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What Has Brown Done To You Lately?

I ordered some more poppy seeds for bagels, and I thought I was having them shipped US Postal Service. But alas, it turns out that the company decided to use UPS's "Basic" service instead. What follows is a warning to anyone thinking about shipping something in the future.

Do not use the UPS "Basic" service.

It's cheap, and you get exactly what you pay for, which is service so crappy that it's extraordinary even for the notably crappy UPS. UPS's normal MO is to make three delivery attempts in three days, and to leave a package slip on your door if you're not there. Once you get the package slip, you can either wait at home all day for the next delivery attempt or call UPS, punch in the Sooper Sekrit code to talk to a human being, and attempt to reschedule delivery to a day that you or a neighbor can be home. After three attempts, they return your package to sender.

This is with their normal "service." Here is what happens with their Basic service: You get one-count-it-one delivery attempt. If you're not home on the day that the guy in the ugly brown shirt turns up at your door, the driver is authorized to ship your package back to sender right then and there, and you'll never know about it. Many UPS drivers think this is stupid (and they're right), so they leave you a package slip and take the packages to the nearest UPS shipping facility and kind of hide them there.

You come home from the library, see the package slip, and call UPS. They have no record of what happened to your package. You call again, press the Sooper Sekrit talk-to-a-human-being code, and the human being first tells you she has no idea where your package is, then, when pressed, gives you the address of the shipping facility, where you have five business days to ransom it before it gets returned.

You take the bus to the train to the second bus to get to the shipping facility, where a smirking guy at the pickup counter explains the dirty little secret behind Basic service, that the driver could have returned your package, but out of the goodness of his heart decided to bring it to the shipping facility so that you could have the enormous privilege granted to you as a special favor from the United Parcel Service of being allowed to pick up merchandise that you bought and paid for. Aren't you special?

UPS sucks big hairy monkey balls. It should not be a "special favor" for them to do their job and deliver your package. Even the USPS has the basic courtesy to hold a package if they don't want to leave it. UPS is charging molto bucks for the service of delivering packages, and they make only half-assed attempts at actually delivering the packages they are paid to deliver.

Do your recipient a favor, and don't use UPS.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
I used to hate UPS because we lived in an apartment where a package could not be left and dh and I would be gone all day. It was incredibly annoying. I'm just so happy that I live in a house and someone is home often.

I have to give mad props to my postal carrier though because I was out for a couple hours last week and when I returned home, I found a slip saying they would be holding a package at the PO for me because it required a signature. Well, a couple hours later the postman drove by and voila, he gave me the package (and I gave him the slip:)). I was so happy that he tried again. It doesn't help that we live quite close to the PO. He even said the package was too heavy to drag back to the PO.

Here's hoping you can find some other service that will work for you.
Jul. 9th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
I called up the company I'd ordered from and complained to a customer service person about their shipping methods. She said that, in order to guarantee USPS service, you need to order over the phone and not the website. I suggested that this might not be such a great policy, and she said she'd talk to the web team.

For now, I have two bags of poppy seeds, and they are not going anywhere.
Jul. 9th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
I can't figure out the different types of shipping at all. I bought something recently using Amazon.com (as opposed to the English one) but it was from an outside company and just done via Amazon. That was April. Still no sign of the package. When I e-mailed I was told "you only paid for ground but we shipped it international anyway." Huh? First, I paid exactly what popped up on my screen. Not my fault if you can't figure out that Ireland is outside the US. Second, it was a ridiculously high price for shipping so there's no way it was for "ground", you pack of liars. Still no package. They eventually stopped answering my e-mails so I left nasty feedback.
Jul. 9th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
This was Amazon Marketplace? Or some other company?
Jul. 9th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
Wow. If I had to take two busses and a train to pick up some poppy seeds, I might look for a new supplier.
Jul. 9th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
I didn't expect to be taking two busses and a train. I expected this place to ship the seeds USPS to my door, so I'd come home and find a nice box of poppy seeds already waiting for me.

Fortunately, these bags last for a long time, and I have two of them.
Jul. 9th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Oh God this got my blood pressure up! Here in the hind end of the world where I live, USPS does the same thing, unfortunately. Instead of taking my packages back to the post office that I can walk to, they take them to 'my' assigned post office, which is across a river in another county and just this side of impossible to find. I HATE deliveries. So I really feel for you.
Jul. 10th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
I think that's God's way of telling you to get out of Dodge. One thing I like about USPS here is that sometimes they leave the package, and when they do give you a package slip, they always know where the package is.
Jul. 10th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
That sucks. If you get stuck in a delivery bind sometime in the next year or so you could have stuff delivered to my work if you want.
Jul. 10th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Usually I try not to use UPS at all. The problem here was that, when I ordered the poppy seeds, I selected the USPS shipping option, but the company I ordered from changed it to UPS Basic without telling me. I expected a USPS delivery, not Round 376 of Pony vs. UPS drama.
Jul. 10th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you had to go through all that, Pony.

I have to say I've been lucky with UPS. They leave the packages on my porch so I don't have to go pick up anything. They may even ring my bell when they drop a package off, but it doesn't work so I'm not sure about that.

I suspect a great deal depends on where one lives, and the rules may be different for apartments as well.

I'll also say this about UPS. They've never left me an address label in a plastic bag with a note saying "Damaged in transit." (Ya think?) The Post Office has.
Jul. 10th, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
and the rules may be different for apartments as well.

Oh, the rules are totally different for apartments. UPS has come right out and told me that they do not like to deliver to apartment buildings, they will not leave any package in an apartment building lobby even if you sign for it, and they have no understanding of urban culture whatsoever. They privilege businesses, single-family houses and suburbanites, and they are not shy about it.
Jul. 12th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
UPS and my local post office are cousins.
And all this for a bag of poppy seeds? What assholes, a bag of poppy seeds is too large to leave by the door?
I hate that "f*cked you over good, courtesy of the postal service" smile. They probably teach it on orientation day.

Sorry, just letting out my own steam.
Jul. 12th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
What assholes, a bag of poppy seeds is too large to leave by the door?

UPS has a policy of not leaving anything in an apartment lobby. They will cheerfully leave a package out on the porch of a private, single-family home, or even on the doorstep close to the road, but God forbid they should leave packages for apartment dwellers.

They probably teach it on orientation day.

Special after-lunch practice session, I bet.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )