Lisa Seger, the co-owner of Blue Heron Farms in Field Store, Texas, hadn't expected anything from Amazon when a heavy, poorly sealed box arrived. She opened it to find a mysterious, smooth, green cylinder. It weighed 9 lbs.
She soon discovered four things:
1. It was supposed to be a gift.
2. It should have been a book about chickens.
3. It's a component of Amazon's conveyor-belt system.
4. And Amazon said it would charge her gift-giving friend $19 if Lisa didn't pack it up and send it back.
Her chickens were neither informed nor amused by the roller.
Even the packaging was below Amazon's usual standards. Lisa tweeted, "I've sent a lot of crappily packaged things in the mail, but never a 9 lb @amazon factory roller with just a tape window to hold it in."
Seger made great hay on her farm's Twitter feed, where she and her husband normally post about the life and times of running a humane goat dairy.
"Wondering if the shipping of a 9 lb conveyor roller was just a cry for help from an @amazon warehouse employee."
"Hey, now – If @amazon sends us just eight more conveyor belt rollers, we can bodge together a fine menorah."
Her friend arranged for the chicken book to be re-sent, although it won't arrive before the first night of Hannukah, which was the original gift-giving intent. And Amazon has been in touch through its Twitter-based customer support to sort the problem out. Her friend was able to print a return form, on which they noted as the reason: "This was a gift and instead of the book showing up, some type of wheel or something showed up. Please resend the book." Via email, Seger said via email she was crying with laughter.
She notes that despite the appearance of human intervention, she suspects it's all been automatic interaction with Amazon. She wonders about keeping the souvenir. As she tweeted:
"Also, since @amazon has no earthly idea what they sent us instead of a chicken book, debating what I should actually send them back."