The time: Christmas 2008 (yes, I meant 2008!)
The gift: A very awesome Playmobil castle
The problem: The multitude of missing pieces…..
Eli got this great castle from Aunt Lynda for Christmas in 2008. He had some Knight Playmobil guys already and was so excited to let them play in this really cool castle. He opened this gift shortly before bed so I promised him that we would put it together the next day.
Because it was Eli, he woke up the next morning raring to get me downstairs to put this thing together. Of course, at 6:30am on my day off I was not so raring! He waited very impatiently while I made him eat breakfast and I had a nice sized dose of caffine.
We sat down on the rug and began to separate the pieces out while looking at the instruction booklet. As I looked at the instructions I realized a major problem. The castle instructions showed all of these tiny little red pieces that held all of the big castle pieces together. There were no little red pieces in the box! I couldn’t even begin to put the stupid thing together. I immediately went to the computer to find some way to get in touch with Playmobil to order the missing item.
2 phone calls and 1 email later and I was consoling my then 4 year old son. I promised him that I would try to get the pieces as soon as the “workers” would send them to me. We would put the castle together as soon as they arrived. A couple of weeks later a small bag of small red pieces arrived in the mail. A couple of weeks after that another small bag of small red pieces arrived in the mail. More than we need – now we’re talking!
Once again, we separated the pieces and began to look at the instruction book. This time I was able to actually start making the pieces look like the castle on the box! Then I realized the next major problem. The instructions showed how to put together all of these little guys to be the knights in the castle. Only, there was only one little guy. Poor chap, his friends had bailed on him. Good thing I saved the email from before! I decided to take a full inventory of the pieces this time so that I could send just one email for all of the things that this castle was missing. The missing inventory included parts for 3 guys, a “big piece” to put the front doors and draw bridge on the castle, 2 doors, 1 window and 2 window coverings. I proceeded to type another email begging and pleading for the pieces to be sent immediately and gave the full sob story about how they let down my son. I finished putting together what I could of the castle and promised to finish it when the pieces arrived.
About two weeks later a small bag with small red pieces arrived… No, this is not a typo! It happened again. Apparently I was still in the computer system and whoever addressed my email decided I needed another 50 tiny red pieces for my collection. I emailed Playmobil again with a bigger complaint and included my list again.
About three weeks later a small box arrived in the mail. Inside were the parts and pieces for 3 guys, 2 doors, 1 window and 2 window coverings. No “big piece”. I did as promised and put together the rest of the castle that I had the pieces for. The look on Eli’s face broke my heart when he realized that the castle still could not be finished. I emailed Playmobil again and explained how furious I was that I was having to email them at all for missing pieces, let alone this many times. Several days later I received an email response stating that my items had all been shipped and that they were happy to have done business with me.
Unfortunately for Eli and very fortunately for Playmobil it was now March 2009. My world changed and I spent the next few weeks in Iowa supporting my sister as she died and her husband and son as they started their lives without her. Upon my return from Iowa I slipped into a haze of merely making it from day to day. I told Eli I’d get to the castle again but it didn’t happen. I wasn’t ready to deal with real life.
Late last fall we started a good behavior reward system to try to get both boys to listen better and follow the rules. We picked up cheap little things for them to pick from a treasure chest. We found some really cute Playmobil guys to go with the castle. Eli always picked them for his prize and this started the discussion for the “big piece” again. The holidays came and the discussion got more intense. So, during my time off work in December I grabbed the computer and emailed Playmobil for the part again.
About a week later I received an email from the service department apologizing for my inconvenience. It further stated that my item had shipped. This was the first week of January 2010. Well as soon as I told Eli this information I knew I’d made a mistake. He started watching the mail every day. He threatened to fire all of the workers for not getting it right in the first place. Quite frankly I agreed! January came and went and nothing showed up in the mail. Until…….
Friday afternoon as I was doing the final check of the house before leaving for Indianapolis Eli screamed that the UPS truck was in front of our house. He flew to the front door and practically accosted the guy walking up to the door. The poor man attempted to greet me and Eli but Eli simply grabbed the box out of his hand and ran to the kitchen with it. I stayed behind, thanked the driver and closed the door. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Eli was practically hanging from the rafters with excitement. This had to be the right box!!!!
I opened the box, all the while reminding him that we were leaving for Indy in a few minutes and if this was the piece he would have to wait until we got home. The top of the box separated and there sat the “big piece” over a year later. I pulled it out and poor Eli looked distraught. “That’s it?” he said. “That’s the piece it took them so long to send us?” Yep, that was it. “I don’t want to go to Uncle David’s anymore – I just want to stay home and put my castle together!” No, we’re still going and I promise we’ll put it together when we get home on Sunday. He decided that we could go provided I promised that no one would steal the piece while we were gone.
Last night we arrived home. The piece was safe and sound. I did as promised and put the castle together for the final time to the chant of “it’s a miracle!” It was a magnificent end to a very long year!