UPS Is Making My Mom Wait Two Weeks For Her Birthday Present

Laurie says a birthday present she ordered for her mom has been stuck in UPS shipping limbo for more than a week, even though the package has been in New Jersey since last week.

She writes:

I posted a version of this saga in the comments of your UPS story a few days ago, but now it’s taken a ridiculous turn.

I ordered my mother’s birthday present from Zazzle.com on Dec. 16th. As her birthday is Jan. 2, I ordered it in plenty of time. It was apparently scanned in by UPS in California on Dec. 18th, and arrived in New Jersey on Dec. 23rd. I am in New York, the next state over from New Jersey.

I contacted UPS and asked why it just sat there at the depot for two full delivery days (the 23rd and 24th) instead of being put on a truck for delivery at some point. This is the reply I received:

“I have checked the status of your shipment in our tracking system. Our records show that your shipper selected UPS Basic service for this shipment. It is scheduled for delivery on 01/04/2010.”

WTF?? It was shipped on 12/18, and has been sitting in New Jersey–yes, the next state over–since 12/23. Now they’re telling me it’s going to sit there another week? Just for the sake of it? So “UPS Basic” means “almost three weeks” and having a package sit in the depot for a week and a half “just because”?

I simply don’t understand why they are deliberately holding my package hostage in New Jersey from 12/23-1/4. Just because they can? At current writing (12/28), I have already waited 10 days, and now they’re telling me it will be another week, and my mother’s birthday present will be late.

UPDATE: the package arrived today. Laurie writes:

Lo and behold, the package arrived today! Two separate emails from UPS, including one this very morning, insisted that it would not be delivered until Jan. 4–even though it apparently left NJ last night, arrived in NY an hour later, and was on the truck for delivery several hours BEFORE the most recent “I’ve checked our system and it will be there on 1/4/2010″ email was sent. I never bothered going back to the tracking information after yesterday’s “it’s scheduled for the 4th” missive. They could have saved a lot of stress had they simply been efficient and given accurate information. I know, I know, we’re talking UPS here… But on the bright side, at least I “only” had to wait 2 weeks AND my mom is also getting $60 worth of flowers for her birthday! (Oh, and contrary to what I saw in the Comments, it was not delivered by the Post Office, but by UPS.)

What’s the longest shipping delay you’ve had to suffer through?

Comments

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  1. tbax929 says:

    Even when I used the most inexpensive way to ship an item, I’ve never waited 3 weeks for an item, from any shipper. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Here’s hoping the item she sent wasn’t perishable.

  2. wjstone says:

    I never have understood why FedEx and UPS would simply hold a package for a week or so at a time. I often have this happen when I order from Woot!.

    • Seanumich says:

      They do not hold packages randomly. Shippers who are willing to pay for faster service get things there faster. Maybe you don;t know, but this is a busy time of the year for shippers. The trucks can only handle so much. The OP is whining to UPS, when she should call who shipped the package. They are the cheap ones. UPS is doing what it was contracted to do with the shipper.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …it may not be that the shipper is the “cheap” one – the consumer may have chosen that shipping method.

        However, it is ludicrous for it to take 3 weeks…no UPS shipping method takes that long. Someone is doing some serious BSing here…I’d escalate to UPS corporate.

        • tbax929 says:

          Bingo. They didn’t send it Pony Express. There’s no way a package within the U.S. should ever take three weeks to arrive. Completely unacceptable.

          • greggen says:

            it was ORDERED on the 16th, it is now the 29th. It has not even been two weeks yet.

          • Corporate_guy says:

            The shipping option was listed as 5-12 business days. It shipped the 18th. The 24th(maybe), the 25th, 31st, and 1st are holidays. Next monday is either the 8th or 9th business day.

            She purposely chose this slow shipping method. By default zazzle checks normal ground shipping which is 3-5 business days. And on a mug I looked up the difference between the two shipping methods was 2 bucks. So she purposely saved 2 bucks and now will end up getting her package a week later than she could have gotten it. And with the package coming on the 9th business day, it is 3 days under the maximum range. So it is not late in any way.

        • yasth says:

          This is UPS basic, which is basically Smartpost for UPS. It is not offered on a consumer level. Basically it takes the time it takes, and is transited space available with no individual package guarantees (I.e. you get a median delivery time, but no individual package is going to get there in any specific time).

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            …that doesn’t mean that the consumer wasn’t presented with that option at checkout from the vendor.

            It doesn’t appear that UPS publicly talks about the Basic service much, but best as I can tell it’s only supposed to take 2-3 days longer than their regular ground service.

            • Corporate_guy says:

              It takes 5-12 business days for economy according to zazzle. The shipping that is 2 bucks more and that is the option selected by default on zazzle is normal ground which is 3-5 business day.

              Due to the holidays the 25th, 31st, and 1st are not business days. Had she chosen the 3-5 day ground shipping the package would have came by the 24th(But this is a delivery only day, not pickup so it might not be a true business day either). If it is not a true business day(obvious scheduling loop hole by UPS), then it would have been delivered by the 28th. So by choosing the default shipping she would have gotten when she needed it.

              Instead she went with 5-12 business day shipping. 12 business days is 1/7 or 1/8(if the 24th is not a business day). So she chose a shipping option that easily meant she would not get the package by the date she wanted it. Jan 4th is either the 8th or 9th business day. Well under the maximum 12 days for the shipping option she chose.

      • LESSTHANKIND says:

        The holiday rush is over. They are holding the package for two weeks BEYOND the holiday rush. Your comment might apply if the package was *shipped* on the 23rd, or was still on its way across the country from California. But it’s sitting in a depot in NJ, where it will remain untouched for two weeks instead of being sent on its way for the short trip to NY. At worst, it should have been put on a truck right after Christmas.

        (Full disclosure, I am the OP)

        • admiral_stabbin says:

          You are right that something is amiss in the land of UPS. Or, you and I have semi-similar bad luck with our mothers.

          My mothers b-day is Jan. 1, and a box containing a present that was shipped “UPS 3 Day Select” is sitting in a depot right now with an estimated delivery date of…January 4, 2010 (next Monday).

          The delay is definitely abnormal, but with increased volume this time of year, and very uncooperative weather recently, I kind of expect it.

          If you need a tip on how to placate the gift recipient…then here’s what I do. I find a picture of the gift, make a pre-school quality printed flier, and give that on the day. I’m sure it’s not as much fun as getting the actual gift, but it saves face and ensures no hurt feelings. :-)

        • Corporate_guy says:

          Your purposely switched from ground to economy. From 5 business days to 12 business days.

          You may think the holiday rush is over, but this is a 3 day work week for UPS. 31st and 1st are not business days for them. Having your packages come on the 1/4 is technically only 9 business days from the day it shipped. They got it to you with 3 business days to spare.

          Next time you order over a time period where half of the time is holiday time, don’t use 12 business day shipping.

          • admiral_stabbin says:

            Ah, you just made my day. Knowing that UPS is closed on Dec. 31 very much helps explain to me why things seemed kinda off with UPS. I will now return to my regularly scheduled love for them.

            • Corporate_guy says:

              if it is your local depot, you could pick it up today or tomorrow. But yes, thursday and friday are days they don’t delivery or allow package pick-up.

        • seth_lerman says:

          Packages get loaded on the truck in order of nearest target date first. When truck is full, they stop loading packages.

          When truck still has room and your package has the nearest due date, then it will get loaded before packages with an older due date. They’re not going to bump a package with a nearer due date just because your package has been sitting there longer. That other package with a nearer due date was probably sent higher priority and therefore gets on the truck before yours.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        I think Seanumich hit it on the head – the shipper didn’t want to pay for a faster shipping, and UPS is probably running trucks pretty full right now, so the higher rate (like 1 or 2 day) packages are put on the trucks.

      • wjstone says:

        The issue with me is that it doesn’t matter what time of year it happens to be. I can understand that if you pay for slower shipping it taking longer to get somewhere. However, if they have your package at the depot why not send it on its way?

        • Corporate_guy says:

          Shipping options from zazzle are as follows.

          Economy – With Tracking $4.99
          5-12 Business Days After Manufacturing
          Tracking Available on UPS.com
          No APOs or FPOs

          and

          Ground- With Tracking $6.99
          3-5 Business Days After Manufacturing
          Tracking Available on UPS.com
          No PO Boxes, APOs, or FPOs

          She chose to save a few bucks by going with the economy shipping. It says right there that it is 5-12 business days. 1/7/10 is 12 business days.(I don’t think the 25th, 31st or 1st are a business days http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:y6FPmC1QsHgJ:compass.ups.com/uploadedFiles/2009_UPS_PEAK_SEASON.pdf+ups+holiday+schedule+2009&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESh0PZFVd8KFS1og7_kYn5fldr4asWjP2h3hZn2HrUZlinNwEA45kI_H1tVuCe6yvhOC0VQWCukmWfjAhaq41nGkFz3vDKk7bErnSTkbGI50NzM5drzwQR5qplgkRdCLGIKqYbEY&sig=AHIEtbSvySgr7HQ3L4kzCciDyZW6ik_4hw) In the end, She chose this shipping option. This is not a story. Next time count the actual business days and make your decision based on that. Shouldn’t someone at the consumerist have looked up zazzle’s shipping to confirm this is exactly what the customer paid for?

          UPS will delay packages because higher priority packages get priority on truck space. Considering the time of the year, it makes perfect sense that they will take the maximum 12 business day. And especially considering this is a 3 business day week, she should have paid the 2 bucks to get normal ground 5 day shipping.

          To make it worse, zazzle defaults to ground with tracking. She purposely changed it to the cheaper economy shipping. This was no accident.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            Seems like that clinches it right there. She was offered multiple shipping options, and chose the one that takes up to 12 days.

            While it may seem rather strange that UPS would choose to let the package sit in their warehouse for a couple weeks, the fact of the matter is she’s getting the service she paid for. Unless somehow UPS manages to not deliver it on the 12th day.

        • Bunnyhat says:

          Okay. They have a depot worth of packages that need shipping.

          Some of these are overnight packages. They get loaded first because the shipper payed more for it. Then the 1 day packages. Now they get loaded because the shipper payed slightly more. Then the 2-3 day packages. Same deal. By the time they get down to the economy packages(What the OP payed for) the truck is full. It goes out to delivery the packages and the whole things starts again in the morning.

          Her package will not go onto the truck until either A)There’s not enough packages to fill the truck or B)It’s target delivery date (up too 12 business days) is closer then other packages and get’s placed higher up in the line.

          Several people said holiday rush is now over. That’s sort of true, but not quite. There’s still plenty of things being shipped and more items are still in the process then say the last week of October. If you then count the fact that UPS lets it’s drivers and Depot workers get off a couple days for Christmas and a couple more for new years, you get another backlog.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      FedEx and UPS are playing with fire if they think they can keep people away from their Bag of Crap.

    • madanthony says:

      Woot ships much of their lower value stuff “smartpost” – it goes FedEx from the shipper to the post office nearest the recipient, and then goes out with the mail carrier. That’s probably why there is a delay – and tracking won’t show anything, because while FedEx does actual tracking, USPS does “delivery confirmation” for non-overnight mail – it sometimes shows tracking, but all they really promise is delivery info.

  3. LESSTHANKIND says:

    It’s like they want to GUARANTEE the package doesn’t get there too quickly, by making a point to hold it there in the depot for two weeks. And over the holidays, too!! UPS is just the worst shipper. I hate, hate HAAAAAAAAATE them. Guess it’s flowers for mom…

    • qwickone says:

      Maybe they really are trying to do that. If a company pays for the slow shipping and it gets there fast, they have no incentive to pay for the fast shipping. This way it encourages people to use the faster/more expensive shipping methods.

    • solafide55 says:

      That actually might be exactly what they are doing, but I doubt it. UPS is not in the business of storing your stuff. I’m not sure if they warehouse, but even if they don’t, they have no need of your package crowding there space.

      Unless the UPS employees in NJ are playing a sick game with you the most obvious reason your package has not delivered would be because it is not priority. There are plenty of packages this time a year that probably have higher priority then your shipping option, as a result you might expect that it would take the full amount of actual business days to ship.

      I think a best practice you can take away from this would be to expect that the estimated shipping days will always fall toward the maximum amount and then choose your shipping options accordingly.

  4. chrisexv6 says:

    Although never this long, Ive seen UPS hold packages for a day or two (and sometimes a weekend in between) because the scheduled delivery date is in the future. I see it get checked in on a Thursday at our local hub (a whopping 10 miles from my house), but if the scheduled delivery date is the Monday after, they leave it at the hub Friday and the weekend.

    FedEx NEVER does this. And, their local hub is .5 miles away from the UPS local hub. They will deliver the package early if it hits the hub early.

    • ariven says:

      FedEx does too hold packages. I have had one that was guaranteed delivery 3 days after when it showed up at their local depot. 6 miles from where i lived. They confirmed it was at their depot, and that I could not come down and pick it up until the day it was scheduled to be delivered.

      Though, to be honest, I would rather they hold it in their depot an extra day or two if it would guarantee they would actually knock on my door and hand the package to someone waiting inside instead of ninjaing up near the door and throwing it at the doorstep and running back to their truck.

      • coren says:

        The pickup thing might be procedural – you can’t pick up a shipment until it’s due to have been delivered. There are multiple reasons for that, the biggest one I can think of is those facilities aren’t designed with dealing with the public, and are just for sorting and shipping and whatnot

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      I have seen this, too. A local hub is also only a few miles from my house. I’ve seen packages sit there for a day or two. I usually don’t mind because it’s not something I need right away, nor is it something that doesn’t come rather quickly anyway.

      I had a package supposed to be delivered on 12/23 by USPS. It came yesterday. I paid extra (but not too much) so it would make it on time for Christmas. At least my brother is an understanding person.

    • aviationwiz says:

      It all depends on your local hub and how they operate, and quite possibly how much volume there is on your route. In my experience, I’ve had FedEx hold packages at my local hub because they were early, but not UPS.

  5. TheFinalBoomer says:

    Yup, thats what sucks about UPS. They WILL NOT deliver it until the scheduled date even if they can. Unlike FedEx who will. I still hate it that newegg switched to UPS, I used to get almost everything delivered a day early. Now if it’s just on time I count myself lucky.

    • TheFinalBoomer says:

      What I mean is, fedex will deliver early if possible, UPS never will.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        I can’t say that that’s true. I have had UPS shipped items get here ahead of schedule. I just don’t think I’ve ever wound up using the Basic service though.

        • Bix says:

          Never used basic but in my experience, UPS packages will usually arrive on time (and occasionally get delayed), and FedEx packages will often arrive a day early.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      UPS has always delivered to me on the scheduled delivery date, within the shipper’s time frame, and sometimes even early. It’s USPS that has issues.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      I’m a frequent Newegg customer also, and I also appreciated getting things a day early when they used FedEx. It always felt too good to be true, and when it went away, I knew it was. It always felt like a “customer acquisition through shipping subsidy” thing to me.

    • 2Legit2Quit says:

      Definitely not always true. I’ve had UPS deliver next day on a Ground Item. I’ve also had FedEx leave me a note saying that they couldn’t deliver my package because my dog was in the yard.

      … I don’t own a dog and I live in an apartment complex.

  6. friendlynerd says:

    I’d never heard of “UPS Basic” until recently, when I wasn’t home to receive a package. I was confused to find an InfoNotice on my door that said “final attempt” when I hadn’t gotten any previous notices.

    Apparently “basic” service not only means “slow” but “we’ll only try once and after that you come to us.”

  7. greggen says:

    While 2 weeks does seem like a lot of time to ship something, it is a busy time of year.

    Looks like UPS is prioritizing packages, and scheduling delivery the packages based on how they were shipped.

    Not trying to bash OP, but c’mon…

    • LESSTHANKIND says:

      To clarify, it’s not 2 weeks. It’s being held at the depot in NJ for 2 weeks… it had already taken 5 days to get that far. So it’s a couple of days short of 3 weeks. :-)

  8. KLETCO says:

    It could be that they are just backed up. Not only is it the holidays, but the East Coast had a blizzard the weekend before Christmas. It could be that the warehouse is full, and there are other packages that have a delivery date sooner that need to get delivered first.

    That being said, I ordered a ton of crap to be delivered this week and last week, and had no trouble – and I am on the East Coast.

  9. The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

    Where in NJ? I ordered 2 things online (shipped the 22nd) and both were held in NJ for seemingly no reason (22nd – 26th). This was shipped with 3-day shipping from Newegg.com. Should have been here Saturday.

    • bballfreak2110 says:

      Saturday is not a delivery day for UPS unless you pay extra for Saturday delivery, which is only available for 2nd Day and Next Day. I bet you got your package Monday?

  10. ashtonn4 says:

    strange…I recently ordered some things that came in 2 packages and went through UPS… both packages were giving to UPS at the same time, both made it into Indy at the same time, yet one sat in Indy for an extra day while the other was delivered a day EARLY, both with the same original scheduled delivery date. I was happy to get that item early…but the other item was the same size and still light and of course was the incredibly more expensive item that I was really excited for. The whole time I couldn’t figure out why not just send them both early or just send them both on the same scheduled delivery date so you don’t have to make 2 stops at my house…which would have been a convenience for both UPS and myself as I had to sit at home for those several hours while each item was “out for delivery”

  11. davere says:

    Try an EECB. I did this once with UPS (CEO and some other high up executives) and I got a call from their offices in a couple of hours. They resolved my problem and delivered my item an hour after we made contact.

    They must have also flagged my address in some way because I now get much better service from my delivery guy than ever before. Either that, or the driver wondered what in the world I had done and he is now being extra careful with my packages.

    • COBBCITY says:

      Excellent idea!

      Yes, a very quick e-mail as high up in UPS should get them to change the delivery date. Just have to move fast or the holiday will cause it to end up there on the 4th anyway.

  12. pop culture pariah says:

    When you account for weekends and holidays, 1/4 is only 8 business days after 12/18. I think saying that “UPS Basic means almost three weeks” is a little disingenuous. Yes, it will take three weeks, but this time is greatly inflated by the fact that the timeframe includes 9 non-business days.

    As I understand it, Basic is the same shipping speed as Ground, but without many of the frills, such as multiple delivery attempts or the ability to perform intercept requests. I imagine that UPS has put a lower priority on basic and regular ground shipments during the holidays in order to ensure that expedited packages arrive on time.

    I’m not saying this is admirable, and if the package is delivered on 1/4, it is still late; but I do think it’s important for people to realize that this package is one business day late during the holidays. This doesn’t seem terribly unusual to me.

    To Laurie, I’d just like to say that I often see UPS packages sitting near their delivery location with a scheduled delivery date several days away that are delivered earlier than the original date given, so your mother may still receive her gift before the 2nd, and I sincerely hope she does. If it is late, I suggest contacting the shipper to see if they will refund your shipping costs, as they can probably recoup shipping from UPS, although I did hear some scuttlebutt that UPS dropped their delivery time frame guarantees during holiday. Did anyone else hear this?

  13. mixmastermulligan says:

    UPS Basic is where UPS picks up the package transports it and gives it to the post office for delivery. UPS can’t give you the package because it has a contract to deliver it to the post office. Their are certain (urban) areas where UPS will actually deliver the package on a brown truck. This is a cheaper service that is offered to large accounts and you need to calculate into your expectations that the consignor is offering you this basic service and that UPS is providing the service they paid for.

  14. docrice says:

    Maybe it’s taken low priority due to the ridiculously-high demand for shipping this time of year? If a truck is almost full and they can put her UPS basic package on it or a priority package, I know which one will go and which will sit. I feel bad for her as that is a long time, but she decided to get it shipped during the busiest 2 shipping weeks of the year using the cheapest possible shipping method. Unfortunately, when there’s a huge queue of stuff at the distribution center, something has to take priority, and the cheapest parcel isn’t usually it.

  15. Yogambo says:

    I know the answer here and it’s a bit of a head scratcher. I found myself in a similar circumstance. Order from Target, arrives locally (about 10 miles away) and we were concerned about getting it on the 24th so we could take it with us on our trip to my folks for the holiday. I called to see if I couldn’t go pick it up in the morning at the station but was told “No. this item was shipped UPS Basic.” “What is that?” I had to ask. Well, it’s like FedEx’s SmartPost, which is a service that basically high speeds the package to the local destination via FedEx – or UPS in the case of Basic – then they hand it over for actual delivery to the local USPS.

    This means several things: First, you cannot pick it up because of the liability issues with the original shipper – meaning Target – and their expectation that it will go to USPS then to you. If you intercept it like this, it won’t work because of that last trip to USPS.

    This also means there is a huge handshake delay while UPS turns over the package to USPS. This can take days.

    I was told, although the package was local on the 23rd, I wouldn’t see it until the 29th. I think that was a case of under-promise, over-deliver, as my package was delivered on the 24th.

    But this Basic system seems far from perfect, as both companies UPS/USPS had tracking information and also pinged me as ‘delivered’ via email at my request. My only problem was that we went ahead and left not expecting it until the 29th.

    I’m not a huge fan of any particular shipping company – all have their issues. But apparently this was a decision by Target to ship it not ‘Ground’ with which I’m well familiar, but Basic, which seems to have some problems.

    I’ve deal with FedEx SmarPost several times and it’s not perfect, but it definitely worked better than UPS Basic. I don’t know what to think of the whole mixing of shippers like this. I’ve always been bugged by the idea that even if a package arrived quickly, the shipper – UPS/FedEx/Etc. – would sit on it if I hadn’t paid for expedited shipping. But I’ve found with UPS they usually put it on my doorstep the moment they get it – sometimes providing me overnight shipping (with Amazon) for their Free Shipping price. But Basic, not so good.

    Last note, apparently, we the people on the street can’t purchase ‘Basic’ service. It’s only corporate. I’m not sure about SmartPost.

  16. Demonbird says:

    My father ordered some tires early in December that had basic UPS ground shipping. They took much longer to get here, and wound up actually winding up from their original location back east, to Salt Lake City, Utah, which is past where we live. They then floated around Salt Lake City for a few days before slowly moving back in our direction.t

  17. theblackdog says:

    I think there is something funky going on with UPS, based on the comments and my own experience where my package is not going to arrive until January 5, even though they are supposedly open and shipping from now until Friday.

  18. msbask says:

    If something is ordered on Dec 16 for an ocassion on Jan 2nd, is there anyone who really thinks that that’s “plenty of time”?

    Not counting the day of ordering, there are only 12 business days between those two days, two of which are federal holidays, leaving 10 days for delivery. Now add the fact that she chose the cheapest, slowest shipping and that does not come within my definition of “plenty of time.

    (I’m not even including the up-to-26 inches of unforeseen snow the East Coast got last weekend).

  19. SunnyLea says:

    They aren’t “holding” the package.

    They are just busy and this package doesn’t have the priority to make it on the already-full trucks.

    That’s what paying more for shipping gets one — guaranteed quick deliveries.

    With services like UPS basic you pays your money and you takes your chances.

    Also, considering all the holidays and weekends between the time of the order and the birthday in question, Dec 16th wasn’t really plenty of time, especially not without paying for faster shipping. If you count the actual business days, take into account the holidays and the increased shipping volume (and, of course, the blizzards this year, although that isn’t quite so predictable) then you realize that the 16th isn’t quite early enough.

    I understand that it *seems* early enough, but it is about a week and a half in business days from the 16th to the 2nd, which also falls on a weekend day, so if you miss that, you can’t expect delivery until the following Monday.

    • LESSTHANKIND says:

      My friend sent me Christmas gifts from Minnesota to NY using FedEx *GROUND* on Dec. 21st, and I received them the 24th. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that a package shipped on Dec. 18th should arrive before Jan. 2nd, especially considering that the package was an hour away on the morning of Dec. 23rd. I should have received it on Christmas Eve.

      I think a two-week-plus lead time should be more than sufficient in this day and age.

      • consumerfan says:

        If you want it delivered to your expectations, then you have to pay for that service.

        Read Zazzle’s shipping information.
        Ground is 3-5 business days, Standard is 5-10 and Economy 5-12 business days.

        Now count the number of business days between 12/18 and 1/4. I count 10 business days inclusive. So, it’s not unreasonable for that package to have been delivered by 1/6, if Economy had been selected.

        • SunnyLea says:

          Exactly, but the lessthankind is having trouble hearing that. I sympathize and understand the frustration.

          Most of the time, my packages get delivered on the earlier end of the delivery window, and I agree that most of the time, a couple of weeks lead time *is* acceptable, but, again, I think you are failing to take into account 2 things:

          1)Increased volume and
          2)That holidays decrease the number of BUSINESS DAYS, so that even though you ordered weeks ago in terms of actual days, the order was placed barely a week ago in terms of business days.

  20. NeverLetMeDown says:

    While it may be a capacity issue, they may also be ensuring that there’s a differentiation between Basic and Ground – if they take the same amount of time usually, then there’s no reason to pay extra for Ground service. Think of it like the Economy Plus on United (extra 6″ or so of legroom). You can sit there by paying a bit extra, or by being a status frequent flier, but they won’t let you just move up there if there are empty seats, since if they did, people would be less inclined to actually pay for it.

    • MMD says:

      I’d make that bet, too. By setting a specific delivery date for next week, they aren’t evaluating how much space is on the truck day by day.

  21. Unstupid says:

    “What’s the longest shipping delay you’ve had to suffer through?”

    Not really a delay, rather just the price we pay to live here, but i had to wait 8 weeks to recieve an atlas I ordered on ebay because it was shipped “Media Mail” via USPS to me in Hawaii.

    To the OP… Why don’t you ask them if you can pick it up at their shhipping depot in Jersey?

  22. Torchwood says:

    Hmmmm…. see http://compass.ups.com/uploadedFiles/2009_UPS_PEAK_SEASON.pdf for UPS and http://www.fedex.com/us/holiday/shipping/holidayschedule.html for FedEx. What is going to mess things up further is that some companies are shut down and will not be able to receive any mail or packages until 1/4. This means that stuff will accumulate in the warehouses.

  23. PaRa02 says:

    You could just tell mom her present is on the way. I’m a chronic late-giver I just did all my Christmas shopping yesterday. The benefit for me is I know what my Family + Friends got and I get the better price!

  24. ElizabethD says:

    I love (NOT) that FedEx, and probably UPS too as far as I know, will attempt a home delivery in the middle of the day and leave a post-it that says they’ll try again the next day. Again they come around mid-day when clearly there is no car in the driveway and, like the majority of people today, the occupant is at work. One more daytime attempt? — Three strikes, you’re out; the item goes back whence it came.

    I mean: WTF? Why haven’t carriers expanded their normal delivery hours to reflect the reality of today’s working families? Deliveries up until 9 pm should be the norm. There is no reason whatsoever that those trucks and drivers can’t work staggered schedules to make evening deliveries.

    • madanthony says:

      I had a FexEx ground driver who refused to leave a package without an in-person signature, even though the shipper didn’t request one. I finally was able to schedule a delivery for a day I was off. They never delivered it, turns out by then it was damaged. Then they returned it to the sender, who promptly lost it.

    • Bix says:

      If it’s an issue, can’t you get a signature door hanger?

    • coren says:

      Generally after a failed delivery (or at least one, maybe more) you can schedule to pick it up at the facility..at least that’s been my experience

  25. ap0 says:

    I worked for UPS when I was in college, loading trucks and sorting boxes. UPS doesn’t intentionally “hold” a package. Their system is not designed to do this. People think that their packages must be stuck in some warehouse waiting to be picked off a shelf when it’s not moving, which is simply not the case.

    12/23 is UPS’s last “regular” business day. 12/24 is reserved for air deliveries only. 12/25-12/27 they are not operating. Same goes for 12/31. Assuming this package “arrived” in NJ on 12/23 (which means the trailer it was loaded into was marked as arriving at a hub), it probably wasn’t unloaded til 12/28. Since you used UPS basic, you lose your guarantee completely. It is a low cost, low service option designed for large volume shippers. Depending on where you live, it may either be delivered by UPS (with only a single delivery attempt), or given to the USPS for delivery.

    Let’s count business days. Package was shipped 12/18. There are three business days starting 12/21 to 12/23, then another 3 business days for 12/28 to 12/30. That’s six days. The next UPS regular business day is 1/4. That’s seven, which is WELL within their claim of 5-12 business days.

    Part of the problem with holiday stuff is that trailers will still move across the country (a lot of times on trains — see TOFC), but there won’t be anyone there to unload it when it arrives since hubs aren’t operating for days at a time. Then they have a back log of stuff to handle, and they try to process it in the order received.

    OP — spend the extra money on regular ground service, or if you really need something at a certain time, pay for air. This is just a misunderstanding of UPS’s system, and during the holidays it gets really messy. Your package is on time, but just not the time you wanted it to be on.

    • COBBCITY says:

      “Since you used UPS basic, you lose your guarantee completely.”

      I am not confident the OP “used UPS basic”. I have never seen it listed that way on a merchant web site. How is one to know when shopping and being told “UPS” will be used which form of UPS delivery is being selected?

  26. COBBCITY says:

    You know, I have seen UPS and FedEx do this. It has been a while so I had forgotten about it until I read this story.

    Yes, it seems if the shipper selects a “basic” or “discounted” level of shipping service and the package moves through the system faster than said service says it should, they do force a delay on delivery. I found it just as crazy when it happened to me.

    What UPS is saying is “the shipper paid a discount and if we deliver too fast everyone will start buying discounted shipping so we need to slow things down a bit.”

  27. asten77 says:

    I can’t stand UPS:

    A couple of years ago, I ordered some replacement struts for my car, shipped them to my parents’ place (500 miles away). Web said they were to arrive the Monday before thanksgiving – so we could install them over the holiday weekend.

    Instead, it arrived in town on Tuesday, and was sitting at the warehouse, and they would neither deliver it nor let me pick it up. They finally got around to delivering them on the following Wednesday. The struts sat there until the following July when we drove the car back again.

    I have closed order webpages mid-order once I see UPS come up as the only shipping option.

  28. msbask says:

    I don’t understand anyone’s sympathy with this poster. Obivously, economy shipping was selected from zazzle.com, which clearly indicates 5-12 business days for delivery.

    How do you start complaining about late delivery, when the delivery time frame hasn’t even happened yet?

  29. savdavid says:

    They do this to “encourage” you to use the much more expensive, quicker services of UPS.

  30. Corporate_guy says:

    “They could have saved a lot of stress had they simply been efficient and given accurate information. I know, I know, we’re talking UPS here”

    You really need to stop blaming UPS. You purposely chose 5-12 business day shipping to save 2 bucks. The package was officially scheduled to get to you on the 4th. Most likely a truck finally had some extra room on it, so the driver grabbed your package. (Some drivers are paid by the amount of packages they deliver)

    You are blaming UPS, but one of their drivers most likely just upgraded your shipping for free because they had space on the truck. You should be thanking UPS for getting your package to you despite the very slow shipping option you chose. This was only the 6th or 7th business day. They got that thing to you at least 5 business days early. UPS just saved your from your own mistake. THANK THEM!

  31. addicuss says:

    I know this sounds bad.. but have you maybe stopped to think that the reason your package sat in the warehouse is because they didn’t have the man power or the truck space to deliver your package before people who sprung for faster delivery? I mean you cant be upset when you pay for 1-3 week delivery if your package takes 3 weeks. It wouldn’t exactly be fair if someone who paid for 2 day shipping waited more than 2 full days so that the person who paid for 3 week shipping could get their package in 1 or 2 weeks. If its that time sensitive spring for 1 or 2 day mail.

  32. Sigil says:

    I’ve worked for UPS and FedEx. Usually, when they “hold” a package it’s because they don’t want the shipper to realize that they can pay for a lesser service, but get priority service. Some shippers will ship the bulk of their packages at the lowest service and add a couple of Priority Overnight packages so that these packages will expedite the entire shipment. When FedEx or UPS deem this as being problematic they will hold the appropriate packages until their due date. Some customers get their packages earlier, because their neighbor receives a faster service and the Courier can increase his stops per hour and avoid the “double-back.” However, some managers frown on this. Especially, if it affects the bottom line. In most cases, this is a non-issue and people often get their parcels expedited, because of the neighbors priority and/or where the fall on the route.

  33. Mephron says:

    Many years ago I sent a UPS Next Day Air Letter containing a single book, 8.5x11x.25.

    It hit Louisville, KY, and as far as anyone can tell, it’s still there. It never left. I ended up getting the insurance claim on it, as it was a present for a friend, an autographed copy of a movie script that was the favorite movie of that friend.

  34. coren says:

    Held hostage? Really?

    And I think the “sits in a warehouse” thing was thoroughly explained (the stuff with the fastest dates goes first – you would be pissed if you paid fast shipping and all the economy packages that weren’t due for another week filled the truck instead). Considering it landed on the 23rd, they were probably closed on Christmas, and the last minute shipping people frequently do around the holidays, I can easily see her package being a lower priority while people were overnighting and next daying and whatnot.

    It sounds like what they were trying to say, but communicating poorly, is that it isn’t due until the 4th (which the site should be informing her of on selection of that shipping option) and that until that date nears there isn’t an issue.

    Also, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize this as a delay, as her order wasn’t delayed, but was rather delivered almost a week early.

  35. DontCrossMe says:

    If you didnt ship it 1 day 2 day or 3 day, It will and always will get pushed behind and held for those types before they will deliver ground packages on HOLIDAYS. If you needed it for a specific date then you had to pay for 1 day shipping if it wasnt available blam the zazzle.com. Plain and simple.