Just finished a brief phone ordering frenzy for Christmas. (Far earlier than usual; not sure what got into me.) Here's the scorecord, ranked: #1Tied, Sharper Image. Answer very quickly (1st ring—salesperson answers). Minimum of required information. Everything (4 items) in stock. Duration: less than 3 minutes. #1T, Territory Ahead. Answer very quickly (same as Sharper Image). Info collection dragged out. Everything in stock—7 items. Duration: "about" 7 minutes; email confirmation within 180 seconds (no one else offered an email confirmation). #3T, LL Bean. Answered very quickly. No items (three) in stock. (Typical of Bean in my experience.) #3T, PBS Home Video. On hold for over 3 minutes; quit. (Ah, alas, so predictable, eh?)
Not all bad. On the other hand, given the early date and time of call (noon, Tuesday), not all that great. If you wonder why I didn't do this online, perhaps the repeated experience of getting 90 percent of the job done, then being derailed by a glitch. Frankly, the phone is still easier, at least at this early date.
Greatest sadness: LL Bean, love of my childhood, continues, year-after-year, to come up (very) short.