Utter Amazement

Why do I bother ordering things that require shipping services? 

I’m never satisfied with them and half the time, I could drive to the point of origin and just pick up the merchandise faster than letting UPS, FedEx, or the USPS do the job for me.

I’ve complained about shipping fiascos here in the past, but I’ve had to suffer through two – TWO – of them this week alone.  If I drank alcohol, then this would certainly be cause for a double, ’cause I just don’t get what’s going on here.

The first situation involves a package that I mailed.  I sent a friend a gift – a book – a week ago.  I wanted it to get to the other side of the country as quickly as possible, so I ponied up the $13 that the USPS wanted for Priority Mail.  Nothing special, no light-speed – just your basic priority mailing, and it was thirteen bucks.  In fairness, I should point out that the book was too big for the flat rate box, and it was nearly 3 pounds.  I expected there to be some expense involved, so I didn’t lose my mind when $13 popped up on the cash register’s screen.

What got me, though (and what the cashier could have emphasized, I should add), is that last week was leading into a holiday weekend.  My package would have arrived on Tuesday whether I paid $13 for priority mailing or not.  In fact, it was only after I’d left the post office that I realized that I could have gotten the same effin’ service for less than half the price.  The extra seven dollars did absolutely nothing for me and my package; it was getting to her doorstep on Tuesday.  Despite the gift being a surprise, I had a funny feeling about it and opted to reach out to my friend to give her a good ole heads-up.  She thanked me for the gift, and told me that she’d let me know when it arrived.

Except that’s not what happened.  When I didn’t hear from my friend on Tuesday, I decided to use the USPS’s wonderful Tracking Service.  I call it “wonderful” because it only works if the USPS bothers to – how shall I put it – track the package.  This service boggles the mind.  The USPS pretends that it’s a great service – which it could be, if they actually used it!  I can’t count the number of packages I’ve tracked where there was absolutely no information provided.  In fact, the last two packages I’ve received were still listed as being at the post office of origin – an interesting tidbit, considering that the actual item was sitting comfortably on my kitchen table at the time.

In this case, my gift was supposedly on the way back to me.  Seems that the postman couldn’t find the address, and rather than looking anything up, he’s simply opted to ship the package back to my address.  Turns out that the address was legitimate, but my friend no longer lived there.  The move was recent and there’s a change of address form on file.  There’s no recent that the package could have been rerouted to where it should have gone.

Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, that’s your fault.  You should have verified the address before you spent thirteen bucks!”  And you’d be absolutely correct.  I own that.  My mistake, so I’ll eat the cash and take care of things.

Problem is, I can’t do it because the package has yet to return.  That’s right – it’s lost.

It has been three days now, and despite being told by the USPS that this box is on its way, my post box has been noticeably empty.  Nothing.  Nada.  Nil.  I’m less upset about the lost book (the insurance will cover it), than I am over the waiting.  I still have to get the book to my friend, and I can’t provide her with something I still don’t have.  It’s possible that things will manage in some way to right themselves and she’ll get the book that I wanted her to have, but I’m not counting on it.  If it does come back my way, then fine.

Just give me my book back, USPS.

But wait – there’s more!

I told you that there were two incidents this week.  The second one is almost funny.  Almost.

I ordered some items from a business in Glendale, Arizona.  Online order was made last Friday, and while I had no illusions, I was hoping that they’d have it boxed and airborne before the Memorial Day holiday hit.  They did not.

No problem there; I figured that I’d have it by the end of this week and all would be good.  The package was mailed on Tuesday (which I should just start calling Black Tuesday, given all the joy it brought me), but I was notified today that it had finally reached the post office . . . in PhoenixPhoenix, Arizona.  Let me save you the time you’d otherwise waste on Google:  Glendale, Arizona is approximately ten miles from Phoenix.  It took my box three days to travel ten miles.  Best estimate at this point is that I’ll get it by June 6.  That’s cool, but I sure feel sorry for the guy who’s going to walk the remaining two thousand miles.  I mean, if he can only do ten in three days . . . the rest will probably kill him, won’t it?

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

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