The Bare Minimum

I have a rant chambered, but I need to preface it with some explanation so as to make the limited scope of the diatribe perfectly clear.

I have a package being delivered via UPS.  In the interests of fairness, I should say both that my experience with UPS in the past has been generally good, and, secondly, that I am in no way suggesting that the contents of this package are urgent or even important by any measure.

However, I am a principled man, and there is a principle involved.

This particular delivery is of the standard shipping variety.  Long story short, the “scheduled delivery” date when the order was placed was Tuesday, July 10.  As part of the tracking feature, the UPS website obviously allows a customer to see each step of the process as a package moves toward its destination.

I don’t know whether it was magic or luck or merely the fortuitous blowing (and, really, is there any other kind?) of a particular trade wind, but the package made its way up from Florida to its destination city of Richmond, Virginia in record time, arriving late in the evening of the sixth.

And then it just sat there.

For three-and-a-half days.

You see, since the “scheduled delivery date” wasn’t until July 10th, and the package was way ahead of schedule, the system indicated that no action was necessary for several days in order to deliver the package “on time.”  Rather than simply finish the job as quickly as possible for the price, UPS made certain that I would not be getting the benefit of the faster-than-expected transit from Florida up to Richmond.

After all, why do the work on Friday when Monday or Tuesday will suffice?

But then something else happened: As is occasionally the case with UPS deliveries, the company—not wanting to sully its hands with my minimum-rate cargo—transferred the parcel to the local post office for the final leg of the journey.

The post office finally got around to attempting to deliver it on the 11th.  Technically late, but still on time as far as UPS was concerned, since they had turned it over the morning of the scheduled delivery date.

Unfortunately, the sender had used the wrong zip code on the address, making a minor error and substituting a six for a nine at the end.  The name, street number, street, city, state, and first four digits of the zip code were all correct.

Being that a cash-strapped government agency was now at the controls (as opposed to a for-profit private company like UPS), this is how the rest of the story transpired:

1. USPS employees see that address does not exist within the listed zip code.

2. USPS employees do not look up possible correct address.

3. USPS employees do not consult the sender.

4. USPS employees do not realize (or care) that I am roughly three miles away.

Solution?  You guessed it—ship the package back to Florida.

So, the package that was supposed to be delivered on Monday will now arrive sometime in late July . . . after it goes back to Florida, the six is changed to a nine, and it returns a week later.  All thanks to a silly decision (or policy) by UPS and general incompetence (or stupidity) by the USPS.

Oh, well.  I guess it won’t kill me to wait another week to hear this.  Probably.

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