[UPS] Thanks, jerks.

Posted by Ken-A 
Ouch:



Boxes inside were somewhat squashed, but toys were amazingly unbroken. I guess this is what "rescheduled delivery" means in the tracking system?
I have a dislike for UPS as well.

"There's no Bigfoot in The Awakening." -James Bickert
Anonymous User
Next time tell them not to put the fragile sticker on there.
hey, you saw ace ventura,,,, what do you expect?
Sanjeev (Admin)
I'm officially part of the I-HATE-UPS club...but my experiences with them, thus far, have been more benign. A business associate in Rhode Island "overnighted" a package, via UPS, to me on Monday. I just got it yesterday.

No, the parcel didn't get smashed, but who fucking pays for service like that? FIVE fucking days to "overnight" a package from Providence to Boston. Nice.
UPS is great for LARGE parcels moneywise, and that's it. And USPS has gained ground in being competitive in that area in the recent past. I had a loose Daiku DX set (with that awful mini-Gaiking, that thing still creeps me out!) come from Australia, and the tail was snapped off when it arrived. The box was obviously distressed, and they didn't argue they were at fault. The kicker, of course is that they don't do partial damage claims, so if I wanted to collect on the insurance I would have had to surrender the whole toy (which they would probably have just tossed out).

I ended up repairing it, listing it was as being repaired with before and after pics on that auction site, and it still sold for more than I paid for it a year later. Weird.

-Adam
Really? I thought the USPS has actually LOST ground in that area (cost for large package shipment) lately, what with their "oversized" rules. Still, I would much rather pay them, since they actually can ring a doorbell.

"There's no Bigfoot in The Awakening." -James Bickert
I've been out of the shipping game for nearly a year, so I may be a bit out of touch. But that was my experience in the hey-day of my mass shipping that at a certain point UPS was the obvious choice.

I think as collectors, the temptation is to cash in insurance for damage on valuable items, but that we do have a responsibility to preserve those items we can (like a Daiku DX) even at a reasonable loss. One less rare toy out there means one less collector who does without, I'm all for seeing my "robro's" (that's catching on like wildfire) fill those empty spaces in their collections.

-Adam
I worked at UPS for almost five years. Doubtless the business has changed a lot in the last decade so I couldn't speak accurately about what they're up to these days. But I could still tell a lot of great stories...
I've had a few bad experiences with UPS as well (one time UPS left me for a guy with a flashier car)... Joking aside, I have. Why are they so terrible?
I used to work in shipping and receiving and the things I saw then would never allow me to voluntarily choose UPS.

We used UPS for the majority of our outgoing packages and we had to go to extraordinary lengths to preemptively protect fragile stuff from their treatment.

One such strategy was "floating" a box. We would bubble-wrap a breakable item, put it in a box filled with packing peanuts and seal the box. Then we would put that box inside ANOTHER box filled with peanuts.

I remember one package that we got back that looked like it had been repeatedly run over by a car. It turns out it got caught in one of their conveyor belts.

Our daily incoming deliveries were helmed by a driver nicknamed "Shakey".


Thank you
I've heard cops on some shows abot mail fraud and theft mention something called the ups stomp, where workers would stomp on the corner of a box to expose what's inside and determine if it's worth stealing or not....
UPS has a big truck. USPS has a small truck. Imagine your package at the bottom of the pile they can make in a big truck vs. a small truck.
mind if we ask what was in the box or do we not want to talk about that?
Here's a hint: toys.
During my tenure at UPS I covered several positions. I started with loading semi trucks, eventually moved up to next day air delivery, and then on to hazmat auditing and scanning control systems. The number one reason boxes came out looking like booty at the time was because of two things: 1) the conveyor belts; and 2) the excruciating transit deadlines endemic to guaranteed delivery services.

If you dropped off a package at the customer counter it would have been put almost immediately on a conveyor belt and left to accumulate before the shift started. If you gave your package to a driver he would have brought it in on his truck and parked in an loading/unloading bay once his rounds ended. At the start of the shift the counter packages would roll along and the driver pick-ups would be unloaded on to another conveyor belt. All of these would converge on something called the sort isle where human beings would pick up your box and then move it to yet another conveyor belt based on the delivery zip code. From there the box would travel merrily through another series of conveyor belts to a semi-truck loading bay where it would be diverted between a series of chutes leading to a rig that would haul it to the next facility for further processing. Those rigs are all loaded by hand and, yes, there is a corporate methodology to securing everything in place (think "walls" and "back-fill"). Once the rig was filled it would be driven off to another facility where the process would reverse itself as the semi was unloaded, the box moved to the sort isle, and the re-routed to a bay where all the individual trucks are parked according to delivery route.

Besides the fact that conveyor belts love to mangle packages by mechanically shoving them along in a rolling stream of cardboard you have human beings at various intersections who are literally picking up and throwing packages because that's what they're being yelled at to do in order to make the ever-critical cut-off times. Complicate this picture by adding serious warehouse style heights to the game and your packages have ample opportunities to fall or be thrown vast distances. It's amazing more packages aren't utterly destroyed than there are.

There are special crews in charge of recovering packages and contents when things go bust. Based on my time with the company, the above package looks only minimally distressed. Using boxes with higher edge-crush test ratings and "floating" contents in packing material are the best things you can do to protect the contents.

Partial claims on items aren't payed out because of the potential for fraud. And to file a claim you have to seriously demonstrate the value of the contents and steps taken to protect them. That's not the least bit unusual. As I understand it, these days UPS won't even insure packages over a certain dollar amount unless they pack it themselves.

Yes, theft does do on. But the UPS Stomp is a misnomer. Boxes weren't stomped to reveal their contents - that simply doesn't work very well. The return label is all someone needs to see to determine if it is worth their time to steal. Working on a line you get used to the company names associated with drop shipments of valuable goods like prescription drugs, jewelry, firearms, electronics, etc, and then you "stomp" those packages to create access to the contents. A favorite target in our building was Selma's Cookies (for immediate consumption), though several rings were busted for QVC jewelry and firearm theft. It usually takes more than one person to get valuable stuff out of a building because of the searches we would undergo entering/leaving the facility at shift time. But during non-shift time it would have been easy to stroll into the building and retrieve the guns or jewelry your partner had stashed that morning because there was no guard present then.

We did have one enterprising guy who used to come to work with a series of delivery labels cooked up featuring his home as the destination. He'd just slap them on any package he sorted that looked valuable and they'd be waiting at his front door the next day. Of course, UPS is no dummy when it comes to ferreting out fraud and the guy had practically painted an electronic map of every stolen good going straight to his house. Dumbass.
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> No, the parcel didn't get smashed, but who fucking
> pays for service like that? FIVE fucking days to
> "overnight" a package from Providence to Boston.
> Nice.

That was one of the areas where I used to work. I can guess what happened. Someone mis-sorted your package by either misreading the delivery ZIP or misplacing it in the wrong container. Because of that, it got sent to the wrong airport where it eventually had to wait to be rerouted to the correct facility. They won't re-route a basic airmail item because the cost of refunding the delivery is less than the cost of re-chartering a flight. However, if the item is at the elite next-day-early-AM-guaranteed-delivery level they will literally have someone jump on a plane to make it happen. But that's because the customer-retention and cost dictate it.

Alternately, the package could have been misplaced. But that's unlikely. Air delivery items had their own, separate conveyor system when I worked there. And we literally walked every inch of that system at the end of a shift looking for displaced items. And if air stuff somehow got mixed in with ground items the hand-held scanners would reject the item and alert someone to reroute it.

If it's any consolation, I promise someone was fired over that mistake. UPS takes air delivery seriously because it represents the highest revenue. The air delivery alone in UPS covers the operating costs of all their other service levels combined as well as churning out a profit. Anything less than air delivery service represents clear net to UPS without the same hassle of strict deadlines. That shit is so near-and-dear to their bottom line they don't mind canning someone over the occasional human error.

On the other hand, that same person will probably get their job reinstated if they're in the Teamsters.
Anonymous User
True story of the UPS...

1-of-a-kind item needed TODAY (pre-built media server rack-mounted & needed for immediate deployment that day) is dropped off back of UPS truck right outside office window in full view of recipients, crashing onto the pavement and obviously resulting in destruction of said vital overnighted hardware. Rack shoved onto dolly and rolled into building.

Recipient to UPS driver: "I saw you drop that off of the truck!!!! It's destroyed!!!!"

UPS Driver: Shrugs - "It's insured..."

Recipient: Totally screwed, as is client.

And this isn't anything near as many awful crap I've had them deal with at my HOME...
Gcrush, do you know why the company policy is to not bother to ring your doorbell and instead leave you a note saying that they were unable to deliver your package, even though 3 cars were in the driveway, the front door was open and several people were inside waiting for it?

"There's no Bigfoot in The Awakening." -James Bickert
Nekrodave Wrote:
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> Gcrush, do you know why the company policy is to
> not bother to ring your doorbell and instead leave
> you a note saying that they were unable to deliver
> your package, even though 3 cars were in the
> driveway, the front door was open and several
> people were inside waiting for it?

It's probably because he needed time to rifle through the contents first.

Eh, I won't make excuses for that particular driver but the most likely reason he ditched you for a younger, sexier customer was because he was behind schedule. It's not unusual to tag a stop when you're running behind. It actually looks better to management to have a tagged stop than to come in late. Those fuckers hate paying overtime. But more than that they hate waiting for drivers to come in and get their cars unloaded because it can mean delaying trailers or even air canisters as a result. All delays cascade.

Paradoxically, the goal of system-wide efficiency necessitates a certain level of inefficient instances. It's because of some systems engineer's optimization algorithm that your driver needs to be a dick from time to time.

Or, you know, your driver just doesn't like you. Which makes me wonder why. What did you do to him?
I've done nothing. Never been able to catch them. And I say "them" because it's not an isolated incident. They NEVER ring the bell. I suspect it's because my house is on the tail end of their rounds. They usually get here in the 6pm or later range. So even when they have a package that doesn't require a signature, they just drop it at the door, again with no bell rung. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly tripped and fallen over a box that I had no idea was there and didn't see in the dark.

There is no word for the amount of hatred I have for this company. They are the polar opposite of scrumtrulescent.

"There's no Bigfoot in The Awakening." -James Bickert
Dave, it's all part of the Italian shipping conspiracy. Stop ordering so many boxes from strange places.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Nah, he gets 'em delivered to my work now anyway...no foolin'!


Gcrush Wrote:
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> If it's any consolation, I promise someone was
> fired over that mistake.

It doesn't.

I'm actually kinda happy I live in a country where I have the option to take parcel shipping for granted. But more to the point, you've explained a few times now that such busted-ass service is a reality built into the processes of the corporation.

Okay, the driver who dropped Ray's server is a fucking jagoff...but I'd imagine that was a statistical aberration. I'm guessing the vast majority of UPS employees--at all levels of the company--are doing the best they can (or, at least, as well as you and me) with little, if any, active intention to butt-fuck their customers. Do they fuck up all the time? Of course not. Would I ever voluntarily use UPS? Fuck no.

So, that said, it doesn't console me to know that some working class schmuck with a hustle no better or worse than mine got sacked. I'd be consoled to know that some upper-tier exec making a six figure bonus by squeezing his workers even harder got kicked in the dick for this. But that's just me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2012 05:53PM by Sanjeev.
Nekrodave Wrote:
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> Ding-dong-ditch.

I think you pretty much explained the dynamics of the situation correctly. If you're near the end of the route, yeah, they're going to ditch you from time to time. No matter how mean, ugly, or angry a customer is the driver's boss will always, always be worse. As for the no-signature required parcels... I bet management saw those precious bell-ringing seconds adding up over the course of the day and decided to make the cut.

Most people probably wouldn't know it, but UPS was the industry pioneer with tracking systems for both parcels and employees. Being able to track parcel movement through the system isn't really a service for customers as much as it is a means of auditing system effectiveness and adjusting large-scale logistics. (It has a host of other benefits, too.) It used to be that drivers' performances were audited through those tablets they carry around. Inside of those things are accelerometers and GPS relays that can show were a driver has been and how long he was there.

The dark days of Brown Shirts dropping by to diddle your wife while you're at work are long over. They just don't have the time for it now that their bosses can evaluate them in so much excruciating detail. As for why that's the case...


Sanjeev Wrote:
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> Nah, he gets 'em delivered to my work now
> anyway...no foolin'!

Businesses get priority over residents every time. Residential deliveries are shit in the grand scheme of things. They can't even cover the cost of operations with those. Just look at the financial mess USPS is in...


> I'm actually kinda happy I live in a country where
> I have the option to take parcel shipping for
> granted.

Amen. I lived in countries where it was standard protocol for the mailman to sexually violate your mail before delivering it. It's nice to be able to get packages that have only been physically abused as opposed to sodomized outright.


> But more to the point, you've explained a
> few times now that such busted-ass service is a
> reality built into the processes of the
> corporation.

Systems engineers are the architects of Hell. I shared an office with a guy finishing his PhD in industrial design. He had created an algorithm that could optimize spatial component input by mapping it to an ordinalized, constrained output. You could describe the parts of your factory, what order they needed to be in, and how much space you had and he could whip up a near optimal solution for you. When looking over one output with him I asked, "Where do the people go?" And he said, "What do you mean?" Turns out that people aren't routinely thought of as design variables.

From a corporate perspective, the most important role of people is to fill functions that cannot yet be performed by automated systems. They're always trying to squeeze out every last drop of efficiency from employees by running them at the breaking point. If a company isn't understaffed they're losing money.

While, I have no particular love affair with labor unions the Teamsters performed an invaluable role at UPS in that they forestalled much of the turnover in the lowest unskilled positions. Any mistake you made would result in instant termination. Forget to scan a box? You're fired. But don't go home right away. Finish your shift and talk to the shop steward on your way out. He'll have some paperwork for you. And be sure to show up tomorrow at the regular time. I was "fired" twice over the years for what amounted to unavoidable human error. Anyone who didn't quit the job after their first week was practically guaranteed to get fired before the end of their first year.

Of course, the Teamsters exacerbated this arms race with management. You wouldn't need to fire people outright if they weren't unionized - you could reprimand them instead. But since you can't trust companies to always do the right thing it was better for us that the union was there.


> I'm guessing the vast
> majority of UPS employees--at all levels of the
> company--are doing the best they can (or, at
> least, as well as you and me) with little, if any,
> active intention to butt-fuck their customers.

The people directly out to fuck you are the ones you don't usually see - the managers and unskilled line workers. That's their job. Drivers, on the other hand, generally make too much money to risk losing their job by fucking over a customer. It takes a long time to rise high enough in seniority to drive a car for UPS, but once you do you've secured yourself one of the highest paying jobs available for a high school graduate. I knew guys that were already grossing close to $50,000 before the rest of us were even out of college. And their benefits and pension were out-fucking-standing as well.


> So, that said, it doesn't console me to know that
> some working class schmuck with a hustle no better
> or worse than mine got sacked. I'd be consoled to
> know that some upper-tier exec making a six figure
> bonus by squeezing his workers even harder got
> kicked in the dick for this. But that's just me.

The execs were all utter cocksicles. But middle and low-upper management had it the worst. Those guys were worked as hard as Brown Shirts but without union protection. Pity their souls the most.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Gcrush Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > If it's any consolation, I promise someone was
> > fired over that mistake.
>
> It doesn't.

Sorry, that was supposed to be facetious. I knew you wouldn't take comfort in it.
Sanjeev (Admin)
And I knew it was facetious. I was just trying to be clear. ;)
Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here's a hint: toys.

It's like you can read my mind, Rog:




Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Based
> on my time with the company, the above package
> looks only minimally distressed.

For some reason, this cracked me up. Thanks for all the insight and commiseration, y'all.

Best,
--Ken-A
mcfitch (Admin)
Nobody else finds it ironic that a guy with the word "crush" in his name is explaining how this comes about?
-Mason

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Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
It's funny, the problems people in this thread report with UPS I experience with the USPS. They never actually deliver packages, even if everyone is home. They just slap a "Come pick it up at the post office, asshole" notice every damn time. They never ever ring the doorbell or knock on the door. They are also the ones who have totally destroyed several things I ordered online. Toys, books, hell, they even managed to destory video tapes. Do you know how much brutality you have to apply to destroy a VHS tape? Argh.

UPS always seems to deliver my packages without problems so I almost always select UPS over USPS if I have the option because I won't have to drive miles out of my way on a Saturday (the only day the PO is open at a time I am not in work) just to pick up my probably destroyed package.

I wonder if UPS is better in some places and USPS is better in others?

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
My USPS is great. My guy comes up the 3 flights of stairs with stuff all the time. Hell, he's thanked me before, for using them so much. I bet the $20 I leave at Christmas doesn't hurt.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, aren't those notices (the little pink slips) specifically for packages that require a signature? Not much you can do about that...
Ken-A Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>

You should have upgraded to "Collector's Grade".


mcfitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nobody else finds it ironic that a guy with the
> word "crush" in his name is explaining how this
> comes about?

Now that you mention it, it is suspicious...


hillsy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I bet the $20 I leave at Christmas doesn't hurt.

Tipping always makes a difference.


Sanjeev and Ginrai Wrote:
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> Dirty pink slippers!

Service does tend to vary from place to place. The closer you live to a hub the more likely you are to get your parcels faster and in better condition. The point of origin can make a difference, but it isn't necessarily about distance. The number of connections and time in transit both dictate how much abuse your parcel is likely to endure before arriving. If I mailed a package from a Florida to ZIP to another Florida ZIP it might go through more hoops than if it were going to a Georgia ZIP. It sounds wacky, but sometimes deliveries within a state end up taking side-trips to other states along the way. Thank those systems engineers...

Regarding who leaves a box where, when I was at UPS it was often driver discretion. If a neighborhood looked sketchy or there was no covered front porch a driver would probably tag the house instead of leaving the parcel. As for the USPS, I once lived in an area where they would not, under any circumstance, leave a parcel. If I wasn't home I got a pink slip regardless of whether it needed a signature or not. And just last week a substitute mail carrier dropped a parcel behind the garage door for some reason. I nearly backed over the damn thing with the car.

Still, I lived in countries where mail service was as much an outright gamble as it was an unimaginable luxury. All and all we've got it pretty good in the 'States.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Oh, I forgot to mention...for USPS pink slips for packages that don't require a signature, you can just ask them to leave the package. At one point, I was getting way too many of those stupid things, so I just asked the lady at the PO and she said, "sure, no problem". After that, no problem.

Of course, it could, again, be a regional thing. I can imagine other PO workers not being cool with that...
I would always leave the notice with the, "Leave the package" checked and they would cover it with a new notice. Assholes.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
I just want to say that I really appreciate this insight provided by Gcrush into how the large-scale shipping industry manifests the nemesis of all who enjoy receiving packages.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sometimes the package eats it at the 'factory', so to speak. I currently work for Amazon.com at a shipping factory. I work on a conveyor line where I pack items and send them out to shipped. This is a 10 hour shift in 115 degree heat with little time to rest. I also have a rate that has to be kept. 350 items an hour. If not kept I can be fired. I am in care of a wall of around 100 chutes. My job goes like this. Using a hand scanner, I scan a chute, find the appropriate box (out of 15 or so sizes [some have to be hand made on the spot]), scan the box and then scan the item one by one and then tell the scanner how many items I've scanned.

So with all this in mind, you might understand how packages can get Sanjeev'd before they even hit the truck. The time it takes to deal with a damaged good is more than enough for rate to drop and be penalized. So more often than not, it gets shipped out anyways. Not to mention the bazillion other people who handle the package before it gets to the truck.

I have to be honest. The job makes me hate people who order from Amazon. It's not their fault but the job sucks so much that I project on those who's stuff I'm packing. I have packed damaged goods. I have packed goods I've damaged. But I don't care because I have to make rate or I'll be fired and financially fucked. Nothing else pays as well that I'm qualified for.

I've turned into a horrible mean hearted dick. So I'm sorry if you order from Amazon and your stuff is a tad mushy when you get it out of the box.
Servbot30, Gcrush, and Sanjeev, need to go into buisness together. I see sunshine and ponies in your futures.

Joshb, glad to hear you grabbed steady work, but hate hearing it'll give you "bitter old man" syndrome. It sounds like in your case those systems engineers under the direction of MrCrush, keep the pressure on steady all day. I remember being a shipping/receiving clerk at a plant, and it was always the classic,"Oh,give 'im a deluge at the end of the day, right before the pickup comes. He'll pack it up, no worries." RAArrrgghh! SMASH!

I can only assume a place like BBTS tries to spread the order packing all day, but logic just says the tons of eagerbeaver fanboys clicking furiously to order "exclusives" that day, dictate an end of the day panic rush for the shipping department. Even then, it can still go out perfect, and get killed by the carrier, like Ken's case.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/25/2010 08:17AM by repairtechjon.
mcfitch (Admin)
Quote

I've turned into a horrible mean hearted dick.

So have I. I'm ordering stuff I don't even need from Amazon at this very moment just for you champ ;-)
-Mason

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt "I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!"
Sanjeev (Admin)
repairtechjon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Servbot30, Gcrush, and Sanjeev, need to go into
> buisness together. I see sunshine and ponies in
> your futures.

I shudder to think the damage we'd cause to the social fabric of this nation...

> ...tons of eagerbeaver fanboys clicking
> furiously to order "exclusives" that day...

Not to derail this thread (because it's obviously so rigorous!), but what the FUCK does "exclusive" mean anymore??? I just got some newsletter from bbts or some other website offering preorders on dozens of upcoming Comic-Con exclusives.

How are they supposed to be "exclusive" if any jamoke can preorder them online?
Anonymous User
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Okay, the driver who dropped Ray's server is a
> fucking jagoff...but I'd imagine that was a
> statistical aberration.

Tell that to Ken Kelly. He absolutely refuses to use UPS for either original art or prints. Same thing with at least one other pro artist I know, because both have said you absolutely can't rely on them to deliver something in a timely fashion and their experience with damaged items is so extensive they expect something to most-likely be ruined upon arrival.

And I can't even count the other numerous times I've had UPS show up, lightly tap on the door while everyone is home and then disappear with only a re-delivery slip behind. One of them even nearly backed up their van on my wife, and another tore a gouge out of my front lawn with the tail end of their van doing a three-point turn in the road for no obvious reason (we live in a very short loop). Those don't include squashed boxes, boxes with holes punched in them. Or the gift bassinet we found on our back porch after two days in the rain and snow since the driver never left a note that he had abandoned it in a rarely-used entryway.

And I'll note that the first UPS shipment I ever got - back in 1984 from Books Nippan (my first mail-order Japanese book) was actually bent in half until the spine split, left in an obviously damaged padded, boarded envelope on my parent's doorstep.

They suck. If you absolutely, positively need to tell the client you sent it but you don't care if it shows up in useable condition or shows up at all as long as it's cheap to ship, then they're your people!
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