Monday, November 20, 2006

Am I an idiot, or is it just You?

I called a parcel pickup service today, (which shall remain nameless but their initials are D-H-L) to pick up a parcel from my home. Here is the text of our conversation, loosely transcribed:

Me: [after punching in the various numbers to access a real live customer support person] I have a package for pickup.

Them: Okay, great. Will we be picking up from a residence or business today?

Me: A home.

Them: May I have the address please?

Me: [I give them the pickup address]

Them: What is a the best time to pick up that package, ma'am?

Me: Well, it has to be some time before 2:30 this afternoon. I won't be here otherwise.

Them: Very well. We can pick up that package at 3:00pm. Will that be all right?

Me: [Pausing] Well, that won't work, because I won't be here.

Them: Okay, is there a better time?

Me: [Clearing throat] It doesn't really matter, as long as it's before 2:30pm.

Them: Three o'clock should work for you then.

Me: [Longer pause] Well, that would be after 2:30, and I need it to be picked up before that. So, no, 3:00 won't work.

Them: But you said not before 2:30, right?

Me: [Gritting teeth] No. Not after 2:30, before 2:30. So you can see how 3:00 wouldn't work for me.

Them: We can pick up your package at 2:00pm. Would that work better for you?

Me: [Unclenching teeth in a desperate attempt to stay polite] Yes, seeing as how that's before 2:30, that would work just fine.

Them: Okay. Is there anything else we can help you with?

Me: No, I think you've done enough for one day. Thanks. [Hangs up and curls into a fetal position on the floor, wondering for the future of all humanity]

And don't get me started on the USPS, who managed to lose a priority mail package that was to be delivered ONE STATE OVER and has yet to make it to its destination. Of course, you can call and ask what happened, but that just makes them laugh. Just for fun, let's replay THAT conversation:

Them: United States Post Office, how can I help you?

Me: I'm trying to track down an important package I sent Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. I sent it with another package at the same time. I checked the status of both on-line. The other one got delivered, but the records for this one haven't been updated yet and I'm wondering if it made it to its final destination.

Them: Let me check on that. [Puts me on hold while she checks the same on-line system I just got through checking] I'm sorry, ma'am, there is no record of that being delivered yet.

Me: Yes, I know. I wondered why.

Them: I have no way of knowing that. We can't actually track that package.

Me: Okay, but it is Priority Mail. Doesn't that mean you usually try to deliver it within 2-3 days?

Them: Yes, that's right.

Me: Well, it's been six, and the package hasn't been delivered yet. Why might that be?

Them: I have no way of knowing that. We don't guarantee that the package will be there on any particular day.

Me: So, what you're saying is, you kinda try to get it there on time, but if it doesn't make it, "whoops, too bad for you"?

Them: Ma'am, priority mail is NOT guaranteed.

Me: I'm beginning to see that. And you also have no way of knowing that if it didn't get there, what happened to it, like maybe the postal worker carrying my package went on strike, or pitched my mail in the trash after he got mad at his boss, or whatever.

Them: As I said, ma'am, priority mail is NOT guaranteed. You have to understand that. If you want us to be able to track it, you need to use Express Mail.

Me: So, despite the fact that you sell this product for more money, and claim in your advertising that you'll take extra care with my package to get it there 2-3 days after I mail it, what really happens is it just goes into the big bin with all the other mail pieces, and if you lose it, I get scolded for not spending even MORE money to make sure that your incompetence doesn't overly affect my business needs?

Them: There's no reason to get upset, ma'am.

Me: No, I'm not upset. Thanks for your time. [Hangs up and dials FedEx instead, wondering why the USPS is so surprised it's losing ground in the package delivery business. Them and D-H-L, I guess.]


[Addendum: And the D-H-L saga continues. They NEVER SHOWED UP. When I called to ask how come (oh, why do I torture myself?), the explanation was that the driver doesn't knock. I'm supposed to leave the package by the door. Well, never having used D-H-L before--and never planning to again--it would have been nice to have that little piece of advice before I hung up from the above conversation. Nowhere in that discussion were the words, "Leave your package by the door, because the driver is too d*mn lazy to get off his seat and let you know he's parked on your street," or something to that effect, uttered. Heck, he could have blown the horn; I'd have been happy to scurry out and lay my offering down on the sidewalk in front of him. After all, I was just sitting there waiting. So, now the gentleman on the phone is explaining that residential pickups only occur between 5 - 7 pm. Coincidentally, it was between 5 - 7 pm as we spoke. I asked why they couldn't come now. He said they weren't in my area, so tomorrow was the day. I said okay and hung up. Just then a knock sounded on my door. "DHL pickup!"


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