterpret what I say, come back with what in my opinion is negativity and are just plain down right rude to me.  In the future if you cannot be polite to me please do not quote me or respond to me...perhaps you could click on that Ignore Member button associated with my name so you don't have to even read what I say...it sure would make my experience here alot more pleasant.

The original post did advocate "fudging the truth," read the OP last paragragh ...

"don't delay in marking something as sent, even if you're maybe fudging the truth by a couple of days, because you could wind up letting down another member and losing those credits."

 



Last Edited on: 2/20/09 10:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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(Quoting Christy): "I really do not know why you always misinterpret what I say..."

It is my understanding of the English language that before you can "misinterpret" you must first "interpret".  Quoting someone verbatim without comment is not interpretation.

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I would also like to share something that a friend of mine who deals with laws and their interpretations on a daily basis had to say:

"The PBS Guidelines state that, 'It is okay to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it if:' and then continues to list three cases where this is acceptable.  The guidelines do not say that these are the only times this is allowed.  Without the word 'only', or some other limiting word in that sentence, these can only be considered examples of times when this is allowed, and not absolute conditions.  With no actual condition being stated we have to return to the previous statement that does contain an absolute condition, that being the statement that 'A book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed'.  Here the word 'must' makes this an absolute condition.  If I found myself having to rule on this in a legal proceeding I would have to rule that the only condition here is that the book must be mailed within a timeframe of 48 hours prior to and 48 hours after having marked it as mailed."

That was the opinion of a former Adjudications Officer for the United States Department of State.

 

I really, really, really wish TPTB would clarify this issue once and for all, and post that clarification where we can all read it.

 

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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I don't think TPTB rule precisely on it because it is not worth their breath to get into the argument. They tell us what they want and expect us to be intelligent and reasonable about it. 

I look at the rules and see that because nothing else is listed, then nothing else is included. Guess I get that from reading tax law, if it isn't listed as an exception/inclusion, do not assume it is one. If there is no language to the effect of including things not on the list such as "examples", "for reasons like", "or any other like items", etc then there should no assumption that other reasons are included.  If I cannot look to the code and see it written, it is not one of the exceptions.

In My Opinion "Book Has Been Mailed" means that the book has been mailed and I don't see how anyone can say it is meant as anything else. If PBS meant for it to mean I will mail in 48 hours, they would have put on a button that said "Will Mail in 48 hours". If they meant it to be marked as mailed as soon as the label was printed, they could have just left it at one button for printing the wrapper. They (to me) obviously wanted the system to be notified when the book had been mailed. They give the 48 hour limit as the farthest out a book should be mailed if any circumstances should arise. Obviously exeptions to be made and reasonableness needs to rule. If your computer fails 3 out 5 times you get on it, by all means click through everything you need to when you get connection no one is going to disagree with that. If it happens once every 40 times you get on, I think you can be reasonably safe in mailing your books prior to saying you did.

The OP was reasonably upset about the possibility of losing a lot of credits and thats understandable. I think the reaction of running to the forums and telling everyone else that, because of this one instance, they should all be marking books mailed early just in case they had computer problems was a bit Chicken Little of a reaction. Telling her she shouldn't be a member if she hesitated on mailing that many books because of her financial situation was a bit harsh; many members have to budget closely and a 10 book order at the end of their budget would be cause for worry, that doesn't make them bad members, many of them are precious members. But the rest of the answers where politely telling her what the rules state and offering her advice on what to do if she ran into the situation. If she interpretted that as being told she should leave the club, I again think she overreacted nothing I see in the posts about the mailing early issue infer that.

As you said before, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. To me agreeing to disagree is not constantly condescending to those who disagree or saying that we are narrow and high and mighty. It is stating your opinion on the subject and not on the people who hold the opposing view.



Last Edited on: 2/20/09 11:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/21/2009 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Bernhard, not only is your logic sound, your helpful! Your helped others understand the guidelines, you supported the OP who was not in the wrong, and you where ever so kind enough to make sure the OP was not out the credits. All because, you rock! :)

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 6,964
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Silverheels...sending you a PM

I too am sorry this happened to you and hope you get your credits from the original member so that Bernhard doesnt' have to cover you (but KUDOS to B for offering so generously to do so!).  



Last Edited on: 2/21/09 2:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
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