Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Den of Mystery presents: Fun With Shipping!

Back in the halcyon days of college, Hooper and I were active members of the message boards at TheForce.net. One of my pasttimes was a semi-regular column known as "The Hatred Corner." These posts would vary from griping about minor annoyances to full-blown rants fueled by pure rage. This post would definitely qualify as a Hatred Corner feature.

On Friday, May 30, I ordered an item from Amazon. I knew it would not ship immediately, but I was in no hurry to receive it. It shipped on Friday, June 6. It then spent 5 days in Sparks, Nevada due to “external factors.” I have no idea what that means, but maybe UPS thought it wasn’t safe to take it out of the warehouse yet. They seem to be very good at judging the safety of certain areas, after all.

Yesterday they attempted to deliver it. Normally, I would assume an “attempted” delivery meant they couldn’t find my address. But they found it. The driver simply decided, in his infinite wisdom, that my neighborhood was not a safe location to leave a package from Amazon and that I would have to sign for it. We’ll get back to the safety of my neighborhood in a moment.

First, I’d like to address this requiring of a signature. They attempted delivery at noon yesterday. Well, I was at work. So was Mrs. Buck. The helpful gentleman I spoke to on the phone last night said they would attempt delivery the next day, but they would still require a signature. The conversation went something like this:

Buck: “Can’t you send the driver a message saying I don’t need to sign for the package and he can just leave it?”

Dumbass: “No sir, the decision to require a signature is up to the driver. He’ll attempt to deliver it at the same time tomorrow.”

Buck: “Well there’s not going to be anyone here then either.”

Dumbass: “Well, you can pick up the package at the distribution center.”

At this point, Buck somehow managed to keep from reaching through the telephone and throttling the UPS representative.

What I finally had to do was have the package sent to my office, where it hopefully arrives today. Let’s hope my office building is safe enough that the driver won’t require a signature.

And now let’s address that safety issue. Anyone who knows where I live knows it’s one of the nicest and safest neighborhoods in Akron. I live across the street from a church. There’s a Jewish temple at the end of the street. The mayor of Akron lives two blocks away. I’m around the corner from million-dollar homes. And this wasn’t a safe neighborhood to leave a box from Amazon? Hell, I’ve left my car parked on the street with the windows down, and nothing happened.

For the record, here’s what I ordered:

Thank God he didn’t leave it there, or the nonexistent juvenile delinquents that don’t live in my neighborhood might be *gasp* reading something right now.

I will grant you that the main entrance to our apartment is not immediately visible. We live in a large old house that’s been converted to apartments, and the main entrance is on the side of the building, near the back. The driver did, however, manage to find the rarely-used rear entrance to the building, leaving his “attempted delivery” note on a door we never use. That rear entrance is usually locked as well, so one could argue that the driver essentially broke into our building, only to deem it “unsafe.”

But here’s what really cracks Mrs. Buck and I up: Three weeks ago, a different UPS driver didn’t think twice about leaving a box containing 2 iPods in our mailbox.

It’s ridiculous that the driver gets to make the call on requiring a signature. Because if Driver A felt it was safe enough 3 weeks ago, does that make Driver B a judgmental (and possibly racist, as we do have some Black neighbors) person, since he decided he couldn’t leave the package? Mrs. Buck sure thinks so, judging by the scathing e-mail she sent to UPS last night.

I was told that the main reason they’ll require a signature if they deem the neighborhood unsafe is that if the item is stolen, UPS is responsible for reimbursement. So once again, the $300 in electronics was okay to leave, but they were concerned about having to pay $30 for a book that any semi-intelligent person could have told you wouldn’t get stolen.



Finn said...

I think you aren't thinking globally enough on this issue. The Midwest has suffered from massive flooding over the past several weeks. UPS hates replacing water damaged items. They were smart not to risk it. Asteroids. One stray asteroid from Krypton would result in a smoldering package that wouldn't be very Kal-El friendly. Imagine trying to tell a person from UPS's replacement department about what happened. Metropolitan wildlife. A box fit for a comic book could easily be scavenged by many woodland creatures. There are some animal nuisances in Ohio and UPS knows this. So I'm not saying don't be angry. It did take entirely too long to receive the package. I'm just saying don't hold UPS driver number 2 entirely at fault. After all, he may have saved your package's life.

The Den of Mystery said...

Good sir, you have made me chuckle. And for that, I thank you.

As an update to Bookwatch, we did receive a package yesterday. Mrs. Buck and I had each ordered a new pair of running shoes and FedEx kindly left the box in the entryway of our building, next to the mailboxes.

So to recap: UPS feels our neighborhood is not safe enough to leave a book-sized box next to my mailbox. FedEx had no problem leaving a box easily 4 times that size.

Update to the update! As I was typing this response, our intrepid mailroom dude dropped the book off at my desk. 12 days from ship date to my desk. It's like we live in the future!