As with many plans, sometimes things never quite work out as intended. Take for example, my initiative to buy 300 pairs of solar viewing glasses from American Paper Optics, LLC.
I received the solar viewers on 10 August. Right away, I knew there was something wrong. A slim manilla envelope just couldn’t contain 300 solar viewers.
I was right, it contained eight speciality viewers, four of “cowboy” shades and four “alien” shades.
Obviously there has been a serious mix-up at the source. In view of this complication and the late date, my only option to get solar viewers here in time for people who want them, is to order the hand-held units from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).
However the cost is more than double. These viewers will cost me about $2.50 each to get them here. (Actually it will be a little more than that, based upon my previous order of fifty). The last day for RASC shipping is Monday and even then there is no guarantee they will be here on time.
Although I could not contact everyone who requested the glasses, I did manage to reach a sufficient number to feel confident that I would personally not have to absorb a huge bill and own a supply of solar viewers. I don’t mind taking on a small incidental cost, but when it comes to a few hundred dollars, it is a bit much.
Consequently I contacted Julia Neeser at the RASC National Office and ordered 300 of the viewers. Julia was of tremendous assistance, offering to post the package the same day ensuring (I hope) that Canada Post will have them to me early next week.
While I am disappointed with American Paper Optics, they are a reputable firm. I suppose the error in shipments could be attributable to the intense interest in the United States in this event. It doesn’t make it any more palatable but as long as humans are involved, errors and mistakes will occur and I accept that.
I just hope they are as understanding when I ask for my refund.
I am still convinced I will have solar viewers here for the people interested in the partial solar eclipse. At the end of the day, if everyone gets to see the event with no vision damage then everyone will be happy, and that is what this exercise is meant to achieve.