March 7th, 2007

The Librarian

How to waste chunks of your life ...

Yesterday I mentioned concept/communication difficulties with a UPS employee over the phone re arranging to pick up a parcel. Having a "feeling" about the whole thing, I decided to extend my long weekend another day, get a little more done around this place, and do my pickup during the day instead of trying to get up to the UPS pickup station in the evening (since they're way up in the NE quadrant of the city ... one of those locations for which a sensible, direct route from my home does not exist).

So ... half-hour drive up to UPS, to be informed that yes, their system says that I called yesterday at 11:00 a.m. and arranged to do a pickup ... and that, despite that, my package is out in a delivery truck. So wait and wait and wait while they keep paging the driver, having an interesting conversation with another customer, whose arranged pick-up is also out in a delivery truck, about the excellence of the mail/package delivery system in Japan (which is where he's from).

UPS desk staff (all female) unanimously vote that the old familiar circus/bigtop tune traditionally associated with clowns (honest, I don't know the name of it, but it's used for virtually every cartoon circus scene in existence) be adopted as the new official UPS theme. Learn, chatting with them after other customer left to rendezvous with delivery truck, that, instead of info on pickups coming in AS it's arranged via the central 800 number (which, in this age of computers, is easy-peasy), the info comes in the following day, AFTER THE TRUCKS ARE LOADED AND HAVE LEFT. Don'cha just LOVE "organization"?

Takes a good twenty minutes for driver to finally page back, have situation explained to him, and report that his truck is so full that there's no way he can hunt for my package. So, half-hour drive home, with promise that he will be delivering between 2-5 p.m. today.

The reason for my end of all this fooferaw is the messages on the back of the delivery slip, explaining that three attempts, three days in a row, will be made to deliver parcel, then it will be held at their pickup point for five days, then returned to sender. Attempt #1 allegedly made on Monday afternoon (I was home all day; Canada Post also claims to have made a delivery attempt that day ... my buzzer DOES work), with official notice stuck on my mailbox (driver had to be past security door and IN building to do this) stating that next delivery attempt will be on "Monday afternoon" ... this made no sense whatsoever. Anyway, back to messages on back of delivery slip ... if parcel is COD, then it will NOT be held for the five days but returned to sender on the day of the failed third delivery attempt (which, according to their rules, should have been today, but after the wacky date checked off on the slip, I wasn't counting on it). My parcel IS COD, as there's customs duty owing on it (not unusual when ordering from small businesses in the U.S.), which means I can't just sign the notice authorizing driver to leave package if I'm not home and stick it back on my mailbox. ***SIGH***

Tell me, are they like this in the U.S.? (I know I've seen some online businesses PROMISING in their shipping info that they NEVER use UPS ... now I'm beginning to understand why. This is, BTW, my very first dealing with 'em).
The Librarian

Just got off the phone ...

... with UPS yet again, since it's well after 5pm and no sign of a parcel. First I went to their website and printed out the history of the thing ... quite interesting reading. According to their records, first delivery attempt was made on the afternoon of Feb. 23. Huh? Go and get the delivery notice I found stuck to my mailbox yesterday morning and, yes, it IS dated Feb. 23 ... hence the confusing "Monday" checked off as next delivery attempt date, as the 23rd was a Friday; also may explain why the thing smells of dirt and has dried, muddy waterstains on it ... must have been sitting on the floor of the truck or something? Next entry isn't until March 1 ... for that date and for the 2nd, "adverse weather conditions" in Calgary prevented any attempt at delivery. I know Calgary is famed for its microclimates, but weather conditions in my part of town were just great on those days, so I doubt there was a blizzard in the NE. No record of any delivery attempt on Mar. 5 or 6, even though it was either on the afternoon of the 5th or the early morning of the 6th that the notice was stuck to my mailbox. My call to arrange pickup is logged at 10:55 a.m. on the 6th, with "out for delivery" logged at 4:56 a.m. today.

The UPS staffer I just finished talking to was FAR more on the ball than yesterday's ... she was able to confirm the whole mess at her end, apologized profusely, called the local depot to check on the driver and confirmed that he's still out delivering, even though it's after 5pm, and said that I should still get the thing today. We shall see ...
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