On the Joys and Pitfalls of Online Shopping: “…But Wait! There’s More!”

Well, with the recent arrival of my Ultimate Collector’s Edition set of West Side Story – it arrived at 3:49 PM Eastern yesterday – I can now say that this bit of my online shopping story is safely in the rear-view mirror of my life. Yes, the Best Buy Limited Edition Steelbook bit was unnecessarily stressful, but everything worked out in the end; I got my nicely-packaged extra extra copy of West Side Story, and it arrived sans dents, scratches, or a damaged spine.

Alas, I can’t same the same thing about my February 1 preorder of Deutsche Grammophon’s John Williams/Berliner Philharmoniker: The Berlin Concert – Deluxe Edition, which was released on Friday, March 4 (the day before my 59th birthday) in the United States. After watching the status of that order on a daily basis for over two weeks and not seeing “the needle move” from We’ll let you know when your order will ship and seeing that a third-party Amazon seller offered the four-disc set at a lower price (I-Deals Store offers it for $29.14 plus Florida sales taxes compared to Amazon’s $38.99 + taxes), I canceled my “direct from Amazon” order and re-ordered The Berlin Concert from I-Deals.

(C) 2022 Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

That proved to be a good move; not only will my bill be lower, but I have a definite delivery window of March 23-March 25 via the U.S. Postal Service. A tracking number was generated, and it is listed in my Informed Delivery account as a scheduled incoming package. Because I did the canceling/re-ordering bit late on Friday afternoon, and because today is Sunday, I won’t see any details on the package’s tracking system.

I’m not angry with Amazon, at least not enough to wrangle with Customer Service about a problem that I resolved by tweaking my order and going with a third-party seller with an Amazon storefront. I am, however, bemused that one of the world’s largest e-retailers assured me time and time again that my order was being prepared for shipment…for more than two weeks, and for a product that Amazon said was In Stock.

(C) 2022 Paramount Home Media Distribution

This week will see yet another pending pre-order being sent – the “affordable” ($79.19) 4K UHD-only The Godfather Trilogy set that Paramount Home Media Distribution is releasing on Tuesday as an alternative to the $167.99 Deluxe Limited Edition box set. 2022, of course, is the Golden Anniversary year of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, so of course Paramount is rolling out pricey box sets of the trilogy, which incidentally comes with Coppola’s recent re-edited version of The Godfather III, which was released in 2020 as The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, in addition to the (much-maligned) 1990 original cut.

Oddly, I don’t know why I pre-ordered the 4K The Godfather Trilogy set; until 2013 I did not own any of the Godfather movies on any home media format. I’ve never been a fan of Mafia movies – perhaps because The Godfather was the first “made for adults” crime drama I saw as a kid (my mom and older half-sister wanted to see it, and I guess they could not find a sitter to watch nine-year-old me, so they packed me along to the Tropicaire Drive-In theater. I didn’t understand the film’s plot because I was still learning English, but I was horrified by the infamous “horse’s head in the bed” sequence and the “Michael’s revenge” montage) and I had no fond memories of The Godfather.

Since my purchase of The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration in April 2013, I’ve learned to appreciate Coppola’s Corleone saga, but I’m still shaking my head in wonder about wanting to own the “cheaper” The Godfather Trilogy 4K set. Maybe it’s the whole 50-years-since-1972 thing; my life was altered forever after a cerebral hemorrhage sent me to a hospital in Bogota not long after my ninth birthday, and we “reverse migrated” back to Miami on my pediatrician’s advice not long after I finished rehab and was discharged. Most of the changes were good, but the trio of Mom, my older half-sister, and me was forever sundered from the rest of the family in Colombia. Not estranged, certainly, but almost so. And as happy as my American life has been – or was, I should say – I think the separation is like an unhealed wound in my psyche.

Anyway. Yeah. I have two orders due to arrive later this week – that Berlin Concert set from DG, and Paramount’s 4K set with The Godfather Trilogy.

Let’s hope that neither order goes through the odyssey that my West Side Story Limited Edition Steelbook experienced!  

Coda: Missing my mom a lot today.

Sure, I don’t think about my mother every second of every day. You can drive yourself crazy if you let grief be the dominant emotion in your life. And, as unhappy as I often get here (far from my old home, far from friends, and all that) I have moved on…somewhat.

But it’s when I get movies like last year’s West Side Story (a film Mom would have loved) that I miss her the most.

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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