Posts Tagged ‘cloth diapering’
So I ranted and raved about the USPS as well as the shipment of cloth diapers from China, and I was going to post the [sort of] conclusion to the story, but then I decided not to bother. Today a separate problem cropped up, so I may as well tie up the loose ends so I can tell you why I hate the US Postal Service this week.
Ok, the thank you notes: The second shipment from VistaPrint arrived quickly. I liked them and that was great. Unfortunately, about three days later the postman showed up with the original shipment which had been delivered to the wrong address (my address was correct on the label). Apparently whoever got it took their time turning it in, which sucks, but it’s not their job to fix the mail carrier’s mistakes. I refused the package. That mostly ends that story, though I wonder if they’ll ever pay our claim on the package, or if I just threw $100 away.
Now for the diapers: I heard back from the eBay seller pretty promptly, and he said he’d sent me the wrong tracking number and then gave me the right one. By the time he sent the number, the diapers were already in the US and I got them a few days later. Good enough. There’s no baby butt here yet anyway.
Nowadays when you’re pregnant you get a lot of information on cord blood banking (after the stupid maternity store sells your contact information to any and everyone). Cord blood banking isn’t a bad idea if you can afford it, and especially if there is some sort of genetic disorder in your family, but it’s very expensive. However, if you aren’t able to spend the money on banking cord blood, you also have the option to donate it so that it might help someone else. That is the option that we chose.
The process goes like this: First you fill out a really long form with lots of medical questions meant to screen out cord blood that they can’t use for one reason or another. In the case of the company we had to go through, their form said something about how it could be submitted online, but we never could locate a place to fill it out and submit it via internet. Plus, I’m not sure how they do that since they need two or three signatures from your doctor. The form is then mailed to the company, who must receive it before your 34th week of pregnancy. After that, they send you a collection kit that your doctor uses right after the baby is born. This is then sent back to the tissue bank and you’re done.
We hit a snag. Of course.
At my doctor’s appointment last week she asked if I’d gotten the kit. I’d been so busy thinking about other things that it hadn’t occurred to me that the kit never arrived. This was a little bothersome because I’m so far along – I’ll be at 37 weeks on Friday – and feel like labor could start at any moment (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!).
So this morning I called the tissue bank to see what the hold up was… The lady checked every which way, but I was not in their computer. They never received my form. In other words, the United States Postal Service bent me over once again.
It doesn’t matter that I have the forms filled out on my computer and that I could take them with me to the doctor tomorrow to have her sign them again – because I’m too far along to submit them now. Thank goodness I wasn’t trying to bank the cord blood because of some genetic risk to my child, but I hate to think that someone else could have been helped by the donation and will now miss out.
But there is my more concrete complaint: The forms contained my full name, maiden name, date of birth, address and social security number. They also had my medical history, which doesn’t concern me. I just hope they end up in the hands of someone who is honest enough to return it or at least just throw it away.
We mailed those forms off before my other problems with the post office began, but I certainly won’t send anything like that through them in the future. Ugh.
UPDATE: Less than a minute after I got done typing this, I got a text from my husband saying that the post office had the forms and he now has them. They were returned, but he has no idea why. He went in to ask them WTF the deal was and they had them. I’m not sure why they hadn’t returned them to us. So I’m relieved that I can shred all of the info now, but I’m still pissed that this happened.
I said a bad word that started with mother and ended with fuckers, but I guess that drama is over.
Oh, for heaven’s sake!
So this is a totally different ridiculous shipping problem, which may be the Postal Service’s fault, but probably isn’t.
So, we are doing cloth diapers for the baby, primarily because it is less expensive than using disposables. That said, it’s hard for someone as cheap as I am to spend $13-$20 per diaper, especially while I’m not working. My solution for this was to hop on eBay and look for a deal. This, of course, led to cheap diapers from China. I can’t remember exactly what it worked out to per diaper, but it was less than $5, and maybe less than $4. Big difference.
The first step was to look at the sellers’ feedback ratings, which were good. I had to order from two different sellers, but the product was the same for each. Ten cloth diapers and ten inserts in a brand called Babyland from each seller.
Seller Number One shipped them quickly, but they took quite awhile to get here. I expected that – after all, they were coming from China. Also, I ordered them in late January so I knew they would be here before the baby.
Finally the day came when my package arrived, but it was REALLY small. There was no way there were ten diapers and ten inserts inside. There weren’t. There was one diaper and one insert. I was pissed, but I remained calm.
I emailed the seller, who was super nice. He told me to keep the one I received at no charge and that he would ship out the original order of ten right away, which he did. Eventually I got them and was happy. Everybody makes mistakes, and I’m not going to give somebody bad feedback over something like that.
Meanwhile, I was getting awfully nervous about Seller Number Two. The package had not yet been marked as shipped on eBay. I just kept watching it until one day I got a notification that it had shipped. The listing said that items typically shipped within 3 days, but it took just over a month for the seller to even put my diapers in the mail. Again, I was pissed, but I still had some time before the baby was due, so I decided to be patient.
Unfortunately, there was no tracking number attached to the package. Then I noticed that a lady who had ordered the same item from the seller had just left negative feedback and a note that said “Never received purchase. Seller forgot about my purchase.” That made me a little nervous, so I went ahead and emailed him to inquire about a tracking number.
The seller replied with the tracking number, but there was no “hey, I’m sorry it took me a damn month to mail your package.”
I noticed the other day that the package had arrived in L.A., so I was feeling much better about it. Fast forward to twenty minutes ago when I decided to track the package again. I see a red circle with an exclamation point in it and “Shipment Alert” next to it. Great. WHAT NOW?
Apparently the diapers were indeed delivered today – TO BOUNTIFUL, UTAH. The last time I checked, I lived in Nashville, Tennessee. It also said that the package had been refused, so at least nobody decided to keep it like they did with my kid’s thank you notes.
Now, given my recent experience with the USPS, I could easily believe that they delivered my package to Utah. I’ve pretty much lost faith in that system. However, I could just as easily believe that the eBay seller sent them to the wrong address, given the bad experience I’ve had thus far.
If the seller sent it to the wrong address, perhaps it was actually the address of the lady who left the negative feedback. I don’t know.
Obviously I have to wait until Monday to call the USPS and see what I can find out (and beg them to ship it to me instead of returning it to China), but I was too angry to do nothing.
Having worked entirely too long in customer service, I find it difficult to openly express anger in these kind of situations, so I’ve given the seller one last chance (though I’ll be leaving negative feedback). I sent him a message explaining what I’d seen when I tracked the package and asking if he had a record of where it had been mailed. I also mentioned that I was anxious to get it, since my baby is due very soon. I don’t hold out a lot of hope, but we’ll see.
At this stage, I don’t have time to order more diapers from China – we have just under five weeks until the baby’s due date, but I don’t really expect it to take that long given the most recent news about her size. I guess we will have to buy expensive diapers from somewhere in the US*.
*I can’t find a freaking bricks and mortar store in Nashville that sells cloth diapers! You can get the Gerber pre-folds, but no all-in-ones, pocket diapers or even cloth diaper covers. I know the majority of people use disposables, but it seems like there’s got to be enough of a market for cloth diapers for the stores to have a few.
The people who want to edit your birth plan are probably the same people as the “oh you’ll give that up” people. My specific examples of that are in the cloth diapering and breastfeeding situations.
I’ll complain about the cloth diapering thing today and the boob lunch counter tomorrow.
I decided early on that I was going to go with cloth diapers. I’m not terribly environmentally conscious – it isn’t that I wouldn’t like to be, but I haven’t had a lot of time to put into thought or effort on the subject. This was mostly a financial choice. Anyone will tell you, whether or not they used cloth diapers, that disposables are expensive. So we’re doing cloth to save money.
When I told my dad, the original Negative Nancy (I couldn’t think of a K word to go with Ken, but I guess Defeatist Dale would also work), that we were going to use cloth diapers, he said “Oh, you don’t want to do that. Those are a pain.” Ugh. This is so typical of him, but I wanted to punch him anyway.
One good way to handle this sort of thing is to remind them that cloth diapers are very different from they way they were 30 years ago when they were on my butt. Yes, you can still get those pre-fold things that need the pins (you can even skip the pins and go for these), and then buy a diaper cover to go over it, or you can simplify. Now they make two incredibly convenient types of cloth diapers – All-In-Ones (which are exactly as they sound – all one piece, only different from disposables in that they are washed and reused instead of thrown away), and Pocket Diapers (basically an all-in-two because the diaper has a little pocket where you put a cloth insert for absorbency). Totally easy.
To add to the convenience that’s available in cloth diapering now that my parents didn’t have with me, is the diaper sprayer. It’s basically like a kitchen sprayer that hooks up to your toilet’s water supply and enables you to rinse poop off of the diaper before you throw it into your diaper pail.
(TIP: If you purchase one that’s marketed as just a diaper sprayer, you’re going to pay around $45. Take a look at eBay, where they’re usually marked as “diaper sprayer/bidet.” I got one there for $15 or $20 and it was very easy to hook up. Plus, it helps with keeping the toilet clean.)
Anyway, cloth diapering isn’t so hard, and I’m determined to succeed at it. I’m most likely going to use disposables when I’m away from home, but I’m willing to try cloth diapers on the go. I’m also going to give cloth wipes a shot at home, but I’m not super optimistic on those.
Comments for this post are closed. I’ve learned that mothers and mothers-to-be can be an easily-angered, opinionated and judgmental group (obviously I’m no exception). In order to prevent myself from having one more thing to get mad about, I’m not really interested in hearing that you disagree. This is really my last place to vent, since Twitter and Facebook (oh especially you, Facebook) have become minefields. If you don’t like my opinion, no one’s forcing you to read.