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Sloth Service: The Beauty of Delayed Gratification

Sloth Service: The Beauty of Delayed Gratification

Today, when one orders stuff, purchases come immediately. Customer-service experts are hustling to find ways to get us our stuff faster and faster. The race is on to achieve next-day delivery. Same-day delivery. Even same-hour delivery.

Like most people, I enjoy instant gratification. I love to receive a pizza while it is still hot from the oven. But I think Amazon and other retailers are missing out on a big opportunity. Sloth Service.

Back in the last century, we had to wait for almost everything. We’d write our order on a piece of paper and mail it in. Weeks would drift by before a package showed up at our door. And that was wonderful. 

Why? Because it gave a perfect excuse for procrastination. 

She: “Honey. When are you going to paint the bedroom?”
Me: “I’m still waiting for the special paint brush I ordered. It won’t arrive for at least two more weeks.”

She: “Should we invite the Atkins over for dinner?”
Me: “No. Not yet. I’m waiting for the fondue pot I ordered.”

She: “When are you going to clean up your work room?”
Me: “Can’t get to it. Waiting for the storage bins I ordered.”

Today, the damn paint brush might arrive moments after I submit my order. I have no excuse not to start the project. None.


The solution: I’d be willing to pay a slight premium for Sloth Service—a significant slow down in the delivery process. An extra two weeks for many products would help. And for especially ugly projects like plumbing, yard work, and fancy dinner parties, it would help to be able to select a two-month shipping delay...or more.

Pittsburgh, June 28, 2018


Comments on this post (7)

  • Jul 12, 2018

    Gary Moyer wins the comments!

    I have no idea how this meshes, but because I have a rough case of “old-timers” and would forget ordering things by the time they showed up… somehow this sloth delivery thing fits in nicely with my favorite A.A. Milne quote, which went something like “One of the advantages of being untidy is that one is always making surprising discoveries!”

    — Alexandra Aldrich

  • Jun 30, 2018

    I work for a shipping company, let’s just say that I wear brown a lot. My whole day is based on getting crap to people before they forget why they ordered it.
    For those extra special packages with important parts for a project? Go online and have the package delivery date changed. We’ll hold it for you. Not sloth service but a close second.

    — Shelley Dell

  • Jun 29, 2018

    And don’t forget the check had to clear before tge item was sent.

    — Renee Ford

  • Jun 29, 2018

    I get odd looks when I mention mail order turn around times before 1-800 orders. Don’t forget we first had to send a request by mail for the catalog which took a few weeks to be processed and wait a few weeks for it to arrive.

    And if ordered from overseas, sea mail could take six months or more.

    We had to be patient and while I’m an Amazon Prime customer who relies heavily on them, I constantly remind myself of the joy of receiving an item ordered so many months previously that at my current age, I would have completely forgotten about placing the order🌝

    — Renee Ford

  • Jun 28, 2018

    It seems somehow “inapprioate” to comment on sloth service only minutes after reading the blog. Perhaps I should wait a week or two.

    — Gary Moyer

  • Jun 28, 2018

    It’s wonderful to peer into the innermost thoughts of a fellow Yinzer.

    Having a local Amazon service center would foul all this up. Fingers crossed.

    — Brandon

  • Jun 28, 2018

    Send a SASE for pricelist, wait 4-6 weeks for delivery…..

    — afeman

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