I hate the U.S. Postal Service… but not as much as I hate online retailers who require signature on delivery for items/orders of limited monetary value (let’s say, under $50.00). As you might imagine, I do quite a bit of my shopping online, and with Sara around that’s doubly true now. I order everything from bras and baby gear to office supplies and geek gear (GPS units, cameras, etc.) online. I’m fine with having to sign for high dollar items, like a professional digital camera (over $1,500) or a new MacBook laptop. However, I absolutely go into fits when I have to sign for a single cable (as Apple.com has forced me to do before) or a $30 pair of bicycle shorts.
Late last week, I was nursing Sara when the doorbell rang. Solicitors are not allowed in our neighborhood, and we weren’t expecting the delivery of any new cameras, computers or other valuable items that I’d have camped out in the front room to receive promptly.
So, I ignored the bell and continued feeding Sara, only to see the USPS mail jeep pull away.
I figured he just had something too large to fit in our box… no biggie.
When I finally had an opportunity to check the front door, there’s a damned U.S. Postal Service “Sorry we missed you” type card and, unlike UPS, Fedex and the like, they don’t check off the “Will redeliver on X date” box, instead I’m sent directly to jail and fined $200 — “Package can be picked up at X post office after May 7, 2007″.
This was on Friday, and of course they wouldn’t have it available for pickup on the weekend when Justin could have done it solo or I could have done it with Justin watching Sara, right? Right.
I do some backtracking on Amazon.com and realize all this nonsense is because an Amazon.com third party retailer that I bought a single $30 nursing bra from is paranoid and requires signature on delivery. Oh, the irony — the company’s product line caters to nursing mothers, people who are probably the least able to race to their front door and sign for packages, and yet they require signature on delivery even for orders as inexpensive as $30!
So, whatever. I waited until today to haul Sara and myself to the new post office (because, of course, the package couldn’t be routed to the post office where we have a P.O. Box… it had to be a new one in the opposite direction from where my normal travels take me.) I nursed her before we left and set out with a happy Sprout.
I arrive and there’s a long line, but it’s progressing fairly quickly. Sara starts having a meltdown, and shortly before I’m the first in line she’s so worked up I haul her out of her infant seat, place it in a safe corner and return to line, holding her closer to me for comfort.
When it’s my turn, and as I’m walking to his window, the teller without missing a beat (sadistic *@#!*@) smiles and says, “Wrong line.” I’ve just waited in the wrong line for 10 minutes. Terrific.
I go to the “Quick Service Window” to wait. There’s only two other people waiting, so I think, “Well, at least it won’t be much longer.”
.and we wait.
Sara has multiple crying jags, and I’m getting progressively sadder for her and more frustrated that the Quick Service Window is anything but. We are now amassing more people at the “Quick” Service Window, yet everyone who had been behind me in the other queue is long gone. I mull over whether I should just leave, but the post office is really out of our way and Justin would have no way of getting to it after work before it closes. If I let the package wait too long, then I have the new nightmare of it being returned to sender. So, we wait.
Sara gets so distraught I take her back to the car and nurse her a bit in the back seat (tinted windows and a blanket to cover-up).
Maybe 10 minutes later, I head back into the Post Office to resume waiting in the “Quick Service Window” queue… which now has, jeeeez, at least 10 people waiting.
By now, Sara’s been crying off and on for so long and so hard I now feel like The World’s Worst Mothertm even though I’m talking to her, kissing her hot, red-from-crying head, caressing her and bouncing/swaying her, etc.
I’m too busy trying to console her to pay any attention to everyone else in the building, which was probably a good thing (the acoustics were like an echo chamber!)
Even when it’s finally my turn at the window, it took them over 10 minutes to locate my single package and hand it to me. Grrrrr…
It just blows my mind that a company serving clients who, by their very nature, cannot get to the door quickly to sign for packages forces signature on delivery for a paltry $30 order. My time and sanity, and Sara’s comfort and well-being, are worth way more than $30. Sigh.
I still feel like she’s scarred from the ordeal, but I suspect the damage was to First Time Momma me, and not my little one. She’s back to cooing and kicking in her bassinet, playing her imaginary games.
So, unless you’re selling me a Dell or Apple computer or a diamond ring, WTF with using U.S. Postal Service’s signature on delivery!?! Take the occasional loss and deal with it… otherwise, you’re damaging goodwill with every purchase. Or at least ship via UPS because they actually offer delivery tracking and they’re much more flexible when it comes to redelivery and rerouting of packages.
/end of rant
May 9, 2007
Just the right timing on this. I had my UPS driver use his “discretion” to decide I needed to sign In Person for a package from Amazon. He came between 5 and 6 every day, when I’m still at work. And the warehouse it ended up at for my pickup? Is open 8 – 6 Monday through Friday. A 2-day package took me TWO WEEKS to get. Better yet, what was in it (a toy) was worth less than my doormat, had he chosen to leave the package under the mat, like any sane UPS driver.
And I don’t even have an upset baby with me. (Unless you count little Disney. But she’s rarely upset.)
May 9, 2007
While we’re complaining … Our post office is 20 miles from out house and I’ve had to take the hour round trip drive more than once to pick up a package … generally worth less than the gas to go get it.
Another situation even gets me more worked up since I learned my lesson about P.O. Boxes and some places not shipping to them … so I ’smartly’ got a box at our local Mailboxes, etc … now UPS Store. (I travel during the week and it is handy to use their street address for product shipments, business related mail, etc.) Unfortunately with the power of information and data available to some online resellers, they still refuse to deliver to my office #208 because their information indicates that its a UPS Store … so I’m still screwed … even though there is someone there to sign for the package!
In fact just yesterday I had to follow up on a $500 order and the online ‘jeweler’ canceled my order without so much as a phone call or email because the ship to address didn’t match the credit card.
1- they should have called,
2-why have a ’ship to’ and ‘bill to’ on the form and
3- after calling to talk to management about it all they would do is replace the order BUT only ship to my house.
Mind you I said this is ‘jewelry’ which WOULD have been a gift for my wife … hence not wanting it delivered to the home.The manager wouldn’t consider overriding and instea preferred to lose the sale without so much as an apology. I wrote the company ’snail mail’ and mentioned both the manager and rep by name … we’ll see if they care?
I probably should be shopping and supporting my local businesses anyway … Grrr.
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