They'd sent it to the wrong house again. He was getting sick of it. He'd ordered it a long time ago, and he knew at the time it wasn't going to arrive for a good while. It had been a crowdfunding campaign, and they had missed their deadline of delivery multiple times by now, but early shipments had been going out, and he'd been a part of it. Supposedly.
He thought he'd been one of the lucky ones, but for some reason the package just would not arrive.
It was a custom-made action figure at 1:6 scale, the standard, about 12 inches tall and -- if the photos of the finished product could be believed -- detailed as hell. It was one of the main side characters of an old science fiction show -- Jabok from Starship Armada -- and he'd always been his favorite character.
But they had sent it to the wrong city the first time they had shipped it out -- if they had actually shipped it, that is -- and it had been returned to sender soon after. They hadn't even let him know it had been shipped in the first place, providing him with a tracking link by the time the full timeline had already been completed. The last step? Successfully returned to sender. Nobody to receive the package.
He'd seen others on the crowdfunding site who had encountered the same issue, so he didn't bother to get in touch. The response to the others had been apologetic promises that they would be sent out properly soon after, and even some messages that the new shipments had already gone out.
It took a few weeks before he heard anything else. Out of nowhere he received a tracking link in the mail and it indicated his package was at a shipment hub not too far from his city. It would ship out in the morning, and would likely be delivered to his house on -- what luck! -- Saturday afternoon.
He waited at home, because he didn't want to run the risk of missing the delivery. He'd eaten random things he still had in his fridge, because he had planned on going to the supermarket that day, but obviously he wasn't going to anymore.
He kept reloading the tracking link page, and at a certain point it said that the package had been picked up by a driver. It was on its way.
He was excited. He wasn't much of a collector, but when he liked something, he had to have it.
Jabok definitely fit the bill. He didn't have any other Starship Armada merchandise, but when he'd gotten the message from a friend that the campaign was up, he immediately backed it. Early bird backer, baby, guaranteeing him a spot in the first set of shipments.
He looked at his glass case, where the few items he did have of random television shows, movies, and comics, were displayed. He wasn't one of those creeps that didn't want to unpack his merchandise. He took things out of their packaging, but he did store them in a safe space. He smiled. The collector's items he had were special to him. He didn't have them just so he could have them, offering them up for resale when they became too rare and inaccessible, like a lot of collectors he knew.
He had them because he wanted them. They were his.
But he didn't have Jabok. And that bummed him out.
He waited all day and kept reloading the tracking page. For a long while it said the driver was on his way, but eventually it said 'Delivered'. He was confused. His doorbell hadn't rung. He'd been sitting in silence for the past hour, and he reloaded once again to make sure it was correct.
This was it. Somebody had accepted his package, and it wasn't even theirs! He was going to contact the campaign owners and demand that they send it to the right address as soon as possible.
He reached out through the comments of a recent post about bad shipments at first, but he felt he got lost in the crowd. A lot of people were saying the same thing, and the people who ran the campaign weren't responding very quickly anymore.
So he tracked down an email address they had posted in a previous update, and sent an email asking where his Jabok was.
For a week, he heard nothing. He sent another email demanding an answer, referring to his previous email.
A day later he got a response.
"Thank you for writing. We acknowledge that we've had shipment issues, and we switched shipping partners recently to solve these. However, our records show your package (Jabok, Starship Armada, as ordered) was delivered over a month ago. If this is in error, please let us know."
He screamed in annoyance. He closed the laptop and threw it on the couch. He sauntered over to his glass case, to calm down a little, and looked at the figures he did have.
Liu, from Serendipity. Not his favorite, but it had the best stance -- halfway through an attack, blade whip seemingly spinning about. Awesome, still.
John Laser, from a terrible comic that he didn't even enjoy that much, but there had always been something about this character that made him think of a friend of his, and for that reason it meant something.
Jabok, from Starship Armada. One of the few alien races on the ship, but with a wisdom the other characters often got to learn from. He'd ordered it months ago and even though it had taken a while to get here, he'd been very content with the quality of the figure once he'd taken it out of its packaging.
And then there was his favorite -- also the first he ever put in this case -- Mari, from a movie he'd seen as a kid. He hadn't understood the movie at all then, but he'd liked her. And when he grew up, he'd rewatched it, and it had held up surprisingly well over that time. And he'd still liked Mari.
He had a feeling his order would never actually come in.
He wrote an angry response to the email.
It was all he could do.