Amazon, Light Bulbs, and The Dead-Eyed Zombie UPS Guy

I sometimes order light bulbs from Amazon, right? Especially the decorative CFL globes for the bathrooms. They can be hard to find and Amazon has good prices on them.

I order from Amazon pretty regularly and usually just include the light bulbs with my order. Amazon ships the light bulbs with the rest of my stuff and when they arrive, there is at least one broken bulb. EVERY time.

In the past I’ve gone through the return process where they send UPS to come pick up the broken bulbs and they ship my replacements usually within a day or two. The replacement bulbs always arrive in tact because they’re the only thing in the box.

They’re Amazon. Surely they ship out hundreds if not thousands of light bulbs every day. You would think they would have realized by now that shipping them in the same box with my computer paper is a bad idea. I guess I need to start ordering them separately or ask for them to be shipped separately or something. Bless Amazon’s clueless heart.

So this past week I ordered 2 globe bulbs and I received 2 broken globe bulbs. I did the return procedure thing and got a confirmation that my replacements would be shipped out pronto and UPS would come pick up my broken bulbs. As usual.

But then I got a separate email from someone at Amazon who I’m pretty sure was contacting me from New Delhi because she typed with an accent. You know what I mean. She was very nice and apologized for the inconvenience, promised that my new bulbs would arrive shortly and told me that it wasn’t necessary for me to return the broken ones. She told me to dispose of them safely.

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Great! That saved me the trouble of packing them up again, printing out the label and the return info, and watching for the UPS guy.

When I checked the status of my replacement order the next day, I noticed that yes my new bulbs were indeed on the way but there was also an alert reminding me to return the broken ones or else I’d be charged for them.

I contacted New Delhi Gal and asked her to confirm that I was not required to send the bulbs back. She confirmed that I was not required to return them and should dispose of them.

So I took a screen shot of my account page showing that Amazon was waiting for me to return the bulbs. I sent that to New Delhi Gal and told her that I don’t want to be charged for bulbs that I was told to trash.

Again, she told me to trash the broken bulbs and she would make sure that I didn’t get charged for not returning them.

Perfect…problem solved.

The next day my replacement bulbs arrived safe and sound and I didn’t think about light bulbs again until later that night when my doorbell rang at 8:30 p.m. It was the UPS guy ready to pick up my broken bulbs. The broken bulbs that I was told to dispose of because there was no need to return them.

I’m pretty sure I just glared at him and I think I said something like, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??!!” It was 8:30, clearly he’d had a long day so he just sort of gave me a blank look with tired eyes. I wanted him to understand my frustration so I told him the whole story about the broken bulbs and how New Delhi Gal told me to toss them but there was an alert on my account so I didn’t and I can’t believe she forgot to cancel the UPS pick-up yadda yadda yadda.

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UPS Guy stood there completely silent, looking at me with tired blank eyes.

Okay, fine. He didn’t care about my frustration and was just doing his job. I hated for it to be a wasted trip for him so I asked him to give me a minute to box up the return items. Thank goodness I hadn’t thrown them away yet.

The box for the replacement bulbs was still sitting on my kitchen table so I tossed the broken bulbs in there then asked the UPS Guy if he had some tape to seal the box. He said no…which I thought was weird cuz he handles packages all day every day. You would think they’d keep a roll of packing tape in the truck just in case.

I probably rolled my eyes at him a little bit then asked him to wait some more while I went upstairs to get the packing tape. I sealed the box without including the return print out thing that you’re supposed to put in there but I wasn’t prepared and really didn’t care. I handed the sealed box to UPS Guy and asked if he had a label then explained that I didn’t print one out because New Delhi Gal told me not to return the bulbs so I wasn’t expecting him and didn’t even have any tape handy and blah blah blah. I was rambling again and he was even more disinterested than the first time I whined about it.

He held up the label in his hand, slapped it on the box, told me to have a good evening, then did the zombie walk back to his truck.

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The whole thing was weird but whatever…I was just glad to be done with it. I had intended to check my Amazon account to make sure they weren’t still threatening to charge me if I didn’t return those bulbs but I sort of forgot about it. Until a couple of days later….yesterday.

Replacements ordered AND refund issued. No one thought that was strange?

I got an automated email from Amazon letting me know they’d processed my refund for $16.64 and it should show up in my bank account in 2-3 days.


I checked my Amazon account and sure enough the alert was gone and there was a notice that my broken bulbs had been replaced AND my money had been refunded.

This bothers me because I now owe Amazon $16.64 and if I don’t say anything to them about it, it feels like stealing. But I also know without a doubt that if I contact Amazon and try to explain to them that they shouldn’t have refunded my money and I owe them $16.64, it will result in mass confusion which will cause more mistakes and I will get alerts on my account and probably end up being charged double and then, just because this is the kind of luck I have, Dead-Eyed Zombie UPS Guy will show up at my door again.

So I will just say a heartfelt thanks to Amazon for the free light bulbs.

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