We had seen several large books of invitations at an office supply store near our home in Santa Clara. The books said that you could rush order invitations for three day delivery. The extra cost, around $15, seemed negligible considering the extra time this gave us to write our invitation text, to figure out exactly how many to order, and to figure out exactly which style we liked best.
Once we finalized our invitation text, we called the office supply store near our old home (we’d moved by now, remember) to find the store nearest our new home. Unfortunately, there weren’t any nearby. The closest store was in Pleasanton ... about thirty minutes away. We called them to find out their hours. They closed at nine. We set off to make the final selection on the invitations themselves (we already had a pretty good idea which ones we wanted) at about 7pm, on a Monday evening.
We figured we’d have our invitations Thursday or Friday and could get those destined for friends and family who lived far away into the mail before the weekend. This would have these invitations arriving two full months before the date of our party ... the largest "polite" lead time quoted by bridal etiquette books.
We arrived at the McWhorter’s in Pleasanton around 7:30pm and began looking through the invitation catalogs for the exact invitation we wanted. By a little after 8:00pm we had selected the invitation, the reply card, the font, the color, the lining .... all of the little components you must order individually. We began working with one of the stationery clerks. She had to confirm all of our decisions and write in each of our choices on the specific form associated with the company whose catalog from which we had selected our invitations. Apparently each company has their own form, slightly (or hugely) different rules about how to complete each form, what must be ordered if you order this thing or that thing, which things you can order in volumes of whatever ... etc. etc. etc.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s true: IRS Tax Forms are more clear!
Well, it was approaching quarter to nine when we began discussing the delivery date for our invitations. The clerk was talking about two to three weeks return time. We said, "No, but we’re going to pay for the rush ordering which is three days turnaround."
We said, "The catalogs say you can pay a rush fee and receive your invitations in three days."
Guarded blank stare.
She said, "You’ll have to talk to the Stationery specialist about that. As far as I know, these all take two to three weeks ..."
As I less and less calmly "discussed" this with the clerk, Tori started looking at the catalog we’d used and then through others on the shelves. It turns out that only a couple of the companies supported the three day turn around, rush fee. The one we happened to have selected our invitation from, of course, did not. Tori was able to find our same invitation in the catalog of a company that would rush orders.
We showed the catalog, the invitation, and the page of the catalog stating the rush policy to the clerk.
Glance at the clock. Blank stare.
"It’s almost nine. We close at nine. We’d have to fill out an entirely new form. You’ll have to come back tomorrow."
Well, Tuesday I had an off-site class that my employer was paying for, Tori had just started at her new job and wasn't comfortable bailing out for a half-day, AND that evening we were going to a KISS concert.
Not exactly an easy day to do it on ... and Wednesday meant now we wouldn’t be getting those invitations back until the following week.
It got unpleasant. We left wishing evil on the stationery bitch at the Pleasanton McWhorters. May she rot.
The solution: We skipped out of work stuff, not that we really could/should. We just did. We left for the southbay around lunchtime. Went to the McWhorter’s near our old home, found a catalog of a company that did support three day turnaround, found our invitations, placed the order and had time to meet our friends for dinner with whom we ate and then headed off for the KISS show.
That was just ordering them.