I Choose United Parcel Service

I Choose United Parcel Service

Christmas is almost here! I wanted to talk about getting those Christmas boxes shipped off to family and friends. This post might be a little late for this year but hopefully not for next year. When considering shipping venders, I choose United Parcel Post. Here’s why.

Since I live in a rural area, my situation may be different from city folk. My home sits on a paved, private road, a half mile from my mail box. I love living rural, but it does produce problems with mailing and shipping parcels.

The dreaded orange slip

If a package does not fit in my mailbox, I get an orange slip that says I can pick up my parcel the following day at the Post Office. The Postal truck will not drive down my road. Period. For extra good measure, they write “Dog” on the slip. Never mind that I haven’t owned a dog for 6 months. Never mind that I have been home all day with no mail truck creeping down my driveway, scouring the property for the invisible dog.

The invisible dog

I go to the Post Office to pick up my parcel, and sure enough, the word “DOG” is clearly scrawled across my box in indelible ink. When I mention to the clerk that I don’t have a dog, he cocks his head to one side and gives me a quizzical look before he shrugs his shoulders and signals for the next in line. I would have a tendency to give the Postal Service a pass if this was the first time this has happened, but it happens with EVERY parcel that exceeds my mail box dimensions.

Mailing a box produces the same amount of frustration as picking one up. Leaving a parcel to be picked up a half a mile from my house would not be wise. It invokes another trip to the Post Office.

I recently shipped a large priority mail parcel to my sister in Louisiana by standing in line at the Post Office for 40 minutes. Keeping in mind that most everyone in North America is shipping a box to someone, somewhere this time of year, I anticipated the 24 customers standing in line ahead of me. It was still annoying. I dreaded the trip. By the time I shuffled up to the window with my box, there were 23 people behind me. Yes, I actually counted.

My UPS experience (as always) was so much different. Their counter was half the size of the Postal Service with 3 employees working the counter, all smiling as they interacted with their customers. With only 4 people ahead of me, my wait was only 8 minutes. One of my parcels was a long 4 inch X 50 inch box. Not sure if his question was prompted by requirement or curiosity, but the clerk asked me what was in the box.
I told him 2 tree branches. When he looked at me with a queer look, I felt the need to explain.

“You see,” I said, “We had my techy grandson with us during the summer and we taught him how to use his first pocket knife to carve a walking stick. Our grandson loved it but had to leave before it was finished so we are sending him the walking stick along with another branch to practice on. Since Phoenix doesn’t grow trees, we thought we would send him some of ours.”

With a twinkle in his eye and a little bit of a grin, he asked me how much I wanted to insure the parcel for. “Probably the price of the 2 boxes I had to jam together to get this there” I said. We both had a good laugh.

I must say, that sending parcels through UPS will cost a little more than the US Postal Service so if the cheapest service is what you are looking for, the US Post Office is where you want to go.

On the other hand, UPS guarantees your package will arrive on the day they say it will arrive, if not sooner. Not so with the US mail. They guarantee nothing. Even their priority and overnight mail service. My experience with UPS as a friendly, helpful service supports my vote for this superior service. Add to that an 8 min. wait time vs a 40 min. wait time…..well, there you go.

You can arrange for both UPS and USPS pick-ups for a fee. My thought on that is if I can’t get the Post Office to drive down my road to deliver a box, I can’t count on them to pick up anything I have to mail. My other reasons for supporting UPS:

  • UPS will take parcels weighting up to 150 lbs. The Post Office up to 70 lbs.
  • UPS tracks and scans your package every step of the way.
  • UPS has a reputation for quickly finding mis-delivered packages (probably because they track them so well). They have a 7-10 day inquiry period and if your package isn’t found or is damaged, they power through your claim within 1-2 weeks. I can’t imagine their pseudo-government competition acting that fast on anything.

I have one recommendation, no matter who you choose for a shipping service. Take pictures of the well packed items in your box as well as the taped up box before shipping. If you ever have to file a claim for a damaged box or goods, at least you will have picture proof of how well you packed your box and the blame will solely rest with the shipping agency.

The only kudos I give to the US Postal Service, is they are the only agency who delivers to military bases.

Well that’s my shipping bias. Merry Christmas Everyone!

6 Comments

  1. My brother works for the usps and if they cite that there is a dog at a residence and they are unsure if the dog is secured, they can refuse delivery. The post office hates to deal with dog bites issues that also involve the postal union so it’s an easy way for a carrier to not deliver at addresses they find difficult.

    1. Author

      Thanks T for the comment. I have 2 family members who work for USPS as well. I imagine if you work for them for any length of time, your chances of getting bit are pretty high. I hate dealing with stray dogs when I walk my road. In truth, my dog was not nice, but she was always contained. My frustration lies more with an agency that is not interested in helping their customer resolve the problem. It’s just easier for me to use UPS. Thanks for your insight. I was not aware of how the union plays a part in this.
      Arlene

  2. I have found that my experiences with USPS, UPS, and Fedex, all vary depending on the delivery driver.

    My regular postal carrier is great. Though she’s not thrilled with my dog she also knows that we contain him well, and packages are left on the porch or in the carport (when it rains) as needed. If she’s on vacation, or sick, or whatever, the substitute driver has tried to pull that “dog” warning a couple times. I had a long discussion with the local postal office’s manager about the 2nd one, and they haven’t done it since.

    UPS, if its my regular driver I get my packages no problem. If its NOT my regular driver, well, not so much. Also, the folks answering their 800# are stupid and believe that all their customers are stupid, and will cheerfully lie to you just to get you off the phone.

    Fedex……I had to have a discussion with Fedex about how the puddle in the middle of the driveway was not an appropriate place to leave my packages. They tried to pull the “DOG!!!” card, and they got one hell of an earful, ending with the note that regardless of the dog the puddle in the middle of the driveway wasn’t appropriate. The new driver is pretty good about actually getting them either onto the porch or into the carport. I did have an “overnight, guaranteed by noon” package not show up on time, and when I checked the tracking number (at 12:30) it said “delivered, 10:59am”. I called their 800# and got a very helpfull lady on the phone who was trying to contact the driver to find out where he’s put the box (which, since I’d been home all morning so I could sign for it was going to be another discussion), only to have the driver pull in while I was on the phone. Although I never proved it I suspect that the driver realized he was going to be late and marked it delivered, I hope he got in trouble for it……

    I used to work as the “mailing room person” for a small locally owned internet based retailer. Which meant that I handled all the shipping and mailing of several hundred packages a week. When USPS worked it worked well, when they had problems it went bad fast. We had a package disappear for 3 weeks only to show back up at the exact same location as the last tracking scan. It made for an interesting discussion. We didn’t ship USPS or Fedex often, but when we did we rarely had any problems with them.

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing your experiences Ruth. Since my mail box is half a mile from my house, I don’t even know who my regular mail carrier is. I should probably find out. I probably also should talk to a manager. The window clerks are only window clerks. Getting angry with them is not helpful. What I get from your post, is following through when there is a problem will net the best results. Thank you.

  3. The only bad thing about UPS is that I understand that they are owned by George Soros.

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