Why do you make us wait?

Have you ever used UPS or Fed/Ex to have a package delivered? Of course you have. It's almost impossible not to. Buy something online and 9 times out of 10 you are going to have it delivered by one of these two companies. 99% of the time your shipment is going to arrive on time, undamaged and everything is going to be peachy. I'm not even going to complain about that 1% of the time where something goes wrong. Sometimes shit is just going to hit the fan and that's all there is to it. When that happens, I'm pretty easy going and don't get too bent out of shape. However, there is one thing that both of these companies do that irks me to no end. If you are having something shipped to your house by one of these two companies, be prepared to wait.

Recently I purchased something online from amazon.com and due to it's price, amazon requires that somebody be at the house to sign for the package rather than allowing the driver to leave it in a semi-safe spot on the front porch. Since I'd hate to have anything happen to my purchase, I'm totally fine with this. I made arrangements to have somebody at the house all day to accept the package when it arrived. Just after leaving for work my wife calls to tell me we received an automated call from UPS stating that our package was out for delivery and that an adult needed to be on hand to accept it. I thought it was very cool that they had the automated system make that call. Very efficient. Now, we just need to wait for it to arrive.

Lunch time came and went, still no package. I called home before leaving the office at 4:30 and still no package. I got home around 5, still not there. We started cooking dinner and at 5:45 the doorbell rings and there's my delivery. While I'm stoked to have the package arrive and arrive safely, even though I was at work, we still had somebody sitting at the house from 8 am until 5:45 PM waiting to accept the package. That is a fairly hefty delivery window and I was certainly not pleased.

I got to thinking and came up with an idea that I thing would be pretty cool. As your item gets scanned while it's being loaded on the final delivery truck, that should update the online tracking site with the truck number. Then, when you are looking online at your delivery status, you could see on a map the location of the truck carrying your package. It doesn't have to be real time. Updates every 5-10 minutes would be fine. This way if you need to run a quick errand, like getting food at lunch time, you could look and see if the truck is anywhere near your house yet. If not, you know it's safe to leave the house without worrying that you are missing your delivery.

Yes, I realize there are safety issues with letting people see where the truck is. I get it. I'm just saying, for a company that does nothing but deliver packages all day every day, you'd think they could at least give you a delivery window of 1-2 hours rather than 10 hours. It's called good customer service. You should try it some time.

The other solution I have for this problem is to have your packages delivered to your office. This is going to be my preferred location for all deliveries from now on. Because waiting all day sucks!

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  1. DoNotFollowTheHorse on October 23, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    I lost 30 pounds in my first couple of months with UPS. That is how hard the whole company works. A package being shipped from the east coast can change hands 15 times before making it's way to you. Next-Day Air is the way to ship if the item means a lot to you. All NDA packages are treated like gold.You are on point when you mentioned that you will start having your deliveries funneled to your office. When you make contact with the driver, start throwing him some sodas and take care of him. He will do the same for you.

  2. Sam Hennessy on October 24, 2008 at 12:16 am

    On the note of plying your delivery driver with drinks. My wife will always offer what ever is in the fridge, which will often include a can of Red Bull. I've noticed drivers don't tend to accept the offer, but they always seems completely amazed by the offer of a Red Bull and very appreciative. Even our water delivery driver who gave my wife a what sounded like a company line out always drinking his own product was very happy to have one.

  3. John Hawkins on October 24, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Believe me, I am in no way trying to say that UPS and Fed/Ex don't bust their butt. I've had friends who worked for them and I know what they go through. All I'm getting at is that after 20 years of being in business, it doesn't seem far fetched to have a better idea of when a package is going to be delivered. If all home deliveries are done after the business ones, that's fine. Just let me know it's going to be at least 2PM before the package arrives so I'm not held like a prisoner from 8AM-2PM.As for offering sodas, we do that pretty regularly. But I'm not having enough items shipped to my house where I'm seeing the same driver on any sort of regularity. So it's not like building up a relationship. But I definitely understand where you are coming from.Thanks for the comment!

  4. John Hawkins on October 24, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Hey Sam. At a job I had 10 years ago, we had the same delivery drivers every day. We'd always offer them bottled water or a donut or whatever we had in the office that day. If the driver was fairly new to delivering to us, he'd usually turn it down. But, once they got familiar with us, they'd accept the offer. They definitely appreciate the offer. But yeah, I don't think the water guy was allowed to be in uniform and drinking Pepsi.