Simple Ideas

USPS vs UPS

Business | April 7, 2012

About every 18 months, it seems, I cross paths with a company called UPS. I don't initiate the process. It rarely ends well. This story is no different, I expect. Though it has yet to end.

It started with me ordering an iPad using the points on my AMEX card. The iPad was completely free, no shipping even. Nice. But then the problems started.

I got the order filled notice from AMEX, but no ship notice. No idea how it was coming. Then I find the UPS notice saying I missed the shipment and they would be back the next day after 5. No problem, I'd be home by then and could meet the delivery as it appeared it was a "signature required" at time of delivery deal.

I should probably mention that I don't need to sign for stuff. No body bothers stuff left on my porch. They just don't. I mean when I first moved in to the neighborhood there were a few problems. But that was back when I worked in private industry. Now that I'm in the government working with the electronic surveillance guys and special warfare guys, well, the people who used to monkey around with stuff on my porch haven't been seen in years. And the folks who might think of monkeying around seem to have gotten the message. Bottom line, i can leave a laundry basket full of cash on my front porch and no one messes with it. So really, one nondescript cardboard box is not a concern for me. But I suspect it is for the legal folks at UPS and AMEX. So I won't have my iPad when I fly off to teach tomorrow.

But I did try. Of course you can't talk to a real person at UPS. Or not a real one that can do anything. I tried the customer service number and got the standard push a bunch of numbers response. Then the website gives you the option to route an email to India and get an answer in 24 hours. Also not good given my flight status.

But I did send the email about the delivery estimate. They estimated after 5 PM and came by at 11AM. Not even close. I got a note from their Duty BS officer who explained that you know the little block they check is just an estimate and you know, basically, its not worth the paper it is written on, so you know, chill dude. We'll try again on Monday. Which is when I'll be out of state. That wasn't going to work.

So i thought "hey if they leave it at the local UPS store, I can pick it up there!". I call the local UPS store and try to explain the issue. The answer "Oh we are just the store, here call this number!" (same number as the push button system I already tried.) This was UPS's big chance to snatch victory, but they, it seems, are firmly committed to defeat.

And here is where the USPS people really have an edge that I hope they exploit. The people at the office are not "just the store" they are the same organization. They should be able to get it from "the truck" to "the store" so I can pick it up. Basically my only hope with UPS would have been to hunt down the truck. And in fact I'd have been happy to do that. I'm sure they have GPS locator's that could tell me "your truck is at 30th and El Cajon and the next delivery will be 30th and University". I could track that down and pick it up from the truck driver. But no, can't get that info. So in the end about all I can do is reroute it to my work. And since that is on a military base, it's even money that they won't be able to deliver depending if it is the regular driver or a new guy (been there done that 18 months ago.)

Nearing the end of this saga I did turn over the UPS form that was stuck to my door and it did have a "sign here" option. But the front said "signature required at time of delivery" not "sign back of form". So I doubt that would have worked. But who knows...as these are the same people who said they would be back after 5 and showed up at 11 AM. Same problem as I brought up in the Public House piece. When you are a real business and you say you are going to do something, do it.

Better to say nothing, than to promise and break that promise. At least that is my view. And for my brother over at USPS, well, I think this is opportunity knocking,


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