Friday, January 29, 2010

Postnet & UPS = Failure

I wanted to send my father some organic stevia and some lemons from our backyard tree, so I put together a small box - 12 x 12 x 8 inches. I threw in a Michael Pollan book as well. 2.4 lbs all together. I headed to my local Postnet location, to mail it, since the nearest US Post Office is twice as far away and always miserably busy.

Entering the mailing & copying outlet, I was once again the only customer there - 3rd time I've been there. I tell the proprietor that I want to mail this small box to Indiana, no rush, slowest & cheapest means possible (the lemons will keep for a few days). I get out $10 and some change, expecting it to be $8 to $12 or so. A few minutes later, "That will be $18.09 for UPS ground" the Eritrean owner tells me. !!! She gives me a "10% discount" but it still comes to $16.28. I was in a hurry to mail it and get out of there, so, whatever. I forked it over.

2 days later, I am driving past my friendly neighborhood Fed-Ex location, and I have the receipt from Postnet in the car. Curious, I walk in, and there's 2 other customers being helped. The manager steps up promptly and asks if she can help me. I ask her, in theory, how much it would be to send a 12x12x8 sized 2.4 lbs package to NW IN, slowly, no rush. "$11.20 via Fed-Ex ground" she replied with a smile, after 5 seconds of keying it into her computer terminal. Wow.

I described to the Fed-ex personnel how UPS never waits for a signature, even when they are supposed to, the packages arrive as if they've been dragged through a dusty street in a third world country and then run over by a 12 ton military truck. When UPS packages are lost or stolen, the surly, indignant, unhappy driver demands you sign his "I did not get my shipment" affidavit in a huff, and when he brings the replacement package a week later, he Again drops it, runs, and doesn't wait for the required signature. 'What can Brown do for you?' - they can piss you off, lose your package, be extremely rude, and provide terrible service for an unreasonably high price. In contrast, the Fed-Ex driver in my neighborhood is friendly, customer centric, prompt, and the packages he's delivered are usually not disgustingly filthy & they get signed for (with a "Thank You").

What an epic failure of both Postnet & United Parcel Service. Whatever mark-up Postnet is adding, is no value added. I erroneously thought UPS ground would be cheaper than Fed-Ex. It's not, by nearly a 40% mark-up. I won't be using UPS again, and I have no need to go to Postnet other than to drop things off in their mail slot. And it is not just in Arizona. In South Carolina once, the UPS man left my new passport in a next-day envelope under my door mat - I had no awning, and it was raining. Another time, the UPS man left something as unimportant as our e-Loan mortgage re-financing closing papers on the door step as well. Thanks UPS.

When I was a small child in Indiana in the Winter, we used to relish throwing snowballs at the large UPS delivery trucks that frequently passed by my parents' home. I used to feel bad when I looked back at doing that as I got older. Now I wish I would've put rocks in the snowballs back in the 70s as we lobbed salvos at the brown panel vans, and then ducked into the network of snow tunnels we'd dug.

If you've had similar less-than-pleasant experiences with UPS, I encourage you to comment here. Venting is good for you, from time to time.


  1. UPS sucks in general. UPS International is downright catastrophic.

    The FedEx people that deliver to me almost daily are very professional and damn nice. Today I chitchatted with the FedEx driver a while . I mentioned that it sucks when a signature is required because of a 50/50 chance of anybody being there. He said he would call me between 7am and 8am to warn if there was sig-req. package coming that day. Now if he follows through on that - very impressive.

    The UPS guys are nice too, but I just have too many problems with the company when I'm the shipper.

  2. My SC UPS man was nice. Incompetent, but nice. My AZ UPS man is an asshole. A scowling, disgruntled, un-personal, 40-something, height impaired, negligent, very unhappy in his job asshole. My FedEx delivery guy and FedEx outlet people, are obsequiously nice, and happy in their work. My Staples guy (all corporate offices supplies are required, where I work, to come from Staples) is a nice little old man, by appearances, in his 60s, or very late 50s, who is always a pleasure to deal with.

    Being nice doesn't cost anything. Being angry and upset and pissed-off all the time raises your blood pressure, cortisone levels, stress, and decreases life span, increases accident rates. Why do through life intentionally doing your job poorly and aggravating your customers? I don't get it. But I hope FedEx does well, and that they're around a long long time.

  3. Our regular UPS drivers in Chicago were great.

    The UPS driver in Alabama is really good, too. Guess we've been lucky.

    UPS used to treat their employees really well. Maybe since the strike a few years back they've gone into shit mode?


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