Frank Episale is an editor, writer, educator, and theatre artist living and working in Brooklyn. He holds a BFA from New York University, an MA from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and an MPhil from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. This is his (infrequently updated) blog. He's pretty google-able, if you'd like to know more.

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Tuesday
Nov102009

FedEx Fail

This is not an isolated incident.

Every time a package is sent to my home via FedEx, there is a problem. I frequently receive packages via UPS, USPS, messenger services and, less frequently, DHL. There is almost never a problem. Employees of each of these other services are able to access my building, figure out how to use our  buzzer, find my apartment, and leave packages and/or package slips. 

But not FedEx.

A few times, FedEx has written "wrong address" into the tracking status field because my name is not on the buzzer downstairs (my roommate/landlord owns the apartment and only unit owners have their names on the directory.) So I started adding a "c/o" line on all of my e-commerce orders; that has made things slightly better, but still infuriatingly unreliable. Our buzzer system was recently replaced, which has also caused some confusion, but it's been some time now, and everything seems to be working fine. The only concern I have is that the old buzzer is still embedded in the foyer wall, though it no longer functions. I wish they'd remove it altogether so as to avoid confusion, but as the new system is bigger, and shinier, and has a directory and instructions attached to it, I think it's pretty clear that it, and not the small, instruction-less, directory-less keypad on the other side of the foyer, that should be used.

Knowing I had a package coming today, I haven't left the apartment. A messenger service successfully delivered another package this morning. Because the new buzzer system is connected to my roommate's landline, I have been carrying his phone with me from room to room all day. Grading papers, making coffee, watching Hulu: all with both my phone and my roommate's by my side.

I have also been frequently refreshing the FedEx tracking page. On time for scheduled delivery before 3pm. On truck for delivery. 

And then, at 2:30, I hit "refresh" again and there were the red letters: "DELIVERY EXCEPTION" and, a bit further down, in more subdued type: "Customer not available or business closed." This was strange, because the phone had not rung. Also, I had been sitting at the desk in my bedroom for the past hour or so, occasionally looking out the window that overlooks the courtyard of my building, and I hadn't seen any delivery folks. (To be fair, I could easily have missed them; it's not as if I was looking out the window.)

"Fuck!" I ran downstairs, almost forgetting to bring my keys (getting locked out of the building would have been just the way to cap off the day), and crossed the empty lobby to the front door. No FedEx person or truck in sight. Walked outside, checking both sides of the building: no truck. Walked back inside, noting that there was no package slip left for me (if I hadn't checked the FedEx site, I wouldn't have known there was any delivery attempt. I suspect, in fact, that there may not have been). Buzzed my apartment to make sure the buzzer system was working correctly. It was.

Of course I'm in touch with FedEx customer service and things may or may not get solved soon. I teach tomorrow, and am subbing for a friend on Thursday, so I can't just let the usual redelivery attempts run their course. I can't go to the FedEx center to pick up the package because a) it's over 100 pounds and b) the center is in Maspeth, nowhere near a subway station.

All in all, this isn't QUITE as annoying as the time when my sister sent me something perishable, packed with dry ice, for my birthday and FedEx kept writing "wrong address" without even trying to get into the building. But it's close. Maybe customer service will come through and a sullen delivery person will be ringing my bell before returning to the depot for the night; or maybe I'll decide "fuck it" and let the package make its way back to Amazon.com so they can just refund the purchase (a purchase I arguably should not have made in the first place.)

But as a pattern, this is really, really, annoying. Every time I place an order with Amazon (something I do quite often), I have to cross my fingers, hoping that they will send via UPS so that I can actually receive the order. When they send via FedEx, I almost have to consider it a sign that I'm just not supposed to have that item. 

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Reader Comments (1)

This is outrageous! The least they could do is have a HOT delivery guy to compensate for your troubles.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAkash

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