On the Joys and Pitfalls of Online Shopping, or: The Saga of the ‘West Side Story’ Steelbook…A Happy Ending at Last?

(C) 2022 20th Century Studios via Best Buy

Today, all day I’ve had a feeling

A miracle would happen

I know now I was right… Stephen Sondheim, “Tonight” from West Side Story

When I last wrote about my issues with the exclusive-to-Best Buy Limited Edition Steelbook version of 20th Century Studios’ 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-nominated West Side Story, things looked dismally dire.

As of Thursday afternoon, UPS, Best Buy’s shipping partner had not updated its tracking information since a shipping label was printed at a Best Buy warehouse in Dublin, GA on Sunday, March 13. An attempt to make an in-store pickup locally went awry because one of the several online customer service reps I had dealt with on Wednesday failed to edit my order’s purchase options accordingly, and the clerk at the Brandon store didn’t have the authority to do so. In any case, the Brandon store was out of steelbooks, and every agent I chatted with online between Tuesday afternoon and yesterday said pretty much the same things:

  • “We don’t know what happened on the UPS side.”
  • “We have had issues with shippers that don’t update their tracking information on a timely basis.”
  • “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough units available, so if your order was lost in transit, we can’t simply reship your item.”
  • “You can either wait to see if UPS updates its tracking information, or if you think your shipment was lost or diverted to a third party seller, we can offer you a refund. Again, we don’t have enough steelbooks in inventory for reshipment.”

Since by late afternoon yesterday the needle had not moved – metaphorically speaking – on the UPS site’s tracking page, I reluctantly chose to go with the refund option. I thought that if the package’s status had not changed from Label Printed – Awaiting Package in four days even with prompts from Best Buy service reps, it probably never would.

Another factor in my decision to accept the refund offer was this: On Wednesday, March 16, I received my Target-exclusive Art Edition version of West Side Story, and my Amazon order of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition was being prepared for shipping – it will arrive either tomorrow or Sunday, depending on how fast the package makes the journey from Los Angeles to Lithia today. I already had one copy of West Side Story on hand yesterday, and a second was on the way. I reckoned that as much as I wanted the Limited Edition Steelbook in my collection, if Best Buy could not provide a replacement for what everyone (including Best Buy) assumed was a lost item, that was that.

As I said here the other day – two out of three ain’t bad.

For here you are

And what was just a world is a star

Tonight – Stephen Sondheim, “Tonight” from West Side Story

As it turns out, my odyssey with the exclusive-to-Best Buy Limited Edition Steelbook of West Side Story has a happy ending.

You see, at 8:35 PM Eastern, before I logged off from my computer for the night, I heard the “incoming email” chime go “ding!”  Wearily, I opened my AOL app and checked the New Mail folder, expecting to see a “Refund Complete” missive from Best Buy. (There were plenty of other messages, but most of them were notifications from Facebook or Twitter, all of them rather trivial.)

To my surprise, it was an email from UPS:

UPS

Hi,

Your delivery has been rescheduled.

From BEST BUY

Rescheduled Delivery

Friday 03/18/2022

12:30 PM – 4:30 PM

I didn’t exactly jump out of my chair and let out a whoop of joy – yesterday had been full of frustration and – perhaps misplaced – disappointment, and I rarely ever exhibit that kind of exuberance. Still, I was happy that after so many problems with this particular shipment, the West Side Story steelbook was finally – finally! – heading to my little corner of the Tampa Bay area.

I still have some worries about the steelbook; over on the forums at Blu-ray.com, other movie collectors are griping that their shipment was delayed like mine was, lost, or arrived in less than acceptable condition. Here are some of the gripes I see on the West Side Story (2021) 4K Steelbook (Best Buy Exclusive) thread:

User “Loaded Man wrote:

I got my steelbook just now.

The good: Arrived in a box with air pillows as opposed to the usual flimsy mailer.

The bad: The steelbook had dents/scratches that were hidden behind the front of the j-card. 


I’m probably not going to try to return it but it’s really frustrating when I’ve ordered steelbooks from other countries and not a single one has arrived dented meanwhile 1/3 of US domestic deliveries always have some kind of issue.

And user Creasy Bear commented:

Received mine yesterday packaged in a box. Unfortunately it looks like someone dropped a hammer on the steelbook at the warehouse. If only the steelbook had been as pristine as the box it arrived in. I don’t get it. The item is clearly damaged. Why the fook are you shipping me a damaged item, BB! 

To be fair, I have ordered steelbooks before. In 2015, when I still lived in Miami but after my mom’s passing, I bought 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s six steelbook editions of the Original and Prequel Star Wars trilogies and they arrived at my former home without incident. In 2017, 2018, and 2020 I also bought the steelbooks for each film in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, including – I believe – The Rise of Skywalker from Best Buy. Again, I did not get any damaged steelbooks.

I tend to be a pessimist as of late, but I’m going to try and be cautiously optimistic here. I mean, at this time yesterday it looked like I wasn’t going to receive my West Side Story steelbook at all.

Now, my “missing” package is marked, since 9:32 AM Eastern, as being “Out for Delivery” on a delivery vehicle bound for Lithia.

Could be

Who knows?

There’s something due any day

I will know right away

Soon as it shows…. – Stephen Sondheim, “Something’s Coming,” West Side Story

Source: West Side Story (2021) 4K Steelbook (Best Buy Exclusive) thread:

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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