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A fresh set of bile, episode 1: UPS

A fresh set of bile, episode 1: UPS

So I’m back from the fly meeting and ready to dish out a fresh set of bile to the things that have failed me over the last bit. In this first installment we visit how complicated UPS can make delivering a simple little envelope.

My watch broke a while back. The crystal cracked seemingly spontaneously with a loud ping that was heard from four meters away. I really could put Skagen on the list for that, but it’s balanced by the fact that I really, really like my watch, so I’ll spare them my wrath for now unless it breaks again. (It did mysteriously loose half an hour a couple of days ago…) It was marginally cheaper—if only marginally—to get a cheap temporary replacement and send it in to be fixed than to get a new one, so I dutifully sent in my little box insured with return receipt and waited.

Next thing, I come home to find a UPS 2nd delivery attempt slip on my mailbox. Strange, I never got a first delivery slip. And no information was filled out, so I could only assume that it was my watch coming back. Oh, and it was dated from the day before… So sure enough I go upstairs and give UPS a call and they claim to already have made a third attempt making it too late for me to do anything about it other than spend money renting a flexcar to drive all the way down to the UPS facility in Sodo. So I talk to a representative, and to his credit, he assures me that he can have it sent to my work now, but it’s the last chance and they won’t even hold it for me if anything goes wrong. One more problem and it’s going back to the sender and who knows what I’ll have to go through to get my watch back.

So I carefully ask him exactly what information he needs to make sure it gets through the byzantine addressing of the UW to our new building, giving him building name, floor, room number, lab name, department, street address, and zip plus 4, which should have been redundant about five times over to get it to me. He tells me that unfortunately it’s after 6:00, so it won’t get to me until day after tomorrow. No problem, I think, just so it gets to me and I don’t have to shell out any more money or time. Oh, if only…

So two days roll by and nothing comes, so I track the package and there are about a million notices up repeating that “this delay was caused by an error in routing, we’re sorry for the inconvenience…” Or something like that. Finally the next Monday, I have a free moment to think about it and track it again and it says that it was delivered to someone with a name I don’t recognize (first name only making directory lookup almost impossible) to the “office.” Nievely I run down to the departmental office and ask for my package, but no one has seen it or heard of the person who supposedly signed for it. We spend some time looking around the building for someone who might have signed for it, wasting almost an hour with no luck. Finally we decide that it could have ended up just about anywhere in the University. The problem is, I’m leaving at 3:30 AM the next day for the fly meeting, so I’m afraid that I won’t be around when whoever received it tries to find me and I’ll never see my watch again.

So on the suggestion of an administrator I gave UPS a call again to see if they had any more detailed information and the recording tells me everything that I already knew plus something indecipherable in a non-artificial prerecorded voice. After asking for an operator, I’m able to gather that I’m being told a room number where it ended up in the I wing of health sciences. You know, the kind of information that would have been actually been useful had it been on the tracking information page.

Unfortunately it is a couple minutes past five now, so I run off to see if I can get in to where my package is and I track it down to a relatively high security locked door with a sign saying not to knock but to use the phone, which I do and get the voice mail of the person who signed for my package. Finally luck struck because as I was about to leave someone came by and used her card to get into the door. She was nice enough to let me in and look for the package which, after some searching, we found stuck behind another envelope. So at least the story has a happy ending.

You see, what happened is that apparently UPS decided to leave out half of the information that I gave them from the new shipping label. So even though it still had the street address and room number which should have been enough to get it to me, they became confused and tried to do a directory lookup on me. The problem is that we just moved and it seems that when I changed my address in the directory when I registered for the quarter, that didn’t change my faculty/staff listing (which I should have thought of), so they gave it my expired address. How it then got two floors down from my old address instead of someone in the old space telling them that it was probably something for the who used to be there, is anybody’s guess as is why they decided to deliver it to a high security area.

I fixed my address listing and I’d like to think that this won’t happen again, but then that would be pretty naive wouldn’t it?

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