I really need to share my experience this holiday season…..my experience with UPS. That’s right – the United Parcel Service. It all began at Thanksgiving……..
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had the time to sort out my Christmas list for my children and get it all planned. In addition to the planning, on the 30th I was able to get all of it ordered! Now I know there are deals to be found when shopping out in the stores, but I just don’t find any joy in fighting crowds and digging through the mess. Not to mention the extreme lack of time I have to get shopping done alone. My solution is to do the bulk of my shopping online…..I don’t have to worry about an item being in stock, I can do it on a break at work or when my kids are asleep, and the prices are usually comparable. So by the end of the day on the 30th of November, all my shopping was done.
Over the next 2 weeks, all of the items arrived. Save ONE. And of course this would be the biggest one…..the kitchen play set I had found for my 5 year old daughter. This was the most perfect gift! She is always helping me in the kitchen, loves to do her own thing, and this one was actually tall enough for my blondie-amazonian girl.
The lovely folks at UPS had left me a voicemail on December 8th to let me know they needed my apartment number before being able to deliver this large box. I called the customer service line back on the morning of the 11th…updated the address, and was told that the package would be delivered on the 16th. AWESOME!!! That would leave me plenty of time to have all the gifts out and not have to rush. Well……the 16th came and went. Of course these folks are busy!
On the 17th I called them to see what the status was….since the online tracking had not been updated since the request for my apartment on the 8th. The lovely woman I spoke with told me that they did not have any record of my updated apartment information, and that the hold had expired so the box was on its way back to the seller! EEEEK! There was no way to get an intercept on the package – I would have to call the seller and figure out how to get it redirected. I called the seller straight away. The seller is a small company back east, and since it was past their regular business hours, I spoke with a person at their customer service center. This was obviously a contracted company meant mainly for answering simple questions since when I talked to them about resolving the shipping issue they directed me to call back the next morning……they would be available starting at 9 am Eastern time.
The morning of the 18th started off with a call to the seller just after 9 am Eastern time. Yes…..I live on the West Coast. This was 6am for me. And a day I was snowed in. The woman that I spoke with was very quick to help me resolve my problem. She got a hold of UPS, got the box intercepted, updated the address, and had a new delivery date of Monday the 22nd. The funny thing here….was that there was no record anywhere of the box being sent back – not with the seller and not with UPS. The box had not left my town.
I checked the tracking of the package all day on the 18th, the 19th, the 20th, the 21st, and the 22nd. Quite a lot of snow came through the Northwest, and while I was stuck in my apartment….the UPS trucks were stuck in their yards. Nothing was getting anywhere. By the 22nd, grocery stores were out of staple items, gas stations were out of fuel, and there was no way to get anywhere. But the snow let up that afternoon, and on the 23rd there was a lull in the weather. I spent all of the 23rd on the phone with UPS trying to find out if my box with the perfect kitchen set was scheduled for delivery. The only thing I was told was that they were quite overwhelmed with all of the deliveries to be made, so keep checking the online tracking – and 3 messages were sent to the local facility and 3 times I was promised a call. Not a call came. However…..by noon I was in the line at the shipping facility with several other people trying to track down their items.
I wound up speaking to a very nice gentleman by the name Doug. Doug looked everywhere he could….but could not find my box. He took my number down and promised to call me after the trucks returned for the day. “Thanks, Doug. But that is now the fourth promise of a call I have gotten today. I can’t really trust another promise.” And Doug replies, “but it is the first promise from me.” Sure Doug…..whatever you say. I did tell him that I would be back that evening to see what progress there was, find my box, and take it home. “See you at 7, Doug.”
It is important to note here that one of Doug’s co-workers decided to insert her 2 cents into the conversation.
“You might wanna come up with a back up plan. It’s really busy and you know my name ain’t Jesus.”
“That’s too bad,” I responded, “Jesus would have probably updated my address 12 days ago when I talked to him and delivered when he said he would. Sure could use him now, huh?”
I leave the shipping center with no more information than when I got there. And certainly no box. And less hope for getting it in time to give this great gift to my little girl. Time to get to the grocery store and see if they have milk yet.
The UPS shipping center is only 3 miles from my house. The grocery store is only across the street from my house. Yet going from the shipping center to the grocery store and home took over 2 hours. The streets were sheets of 3 inch thick ice that had been torn up by tire chains. It was slow moving everywhere.
After getting home to drop off said groceries (yes, they had milk) I got back in the car and went to the shipping center. Yeah….the one that is only 3 miles away but somehow took 2 hours to get to. Oh! Right! Chopped up roads…..hard to forget.
Back in line at the shipping center, Doug saw me. “Yep, I am a little early Doug.” I got saddled talking to some other schmuck who had been dealing with less than happy customers all day.
“I need to get this package off of whatever truck it is on.”
“Well, I can’t tell you what truck it is on. And we won’t be able to find out where it is until the trucks comeback at 8 and all the packages get scanned back in.”
“So you will know tonight where my box is.”
“Probably not. There’s quite a back up. We will know Friday at best.”
“I have to have this box before tomorrow. I understand you are backed up, which is why for 3 days I have requested that box be pulled so I could pick it up and not have to bother with delivery.”
“You know if you had just not done anything, it would have been delivered.”
“I really doubt that. Since you don’t know what truck it is on, and the request to pick it up only got to you at noon today – which is well after the trucks were out. We need to find that box and I need to get it tonight.”
“I can’t help you. If it was so important, you could have picked it up anytime between the 7th and the 12th.”
"And you could have delivered it anytime between the 12th and the 23rd like you said. It seems there are a lot of could-haves here."
"I can't help you."
“Then who can?”
“I don’t know.” (insert shrug here) “All of these other people standing here are wanting the same thing. And I can’t help you.”
“Well, they deserve to find their packages too. Who manages the offloading of the trucks?”
“Unloading is a big job. Someone has to manage that. Let’s find who it is, and see what he/she can do to streamline this search.”
“There isn’t anyone. Your best bet is to leave and watch the tracking number for updates.”
“No….we need to find who manages the unloading process and figure out a way to find this box.”
“Sorry. There isn’t anyone. You will have to check back on Friday.”
“The boxes unload themselves? No one supervises? That’s freakin neat!”
“You aren’t going to do anything else to help me are you.”
Shrug. Slight shaking of the head.
I grab my slip of paper with the tracking number and go.
Now back out in the parking lot, I call the generic customer service for UPS again. This time I speak to a supervisor…..and I give her the Cliff Notes version of the day and the previous 7 calls and 2 visits. To cut to the chase…..she can’t help me either. No one can.
Sobbing and cold from standing in the parking lot for an hour, I get back in my car and go home. Talking to my mom on the phone….falling apart and telling her I have no idea how to face my daughter without her one gift from me at Christmas. How do I have her open the one board game I gave to both my children instead of opening something that was just hers?
At 8 that night, I really did get a call from Doug. He was scouring the last truck it was reported to be on, but had not found the box. He would keep looking. At 9:30, no luck. At 10:15, still no luck and he had to leave. I thanked him for all of his work….trying (and failing) to hide my crying while talking to him. He was the only one at that company that seemed to really care about what was going on…..for me or anyone else.
The next morning was Christmas Eve – and Target would be opening early. I called them at 7:30 in the morning and asked if they had the same play set in stock. They had 1. I threw on whatever clothes I found on the floor and drove faster than I should have on the ice to get over to Target and find this kitchen. Ironically, Target is next door to the G*D-D*MN*D UPS shipping center.
At that moment, I didn’t care if this meant I had 2 of the same thing. I didn’t care that each play set cost over $100. I didn’t care if it would fit in my car. I didn’t care if it was too slick for my car to get home. All those things I would tackle later….AFTER I found the kitchen.
They had it. I got it.
Nope…..it didn’t fit in my car. I took all the pieces out and put them on the backseat. Then I collapsed the box as best I could, slid it over the top of all the pieces, and set back out for home.
Nope…..my car didn’t make it back up my hill. I got the car turned around and back across the street to the parking lot of the grocery store.
Luckily, my ex was bringing the kids down to spend the day with me (Christmas Eve is my day) and he has a MONSTER vehicle. He and the kids picked me up, and we went back to the apartment. I gave him the spare key to my car, and when he was done with work he picked up all the pieces and the box and drove them up as well. This means that I had to get all the pieces from the parking lot to my apartment, put the box back together in the hallway, get the pieces back in the box, and get some bit of wrapping on it, without my darling daughter seeing any of this…..and she was only 50 yards away. Don’t ask me how it worked….but it did. Please note here that my ex picked up everything……the car was still at the grocery store.
The kids were both very excited to open their few presents on Christmas Eve, so dinner got made very early. After dinner, boxes were opened, toys assembled, and much happy havoc.
Their dad came to get them at 8:30. I should have them longer (until 10 I think the paperwork says) but we both agreed with the road and weather conditions being so atrocious, it would be best to get the kids home a little earlier. He picked up the kids….and they all dropped me back off at my car. By this time of night, the hill to my apartment was mostly slush, and I made it into the garage just fine.
Skip ahead to today……the 26th. Do you think I have a box? Do you think I have a second kitchen play set? Do you think I have yet heard a single word from UPS?
Clearly……this season they must die (except Doug). LONG LIVE FED-EX!