One picnic basket is enough for Axel Andersson.
So when a friend sent him another as a gift this summer, the Highland Park resident called Amazon and asked how to return it.
He was told to print a return authorization form from the company's website and put it in the box with the basket. Andersson printed the form July 9 but did not put the box outside his door for pickup the next day because he did not believe UPS would arrive that quickly.
On the form he printed out, it said a UPS driver would pick up the package "within the next 2-5 business days."
As luck would have it, there was another delivery to Andersson's house July 10 — a Rosle brand barbecue grill his wife had purchased directly from the German manufacturer.
Because the family was not home when the grill arrived, the deliveryman left the box on Andersson's doorstep.
Later that day, the UPS driver arrived a day early to pick up the picnic basket and saw just one box on the doorstep, the one containing the barbecue grill.
Thinking it was the box to be returned to Amazon, the UPS driver grabbed it and shipped it to Amazon's warehouse in Lexington, Ky.
When Andersson arrived home from work July 10, he found a receipt from UPS and quickly realized what happened.
He called Amazon and explained the situation. Initially, Amazon offered a $100 voucher to repurchase the grill and its accessories from Amazon.com, he said.
Andersson declined, saying the grill cost his wife nearly $500.
He asked the representative to find the grill and send it back to him.
"I asked how long it will take before they get back to me and I got the answer 24 to 48 hours," Andersson said.
Four days later, he still hadn't heard back from Amazon, so he called again. A representative told him she would "escalate" his request, he said.
When he emailed What's Your Problem? on July 23, Andersson said he was stuck in a seemingly endless loop of obfuscation.
"Today I again emailed Amazon and I got the answer that it can take up to four weeks before I hear back from them," he said. "I find this ridiculous, since they clearly have acknowledged they have received the package and someone just needs to authorize it to send it back to me."
Time is ticking, he said.
"I was hoping to enjoy my grill this year and not next summer, which I feel is what is going to happen with the speed Amazon is operating," Andersson said. "If you go to Amazon's Web page, it says very clearly they have (the grill)."
The Problem Solver called Amazon and described Andersson's situation.
On Tuesday, Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel said his company has a policy of not discussing individual customer accounts.
"So I won't be able to comment for your piece," Stanzel wrote. "However, I trust you'll be in touch with Mr. Andersson for the latest prior to your piece running."
A short time later, an Amazon representative called Andersson and told him the grill had been destroyed in transit. The representative offered him a $500 credit so he could repurchase the grill and its accessories from Amazon.com.
He gladly accepted.
Andersson said he has decided not to return the picnic basket.
"I still have that one," he said. "I think I'm going to give it to somebody or donate it to Goodwill. I don't think I'm going to take any more chances of sending it back."