UPS, UPS, wherefore art thou, UPS?

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Photo by William J. Grimes This is a picture o...
Photo by William J. Grimes This is a picture of a Model P800 manufactured specifically for UPS by Grumman Olson. Licensing This image is watermarked to give credit to the photographer! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What has happened to this venerable delivery giant? My regular driver is fabulous – punctual, reliable, accountable and friendly. In short, he’s everything we used to expect from UPS. But I rarely have him as the delivery person these days, and the way things have been going, it seems there’s something gone wrong with the inner workings of this once-industry-leading delivery service.

A few years ago UPS introduced My Choice, which was something of a blessing for those of us who are not always available when UPS plans to deliver something. With My Choice you can – unless delivery instructions restrict this option – specify that a delivery planned for the next day can be rerouted to a UPS pickup point and held there.  This beats coming home to a series of “1st attempt – 2nd attempt” notices, especially if your pickup location is close enough that you can get a nice walk in.

However, a recent delivery transaction with them has me frustrated and wondering how long they can stay in business if this is how they’re going to be operating.

First, an email arrived specifying a delivery date. On that date, another email arrived saying delivery would be delayed. No date specified. Next day I received an email stating the item would be delivered the next day between 11:15 and 3:15.  Since I knew I wasn’t going to be home, I decided, as usual in those circumstances and happily it’s a no-charge option, to have them redirect it to the pickup up point. For some reason, that option was not available for this delivery. So I decided to bite the bullet and pay them $5 to change the date of delivery. When I went to set it, the first available date was Monday (this was Thursday). So I said okay to that and rearranged my schedule. Next day, Friday, I got an email saying, “You have a package scheduled for delivery today.” Hmm. You didn’t let me specify this day, but now you’re going to deliver it today. Guess I paid you $5 extra so you could do what you want anyway, eh?

A second package from the same vendor was scheduled for Monday delivery, promised between 11:15 and 3:15 pm. I saw my regular wonderful UPS guy in the morning as I walked home and asked him if he had a package for me on the truck. This kind and efficient man took the time to go and look on the truck, even though he didn’t recall having seen something for me. He said, sorry, I don’t see it. I said, thanks for taking the time to check. Sorry to have held you up. I guess it’s supposed to come on another truck. And I walked home and went about my business waiting for the delivery. 3:15 came and went. At 4 pm I had to leave for an appointment. Okay, I thought. I’ll be home by 6 pm. If it comes while I’m gone, I’ll get a “we tried” slip.

Home at 6. No package and no slip. Okay. I figure I’ll get an email that it’s rescheduled. I eat dinner and watch some TV and then hit the sack. This morning, with second cup of tea in hand, I open my email. And there’s a message from UPS saying “Your package was delivered today.” The email is time stamped 7:21 pm and dated yesterday. I start grumbling on the way to the front door. If that package is not there… The gods are smiling and no one has heisted the package. But I’m angry. The driver dropped this in the hallway and didn’t even knock??? ‘Cuz I was sitting quietly on the couch at 7:21 pm and there was no sound at my door, let alone an attempt to get my attention and get me to come to the door.

So I went to their website and searched for a way to register my dissatisfaction. This is a copy of the supposedly “live” chat I had with a “UPS agent.”

You: Hello. I am appalled that your driver dropped my package at the front door and DIDN’T BOTHER to knock on my door. This is a large building and unattended packages can disappear. I believe I set my My Choice preference that pkgs are not to be left at the front door. Do you allow your drivers to drop pkgs without even attempting to notify the recipient? I don’t understand that lack of accountability. And having your driver write out the specs and claim this is “proof of delivery” seems laughable. Since s/he doesn’t knock, why not save even more time and just say that he dropped off the package but actually dump it or take it home for him/herself? Is there anything that can be done about this?
UPS: 

I’m afraid I am having trouble understanding. Could you please try asking your question with fewer words? You will be able to ask follow up questions later if necessary.
You: So you’re not a real person. Forget it.
UPS: 

Please repeat your question in a different way. I’m still learning and might need more information.

I ask you: Is this the kind of service you’d want your business to have delivering your merchandise? Come on, guys. If costs are outrunning revenues, find a way to manage customer expectations so that you can make necessary changes to operations. Remember how the airlines finally padded arrival times to stop customers’ complaints that flights were always late? Surely, UPS, you can figure this out.

Thanks for listening.

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