I thought a ceramic pot would be terrific for baking no-knead French bread. I mean, for my husband to continue baking the no-knead French bread to which he has succeeded in addicting the family. So I ordered an Emile Henry Ceramique tous feux (flameproof ceramic) pot from Amazon. A week later a box with a happy Amazon smile on the side arrived — with clinking contents that didn't sound so happy and that turned out to look the way they sounded. Online, I found Amazon's convenient Returns page, filed for a replacement, printed out a return label, lugged the rattling carton to the UPS Store, and awaited a new shipment.
On the second day of Christmas (sing it!) from Amazon to me: a second broken pot, like the first box of broken pottery! Online I repeated the Amazon Returns drill, this time adding an Amazon Packaging Comment: like, why not put padding around the pot, girl? (Box #2, I noticed while setting it aside for later lugging to UPS, didn't have a smile on it, but then neither did my face.)
On the third day of Christmas ... guess what? Sing it if you want; I wasn't in the mood. The third box, like its predecessor, lacked a smile, and it boasted even less padding. For some reason the luckless vessel within had been shipped upside down, with (by this time) predictable impacts on its well-being as you can see from the photos I took to defend myself in case I was charged with pot crimes.
Shattered shipment No. 1 had felt merely inconvenient to receive. No. 2 was downright frustrating. With No. 3 it began to feel a little like a game. Would Amazon keep sending me Emile Henry pots — they're not cheap — all the way to the verse that would let me belt out "Five broken things!" and even beyond it?
But a holiday spirit intervened. I took pity on Amazon and called its well-hidden Customer Service number to request a refund. I'll buy the pot from a local bricks-and-mortar store, which a still, small voice (whispering "Support local small businesses!") had been telling me I should have done in the first place. (Hmm-m, there's a sale on ceramic pots at Mrs. Cook's in University Village... )