Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Delivery That Doesn't Come

As we know, millions of Americans are still waiting for the delivery of Christmas gifts. I'm one of them.

A gift was ordered a couple of weeks ago for pre-Christmas delivery via FedEx. To date, it still isn't here, though supposedly it left Albuquerque at 4:00am today for delivery... sometime.

We know not when though "Saturday" was listed as the "probable delivery date." Maybe. Who knows?

I loved the excuses UPS and FedEx had ready: "there was so much bad weather and so many more people ordered stuff online we just couldn't get your stuff to you before Christmas. Too bad, so sad."

Contrast that with the unofficial Post Office motto:

"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." - Herodotus, 503 B.C.

Perhaps UPS and FedEx will assure us they'll do better-- promise --once the Post Office goes out of business.

FedEx has been the worst, airily proclaiming that the company "experienced no major service disruptions in the week before Christmas despite heavy volume. Every single package is important to us, and we will continue to work directly with customers to address any isolated incidents."

.. so what? Big deal. Get over it.

At least UPS has had the balls to apologize, but still, it seems perfectly obvious what happened.

The private sector delivery services decided that maximizing profits were more important that customer service, and so they didn't hire enough people and they didn't contract for enough extra vehicles to handle the expected holiday volume of packages quickly and efficiently enough to get them to their destinations as promised, and they didn't bother to accurately update their customers on the whereabouts of their items. But they charged full price -- and even a premium -- for inadequate service, and even if they wind up refunding some shipping charges, they will still make out like the bandits they have decided to be.

It's that simple.

What we will find after this experiment in making people miserable and getting away with it is that in the future, "guaranteed delivery" will mean, "maybe" -- sorta/kinda -- in that ballpark, give or take ten days. But if you pay enough and have a private account, anything might be delivered within the hour.

Two tiers.

Don't you see?

Ho ho ho, the yoke's on us.

UPDATE:  Ho ho ho, little did I know.

The Package, this package which was ordered for Christmas delivery, didn't arrive until December 30, and I had to go pick it up. At the Post Office. It was ordered from Vermont Country Store on December 17, and was shipped by them, they said via FedEx Ground, on December 18. Expected arrival, December 23. It took a week longer and I had to pick it up because it was actually shipped via FedEx under contract to the Post Office, and that the shipper of record was the Post Office, not FedEx, although the tracking information was via FedEx. In fact, there was no sign on our end that this was not a regular FedEx shipment. Apparently the package was delivered to a sorting facility in Denver on Dec 20 where it then sat until Dec 26, when it left for Albuquerque, where it arrived on December 27. It went out from Albuquerque on the way to our local Post Office on December 28 (as we were informed it would "probably" be delivered Saturday Dec 28 -- after sitting in Denver for almost a week), but the local Post Office is closed on Saturday. There is no home postal delivery in this area; we have to go to the Post Office to pick up our mail. FedEx, of course, ordinarily doesn't home deliver on Saturdays unless with specific instructions. So even if it had been shipped via FedEx alone and not under contract with the Post Office, there would have been little or no chance of receiving it on Saturday, Dec. 28 in any case. The tracking information was updated on Monday, Dec. 30, to read "Delivery exception -- see your Post Office to pick up or call to reschedule delivery." First we knew that the Post Office had anything to do with it. I go to the Post Office, and sure enough, there's the package, with no sign whatsoever that FedEx had ever handled it at all. All the labels, everything, say USPS. Very intriguing. I knew that the Post Office used FedEx when volume is high, but I thought the point of doing so is not to delay but to expedite shipments. (The Federal Government uses FedEx rather than the Post Office for sending many -- we might even say most -- paper communications between offices. It's a very cozy deal for FedEx.)   In this case, it seemed the delay in Denver was quite deliberate, one might say strategic, on the part of FedEx, for the Post Office would receive the blame, no?  Of course....

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