blessed mistakes

Photo by emirkhan bal on

I’m a lousy consumer. Especially when it comes to buying products online. There are too many variables outside my control. Too many steps that could break in the process. And thanks to all the neurotic voices in my head I have little faith that things will go smoothly. A recent and rare online order is a perfect example.

I ordered three garments last month. It was hard to resist. Two of the items were printed with Lichtenstein-inspired pop-art. The other was a top with a simple but unusual design.

On screen, I was crazy about the items but would they fit me? Would the fabric and construction be acceptable? Does the monitor and the vendor picture of each item accurately reflect the color? There were also more serious concerns. Would children or virtual slave labor be making the items? What was the environmental impact? Plus I had concerns about the frivolous nature of the clothes: you only need so many after all.

Vanity won out. It would take several weeks before the items arrived in two separate packages. Oh, the guilt!

The first package was set to arrive the day before we left for a visit to my uncle in Kentucky. It never arrived that day or the next. The online tracking system showed that it had reached my local post office so I wondered what the holdup was. Were the postal workers trying on these garments? Would I encounter someone on the streets wearing these clothes, MY clothes, and would I lose my mind if I did?

Could I just let it go and stop worrying about it?

I could and I did. I had a relaxing visit at my uncle’s. The day after we returned home, eight days after the package was supposed to arrive, it finally did. The items were okay. The prints were great but there were minor printing issues on one of the items and the fabric used wasn’t ideal. Had I seen these things in a brick and mortar, I’m not confident I would have purchased them. I know I’ll have fun wearing them anyway.

I had no idea when I’d get the other package so I checked on its status today. The tracking system indicated a delivery yesterday but I saw no package. It was almost dark when it supposedly arrived. There was a crew working here yesterday replacing the roof on the house so there were tarps and debris everywhere. I knew that if it arrived as they claimed, it could have easily been overlooked and landed in the dumpster.

I ran outside when the mail carrier came by today. She said that if the system said the package was delivered, it was delivered. I dropped my shoulders and went back inside, picturing the package buried in a pile of trash at the dump.

Half an hour later, as I ruminated about next steps, I noticed movement on the porch. The package lay on the stoop, unharmed. The neighbor who had just placed it there said that it was mistakenly delivered down the street to her house.

It reminded me that some mistakes are blessings in disguise.


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