UPS Tells Customer To Pick Up His Package At A Construction Site

UPS told reader Jason to meet their delivery truck at a construction site to pick up a $600 microphone he spent $40 overnighting from New York. Bad Brown aborted its first delivery attempt after being scared off by a menacing buzzer at Jason’s office guarded by five smiling receptionists. When Jason called to find out how he could retrieve his package that night, he was told he could meet the truck en route. He didn’t realize that UPS was about to send him to a construction site. Try to guess if the driver showed up…

Jason writes:

I work as a freelance videographer, and recently landed a high-profile magazine spotlight piece. The company that picked me for the shoot recommended that I use two wireless mics for the audio. I didn’t have two wireless mics and told them that, but I knew I could get one from a friend. The other I ordered from B&H via UPS’s Next Day Air service.

I ordered on a Friday but my order didn’t go through and ship until Monday. I needed the mic by Tuesday night (hence the overnight shipping) so that I’d be ready for the shoot on Wednesday. The package shipped out as scheduled, but when I checked the status of the shipment on Tuesday morning I saw the notice, “PKG DELAY-ADD’L SECURITY CHECK BY GOV’T OR OTHER AGENCY- BEYOND UPS CONTROL”.

I had never heard of that before so I did a quick google search. It turns out this notice isn’t necessarily used when a package is actually being held for security reasons. Rather it’s usually because a driver didn’t (or couldn’t) get beyond a security gate at the delivery location. In most cases it looked like the package was redelivered a few days later. I couldn’t wait a few days, so I called their customer service center to find out what I could do about getting the package that day.

A customer service rep said that somebody from the local distribution center would call me back within the hour. Surprisingly somebody actually did just that, although it turned out to be less than fruitful.

The conversation with CSR Kimberly included this gem:

Kimberly: The driver couldn’t get beyond the security gate.
Me: We don’t have a security gate.
Kimberly: I mean the security guard.
Me: We don’t have a security guard.
Kimberly: I mean the door was locked.
Me: There’s a buzzer. And five people working the front office. And they’re pretty attentive when delivery people come by. They don’t like pissing off the residents.

But Kimberly told me that the truck was long gone, and not coming back. She gave me the option to meet up with the truck or wait until 7pm and pick up my package from the distro center. I opted for the meet-up since it would (presumably) be faster (I figured I would need at least a few hours to read the mic’s manual, and learn how to use it before the shoot).

She told me I’d have to drive 12 miles to a construction site and wait for the driver to come. I thought she was kidding. She said she wasn’t. I was to meet a driver (who was meeting another driver) at 3:30 at a construction site west of a hospital somewhere near Universal in Orlando. I was stunned. I paid $40 for overnight shipping. And this is what I get for it?

It got even better when the driver never showed up. One of the two drivers was there, but this one knew nothing of the exchange and said that he had actually called for help because he was overloaded with deliveries. I brought a camera and took pictures of the meeting place. I thought maybe you’d get a kick out of them.

I called Kimberly back and wanted to know what was going on. I was pissed. I said that I needed the package and that I wanted a refund on the shipping cost. She called me back a few minutes later and told me that I could drive another 20 minutes to meet up with the driver who was now just a few blocks from my apartment building. The real kicker was that I only had 10 minutes to get there before he was going to leave again. This time I asked if I could just pick it up at 7 at the distribution center. She said that I could and that they would call me when the driver came back (they didn’t).

She also said somebody would call me back about my refund “soon”. It’s been five days and that hasn’t happened. I’ll probably start making those phone calls on Monday.

At some point I mentioned that I was going to be sending all of this to the Consumerist. I don’t think she knew what that meant, but I thought I’d give them fair warning.

Anyway, I picked up my package just after 7. The guy working the pick-up area threw my box on the counter. I winced. That mic cost me almost $600. Not cool. Especially after everything else.

In the end I got the mic, and did the shoot. I also got some swell pictures of a UPS truck in a dusty parking lot. Maybe you can use them for something.

Anyway, I thought you guys might find this interesting. Thanks for doing what you do.

Come on, UPS, put a little effort into your sketchy pickup areas. If you’re going to send someone to a construction site, have the decency to leave a note or a riddle directing them back to the distribution center. Nothing complex. We would’ve been happy with a post-it reading: “Gotcha! Return To Distribution Center. (Next Time Use The Post Office!)”

(Photo: Jason_Hawkins)


Edit Your Comment

  1. SomeoneGNU says:

    I find it very odd that they told you to go meet the driver at a construction site. Thinking about the safety of the driver and you, it just seems like a very dangerous place.

    Good luck with it. I find UPS is one of the hardest companies to get refunds from.

  2. oldscud says:

    Oh….the drama!!

  3. chemmy says:

    I do exports and a lot of hot packages are overnighted to my warehouse to get there in time to make same-day flights.

    Too many times I check the tracking and it shows my warehouse refused the package and it will be redelivered the next day.

    Call #1 – ask warehouse why they refused. they didn’t – in fact UPS hasn’t been there yet

    Call #2 – UPS – ask how a package can be refused if they haven’t yet tried to deliver. they don’t know and say they will send a message to the driver and get back to me… They never do.

    So when the driver shows up, I ask him about it. He said that the street my warehouse is on (with several others) had too much traffic and he didn’t want to deal with it so he put everything in for delivery later in the day (by claiming it was refused)

    Nice, brown…

  4. andrewe says:

    It happened the other way for me. They found my house all right but I wasn’t home. They left over $5000 worth of computer equipment on my front step. The large boxes were clearly labeled with brand names.

    Or the other time they simply emptied $1200 worth of computer parts from a box and resealed it. The sad thing is that when I contacted the shipper he promptly sent me out a replacement order no questions asked. He told me that this happens very often to their UPS shipments.

  5. Leah says:

    UPS always pisses me off. At my apartment complex, they just leave a “we were here” note instead of actually buzzing your apartment.

    Further, they leave a “we were here for apt #101” note instead of telling me who the damn package is for. I treked out to the UPS facility a few times only to find out they were holding a package for my stupid roommate (who, of course, said “I’m not expecting a package, so it must be for you).

    The US postal service often gets a bad rap, but I dislike UPS so much more.

  6. coold8 says:

    I give UPS credit usually for pickup. On days where I will not be home a majority of the day, and I have to sign for something, I call up and request a meetup with the driver. It has worked about 3 times, Driver seems happy to not make another stop, and the deal is that you have to meet him in route. So, he will be at this house at 2:03 pm on this block, meet him there, and he will give you the package…. Never had a problem with UPS!

  7. Asmordean says:

    I get better and faster service sending from the US to Canada via USPS than I do from UPS.

  8. Gadgetgirl says:

    UPS sometimes rings/knocks on the door, and other times I’ll go to check my mail and find a box (or two) lying on the stoop. They are pretty much hit or miss.

    It depends on the drivers as there is one who is pretty friendly and knocks before leaving a note (double entendre…lol!) but like andrewe mentioned I’ll sometimes have valuable items (brand names ablazing) left.

  9. DeeJayQueue says:

    I’ve had this happen a few times where I needed a critical package and UPS dropped the ball on me. I called and they told me to meet the driver en route, which usually just meant wherever their next stop was. In the OP’s case I guess that stop was a construction area. I don’t think UPS had much to do with picking that location over any other location, only that it was next on the route, or matched with the time it would take him to get there.

    It’s crap that they don’t treat people’s packages or their priorites very well. That’s not how I’d run a company.

  10. Scuba Steve says:

    The driver was probably flakey and didn’t want to deal with a package more than usual so he takes any chance to not deliver it and scrams.

    I’ve had days like that. Not a particularly good practice, though.

  11. tinyrobot says:

    Strongly agree with Gadgetgirl – it all comes down to the drivers. UPS has been far more reliable in NYC for me than FedEx, DHL and (especially) USPS combined, but that’s because the drivers for my home and office are both solid fellas with hearts of gold. The guy that delivers to my home will even make multiple attempts to deliver to us in the same day, since he knows we get home from work late from time to time (he came back at 8pm after a 3pm attempt once!).

    So here’s a thought: Consumerist, UPS, whoever… is there some site/system for rating/praising/berating both the awesome and the skeezy drivers? It seems the good ones are so great they deserve free cars, and the bad ones ought be heaved over to FedEx as punishment. Seems like it would benefit both UPS and John Q. Recipient equally…

  12. snoop-blog says:

    When those commercials say “What can brown do for you?” I always think of poop, and what poop can do for me. Apparently shit, was not that far off from what the slogan was representing.

  13. Lambasted says:

    I have to admit, UPS is the absolute worst. Something usually goes wrong with my deliveries from them.

    It wasn’t always that way though. About six years ago, I used to have the same two UPS carriers delivering my packages. Their route was pretty consistent which meant they tended to show up around the same time for delivery–usually around 1-2pm. There was no waiting all day wondering when or if they would show up. They were both very nice and I liked them very much.

    Then, if I recall correctly, one of them told me UPS was going to make some changes and it wasn’t going to be for the better. Well, I guess something did happen at UPS because soon both of them were gone; my UPS delivery hell began; and it’s been that way ever since.

    The replacements were random delivery guys who didn’t care whether I got my packages or not. No-shows, showing up well past delivery time windows, delivery reschedules at the end of the day. Sometimes, I feel like I am on a game show waiting in anticipation to see if I will win a prize, i.e., get my package delivered.

    FedEx I love because they actually show up when they say they will. They arrive early afternoon at the latest and don’t keep me waiting around all day. And they deliver on Saturdays.

  14. @tinyrobot: “Strongly agree with Gadgetgirl – it all comes down to the drivers. “

    Very much so. My UPS dude always delivers, always early, and when he thinks the package is fragile or expensive (and nobody’s home), he goes around to my BACK door. And when it’s raining, he either puts it inside the door, or goes around the back to put it under the awning.

    Our last USPS carrier would drop-kick packages and throw them at the door. (I frequently work from home, I witnessed it!) FedEx just can never be bothered to show up, and they’re pretty flingy too.

  15. jodles says:

    yesterday we had a substitute ups guy and he looked like a serial killer. he rang the doorbell and i didn’t answer because i was in the bathroom and he started pounding on the door for a good three minutes until i answered. he said he had to get these packages to me right now. it was realllllly creepy. it turns out it they were my sister’s study books for the bar exam and weighed like 75 lbs and i think he just didn’t want to carry them back to his truck which he would have because i needed to sign for them. he still had the smile of a serial killer.

  16. stinerman says:


    I worked as a temp for UPS during the Christmas season. Your story is about par for the course. The computerized boards they use (they’re called DIADs) know that certain shipments are supposed to be delivered by certain times. So if the driver is going to be late for whatever reason, they’ll just punch in something to get the board to shut up.

  17. WTRickman says:

    My father is retired from Yellow Freight. The UPS drivers in this area were part of the same local union, so they interacted regularly. He used to tell me that the UPS drivers were only allowed a certain amount of time (on average) per stop.

    Methinks that the majority of drivers don’t want to make any delivery that is going to raise their average stop times, such as apartments with buzzers, high traffic areas, or whatever.

  18. Lambasted says:

    @jodles: Hey, send your serial killer my way; I’ll deal with the slicing and dicing as I sign for my package.

    I wish I could get a driver who was that intent on delivering my packages. Either the driver knocks very lightly and runs back to the truck before I have time to answer. Or he doesn’t deliver at all. Especially if it is a heavy package, I know there will be a problem.

  19. In my area the absolute worst is FedEx. But I believe they’re the worst for anything. Haven’t had a problem with UPS in my area, unless its christmastime. And then its only late because there’s just so much that they have to deliver.

  20. The refund will be processed by the shipper, not the shipping company.

    Call the shipper to receive the refund that they have already received.

  21. rellog says:

    UPS isn’t the worst, FedEx and DHS are much worse in my area. None however, will bother to use a plastic bag to cover packages left out in the rain- even if the are blatantly marked as electronics… However, the shoes my neighbor got had the courtesy of a plastic bag when it was drizzling…

    I will say however, my regular UPS guy is decent. I just wish he’d consider the rain issue when he leaves packages.

  22. Landru says:

    @Corporate-Shill: “already received?” In your dreams, lady.

  23. Paytriot says:

    UPS is the Suckiest Company around. I also live in Orlando and have experienced all the usual problems, one of which really rankles me is the habit of leaving a package in front of my door! (I live in an apartment complex and most of the time these packages have been stolen) The deal breaker for me though is trying to get my insulin delivered using UPS. The pharmacy uses overnight UPS and UPS would NEVER get it delivered in a timely manner, hence they would try & deliver the 3rd day which is no good because by then the Insulin has been un refrigerated for too long. (Florida, try keeping a freezepack item cool on a UPS truck for more than one night, lol) How friggin difficult is it to deliver something from Pinellas Park Florida to Orlando Florida inside 24 hours!!!
    I have had to have 3 shipments of insulin destroyed to the tune of 865$ a pop!!! I will never ever use UPS for anything ever again, as far as I am concerned they are the worst company ever!

  24. shockwaver says:

    I live in Canada, and often get packages mailed from the US. Fedex by and large is ok, although in one critical package they I had paid priority shipping for (international in 3 business days), it took them 4 weeks. FOUR WEEKS. Then they charged me $150 in brokerage fees for something worth about $200.

    DHL on the other hand, I’ve had a few items with them and while it may be the driver that gets assigned here, he is fantastic. I missed a delivery (I wasn’t expecting) at noon, and he tried back again at 3pm and again a 7pm because he wanted to get me the package.

    ..UPS can kiss my ass.

  25. Invalid_User_Name says:

    When the regular driver wasn’t on his shift to my house, my packages would show up on the web site as “no such address” and “only odd number houses on this street,” and other similarly written dodgeballs. Granted, it was a little screwy layout in a HOA, but one only had to look to the OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET to see the even numbered houses.

    I am actually far more impressed with USPS: they are less expensive and have a much higher accuracy rate than UPS. I don’t remember USPS ever screwing up a package.

  26. Lambasted says:

    @rellog: That’s interesting because I never really thought about their responsibility for packages in inclement weather. From my parent’s covered porch to the inside of a building, I’ve always lived somewhere that offered protection.

    I wonder what their liability is for leaving packages exposed to the elements like that.

  27. spicey says:

    I had 2 friends send the same thing to me, at the same time. One friend sent me the thing via regular mail from Thailand. The other friend sent me the thing via UPS from New York.

    Guess which got here (Oregon) in 4 days, and which got here in 8???

    UPS is a waste of time and money.

  28. Geekybiker says:

    Not to mention USPS get across borders with much much less in fees. Shipping fed-ex or ups international is just silly IMHO.

  29. Jeepman says:

    Good luck with the refund. When I tried they told me they don’t guarantee deliveries to a residence, their delivery guarantees only apply when the delivery address is a business.

  30. Lambasted says:

    @Invalid_User_Name: Oh don’t even get me started on the USPS. At least UPS is predictably bad. I generally know what they will screw up and how they will go about doing it.

    With the USPS, their screw ups are so random, I never know what to expect. And they always blame it on a “substitute carrier covering for my regular carrier who was on vacation.” Yeah right. Once, they screwed up my delivery so badly, and I complained up the command ladder so vehemently, that the branch manager got a call from a higher up directing him to personally deliver my package to me. He did.

    My post office branch is incompetent. I hate them. But I’m not sure who I hate more, them or UPS.

  31. khiltd says:

    I’m sure the microphone was packed in a solid brick of styrofoam that protected it from far worse drops than the one you witnessed.

  32. timmus says:

    I run a business and ship hundreds of Priority Mail orders a month. USPS, in spite of their reputation, is darn good and we almost never have problems. On the other hand, UPS is erratic and as one poster said, a good way to get reamed if you ship internationally. Furthermore I have had customers specifically request that we NOT ship UPS, but not the other way around.

    I will never forget trying to sign up with UPS for scheduled pickup several years ago. I got transferred several times at their call center, and finally I reached an agent who got me set up. Two weeks later I got a bunch of badly photocopied application forms to fill out. It went straight in the trash.

  33. parnote says:

    I can recall the one time I had to call the UPS distribution center over a package the “claimed” to have attempted to deliver, despite my wife being home … twice. I told the girl “What can Brown do for you? I feel like I now have BROWN all over me!” There was an awkward silence on the other end of the phone, followed by a round of giggles. Needless to say, I had to drive nearly 20 miles (through poorly marked detours and around bridges that were “decommissioned”) to pick up the package at their distribution center … all because my wife wasn’t going to be home on their “third, and last” delivery attempt!

    I see that UPS has two choices … 1) learn to provide decent customer service, or 2) rot in hell and die a well-deserved death!

  34. drdom says:

    UPS really takes the cake when it comes to incompetence. They mis-delivered packages addressed to me to someone else. They won’t talk to me, because I’m not the shipper. Their system shows it was delivered, and that’s good enough for them. Without going into unnecessary details, the contents of the package are of significant value, and are not supposed to be in just anybody’s hands. UPS charged extra for “high value item”, and supposedly handles and monitors these shipments carefully.

    The shipper contacted them, and is told it was delivered and signed for. When the shipper requested a proof of delivery, they send him an image of a signature that is fairly clear and readable, and very clearly a different name than mine. UPS claims someone at my address signed for it. Since the driver never came to my place, and someone we don’t even know signed for it, we all called BS on this. Due to the nature of the contents, the shipper was required to contact ATF.
    After 2 days of investigation they were able to track down my package. The person who received it was also very concerned, and didn’t want the package after opening it and discovering the contents. She called UPS, and asked them to come back and pick it up. They told her they would be right over, but of course, never showed.
    After all of that, UPS denied the shippers claim for a refund, as it was their position it was delivered on time. It was delivered on time, to some random person 3 miles away with a completely different name and address. But that’s an irrelevant technicality.

  35. sciencegeek says:

    USPS: repeated theft and incompetence – it got to the point where I couldn’t have any of my bills mailed to me.
    UPS: screw ups, but generally minor.
    Fedex: screw ups (especially for international shipping to Europe where one of the local drivers didn’t like working after 3pm)
    DHL: oh the humanity, so many screw ups, so very many.

    My favorite recent UPS story: we ordered a gallon jug of soap along with a smaller dispenser and a whole bunch of tiny cardboard boxes. I work in a lab, so we get a lot of packages. When I opened this particular box and put my hand in to pull out one of the little boxes, I felt something slippery. When you’re in a lab, there are two things that have this texture: detergents and strong bases. After a moment of panic, I realized that it was just soap. UPS had managed to somehow open a gallon of liquid soap in the package and instead of fessing up, they removed the incriminating gallon bottle, repackaged the remaining items and, after razoring out and taping on the shipping label, delivered it to us.


    That said, they didn’t argue with me or the company who originated the shipment. Refunded and the company sent us a new, intact bottle.

  36. Bourque77 says:

    Sadly depending on where you go and who you talk to you’d have stories like this every week for every shipping company. They all pretty much such. At least with ups and fedex you can track the package better.

  37. Lambasted says:

    @drdom: Had to contact ATF?! The lady didn’t want what was in the box after seeing it?! (What lady doesn’t want what’s in the box?) She was so scared she left the box there and caught the next plane out of town?! Good god man, what was in that box?!

    Hey wait a minute. Ummm…Osama, is that you there shipping explosives and reading Consumerist? :-)

  38. UniKyrn says:

    I just went though UPS voice jail hell yesterday trying to find a way to tell them they’d mis-delivered a package to my house that should have been delivered to somebody else. They hide the numbers for the local offices, you have to go through the 1-800 number and none of the voice jail options even hints at being customer support related.

    And you can bet the person who the package was supposed to have been delivered to would get told “we have a delivery confirmation for your package, so it’s not our problem”.

  39. bronsthermonster says:

    I’ve said this in previous posts about UPS:

    I have had great succcess, as a result of an EECB on UPS, dealing with Cynthia Webb – Manager for Customer Relations at UPS corporate.

    404.828.7884 should be the address. Good luck!

  40. Teapotfox says:

    @Gadgetgirl: Oh, yeah, in my experience it definitely comes down to the driver. I have anything UPS delivered to my work, since I know our driver there and can expect my package to actually reach me and in good condition. The driver for my home neighbourhood will leave stacks of packages on our porch and once delivered a big box of merchandise I ordered (about $150-200 worth) to the wrong apartment in my building. That may not seem like a big deal, except there are only four apartments in my building, each is clearly marked, and instead of coming into the lobby, he went up my neighbour’s fire escape and left the package on their balcony in the rain.

    To boot, my neighbours opened the package and started burning my candles, using my other purchases, etc… Although that isn’t UPS’ fault, when I phoned them to ask after my missing delivery, they told me they couldn’t help me because the package had been signed for and successfully delivered. My neighbours admitted to opening my package and basically stealing the contents (they claimed they thought it had been misdelivered for a previous tenant), but swore up and down that they never signed for it, it just showed up on their balcony.

    In any case, it wasn’t delivered to ME, and UPS was unhelpful in the extreme.

  41. rochec says:

    Well them having you meet him somewhere is just a courtesy they are trying to extend for you to get your item as early as possible.

    That said, they totally screwed up by not just delivering it, making the driver come back or just telling you to come get it after 7. You just happened to be lucky and get the weirdest location possible.

    I had a package sent out I needed for Sat delivery today and was sent for next business day by accident, which will be Tues. I called to see if I could pay extra and get it delivered (its here, but not scheduled for delivery) or if I could just come pick it up. They told me no, I’d have to wait til Tues. I had to of course ask why they wouldn’t want more money from me, but all she could say was I’ll have it Tues.


  42. midwestkel says:

    UPS has no problem getting on Air Force bases. USPS FTW!

  43. Dukebruno says:

    Most of the products our company sells ship from our distributor’s warehouses. We specify which carrier to use and hope for the best, especially on overnight shipments. Items get delivered on-time and without incident 90+% of the time, but when there is a foul-up, it’s usually a doozy. The carriers “guarantee” delivery by a certain time or you don’t pay the shipping fees…just try to collect on that guarantee. We recently had a shipment go from a New Jersey supplier’s warehouse to a customer in New Jersey. The shipment was delivered hours past the guaranteed deadline. I contacted FedEx and they responded via email that there was weather at the destination that prevented an on-time delivery, so there would be no credit for the shipping fees. Our office is 10 minutes from the destination and the skies were clear all day. I pointed this out to FedEx who changed their story to “there was bad weather at our Memphis hub and that caused the delay.” The tracking, however, showed that the package went from the warehouse to the FedEx sort center in Newark, to the customer — it went nowhere near Memphis. After lying to me twice, FedEx issued the credit. Nice try, boys.

    Also, a FedEx driver once showed up here with a package that was for afternoon delivery. He asked if he could have a glass of water and wait a few minutes because the company hassles drivers if they deliver afternoon packages too early. I could see how other drivers might decide that they don’t want to come back for an “afternoon” delivery and just mark the package as “undeliverable” due to whatever excuse they chose. Management creates a stupid system and the drivers will find a way around it — customers notwithstanding.

  44. Grimspoon says:

    The only way to get the best results from UPS is to avoid them at all costs.

    If I’m buying something online and I see the only shipping available is UPS, I’ll make that purchase elsewhere. Even if the shipping costs 5-10 dollars extra, it’ll still be cheaper than paying the additional brokerage fees they apply to every single item that crosses the border into Canada.

    Seriously, I will NEVER give UPS my business. They are crooks and do not deserve to be in business.

  45. hamsangwich says:

    Wow, well I love UPS, they have always been great to me, both from a shipping and receiving standpoint. I think it’s reasonable to be able to pick up at a distribution center at 7pm, but ridiculous to suggest you meet them at the construction center. You sir, are owed $40 for overnight shipping.

  46. Jubilance22 says:

    I haven’t had any trouble with UPS, but the FedEx guys in Orlando suck. They don’t even go to your apartment and check if you are home, and leave a hangtag. Instead, they head straight to the office. I had a package waiting for me in the office for a week cause I never got a hangtag.

  47. Kryptinite says:


    This is so true. I just moved to Maitland into an apartment and I order stuff from online all the time. I remember one day when I was home ALL DAY awaiting a package and received a call from the office. They told me that the FedEx guy tried my apartment twice before giving it to the office. What a crock of crap.

  48. aristan says:

    Man… around here I have Ninja UPS men.

    My dog barks at everything. Birds, cats, people at the door, people at the door two houses down the street… everything. But every once and a while, he’ll be beside the front door and won’t bark at all. And I’ll open the front door and find a small box under the chair or behind one of the planters.

    So, they’re either ninjas or magic gnomes.

    And, I’m just happy to get the stuff. Even though it’s my grandmother’s medication that requires a signature.

  49. Jesse says:

    Most of the time UPS is okay. I’ve had packages not show up before and one time they left a $600 Smart phone next to the trash can down the stairs from the front porch. A place nobody would think to look for it.


  50. maines19 says:

    UPS does the ol’ nobody-was-there routine fairly regularly with packages coming to the company I work for. There are a couple hundred of us working here, a mailroom that is staffed during business hours as well as receptionists on each of our floors . . . yeah, nobody was there, my *ss.

    The good thing I will say about them is that when I have an outbound package going out after our daily pickup, I almost never have to go all the way to the UPS Store with it–there’s a UPS truck usually parked nearby with a window and slot in the side for the driver to accept packages, and I’ve even had a UPS truck that was driving by pull over to take my package for me when he saw me with a large UPS box.

    So: they’re happy to take your stuff, not so eager to deliver it.

  51. EyeHeartPie says:

    For some reason, I’ve had only good experiences with DHL. One time my brother ordered a camera from an online store, selecting the 5-7 business day delivery option, and we received the camera in 2 days flat through a DHL courier. Another time, I ordered a 97lb item through an online store, and DHL delivered it in 4 days from New Jersey, and even carried the damn thing up to the third floor (the driver had had his trolley stolen at a previous delivery) where my apartment is located.

    Crossing my fingers, knock on wood, etc… that my good experiences with DHL will continue.

  52. intellivised says:

    I work for a company where we send TONS of packages out overnight via FedEx & UPS – a large percentage of everything we send is overnight. We almost universally try to go with FedEx – but they don’t do pick-ups, so it involves a daily drive to the dropoff. Never had a problem with FedEx. I’ve used them for personal stuff based on their track record with where I work

    UPS, usually several times a month, forgets to do a pick-up or drop-off at our building. We’ve also had problems with toolshed drivers making our front desk person of the girlular persuasion uncomfortable. And driving to their buildinf to bring all the packages they forgot? Good luck.

  53. seth1066 says:

    That photo was submitted by a professional photographer? Don’t give up your day job… oops! That is your day job. I could take a better shot with an Instamatic.

  54. odhen says:

    Ah, UPS customer service is awesome. A few months ago I was waiting for some computer parts to be delivered, and they still hadn’t shown up, so I tracked my package online to find out that it was marked as “Delivered-left at front desk”, or something of the sort. I found this odd, since I lived in a house. I immediately called UPS, and talking to the CSR went like this.

    Me: “I just checked online and it says my package was delivered, but I’ve been here all morning and it was not.”
    CSR: “Yes, it says it was delivered and left at the front desk.”
    Me: “I live in a house.”
    CSR: “Ok?”
    Me: “My house does not have a ‘front desk’.”
    CSR: “Oh…”

    I’m not even exaggerating. :(

    (Turned out the package was actually delivered to the Kwik Shop regional office 2 houses up from mine, so I wandered up there and got it myself, but they had offered to go get it for me, so it all worked out).

  55. humphrmi says:

    My UPS horror story is boring compared to all these.

    I have the option to work at home, so when I’m expecting something important that requires a signature I work from home and wait for the driver. I work on a WiFi enabled laptop, sitting on my couch, three feet from the front door.

    Every time, the UPS driver doesn’t bother to stop, he just enters “not home” in his little computer and keeps going. When I see him drive by, I give UPS a call and tell them what happened. They don’t care.

    So now what I do is, when I have a choice of shippers (i.e. either the place I’m buying from offers a choice, or I can choose a seller that doesn’t use UPS), I choose not to do business with companies that only use UPS.

    Sometimes when I’m price-comparing, I even send the companies that only use UPS an e-mail saying “Sorry, would have liked to have bought your gidget, but you only use UPS and they suck.” Just to let them know that their loyalty to UPS just lost them a sale.

  56. Runeshai says:

    I’ve decided – before reading this – not to use UPS anymore for shipping. I shipped a $1500 computer system I built for video projects out to Seattle from Vermont, and they pretty much demolished the whole thing. The processor fan came detached, the hard drives were twisted out of their supporting brackets, bending the frames out of shape, and different screws and whatnot from various pieces inside were tumbling about inside the case. But it didn’t end there. Naturally, I was pissed, so I called them and asked for an inspection. They took FOREVER to get in touch with me (even after I’d called them multiple times to confirm that yes, they had and were calling the correct phone numbers, they were STILL calling my dad’s old work – where he didn’t work anymore – about the system, since at the time he was there, that’s where it was shipped from). And then… oh yes, there’s more, they finally got the right person to the right house in Seattle, and they took the computer. They didn’t tell my brother anything (that’s whose house it was at), and there was no notification sent to me that anything had happened. Finally I heard from my father that the computer had been shipped back to the house with just a note saying they’d determined that it was the shipper’s (my) fault. Oh yea, and the package had been insured for around $500 upon shipment. Yea… I’m gonna get on their ass about a refund. Hard. Sorry to hear about the mishap, but I’m very glad their obvious incompetence hasn’t inconvenienced you as much as it has me. And congrats on the job, I’m in the field myself (VFX now, but videography before that, and it was kind of tough finding work). Best of luck.

  57. Wynner3 says:

    I hate UPS, they always deliver my packages 1-2 days later than when they are supposed to be. I just wish not so damn many online companies used them. I try to get FedEx whenever possible. Sometimes UPS hand the packages over to USPS to deliver, that usually delays their arrival too.

  58. MT says:

    I had a pretty shitty experience with UPS just yesterday. I started to type it all out and then I realized it would end up longer than the OP. I finally got my package, and I did have to drive a little ways, but at least it wasn’t a construction site… ick. I know Fedex gets a bad rap but I’ve had mostly good luck with them, the one time they tried to do a “you weren’t home” delivery when I was home, they came back within the hour. Boo on UPS. I still got my package the day I should have gotten it, but it left me with a sour taste.

  59. guilliam says:

    Last Christmas I ordered a Harley part for my dad and it was shipped UPS. I tracked it online and it stated it had been delivered, but I had not received it. Our UPS driver is known for putting in that it was delivered and then bringing it the next day so we just assumed it would be delivered the next day. Well, we had a big snow storm that night and the next morning when I was leaving for work @ 5am, I noticed a piece of plastic hanging out the top of one of our trash cans at the end of our lane. Didn’t think much about it, just though it was a Walmart bag that got stuck to the can, it was 5am and dark so couldn’t really see, just by car headlights as I pulled out of the lane. So when I returned from work at 3pm, as I pulled into our lane I noticed the bag again, so I got out and pulled on it. It was my dad’s $100 gift COVERED IN SNOW IN MY TRASH CAN!! Thankfully, it wasn’t trash day!! But anyone could have come by and took it out of the trash can. I immediately called UPS who had our local office call me. The DM said he talked to the driver who denied putting it in the can, he said he hid it between 2 cans on the ground (still in the snow). I told the DM that it WAS IN the trash can. But he basically told me sorry, too bad. Later that day, the driver came to my door and started yelling at me because he had gotten into trouble. I just closed the door. I should have reported him, but it was Christmas time and I kept thinking he probably has kids etc. and didn’t want to get him fired (although he would have deserved it)Of course, I was also afraid of the guy, who knows what he might have done.

  60. PinkBox says:

    This story, and the comments following make me very thankful for the UPS driver I have here! Very nice guy, and always delivers to my door, and will take the time to “hide” the package if I’m not home since I live in a townhouse community.

    At my old apartment, UPS would walk up two flights of stairs (once with very heavy packages), and I never had problems with them.

    I’m sure it varies by driver though, as I’ve heard some scary stories. I’ve had bad experiences mostly with DHL in my area.

  61. KelseyKabma says:

    3 days too long for unrefrigerated insulin? That is a total lie. Even
    old fashioned pig/beef insulin can be left at room temperature for over
    a month before it even shows slight degeneration. Granted UPS Next Day
    Air should be “Next Day”, but if your insulin is going bad it’s because
    of the pharmacy (selling past due or damaged goods) not UPS. Get real.

  62. Buran says:

    @Lambasted: Probably a pistol or rifle of some kind. Some people aren’t comfortable around guns.

    If that’s what it was, it’s probably pretty damned pathetic that they never came back to pick it up and the feds had to yell at them.

  63. Next time use the Post Office!!!?? Are you serious?

    Normally, when UPS comes to your apartment and misses you: They leave you a note saying they’ll be back tomorrow at a certain time. Automatically they try to deliver it the next day. You have the opportunity to make arrangements for someone to be there, and get your package without having to call any customer service. Otherwise you call them and they tell you how to pick it up at their office in the evening.

    When the Post Office does the same thing: They leave you a note saying your shit is at the post office. If you call them you might be able to talk them into attempting again. More likely you have to go pick it up at the post office. WHICH IS ONLY OPEN 9-5. How in the hell is a working person supposed to get their package? Don’t ask anyone at the post office, since they most definitely are not working people. They’ll often just return-to-sender your stuff after only one warning. One time it took me half a semester to get a textbook because of their shenanigans.

    We’ve recently showed up to pick up packages at the PO and they have LOST our package in their own office!

    Also our mailman is so lazy, he buzzes each apartment in our building that has a package and tries to make us come down to the mailboxes area while he’s stuffing our boxes with junkmail and pick up our package. Instead of delivering it to our freaking door like they’re paid to.

    All this, coupled with the lucky fact that our UPS driver’s route takes him by our building at the perfect time of 6PM when I’m already home from work, makes me always choose UPS over the disgusting inefficient monopoly junk-mail delivery service.

  64. Angryrider says:

    Man, I’m happy that I don’t have to deal with UPS. This is just scary.

  65. Meltingemail says:

    I work for a company that ships at least six hundred packages through UPS per business day. (We prefer UPS because some of the packages get quite heavy, and it’s cheaper through UPS than the post office for heavy things, as well as free tracking numbers.)

    Part of my job is to answer the phone and politely explain to whatever customer is calling that no, we didn’t forget to send their package. UPS just chose to break it, lose it, bust a seam and re-package without including all the items, etc. The best one was when they were having trouble finding an address and the driver decided, logically, that the best thing to do was to leave six boxes in a snowbank. Thank goodness someone in the house where the snowbank was located was responsible & caring enough to call us and say “Hey, found some boxes in my snowbank, you want those back?”

    When they ship package, the boxes get tossed into a chute and then funneled down a slide before they drop (drop is definitely an operative word – three to four foot literal drop). If the boxes get stuck in said funnel, the workers poke them loose with a stick.

    Of course, the problem is, they do ship about 95% of the packages correctly. Which is great (that’s an A in most high schools) but if you’re shipping, oh, say a million packages…that’s five thousand that get screwed up.


  66. fjordtjie says:

    I rarely have any good experiences with any shipping companies. One day last year I had something shipped overnight, then sat around all day in my apartment waiting for it. NEVER did they ring or knock or anything. They didn’t leave a notice on the door. So I called. They said they’d attempted delivery, but noone responded, so it was in the pickup center. What? I was at home, and where is the door tag? They repeated what they’d just said. So, I drove across the city to the pickup center and back. At least it was there and not wherever they had gone to deliver my package!–certainly wasn’t my apartment!

  67. Mr_Burmie says:

    @dgp: My post office opens at 8 am.

  68. SharkD says:

    Recent, mysterious, tracking info from a UPS-shipped box; this was after the package had arrived at the sorting facility in my hometown:

    05/23/2008 — 12:45 A.M. — ARRIVAL SCAN
    05/23/2008 — 3:00 A.M. — DESTINATION SCAN
    05/23/2008 — 6:39 A.M. — OUT FOR DELIVERY
    05/23/2008 — 2:30 P.M. — DELIVERY

    I’ve also had UPS call me to explain that the driver couldn’t find my address (mind you, the driver managed to deliver a parcel to each of my neighbors that same day — I stayed home because it required my direct signature for delivery). They instructed me to arrive at the sorting facility after 6:30pm, but before 7:00pm, when they closed, or else the parcel would be returned to the shipper. (This was the first attempt, mind you.) When I got to the office, they have me the run-around, telling me first, that there was no such package in the computer, that the driver hadn’t returned, that the box was in the sorting facility’s auxiliary building, and then, that the box was still on the truck, but they weren’t sure which one and I’d have to come back tomorrow, in that order. I asked for a supervisor, and was told that they’d left for the night, since it was now after 7:40pm (they’d been “looking for it” for more than an hour). Unsurprisingly, when I told them that the box contained an $5,000 dSLR and that I would call to report the theft of the camera to both the shipper and UPS’ corporate offices in the morning, the package suddenly turned up very quickly.

    Of course, I’ve also had a $3,500 HDTV “mysteriously” disappear from the back of an ABF freight truck. It’s amazing how those really expensive items just seem to evaporate without any explanation.

  69. SharkD says:


    Of course, the problem is, they do ship about 95% of the packages correctly. Which is great (that’s an A in most high schools) but if you’re shipping, oh, say a million packages…that’s five thousand that get screwed up.

    Actually, that’s fifty thousand packages.

    And considering that UPS delivers 15.6 million packages, daily, assuming a 95% accuracy rate (which I believe is generous), that’s 780,000 packages, per day that are lost, damaged or mis-delivered.

  70. glorpy says:

    @tinyrobot: Something like gasbuddy, but where you rate the various services by route. Cool idea.

    I’ve been lucky in that my normal USPS, Fedex, UPS and DHL delivery people are all sane.

    The times that I’ve had to pick up from the UPS warehouse (basically, anytime a signature is required), however, have not been fun. I have to get there at 6pm to be at the front of the line by 7pm, which is when they close, so that I might be lucky enough to get the package off the truck when it comes back to the warehouse. Not fun.

    A suggestion for UPS: Allow recipients to change their delivery destination (within reason) while the package is still en route to the local delivery center, not after delivery has been attempted.

  71. TheNerd says:

    I tried to ship some packages to Italy this January through UPS. It was way more of a hassle than it should have been.

    First, we went to the local UPS store to be told that she couldn’t ship packages that were being billed to receiver. We tried to do it online, but ended up spending 8 hours sitting at home waiting for our online-scheduled pick-up. We called the hotline, to be told that they can’t pick up packages at our location (after the website allowed it!).

    A half-hour later, the truck shows up. He says we don’t have the right paperwork, but tells us how to get it. He then says we should STAND ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD DOWNTOWN AND FLAG A PASSING UPS TRUCK DOWN instead of having him come back the next day!

    After calling a few more numbers, we finally found someone who would help us for real, and that guy came back and picked up our packages whether he wanted to or not.

  72. mrearly2 says:

    It’s Florida–hard to find good help…

  73. arungupta says:

    I buy lot of stuff online. Never had a trouble with UPS or FedEx. Normally USPS is also very good but never, ever send time critical stuff by USPS. Their delivery confirmation mechanism doesn’t work. If the package is lost, they will not have a clue what happened to it.