Christmas Postponed

After the big e-holiday: a mountain of packages, a blizzard of complaints

For want of a light saber, a toy drum, a doll, a jigsaw puzzle and a Slinky, Elizabeth Bernard almost stopped believing in the e-commerce Santa Claus. The Louisiana mother of three and veteran online shopper chose her presents at Sears' wishbook.com way back on Dec. 6--well within the holiday-delivery comfort zone. But by Dec. 14, her $250 box of goodies was still stuck in cyber limbo. She dialed customer service, and a cheery representative told Bernard that her order didn't exist. More than 10 anguished calls later, she clicked on FAO Schwarz fao.com) which rushed the...

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