Friday, January 2, 2009

Fed Ex Is Feeding Us Excrement

The two or three of you who have been regular visitors to the Mansion over the past several years know that there is no love lost between Hillbilly Mom and UPS. Or as she is wont to call them: Unqualified People Shipping. She has even shared with you pictures of the crushed and opened packages delivered carelessly to the Mansion doorstep by those Unqualified People Shipping. This year, UPS performed admirably. Out of all the holiday packages, only ONE had the tape pulled off and put back on. It was an Amazon box. Amazon wraps the stuff inside with a big ol' hunk of plastic to hold it to a cardboard slab in the bottom of the box. That keeps stuff from rattling around in there. The plastic was not breached, and the tape had been stuck down again, though it was wrinkled with cardboard pieces stuck to it, and was not very sticky. So UPS gets a pass this year.

Fed Ex, on the other hand, is The Debbil. Several years ago, we had an issue with Fed Ex over a pair of kid's bowling shoes for the #1 son. They took over two months to arrive, even though all the tracking information showed that the package left on time. That box of shoes must have been like a kidnapped garden gnome, roaming the country and the world, having its picture taken in various costumes. Then one day, Fed Ex dropped off the package like it was perfectly normal to have a package for over two months before delivering it. I would have canceled the whole bloomin' thing, but my #1 son you say...a bit fractious about specifics. He did not want ANOTHER pair of shoes. He wanted THOSE. Every morning he would wake up, just knowing that it was the day his shoes were coming. I hate Fed Ex. In fact, I try not to use them for shipping if any other alternative is available. Wherein lies our current situation.

The #1 son counted up his saved allowance and Christmas money, wrangled a deal to borrow $150 from The Pony at a 10% interest rate, to be paid back at $13 per week, and bought himself a new phone. You know, because his original iPhone, and then his iPhone 3G, were not statusy enough for him, methinks. He says he is still going to use his iPhone for accessing the internet on his laptop, which is OK by me as it gives me this wonderful dial-up service all to myself. The boy is planning to switch out his sim card to suit his purposes. He's a regular nerdly techno geek, is what he is. But he's not in a gang or staging fights on YouTube or hacking into Sarah Palin's email account, so I try to deal with it.

The phone he just HAD to have is something I never heard of: a G1 or a Dev 1 or some other so-called gewgaw. I don't know what's so great about it, but it must be special if he wants it. He said he had to go to Google and register as a developer for $25 to be able to buy this phone unlocked, or else it would cost more plus a plan. Whatever. He coughed up the cash, so I ordered it for him. He went in debt for one more week by requesting 2-day shipping. The only delivery option was Fed Ex. The deal was done. I printed out the order confirmation thingy. This was Sunday night. He signed up to get email notification when his precious new baby shipped.

On Monday, he cackled maniacally that his phone had shipped, by cracky! We figured that it would arrive on Wednesday. New Year's Eve.

On Tuesday, the boy was all excited because his phone was in Illinois. Chicago, perhaps. I don't recall. On Wednesday morning, tracking showed that the phone had left Rolla and was out for delivery. #1 tried to subdue himself. "You know we're on the end of the route. We always get our packages around 4:00. I'm glad we're going to be home all day, though, because it requires a signature."

That poor tortured soul jumped every time the dogs thumped around on the porch. He checked the Fed Ex website every 30 minutes. At 4:00, he could stand it no longer. He rode the 4-wheeler down to the mailbox for something to do. At 4:15, he ran down to my office. "I can't believe this! The website says that delivery was attempted, but there's a Local Delivery Exception. I'm calling Fed Ex!" That's one of #1's better qualities. He doesn't take crap from service people like the foreigners who run Compaq computers, or the Excrement Feeders at Fed Ex. You'll see what I mean if you haven't dozed off yet.

#1 called Fed Ex and asked where his package was, and what was a Local Delivery Exception. The rep said it meant that the driver had tried to deliver the package, but that that there was a problem with the road. #1 said, "There's nothing wrong with the road. I was just on it 10 minutes ago. We've been here all day, and nobody came. I paid for 2-day shipping, and now I'm not going to get it in 2 days." The rep said there was no record of 2-day shipping. He told #1 he would call the driver, and put #1 on hold. He came back on the line, and said that #1 should wait for the driver to call, to give it an hour and call back if he hadn't heard anything.

Not appreciating the run-around, #1 called back after 30 minutes. This time he got a woman rep. He told her the problem, and pointed out that he had paid for 2-day shipping. He gave her the order number. She said, "It shows that the driver has coded the delivery as a Local Holiday, which is obviously wrong, because that code is for a business, and your order shows '2-day residential shipping'. Stay on the line, and I will call the driver." She came back, and said that the driver was picking up a big order, 300 units, in town, and that he would swing by our house after that.

#1 got his hopes up again. HH arrived home at 5:00, and the boy jumped out onto the porch at the false alarm. Then, at 5:15, he saw the Fed Ex truck out his open shades. He ran onto the porch. Here's the story, according to #1 after the fact:

When he saw me, the Fed Ex guy stopped the truck halfway down the driveway. He stood by it, waiting for me. He looked like he was in his late 20s or early 30s. He glared at me. He wouldn't give me the thing to sign. HE had to hold onto it. The space I had to sign in was about half the size of the screen on my iPhone.

That lady at Fed Ex was really helpful. She sounded American, but that first guy I talked to sounded like he was trying to disguise a Mexican accent. I'm glad I called back. I wouldn't have gotten my phone until FRIDAY! And I would have told them they better drop that 2-day shipping charge, too!

My son. The one-man local Better Business Bureau.

Here's my theory. The driver wanted to get off early on New Year's Eve. He had a big order in town, and one package to drive out to Hillmomba. He figured, 'Screw that package. I'll say I couldn't deliver it, and I can save 30 minutes. It can be delivered on Friday.' Then a customer rep called him, and he stuck to his story that he couldn't deliver the package. Never mind that there was no rain or snow or any reason why the road should be blocked. The driver told the Fed Ex rep that he would call #1, when he had no intention of doing so. He knew he couldn't use the story of the Local Deliver Exception after what the first rep told him, so he changed the code to Local Holiday. THEN, the woman Fed Ex rep called the driver, and he knew he was now on the Customer Service Watch List, so he crankily, begrudgingly, carried out the work he was being paid to do, and delivered the package to the Mansion, bitter that his plan to get off early on New Year's Eve had been foiled.

Any recent mysteries you need solved?


DeadpanAnn said...

Next time someone tries to b.s. me, can I get #1 to make some calls for me?

Some people have a real knack for handling people who try to b.s. them. My sister is one of them. It's like she has some weird authority and service people just do what she tells them to do. I have to be really, really persistent to get anything done.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
Same here. Yesterday, my internet wouldn't connect !!!! I dug out the printout I had made of an email they sent out, saying they had previously given the wrong number, but here was the RIGHT number to contact them. This was from the end of November.

The guy I reached was kind of smart-alecky, saying, WHO do you think you're calling? I told him in no uncertain terms the name of my provider, and the sub-company they absorbed that bills me, and read off the paragraph and number to him. Then he said, "Well, we only do tech service for businesses, and we're on a holiday schedule, but if you will email me I will see that someone gets it. WTF? I told him that NO, I WAS NOT GOING TO EMAIL HIM BECAUSE MY FREAKIN' INTERNET SERVICE WAS DOWN, SO HOW WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO SOLVE MY PROBLEM, WHAT WITH NEEDING MY FREAKIN' INTERNET SERVICE TO SEND AN EMAIL?

Then I hung up on him, because I could, and wondered why he was answering the phone if they were on a holiday schedule.

I called the main number instead of the 800 number, and actually got a polite nerd, who asked my pertinent info, and said he had one other complaint from my area which was much more important, so I'm guessing the local prison must use their dial-up service, and he said he would get someone to work on it, and to try it every 20-30 minutes until service was restored. Which it was, in about 90 minutes.

You don't want to anger the maximum security inmates, by cracky!

#1 should start a consulting service to address dissatisfaction with service companies. Instead of the Geek Squad, he could call it the Meek Squad, and help the meek inherit the service to which they are entitled.