The UPS epic fail

If I get a package delivered to me via the U.S. Postal Service, and I’m not home, then Mike the Mailman will leave a note on my door letting me know I can pick up the package at my local post office, or I can sign the note and the package will be delivered the next day.  Easy-peasey.

If I get a package delivered to me via FedEx, and I’m not home, I can go to FedEx’s distribution center, show some ID, and pick up the package.  Plain and simp simps.

If I get a package delivered to me by UPS, however…

Hoo boy.  This is a story.  Bear with me on this one.

Last week, I made arrangements to get my mitts on the new BlackBerry PRIV smartphone.  I paid a little extra to get the phone delivered as quickly as possible because, hey, BlackBerry.

On Friday night, I came home from the day job to see a sticky-note from UPS on my front door.  Okay, I missed the package, I can live with that.  I just need to call the number on the UPS sticky-note and arrange for a pickup.

I called the number.

“Your package has been re-routed, at the request of the customer, to another location.”


What do you mean “re-routed at the request of the customer”?

Of course, this is what’s going through my mind right now.  Someone figured out that I’m getting the best cell phone in the world, and tried to steal it.  That, or maybe there’s another Chuck Miller running around the Capital District.  Wow.  Two Chuck Millers in the Capital District?  That’s enough to make some people scream in terror. 😀

A few phone calls later, I finally got in touch with UPS Customer Service.  It’s now 5:45 pm on Friday night.  Pay attention.  Time stamps are going to be important for this little adventure.

“Oh, Mr. Miller, your driver makes one attempt to deliver your package, and then it will be shipped to an Access Point.”

A what?

“An Access Point.  We have Access Points where your package will be delivered if you are not home.  Your package has been delivered there, since you weren’t home.”

Okay… where is this Access Point?  I’ll go pick up the package right now.

“It’s in a hardware store in a place called Water… I can’t pronounce the town name.”

Water?  Waterford?  Watervliet?  Watertown?  Stillwater?  What?

“It’s in Water-vellett.”

Obviously not a local.

Here’s the thing.  UPS started adding these things called “Access Points,” where you could drop off and pick up packages if you’re not home.  Supposedly it deters theft, in that the package is delivered safely to a secure location.  Of course, not knowing where the “secured location” is kinda defeats the purpose.

“Okay.  Hardware store in Watervliet.   Do you have an address?”

He gave me the address.  It’s 5:50 pm.  “They are open until 6:00 p.m., and then you can pick up your package on the next business day after that.”

Next business day, my toenail.  I jumped in the car and drove to Watervliet.

The hardware store was just about to close.  5:59 pm.  I just made it.

“Hi, do you have a UPS package under the name of Miller?” I asked, showing the proprietor the UPS sticky-note that was left on my door.

The proprietor looked at a handheld computer tablet.  “Maybe it’s in the back.”

Ten minutes later… “No, we don’t have a package for Miller.”

Good thing I kept my UPS customer service representative on the phone.

“You said the package would be delivered here.  It’s not here.  Can you please find out where my package is?”

“Well… it’s very possible that it was delivered to a UPS Store location in a town called La-Thame.”

Again… obviously not a local.

I knew the location of the UPS Store in Latham; one quick shoot up Route 7, onto the Latham Circle, Route 9, boom here I am.

“Do you have a package that was delivered here for Miller?”  I asked the UPS Store worker, showing her the sticky-note.

“What are you talking about?” she asked, looking at me as if I was trying to sell her door-to-door encyclopedias.  “We don’t get deliveries like this.”

Wow.  A UPS Store doesn’t get deliveries from UPS.  What’s next, are you going to tell me that McDonald’s isn’t a Scottish eatery?

So finally, I figure out that the package MIGHT have been brought back to the UPS distribution center in La-Thame – sorry, Latham – specifically, 24 Avis Drive off of Wade Road.

Mind you, I still have the UPS customer service representative on my working phone.  You ain’t getting away that easily.

“If you want, Mr. Miller, we can track the package and give you a call back in one hour.”

Right.  You’ll call me back.  Suuuuuuuure you will.

7:00.  I arrive at the UPS distribution center.

Two ladies are at the front package desk.  I patiently wait until they are done with their customers.

“Do you have a package that was delivered here for Miller?” I asked the ladies, showing them the sticky-note.

One lady leaves the front counter.  90 seconds later, she returns with a box.

Return address – Verizon.

“It was the first package I saw,” she said.

After showing proper photo ID to confirm that I was me, I opened the package.  Yes indeed.  BlackBerry PRIV cell phone inside.

“Wow,” one of the UPS ladies said.  “That’s a pretty phone.”

“Best phone ever,” I replied.

Went home.  And at no time did I receive any “call within an hour” telling me the location of my package.

And over the weekend, I debated as to whether I would write this blog post.  Whether I would ever consider ripping UPS a new one over this event.  This was just a comedy of errors.  No way in the world this could happen again.

Besides, I’ve got other things to work on – I ordered some products from Amazon for a future art project.  They should arrive any day now.

Monday.  They should arrive any day now.

Tuesday.  They should arrive by now.  It’s not like they’re being shipped from Japan or something.

Wednesday.  No dice.

Thursday.  Seriously?  No package?

Friday morning.  I checked my Amazon alerts in my e-mail.  Amazon said the package was delivered Monday.

oopsLAST Monday.

And it gets better.

A quick click of Amazon’s tracking software revealed this little bon mot:

“Your package was delivered to a nearby store.”

So wait… that slip from UPS was supposed to represent TWO packages?

And UPS decided to drop my second package at the hardware store on Monday, without a second attempt at delivery to my location?

And I’m sitting here waiting for a package of art supplies from Amazon, not realizing that they’re over in Water-Vellett somewhere?

Another call to UPS.  I want answers.

“Well, Mr. Miller, we totally apologize for the inconvenience we might have caused you…”

Easy, Chuck.  Deep breath.

“If you want, we can send you a link to have you sign up with My UPS, where you are automatically notified if you receive any packages sent to you, and where they are at all times.  Can we get your phone number and e-mail, and we’ll get you pre-signed up and send you a link to the service?”

May as well.  At this point, anything’s better than nothing.

A quick Friday night trip to the hardware store, and sure enough there was my SECOND package.

One quick signature, and my box of art supplies – which now put me a week behind schedule for an art project – were in my possession.

Frustration all around.

Oh, and before I finished this blog post this morning, I checked my e-mail.  No links to My UPS or any other UPS package monitoring service in my e-mail account or in my spam folder or anywhere else.

So here’s where I stand.  If I get a package from UPS, I should expect to not receive it on the day of delivery, that I MIGHT get a note from UPS saying they tried to deliver, that the package MIGHT be at something called an Access Point in a town or hamlet or village that UPS customer service representatives can’t pronounce the name, and maybe – just maybe – if I’m lucky – damn lucky – it might be at the UPS distribution center.

I guess I know why UPS’ motto is “What can brown do for you?”

Because this week, UPS treated me and my packages like something else that’s brown.