talked about delivery services around here once or twice. (And
perhaps even more than that.) And I need to say something, as
we begin, to set the record straight…
the most part, the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and more. I
truly have a real appreciation for the idea that I can send a
letter across the country… a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean
to a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean… for under a dollar.
And even if we have several rate increases, that dollar mark for
a letter is in no danger of being crossed any time soon.
I don’t send many postcards anymore, as a child I loved them.
Loved to get them. Loved to send them. Mail can be a magical thing.
similar idea holds true for packages. I can appreciate that a
box from my hands can reach my parents for less than any part
of an attempt on my own to deliver it personally would cost. The
box being sent probably costs less than the tolls I’d pay on the
thruways or turnpikes. It’s pretty much without a doubt less expensive
than the gas I’d need. Heck, if I drove there to drop it off and
turned around to immediately drive back home, I’d likely spend
more grabbing a burger than I would to just send the package.
I am amazed about the possibilities that exist. And, I’m happy
to use the services.
course, even when you would think that the world is improving
and getting smaller, things are getting more and more complex
when it comes to deliveries as time moves along. Now, things like
the dimensions of a box being used can matter more than the weight
or the importance of the contents.
few years ago, Terry and I were on vacation and we ordered some
wine at a vineyard we visited. Nothing like a wine shipment to
the house… which usually comes with a requirement that someone
18 or over is there to sign for the package.
wine arrived on a day we were working. It was a Tuesday. By the
time we got home from work that day and found the notice, the
office for the delivery company was closed and we couldn’t speak
with anyone or leave a message to make other arrangements with
them. This meant a truck would go back out on Wednesday with the
wine on board, we would again be at work, and attempt number two
would be made and fail when no one was home. The carrier was slated
to make three attempts before shipping the package back to the
an addition to the story, for those that might be wondering, there
are a funny set of side notes. Because we knew we would likely
be ordering some wine during our travels—the trip was to northern
California—we had checked in with the companies that could be
involved in delivering it. One of them had an office near our
home, and by coordinating things once the package was shipped,
we could have it set up for us to pick it up from them during
certain business hours. So, no worries about the 18 and over in
the house requirement.
had made arrangements with the vineyard to ship our order about
seven days later. We were at the beginning of our trip and wanted
to be sure it didn’t arrive while we were still away. We also
were able to use that local office near our home shipping option.
The end result was our being able to know when the package was
shipped, call the carrier’s office on that day, and make arrangements
to have it pulled and stored when it arrived at the transition
point for final delivery. But…
the vineyard marked the order as paid for but to be held until
we called to arrange shipping. The person that hosted our tour
and processed our order had done this apparently because of the
shipping date delay and carrier arrangements we made with her.
Then she went on vacation for three weeks and the order wasn’t
shipped on the date we had arranged.
the wine never arrived, we found out about the hold because we
called and were asked if we were ready to have it shipped. Taking
a deep breath and saying that would be fine, the vineyard then
used a different shipping company than the one they had told us
they would use, which meant a completely different distribution
center was involved. Since we thought one option was being used,
there was never a thought that we should be working with a different
option to make delivery arrangements.
back to the wine being sent to our house…
because of the timing and carrier, we were placed into scramble
mode. The distribution center for this particular carrier was
thirty minutes away from where we worked, in roughly the opposite
direction of our drive home. That effectively meant that beyond
everything else the joy of having it shipped this way and needing
to pick it up in person to avoid it being returned was costing
us an hour of driving. Plus, with our work day and the center’s
hours of operation, we were forced to adjust our schedules in
order to even make it to the counter during their hours of operation.
And, double-plus, since the package ended up spending day two
on a truck out making deliveries, we had been warned during our
call to try and make arrangements that there was a chance that
even if we made it from one place to another on time, it could
still be on the truck and we might not be able to pick up our
package on that day. So, sure, after driving around on day two,
we might not have the package and then would need to return on
I said. Lovely.
was still out on the truck. The office closed before the truck
got back in that day. We had to go back again.)
day, we move forward. Competition and business demands create
scenarios where companies improve their service (hopefully). Technology
and innovation have improved service (hopefully). Things today
are better than yesterday, and not quite as good as they’ll be
the app… sign up for a company’s preferred customer account… register
for e-mail alerts… make requests and changes and more at the touch
of a button. It’s better, right?
still doesn’t make it perfect.
haven’t had any wine shipped lately. If I needed them, I couldn’t
find the local distribution centers right now without looking
them up. I don’t know how the process for such a circumstance
may have improved in ten years.
I do know is packages get left outside these days with no ringing
of bells or knocking on doors. If it weren’t for e-mail alerts,
there are some days when I wouldn’t know a box was sitting just
a few feet away on a cold day with rain in the forecast.
like to see things get better.
the upcoming few weeks I’ll be sending out some mail. Letters
and cards and such. I don’t have any plans for packages, but I’m
sure I’ll have something to send and there most definitely will
be something ordered.
if the process could be improved, well, that would be lovely.