05/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Will Collier's Lost Amazon Package 'Eaten By Alligator,' Rep Claims

Online shopping has become increasingly mainstream and reliable, with ecommerce sites enabling customers to buy everything from mojitos to makeup to massages over the web.

Yet one of the most frustrating aspects of net shopping can be waiting for your goods to arrive.

Will Collier, an customer, recently suffered an extended wait time in receiving goods he'd ordered online, and was offered one of the most surprising and unexpected excuses ever for the delay: he was told his package had been eaten by an alligator.

He phoned up Amazon's customer service department to locate his missing package, The Consumerist reports, but instead of getting his purchase, he ended up being fed a fish tale of epic proportions.

He explains the situation in his blog,

I swear, I am not making any of this up.

So I ordered a computer part from Amazon. We have Amazon Prime, and the part was supposed to show up yesterday, but never did. I called Amazon's 800 number this morning (actually 866-216-1072, if you want to note it for future reference), and got a female rep with not-so-good English. After quite a thrash getting my information, she allegedly called the shipper (long time on hold for me) and came back to say they had told her my package would not be delivered...

... because it had been eaten by an alligator.

Again, I swear, I am not making this up.

I made her repeat it about five times. "It may have been a different animal" was as far as she'd budge off of this story.

I called the shipper after I got off the line, they said, "WHAT?!?", and went on to tell me the package is on the truck and should arrive today. So I called Amazon back, and kept at it until I reached a native English speaker. He said, "WHAT?!?!?"

According to both the shipper and the non-alligator Amazon rep, the package is still on its way, and allegedly does not have any large tooth marks. I may not ever get the part, but at least I'm giving people some good stories to tell today...

Collier later wrote that the package was indeed lost and that Amazon was remailing him a new one. There was no more mention of alligators.

Considering Amazon's light-hearted (at times) approach to customer service, we're surprised they handled this outlandish snafu so seriously. Back in 2007, a Customer Relations employee sent a tongue-in-cheek reply to a customer's mock-outraged complaint. It included the lines: 'Take heart; Norman Mailer wrote all of his novels by hand. And you've surely heard the phrase, "the pen is mightier than the sword"? It would sound absurd to substitute "laptop" for the word "pen."'

If anyone frequents the 'lost mail auctions' at the Atlanta Mail Recovery Center, keep an eye out for a box riddled with puncture wounds.

Do you have a wild tale of online-shopping-gone-wrong? Send it to us at!