For those of you who aren’t gadget hounds like I am, a Kindle is an e-book reader. It’s a device that is the size of a very thin paperback book. It has a special “e-ink” screen that is visible in daylight and, with the wireless turned off, only consumes energy for “page turns”. You can go for weeks without recharging the device. You can carry thousands of book in the palm of your hand. It has wireless connectivity so that you can purchase new books anytime you want and if you spring for the 3G option, you can buy books anywhere you want too. I read a lot of books. I typically have a few books “in the queue” but occasionally I’ll run out of reading material and have to wait for my next trip to the city to buy more. When I travel, I’ll bring the book I’m currently reading and one or two more just in case I run out during the trip. I’ll often re-read books I’ve enjoyed so I tend not to sell or give away books I’ve already read. As a result, my book shelves are stuffed way beyond their capacity. So, when the Kindle came out a few years ago, I watched with interest. There were still a few bugs to work out, so I waited. The Kindle was also kind of expensive and...oh yeah...it wasn’t available to us cave-dwelling Canadians. The Kindle 3 was announced in July. It had some nice new features and a great price and was available north of the border, so I decided that I would treat myself for my birthday and ordered one on August 17th. When I placed my order, Amazon couldn’t tell me when my new Kindle would ship. Hmmm. Yesterday, a couple of days into September, Amazon STILL couldn't tell me when my Kindle will ship...not online anyway. What’s going on? Do they honestly not know when they can ship my product? Is the date so bad that they are afraid I’ll go elsewhere? Those among you that have been involved in supply chain, customer service or sales, know that the only thing worse than not shipping a product on the date a customer wants it is not being able to tell the customer when they can expect it. So what is the cause of the delay? Bad Forecast? Supply issues? We just don’t know and likely won’t know until Amazon tells us (if they ever do). Regardless of the cause, what is stopping Amazon with providing me with a delivery date? We all know that there are supply chain analytics available that can be used to identify an expected ship date. Perhaps, being new to the brand owner / manufacturing side of things, Amazon might not yet be aware of what is possible with good supply chain software. Desperate for Amazon to tell me where the heck my Kindle is, I broke down and called customer service and finally got an answer that it should ship likely on September 10th. Why that date wasn't or couldn't be provided online when I checked the status, I don't know. As someone who understands the complexity of the supply chain, I know that sometimes we can’t ship when a customer wants a product. However, as a customer, I want to know when you CAN ship my product. Amazon, you gotta give your customers any insight you can....and don't make them work for it!