This is a picture of Mick, our UPS man, showing how it’s SUPPOSED to be done.
The Photography Shipment
Last October we finished the last of our wedding photo shoots for the season. As is standard I ordered a custom DVD case and DVD as a presentation piece for the couple. I’ve done this many times with no problems. I placed the order and received a confirmation saying the order would be delivered a few days later on that Thursday. Great, no problem. I e-mailed my customer and said I’d have the photos ready for them by the end of the week. They were very excited and anxious to get their pictures!
The next day I received an e-mail from the photo lab saying I’d made a mistake on the order and they couldn’t start the processing until I fixed it. No biggie, I fixed the problem, and called them to upgrade the shipping to next-day to ensure the product still arrived in time to meet my deadline in spite of my goof. It cost me about thirty bucks, but I’d rather lose the money than have a product go out late and lose a customer.
The photo lab always shipped UPS in the past, and both the lab and UPS had always been very, very dependable, so I was surprised with Thursday slipped away into evening and there had been no delivery. I checked the tracking info – for some reason the lab had shipped the order FedEx instead of UPS. My heart sank. FedEx has a nasty habit of delivering our packages to a post office in a town 25 miles away and letting the United States Postal Service make the actual delivery. This would be fine, except when FedEx hands the package off to the USPS they mark it as “Delivered” and claim the package was delivered on time, yet it may take the Post Office several more days to get the package to us. It’s very, very inconvenient when you’re trying to plan something. Sure enough, the package was marked as “Delivered,” yet I had no product.
I e-mailed the photo lab and told them the shipment hadn’t arrived, even though I’d paid quite a bit extra to ensure it would get here on time to meet my commitments. They never answered me. I e-mailed FedEx as well, but I received no response from them either.
The package finally arrived in the mail the next Saturday, and my customer was very understanding about getting their order a day late, but it wasn’t a fun experience for me to explain to them that I couldn’t meet the deadline.
Beloved Wifey and I don’t have much money at the moment, but we did decide to treat ourselves to one holiday gift this year – a cast-iron stovetop grill that caught our attention. “Voodn’t it be nice to be able to grill up a nice chicky-breast?” she said in her neato Germanic accent. “Und you could make sandviches und grilled pineapple. Ve could eat healthy!” So we waited a few days for a sale, then ordered the $25 gadget online (originally $48!) from Amazon.com and called it a Christmas present for both of us.
About a week later I looked up the tracking situation on the griddle doohicky to see when it would be delivered. Hooray – it was to be delivered that very day! Yay! Then I saw who the shipping vendor was and my heart sank. FedEx. We’ve had very bad luck with FedEx in the past. “Well, the tracking software says the grill thing should get here today,” I told Beloved Wifey, “but they sent it FedEx, so it’ll probably be next Monday before it gets here.”
Sure enough, the day came and went with no sign of a FedEx van. We weren’t surprised. The only thing they actually deliver on time is Beloved Wifey’s weekly medical supplies (more on that later).
The next day I waited until past FedEx’s normal delivery time, noted that there still wasn’t a neat grill/griddle thingy sitting by my door, and decided to let Amazon.com know that the delivery was late, just so they know. I went to their website, clicked on the “I Haven’t Received My Package” button, and wrote a short note saying the package isn’t real time-sensitive and it’s not a big problem that it’s late, but FedEx hasn’t delivered the package yet. I turned back to my work and didn’t think any more about it. Until half an hour later when I noticed another tracking e-mail from Amazon.com in my inbox.
Amazon.com had immediately shipped out a duplicate order, with rush shipping and a guarantee that the product would arrive the very next day (a Saturday). I was VERY impressed at how fast they handled it! But I was also rather embarrassed – I didn’t need the grill/griddle doohicky the next day, I just wanted to let Amazon.com know that their shipping vendor bobbled their order. I went online and hit the “Life Chat” button at Amazon.com and explained the whole thing to a very nice lady, “I don’t need the second order, I was just letting you know FedEx isn’t very trustworthy around here.” But I was too late – they’d already shipped the duplicate. (It had only been about forty minutes since I’d pushed the “Shipment Did Not Arrive” button. Amazon is GOOD.)
The next day, Saturday, came and went with no shipment. I e-mailed Amazon.com and let them know (this time explicitly stating I didn’t need them to do anything to fix the problem other than let their shipping department know that FedEx missed a “guaranteed” ship date).
I e-mailed FedEx to let them know I was not amused, and that Beloved Wifey gets very expensive medical supplies delivered every week. “It’s not a big deal that our Christmas present was delayed, but the medical supplies are fragile, perishable, and if my wife doesn’t get them on time it could mean some serious health issues for her. Please, when you say you’re going to deliver something to our door, DO IT. Don’t send it to the post office.” (I got a message back about five days later saying, in its entirety, “The package was delivered on the 17th. I hope this resolves the issue.”)
We did get our Christmas grill/griddle chingus the next week, and a duplicate a day later that we now have to ship back. I’ll ship it via UPS.
As I mentioned before, Beloved Wifey gets medical supplies shipped to us on a weekly basis. We were sad when we learned the pharmacy was using FedEx rather than UPS, but there’s not much we can do about it. These shipments are the only time I have any interaction with a FedEx driver as most of the time they choose to send our shipments to us through the post office rather than do their job and deliver the packages to our door – but they must have instructions not to do that with Wifey’s medical treatments as they do deliver them personally.
When we order things that are shipped via UPS the delivery is a glorious occasion. We know about what time Mick, the UPS driver, will be by, so we can watch out the window for him. He always pulls up with a smile and a wave, hugs our dogs, gives them puppy treats, chats with me for fifteen seconds, then smiles and waves and off he goes!
The FedEx guy, on the other hand, has never once smiled. He doesn’t interact at all with our dogs and tries to sort of kick-push ’em out of his way (he’s not kicking our dogs, but he’s not being nice to them either) when he comes up to the porch. He doesn’t come at the same time of day, so I can’t be ready for him and have the dogs kenneled – which I hate doing anyway. He has to know that the packages with the big medical stickers all over them are important, but he just throws it on the ground anyway. Last week I saw him coming up the driveway, kenneled the dogs, and opened the door to see him standing there. He’s literally six inches away from me. He knocked on the door, looked me right in the eye, dropped the package, and walked away without a word. That could have been a $1,500 thud he heard when he dropped it. (The infusions were okay, but it worried me nonetheless.)
This morning Beloved Wifey got a call from the pharmacy in Omaha. It turns out FedEx says they may not be able to deliver her package this week (no explanation), so the pharmacy is sending someone to drive the package up to us in person today. That’s a round trip of about 260 miles that someone has to make because their preferred shipping vendor can’t handle the Christmas rush.
When we use UPS, we never, ever, ever have any problems. The packages are delivered on time, every time. But when we see we’re getting a shipment from FedEx it’s always a crap shoot…