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‘So many days you passed me by See the tear standing in my eye.’

From “Mr. Postman” by The Beatles

“Money can’t buy me love,” the Beatles sang.

Or an on-time Christmas delivery, it appears.

My kids, one 35, the other 32, get increasingly difficult to buy for each year. I’m pleased their jobs allow them to pretty much want for nothing, but Christmas calls for gifts. And that has become a real problem.

Except this year.

I am proud to report I have raised a couple of Beatles fans. And when I saw that a 50th anniversary edition of the Beatles’ famed “White Album” had been released a couple of months ago, replete with recordings of rehearsal sessions and a book detailing the making of the album, I knew this year’s gift shopping would be a no-brainer. A White Album for each of them. Boom.

I’m not much of an online shopper, much preferring to go into a store and examine an item before purchasing. But since my kids have been known to travel during the holidays (never to Pennsylvania, unfortunately) in order to get their gifts to them in a timely fashion, I figured the internet was the only way to go.

Turns out I figured wrong.

I purchased the albums, one for each of them, with ease at a site called and, even though it was only Dec. 8, decided to spring for express shipping, despite the excessive cost. These are my children, after all, and I wanted them to have their gifts before they hit the road.

The transaction was so smooth I decided to continue shopping online and in a matter of an hour or so had sent each of them all sorts of gifts I was sure would bring smiles to their faces. I closed my laptop, put my credit card away, and went to bed happy.

Only to be awakened at 4 a.m. by a text message.

My credit card company wanted to know if I had purchased a $415 wig at a store in Manhattan sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. As much as I could use a good wig, I had not, and responded with an emphatic “no” which prompted another message instructing me to call an 800 number. I crawled back into bed figuring I would make that call first thing in the morning.

Then I thought of how much credit card damage could be done over the next couple of hours and leapt out of bed and dashed downstairs and grabbed my phone.

There had already been a second unauthorized purchase at The American Girl store. Fortunately, those were the only two and the person from the bank said I would not be held responsible for the charges. She also said I should cut up my card immediately and she would overnight me a new one with a new number. Which she did.

No harm, no foul, as they sometimes say in basketball.

Now, back to The Beatles.

Greta’s album arrived in Austin, Texas, without a hitch. Michael’s, however, sent to his home in Los Angeles, was another story. Since I knew he had plans to spend the holidays skiing, snowmobiling and even dog sledding in Colorado, his was the one I particularly wanted to arrive early. But it didn’t show up on the promised date. Or the one after that. Or the one after that.

After reconciling that the money I spent for “1 to 3 day express shipping” was a waste, I did receive an email with a link to the United States Postal Service site, so things were looking up. I went to the site and was informed my package would be delivered on Dec. 13. That was a full five days from the time I ordered it, but I am a reasonable person and, given the busy holiday season, was satisfied that at least it would arrive in plenty of time.

But Dec. 13 came and went and no White Album at my son’s door. No White Album on the 14th either. Or the 15th. Or the 16th. Or the 17th. The most frustrating part is that I kept going back to the USPS tracking site and kept getting the same message: my package “will be” delivered on Dec. 13. In other words, my package “will be delivered” four days ago. The operative, and confounding word being “will.”

In desperation I sent an email to and got an immediate response. “We solved the problem,” they wrote, just click on the link below. It took me to the USPS site. And the same “will be delivered Dec. 13” message.

We exchanged about a dozen emails, and I, and as far as I can tell from their customer service person the fault was all mine. Apparently, the term “express” means something different to them than it does to me.

The package, I am happy to say, eventually did arrive. On Dec. 18, ten days after I ordered it.

Every time I think of blowing that money for “express” shipping ($85, I am embarrassed to say), the Beatles song “I Shoulda Known Better” comes to mind. After all, this is a band that thinks there are eight days in a week.

Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist every week. Look for his blogs during the week at