Wednesday, December 17, 2014

That sinking feeling I always get when the package is coming via UPS…

Trust me on this one. If you live:

  • On a main thoroughfare
  • In a large city
  • In a small condo building that does not have a concierge or doorman or whatever
  • In a small condo building that has a locked front door such that the only way into the vestibule (where a package could be safely left, as opposed to on the stoop, where you take your chances) is to have someone buzz you in – unless, of course, you are the good old fashioned USPS mailman with the passkey
  • A life that is busy enough that you do not want to sit at home all day waiting for a delivery


For years, I had my UPS packages sent to the home of one of my sisters.

And then I discovered MyUPS, a service you can join – I think it’s about $40 a year or so – that will let you direct packages to a UPS Store for free (once you pay the $40 a year or so).

Since there is a UPS store about a two minute walk from where I live, this has worked out famously. Mostly.

There are a couple of flaws in the system as far as I’m concerned.

  1. You can’t use the UPS Store address for your delivery destination. You have to wait until you get the shipping notice, then go in and make your choice of diversion online.
  2. Once you make your choice of diversion, it can take a couple of days to reroute the package, even if the place where you want it delivered is about a two minute walk from where you live.

I understand why there’s a delay.

After all, I could be diverting the package from delivery to my home to delivery in, say, Ocean Park, Washington. And I know that can’t happen instantaneously.

Still, one might hope that there’s a way that “the system” could be configured such that, if the delivery point of your desire is about a two minute walk from where you live, the reroute only takes a day.

Mostly the day of delivery doesn’t matter.

If I don’t get the navy blue LL Bean turtleneck right away, I’ll live.

But sometimes it does matter

As when my lawyer overnighted the tax filing for my husband’s estate, and it took three days to arrive. We had enough leeway that this worked out, but if it had been time-critical, I would have been sunk. (Or had to schlepp up to his office on the North Shore.)

And the latest – well, debacle is really too strong a word, so let’s just say – annoyance has been receipt of a toy for a homeless kiddo that I really do need to have wrapped (the gift, not the kiddo) and ready pretty darned soon.

Here’s what happened.

As I do each year, I took a few kids from a charity run through my gym. As I do each year, I took older kids. I do so because most people would rather by fun stuff for the little ones than gift certificates to Wet Seal for teenagers, while I – who live in a toy store challenged city - find it much easier to bop into Wet Seal and pick up a bunch of gift certificates, or bop into Radio Shack for an MP3 player, or bop into City Sports for a basketball.

When I picked up my assignment this year, I took three teenaged girls, and their younger sister.

The gift request for the younger kid was something LeapFrog-ish.

So I went online and ordered something LeapFrog-ish, and sprung for two-day delivery (nearly half the cost of the item I purchased), figuring that would translate into four-day delivery, but would still get here in enough time that I wouldn’t be having a nervous breakdown over it.

Four-score and seven days ago…

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But five days after I ordered it, it still hasn’t arrived on my doorstep the doorstep of the UPS Store that’s two minutes away.

Anyway, here I sit, fingers and toes crossed that the Leapster shows up in the next day or so.

I do want to say that everyone I have ever spoken with at UPS customer service, and everyone I have dealt with at the UPS Store that’s two minutes away, has been a paragon of efficiency, helpfulness, charm, and follow-up.

And the ones on the phone clearly don’t hold it against me that, the minute I hear that Valley Girl voice that’s on their voice response system, I go bonkers and start muttering both under and over my breath. (Why is it that the prompts speak Valley Girl, but when I attempt to answer the prompt in my best Valley Girl version of “track a package”, the voice recognition system doesn’t seem to recognize a superlative imitation of its very own voice? Is it because by the second time around, I’ve attached the f-word to my input?)

So here’s hoping that the package gets here in time.

I’m pretty confident that it will.

Still, it’s no wonder that, every time I see that the delivery method is UPS, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

When it positively, absolutely has to get there overnight, just hop in a Zipcar, drive out to the ‘burbs, and get it.

1 comment:

valerie said...

... or have me get it and then meet me for the drop and dinner.