About a week later (December 15) I was checking my credit card balance online and noticed the Amazon transaction was missing. I went into my account at Amazon and there it was, the shipment had not gone out because it's waiting for that one item to become available. Had I not checked my credit card balance I would have had no clue about this as I had no notification from Amazon via email. Even if I had, I don't shop using my work email so my free Yahoo account gets checked intermittently.
So, I canceled the entire order and headed over to Chapters/Indigo.com and found the book for my brother - in stock (I triple checked this time!), free shipping GUARANTEED delivery by December 24th! I purchased the book for my brother and a book for me and breathed a sigh of relief. It was a Christmas miracle!
Or not. My book arrived Thursday the 20th - all alone. I checked my Indigo account and guess what -- my brother's book was actually NOT in stock, though the website said it was. So I went and checked my personal email account and Indigo had emailed me, but I had not checked it yet. Thankfully the item is available at my local Indigo here in Vancouver, but 34% more than on the web.
Not noticing the book was not in stock at Amazon? My fault - unless you consider Amazon could have made it blatantly obvious it was out of stock instead of "Availability - usually ships within x weeks" in regular type on the product page. Or better yet, flagged the stock-out before I had the option of choosing Super Saver Shipping. Not emailing me about it - Amazon's hickup.
Incorrect inventory issue issue - Indigo's fault. Not checking email - my fault, I put too much faith into the integrity of the retailer's inventory. Lesson learned.
However, my question to both booksellers is - what do you have my telephone number for? Especially for the Christmas season when timely delivery is more important than cheaper product or free shipping? Email is not a bulletproof form of customer service communication. Why else would you need my telephone number except in the case that something is wrong with the order?