Archive for September, 2010


Honestly, I’m surprised. Surprised that I haven’t written about this issue yet. Surprised that this issue hasn’t been this bad until now. What issue, you ask? Why it’s the issue of delivering packages to my apartment, of course!

One of the aspects of having disposable income is that I’ve been able to purchase items that are specific to my wants through the use of the internet. At first, I was leery ordering things online, since there is the chance that it would be the wrong item or I would have to return it for some reason. Yet, after discovering what sources were reliable, I stuck to them and received what I wanted.

However, the sources I ordered from aren’t necessarily the issue here. The issue I have found has to do with the delivery companies. I have found it particularly irritating that these companies tend to deliver their packages during the normal working day. What I can’t figure out is why they keep this timetable, even though it should be obvious that not every household has someone to accept or sign for packages at all hours of the day. Some households are inhabited by single individuals who work normal 9-5 jobs and can’t just sit at home like some unemployed person waiting for packages to come. Needless to say, I rarely am present to accept packages at my apartment.

What usually ends up happening can be divided into the 3 main delivery services:

1. USPS – Probably the best of the three, since I’ll occasionally catch the mailman when I get a missed package slip in my mailbox. Once I changed my working schedule, I was also able to pick up packages at the Post Office with relative ease. When I also found out what hours the Post Office was open on Saturdays, then there really was no issue. I feel that their methodology is superior: 1. If I’m not home to receive a package, they’ll slip a note in my mailbox. 2. The Post Office where I need to pick up my package is somewhat close by, or at least not out of my way on this part of town. 3. Since the package stays at the Post Office, there is less chance of it being tampered with. This brings me to . . .

2. UPS – As I started writing this post, I was reminded that about a year ago UPS lost a package of mine. This happened when I was on business travel and the package was supposedly delivered to my front door. Every confirmation they gave me said that it was delivered, but alas there was no package at my apartment. This conundrum gave me an opportunity to meet some of my neighbors as I asked them if they happened to see a package at my front door. One of the issues I have with ground level apartments, and especially apartments that open to the outdoors is that any package left at the door is a pretty easy target for someone to steal. At any rate, after going through customer service, I eventually got my package, albeit many weeks later. Since then, I’ve noticed that UPS delivers later in the day, when I’m actually home from work. However, the last delivery service would usually deliver my packages to the front desk of my apartment complex, which was very convenient except . . .

3. FedEx – . . . when they require a signature. This is what brought about the irritation that led me to this post. A few weeks ago, I got a little sticky note on my door that said that FedEx missed me when they tried to deliver a package. There was no more information on the note. Not where to pick it up. Not when they tried to deliver it. Not when they will try to deliver it again. The next day, I find another note. Same story. I eventually picked up a package from the Post Office, figuring that FedEx had transferred delivery to the USPS. At least that’s what I thought. This weekend I received a postcard in the mail from FedEx saying that they had tried to deliver a package to me. Twice. Now it was being held at their facility. The postcard didn’t offer an e-mail address or phone number to arrange a pick up. It just told me that I needed to come to their facility to sign for this package and that the times they were actually available amounted to 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours right after I got off work. OK, fine.

After work today, I drove out to Madison, AL. Even from where I work on the North end of town, this ended up being out of my way. Also, this particular area was very industrial and did not feel very “people friendly”. When I arrived at the FedEx facility, I went inside to where I thought I could be helped. I was wrong. The person behind the counter informed me that I was looking for FedEx Ground, which was next door. I was at FedEx Express. I got back in my car and drove to the next building. However, I kept driving because the area was pretty foreboding. A chain-link fence separated the parking lot from the building and there were serious signs informing me of various regulations. There was even a sign that said that there was no customer pick up there. Great. I kept driving a little bit, but to no avail. My package was through that fence.

I finally parked my car and got out and went through the fence at the turnstile. I headed toward the nearest entrance and went inside to find a nearly abandoned office. Lights were off, and there was a solitary man in an office that I approached and explained my story. This did not look like the place I could pick up a package. Never the less, the man told me to sit in one of the chairs while he could see what he could do. As I sat there, I thought to myself, “What packages am I even expecting?” I hadn’t received shipping confirmation of the few orders I had made, so I was confused to the source of this package. Since my birthday is approaching, I figured that it was a package for that event. A while later, the man returned with my package. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

As I got back in my car, I was still confused to the origin of the package. I drove home and examined the markings. First, I saw the writing on the box that informed me that they had tried to deliver it twice: once at 9:16 am and again the next day at 9:54. I don’t know about everyone else, but even people with odd work schedules should usually be at work at that point during the day. I would have felt better if they had tried to deliver it in the morning, then had tried the next afternoon. Anyways, this particular delivery came from Florida State Games, which just added to the confusion. I wasn’t expecting any games. Was I? When I noticed that the packing list was enclosed on the outside of the box, I took it out and examined it. Turns out, I was.

This was the second delivery of an order I made using my Marriott reward points. The first part of my delivery was an HD camcorder that had arrived about a week ago. This part of the order was 2 specific Wii games with a 2 controller charger. The manifold said, “Wii Fun Bundle”. This was surely the case of close, but no cigar. When I opened the package, I found nothing of what I expected. Instead of the two games that I had ordered, there was one game I had not. Instead of the 2 controller charger, there was one controller and a nun-chuck. The biggest surprise was on the bottom, where there was a brand new Wii. That, I know I didn’t order. Also in the box was a broken mini-SD to SD converter and a 2 GB mini-SD card. Also not what I ordered.

So, after all the trouble I went through just to get the package, it wasn’t even what I had ordered. Let’s just say that I feel fortunate that the HD camcorder was delivered correctly. Now I run the conundrum of contacting SkyMall, who never sent me a shipping confirmation for this item, and telling them that they sent me the wrong thing, then trying to get it packed up again so that I could return it and hope that they can send me the correct items. OR: since the items that were sent to me on accident cost much more than the items that I did order, could I return the items to a local store, get store credit, then buy the items that I originally wanted? This latter option may actually be profitable, but is it right? I may have little time to make a decision here, but needless to say, something will be decided soon.