Mar 252016

I had to return something to the other day.

The process was simple. Amazon provided for printing at home a return label and a bar-code to include with the item. It took a minute to print them out. It took five minutes to pack. Per Amazon’s instructions, I dropped the package off at my local UPS store, about a mile away. The UPS clerk scanned my label and handed me a receipt. I was in the store no more than 30 seconds.

Literally before I got home, Amazon had emailed an acknowledgement — its computer system obviously talks to the UPS system more or less in real time. Two days later (even before, I suspect, the package had reached Amazon’s returns center), Amazon had credited my payment card. No muss, no fuss. Did I mention that the item had reached me less than 48 hours after I hit the order button?

Things aren’t quite so speedy if you want to change your address with the Internal Revenue Service. “It can take four to six weeks for a change of address request to be fully processed.”

Hmmm. Maybe we should put Jeff Bezos in charge of the IRS.

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