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Away From Home

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fun at UPS-land

Ordinarily, having a package shipped 10 days early is an unexpected treat. This time, it was just frustrating.

I ordered some packages last week. The shipper said that they would be delivered July 7, so I gave them my new address -- the one I will be living at on July 7. Instead, they decided to ship the packages last weekend, so they are "here" now.

Since (quite obviously) nobody was at the new address to receive the packages, I went out to the UPS center (in Laurel) to pick them up. The packages were there; I got to see them. However, UPS requires an ID with the delivery address on it -- which, being as I don't actually live at the new address yet, I obviously didn't have. My picture ID verifying that I was in fact the intended recipient wasn't sufficient, because it didn't say "Amherst Ave" on it. Interestingly enough, they will hand your packages over to someone with a different name, just so long as they have an ID with your address on it.

So, I asked if I could change the delivery address. They said no, only the shipper can do that. So, I called the shipper, asking if they would fax over an address change authorization.

Of course they wouldn't. It was silly of me to think that they might be helpful.

After waiting on hold for 10 minutes, I finally got through to a representative, located (for my convenience) somewhere in the vicinity of Calcutta. She informed me that I could change the delivery address, but that it would take 24-48 hours to propagate through the system and make it back to UPS.

OK, I said. Just please also fax over an authorization, so that I can go ahead and pick up the packages now. No dice.

See, this is what I don't understand. Once the rep puts in the order to change the address, it's done. It's authorized. Nobody else needs to approve it. All that happens next is that the order works its way through the system. So I simply requested that we shortcut that propagation by also sending a fax. Note that I didn't want her to forego using the "proper" system, I only wanted her to do this too. What difference does it make to the shipper if UPS receives the change immediately or in 24 hours? It's getting changed either way, isn't it? It would have hurt them zero and helped me immensely to do this.

But no. Customer service? Sure, if you consider getting thrown out of a window into a pit of scorpions to be "service."

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