Tag Archives: inept

United Parcel Service: Going Halfway Is OK By Us

10 Mar

March 10, 2014

mail innovations logo

The United Parcel Service (UPS) has a brilliant new delivery plan that is guaranteed to save them a fortune. It is ridiculously simple. They take your package and do not deliver it. Genius! They call it Mail Innovations and despite the name, it is not innovative. What other service does that? Why, the United States Post Office, that’s who!

And that’s the problem.

I ordered a book from Barnes and Noble on February 20th. As a member, I get free 1-3 day shipping. Great! So far, so good. This was a Thursday and on Friday the 21st I was informed by email that UPS had picked up my package and the estimated delivery was Monday, February 24th. When it did not arrive on Tuesday I followed the link they sent me and tracked it. Or to be more accurate, I tried to track it. The trail led to a dead end.

On Friday the 21st, the UPS not only picked up but delivered my book… to a US Post Office sorting facility in Staten Island, and not, as you would expect, my home in Brooklyn.  It turns out that UPS has a shipping service called Mail Innovations in which they pick up your package, zoom it across country, and deliver it not to you, but to your local post office, and they make the final delivery.

Sound stupid, right? I live in a large apartment building and UPS trucks stop here at a set time every day, sometimes twice a day. We are actually part of the UPS’ regular route.

And also, you may have realized that my local post office is not in Staten Island, another borough on the other side of Gravesend Bay, across the Verrazano Bridge, and most definitely not 8 blocks away.

Mail Innovations is an unholy alliance. UPS has generally been reliable, and the post office has been as dependable as your average election year promise. I always have trouble getting deliveries from them and usually go to the post office to complain. No good can come of Mail Innovations.

So when the book did not arrive on Tuesday I knew I had to go to the post office. I tracked the package on the post office site and they had the package arriving in Staten Island and, for the next three days, nothing. No movement. And on Wednesday, still no movement. This was four days of limbo, and so far I had been waiting five days for my guaranteed 1-3 day shipping. (I did not count Sunday.)

Average US Post Office facility.

Average US Post Office facility.

I went to the post office with a printout of the tracking, such as it was, and what did I learn? Nothing. They looked all over the post office and it was not there. They then sent me to the automated machine to track it and it spit out the same information- nothing for three days. This was, I must tell you, the same information they found when they looked it up themselves.  They then told me to call an 800 number and I could get more information.

No I could not. The 800 number was automated and even less help then the post office tools. I then wrote a complaint on the website, sent an email to my local post office to complain, and lo and behold, the next day all kinds of shipping info became available. None of it good. After it finally left Staten Island, it arrived in Brooklyn, bounced around three different zip codes and two sorting facilities, and twice was in a nearby (but not my zip code) post office before bouncing away to the edges of the borough.

And then, on Saturday, March 1st, over a week after it left UPS and was handed over to the post office, my guaranteed 1-3 day delivery package was delivered to me.

Mail Innovations, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. And as usual, the US Post Office is the weakest link.

Thanks a lot UPS.

I love You Verizon, You Stupid A**hats. (UPDATED!)

26 Apr

April 26, 2010

I love Verizon, the giant corporate entity that consistently and completely fails to give me a strong cell signal, even when standing on one of the highest points in Staten Island with a direct line of sight to Manhattan. I’ve often thought that, with a good pair of binoculars, a partner, and some puppets, I could get better communication to lower Manhattan

I’ve avowed my love of Verizon before, notably here, but my love for them keeps growing, much like the fungus you find after a strong rain, so here is some more to keep you reading, or at least more to stare at while you more and more think about surfing for porn.

Last year I had to change my Verizon cell phone account. They had shut off my service for the indefensible reason that I had failed to pay my bill. Really, can you believe the nerve of them? Anyway, the phone was shut and to restore service I had to pay my bill in full, which I did. There was a reactivation fee but I managed to slip around it by opening a new account, which also made me eligible for some special offer of theirs. They would give me two lines, and I would give them more money. I thought it over and, tempting as it was, I declined. I kept my old phone number but got a new account number.

(I know what you are thinking. “Why,” you are thinking, “if he hates Verizon so much and gets such lousy service, does he continue using them as his cell phone provider?” The reason is that they give me a free phone every two years, and at the time of the cancellation I was only three months away from an upgrade. That’s why. And as for the other thing you are thinking, screw you too.)

Anyway, I paid them in full and they gave me my service back and everything was back to normal, meaning that I still get bad service but now I use that as an excuse as to why I don’t return anyone’s calls.

Then last month I got a bill to the old account, claiming that I owed them $20.41. How? I paid the account in full, and if I didn’t, they wouldn’t have let me open another account. The proof was in my hand. (My cellphone was in my hand. I don’t know what you were thinking, but it was my cellphone in my hand. Perverts.) Not that it worked very well. (STILL my cellphone. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Since my online account and their automated phone help were linked to my new account, they were no help. And if you knew what I went through the last time I had to deal with a Verizon employee (did you click on the link above? I’ll wait. Here it is.) you’ll know why I didn’t even bother going down there and just cut them a check.

Fast forward to today, a month later, and I’m happy and about as well as can be until my two cell phone bills arrive.


Yes, two. My current bill (which is a full 20% taxes, thank you very much. 20%!) and a bill for my old account. Yes, the old which I had paid in full. Twice.

It was a bill for $0.01.

A penny.

They claim that I only paid $20.40, a penny less than they were owed. Do I have the stub to prove I paid the correct amount? A receipt? A cancelled check? A bank statement?

Of course not. So I sighed and wondered what to do. Send them a check for one cent? I’m pretty sure my bank will charge me some kind of fee. A money order? Pay 99 cents to send one cent? And waste a stamp? I couldn’t make an electronic payment as Verizon’s website links to my new account. This was a stupid as it gets.

Then it got stupider.

I looked a little more closely at the bill and, near the bottom, it said COURTESY BILL do not pay.

Rarely have I seen the words “courtesy” and “bill” together but there they were.

I think it would be more courteous to not send the bill and drop the whole matter, seeing as they do not want payment anyway.

They paid whatever printing and postage costs to send me a bill for one penny that they did not want paid in the first place. I’m sure Yogi Berra has a term for this.

So thank you Verizon, I love you. How can I ever think of leaving you? Where would my blog be without you?


April 29, 2010 

Just a few days later, those busy little angels at Verizon sent me this letter, with a bit of my editorializing added.

RE: Verizon Wireless Account Number ending with **** [my cancelled line]

Dear Customer.

Your Verizon Wireless statement is now available for viewing online.

Our records indicate that all wireless lines on your account have been disconnected. [Therefore my account is closed and there is nothing to see online.] While you can still view and pay your disconnected account online using My Verizon [There is no payment. The last bill was marked do not pay.] you will need to log in using your name rather than your former Verizon Wireless phone number. [I can’t. Everything is linked to my new account.]

Please note that any future bills will be sent to you in the mail. [So why the big push for me to view my bill online, which I can’t do in the first place, but even if I did, the account is closed and I owe nothing?]

We appreciate your business [I’m not so sure they do] and hope to be able to serve your wireless needs again in the future. [Future? They can barely get me connected across The Narrows now.]

eServices and Support
Verizon Wireless

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