I don’t understand how Thoughtslime can be more popular than me

You know, I just posted a happy, joyous video that should lift your hearts and make you feel good about the world. At almost the exact same time, Thoughtslime posted a miserable, depressing video that will make everyone feel bad, and he’ll get a gajillion more views than mine ever will. It’s not fair!

His video is about Amazon, rather than awesome spiders. See? You already know it’s going to be horrible.

Amazon is kind of indispensable in my part of the world. We are a small town with few retail services (well, we do have a plague pit of a grocery store), which means if we want anything but the staples we rely on Amazon. Wait, I wonder…is the ubiquity of Amazon one of the reasons we don’t have many local businesses? Maybe Amazon ought to be nationalized.

Anyway, the video does explain one thing to me. A month or so ago, I had ordered something (not even from Amazon, though), and I got an email notifying me of delivery. I went outside to check, and nope, nothing, it was mystifying. The next day I checked again, in case it had fallen down behind the shrubbery or something, and no, it just wasn’t there. So I went through UPS’s horrible lost package web site, filled out some forms, and awaited their response. I figured it had been misdelivered. This has been a common problem lately, because our county arbitrarily decided to renumber our house — I’ve gotten messages from people asking me why I didn’t answer their mail, and it’s because our old address no longer exists.

Then, the next day, a UPS driver shows up at our door with the package. Great, no worries! But she was so cravenly apologetic and so anxious to explain everything to me, I was somewhat embarrassed for her. Our house was late on her route, it was dark, she drove back and forth trying to see our address, the GPS was no help at all, she’d flagged the delivery because she’d thought she’d found the place, but it wasn’t, on and on and on. Really, I understand, I wasn’t that worried about it, I was aware of how the county had scrambled addresses, and she was so, so grateful when I signed off on the delivery and signed a note saying I was happy with the service. It was a bit wild.

Honestly, friendly UPS delivery driver who dropped off a package at my house in early March, it’s OK. I worry about you now, since it sounds like you’ve got quotas and unrealistic and maybe even dangerous demands on your time. If it takes an extra day or two to get something to me, that’s fine, I won’t give you grief about it, I’m not demanding instant gratification. Be well. If you’re not already, I hope you unionize.


  1. tomh says

    Unionized? UPS is the single largest employer in the Teamsters Union. … The UPS contract is the largest private collective bargaining agreement in North America.

  2. publicola says

    I was a letter carrier for 34 yrs., and if the pressure and bullshit your UPS lady has to endure is anything like what we had to deal with, heaven help her. I know you’ve probably seen UPS drivers running up to houses and running back, and there is a reason for this: pressure. It’s the same at USPS. The union protects us, but often it comes down to how good your shop steward is. I know my steward saved my job several times when I had down nothing wrong except to not run, run, run. UPS is represented by the Teamsters, and I can’t speak directly to their rules. But when I became a steward, I realized that no matter what management did or said, they couldn’t hurt you if you did what you were supposed to. Yet still, many carriers would run and take chances out of fear of being yelled at or harassed, regardless of how many times I told them just to do what you’re supposed to do and the union can and will protect you. I understand that fear; I felt it myself for many years. It’s a shitty way to have to make a living.

  3. unclefrogy says

    I like the service I get from UPS only a couple of problems one problem when a supervisor made a mistake with the address / zip code and changed the delivery he called and apologized, had another shipment go some where else but it was replaced.
    I have had some problems with Amazon deliveries some of their drivers were not being very professional like just putting the package on the ground just inside the gate 12″ from the side walk after a call to customer support nothing amiss so far
    The USPS carriers are the best only problem i have had in years was caused by a neighbors dog who was always getting out and the carrier would not deliver to the whole block, the dog ate something bad and died so the was resolved
    for finding hard to get stuff and not having to drive someplace through LA traffic to get it you can’t beat Amazon and others . The thing I do not like about this new iteration of the mail order catalog is not being able to physically examine things before buying them
    uncle frogy

  4. blf says

    Last year my old laptop started flaking out (the keyboard developed a fault), long after warranty had expired of course, and it was a “non-(user-)repairable” model (needs must), so I went on a rare online buying spree. Professional toolkit, new keyboard, more and faster memory, a larger SSD to replace the HDD, and a new laptop (plus various accessories). So I had a stream of various delivery people arriving at my door — La Poste, UPS, FedEx, DHL(?), and a certain outfit which shall remain nameless. Except for the nameless outfit, on-time (not necessary but nice), professional and courteous, and in the case of one nondelivery, easily rectified.

    Then there was the nameless ones: One only delivery via them (fortunately!), but astonishingly badly handled. Nothing showed up, got an e-mail saying I wasn’t in (bullshite) and left a notice (double bullshite!) with instructions. So, other than this e-mail, no proof of attempted delivery. Visited the website, which acknowledged the package wasn’t delivered, but then said (paraphrasing from memory) “delivery failed, package’s location currently unknown”. Great. Stayed that way for a few days, so tried contacting the delivery company: Only method of contact is via the website. The contact form clearly wasn’t working, so searched around for a contact e-mail. Found one, no result. And still “delivery failed, package’s location currently unknown”.

    Contacted the shipper. To my surprise, they responded within their stated 24(? 48?)-hour promise, with the location of the package — the most inconvenient possible drop-off point. (The nameless ones have another drop-off point just around the corner from me.) Rather difficult to get to the identified location, but they did indeed have the package. Yeah ! And a note to myself to try and avoid ever again having a delivery made by the nameless ones. (Even after collecting the package, their site still had no idea what happened to it.)

    (I wasn’t able to replace the failing keyboard, but did replace the HDD with the SDD, and installed the faster memory (but not all of it, as it turns out the laptop manufacturer hadn’t installed the necessary socket… grrrr!!!).) So whilst the old laptop is still available (via external keyboard), this is being typed on the new laptop.)

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    A FedEx driver told me they get fined, by the company, for the equivalent of several deliveries for every delivery-problem report: if our esteemed host’s UPS driver faces the same controls that “note saying I was happy with the service” may have been worth a day’s pay or more for her.

    FedEx drivers are not employees, but “independent contractors” who have to buy and maintain their own vehicles: sort of a delivery-Uber scheme, except without personal use of the van during off-work hours (if any).

  6. evodevo says

    What publicola said…
    I was a rural carrier for 23 years, and finally quit because the Amazon package load on us was getting to outlandish proportions. We are unionized, but they are no help where work quotas/unrealistic delivery times/circumstances are concerned. There are only a certain amount of packages you can physically deliver in a given timeframe, and the PO’s expectations were increasingly unrealistic. I finally quit a year ago Dec., and given what a nightmare this LAST year was, I definitely made the right decision. “Lay people” have NO idea of the hoops we have to jump through or the endless amount of abuse we put up with from supervisors and customers…

  7. chigau (違う) says

    I get alot of stuff from Amazon.
    Sometimes I’m Prime and I get a tiny tube of glue in a 1 cubic foot box.
    Sometimes I get a complex order put in a box by a Tetris god.
    I cannot walk very far so, I hope that Amazon employees get unionised.
    The Amazon Makers have enough money. It’s time to share.

  8. publicola says

    Evodevo@6: I hear ya. We had rural carriers in our station and I know they took a beating, especially at xmas. The rural carriers union bore most of the blame for that. Saw many a rural carrier leave in tears after being browbeaten. Glad you got out alive.

  9. johnson catman says

    re chigau @7: Similar recent experience: I ordered a button battery because the CMOS battery in my computer was dying. I received it in a 9″ x 6″ x 6″ box that completely dwarfed the size of the battery (about the size of a US nickel coin). I kind of wrote it off because it was a lithium-ion battery and thought maybe they were giving it room to explode if that happened. They may not be allowed to ship lithium-ion batteries in soft packs.

  10. davidc1 says

    I was a motorcycle courier in London ,1988 to 97 ,i could earn good money if i put my mind to it ,and didn’t
    piss off the controllers too much ,you know the guys who gave the work out .
    Now it is not worth the effort to do the job .I am on a faceache site for Former and Present London Couriers .
    A lot of the riders there are just about earning a living ,not as many as during the 70.s ,80s,and 90,s .
    If you didn’t like where you were working to could go another company and start working the same day

    Had some cat food delivered during the week by Yodel ,you can track the progress ,the poor sod had 95 drops that day .
    Ken Loach ,made a film about bastard companies like yodel and pdp .

  11. wzrd1 says

    I had UPS claim to deliver a package that cost around $800, “delivered” by leaving the package on the porch.
    There is one wee problem – it’s a business that does have a porch, on the second floor, through three sets of locked doors. If it had been delivered there, the driver would’ve needed either a jet pack or a quality extension ladder.
    The company that I ordered from replaced everything, save a $400 item for free, UPS insists that the package was delivered on the inaccessible porch.
    I try to avoid using UPS – too unreliable, preferring to use USPS, who I’ve used to deliver classified (up to Secret) parcels via registered mail.
    I never did get the $400 item.

    I do recall, way back when, USPS got a new mainframe system and the supervisors received absolutely zero training on how to use it.
    I was running mail and freight from out shipping warehouse, the postal facility and ramp. USPS tended to move slowly in producing the closeout manifest, which is needed to calculate the weight and balance for the aircraft. I had to learn how to beat the over the head with their own contract. That meant that next day air bags were not picked up, due to their being staged too late to safely be delivered to the soon to depart aircraft.

  12. davidc1 says

    @11 Beware the porch Pirates ,some people have taken to leaving booby trapped parcels on their porches to
    get the bastards a nasty surprise.

  13. mailliw says

    Amazon is kind of indispensable in my part of the world.

    Are there alternatives to Amazon in the US for online shopping?

  14. JustaTech says

    It depends a lot on what you want.
    Let’s say that I need a rubber mallet, Dutch-process cocoa powder (not available at my local grocery store) and a specific brand of nail polish. I could try and order the mallet from one of the major hardware store chains, and the cocoa powder from maybe King Arthur Flour, and honestly I don’t even know where other than Amazon I can buy that nail polish (it’s not carried by Ulta or Sephora). Each of these would be a separate order with separate shipping charges.

    Now, you might be able to order a similar assortment of things from some place like WalMart or Target’s website.

    Now, let’s say I wanted to order a fancy camera lens. Suddenly looking at places other than Amazon makes more sense, because for specialty items (like cameras or fabric) it is more likely that what you want is something specific that comes from a knowledgeable seller with their own business.

    But for “general things” like shower curtains or mops or counter cleaner, if you don’t have access to a store like WalMart or Target or Fred Meyer, then Amazon really fits that bill.