FedEx Quails In The Presence Of A Buzzer, Rendering Next-Day Air A Waste Of Money

Paying a premium price for a special service, say, getting a package the next day, is worth it if you’re in the business of needing things quickly. Which is why Chris is regretting that the person delivering an item essential to his work happened to be a FedEx employee who didn’t know what to do with a doorbell.

Chris writes that he had a deadline to meet at work, and needed a computer part to replace one that had broken. He ordered the piece on a Thursday and paid extra to make sure it would arrive in Philadelphia the next day via FedEx from California.

Lo and behold, the very next day, the delivery agent did turn up at his high rise office building. But when confronted with an unmanned lobby and a doorbell that would summon any of 125 employees, the FedEx person just left a door tag instead, saying there was “no one to be found to sign for the package.”

Chris shrugged and figured as long as the package arrived first thing Monday, all would be well.

I called FedEx and reminded them that once you step off the elevator, there is a door buzzer to reach one of any 125 people who can sign for the package. Surely the package would be here Monday.

Well, it was and it wasn’t.The Rhodes Scholar that FedEx sent over on Monday did the same thing, again. No door buzzer was pushed and a 2nd door tag was left.

Instead of waiting for a third attempt to fail, Chris ponied up $20 in cab fare to get to the FedEx depot to pick up his package on his own.

Time to brush up that button-pressing training, eh guys?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Yup. If you’re not sitting on the porch waiting for them, they turn right the hell around and take your parcel back to the regional depot.

    Stupid FedEx.

    • Cat says:

      And UPS sucks just as bad.

      • s0s has a chewy nougat center says:


        Though I will say my current UPS guy is awesome. Delivers at about the same time every day (5:00-6:30 pm depending on how many deliveries he had, so I know when to be home), actually comes to my door and rings the bell even when it’s raining, covers my packages with plastic if it’s wet out, always friendly and smiling, asks how my pets are doing.

        I feel like I should bake him some cookies.

      • Jasen says:

        The last package I got from UPS, the guy hid the box in a portable greenhouse that was next to my door to protect it from the rain, and then called and left me a voicemail to tell me where it was.
        I’ve had good luck with getting good UPS drivers.

  2. Guppy06 says:

    Did OP check to make sure the buzzer is working?

    • SeattleSeven says:

      It sure has been quiet around here for weeks now… It seems like no one ever comes to visit anymore.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Also where is the buzzer located and is there a sign.

      Sure it’s obvious where it is and what it’s for if you work there, but maybe if you don’t it isn’t?

  3. scottydog says:

    In the last 12 months I have twice had FedEx state no one was home to accept the package when in fact I was home all day. On one of these occasions they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave the customary delivery exception notice on my door. When I called to complain they did nothing.

    I never purposefully use FedEx.

    • Mi Poo says:

      UPS isn’t any better. On several occasions I’ve gone to the website to track a package and seen “out for delivery”. When no delivery was made and I called about it, was told that “no one had been home to accept the package.” That’s fine, except my husband works from home, so there was someone home to accept the package. The driver was just too lazy to make the stop.

  4. SerenityDan says:

    I’m currently fighting with FedEx over a driver forging my signature at work. I was on my lunch break during the delivery and other people were in the office who could have signed. The person at the local FedEx depot actually said to me, “Well you work there and you have the package I don’t see what the problem is.”

  5. nopirates says:

    this isn’t a fedex issue, it happens with deliveries from ups and usps, too.

    this is a lazy employee issue

    • mikedt says:

      It probably has less to do with being lazy than it does with giving them routes/delivery schedules with zero slack time for waiting for somebody to come to the door.

      • elangomatt says:

        This is probably correct, or maybe there is some incentive to getting the route done at top speed,

        • who? says:

          I don’t know about Fedex, but I worked for UPS 20 years ago. Essentially, we were supposed to deliver a certain number of packages per hour (which varied according to the type of route). As long as you made that number, then all was well. The standards were reasonable enough that if I had to chase around an office building once in awhile to find someone to sign for the package, I generally had enough time to do that and still be within the standard. The only thing we really sweated was that the overnight deliveries *had* to be delivered by 10:30, no exceptions, for any reason, even if there was 2 feet of snow on the ground.

          The two changes I see now are

          1) it seems that the time standards have gotten tighter. If the customer isn’t *right there* when they need a signature, the driver turns tail and runs, and

          2) the issue of transparency. If we carried a package around for a day or two because the packages got out of order on the truck or the address was wrong on the package (one of these would happen to about one package a week), nobody came after us. With everything on the internet now, everybody tracks their packages in real time, and the slightest slip makes people go ballistic.

    • Vermont2US says:

      You may be right, but I’d bet the real problem is management’s push to make as many deliveries as possible in as short a time as possible, and the driver gets his arse reamed if he doesn’t meet overly strict performance ‘standards’. So, it becomes a choice: ring the doorbell and get reamed by the boss because you’re too slow or don’t ring the doorbell and meet your ‘standards’. That’s pretty much a no-brainer in my book.

      • sherrietee says:

        Actually, this is the problem exactly. We have a FedEx that comes here regularly. There are times when he’s in an incredible rush – he told me once that they have time limitations to meet and if they run into problems with traffic, they have to make it up somewhere. I’ve seen him run shit up here and practically toss it at our door before making a beeline for the elevator. On the rare occasions he isn’t in a rush, he’ll be nice as pie and put our packages where we want them in various parts of the office rather than leaving me to try and struggle with a package that’s twice my weight.

    • framitz says:

      I would have to agree that is basic laziness as I’ve had all three do the same thing.
      Put a note one the door without knocking, then leave quickly.
      I caught UPS doing this and intercepted the driver to get my package.
      He was embarrassed to be caught. I filed a formal complaint, of course nothing was done.

  6. Woden says:

    My favorite experience with FedEx was when I ordered my new TV around September of last year. A nice new 42″ Vizio LED TV. What did FedEx do when it arrived. Placed it in the driveway turned so that everyone in the neighborhood could clearly see what it was, and then didn’t bother to knock, ring the doorbell, or perform any other action to let us know it had arrived. Around 2pm when I was starting to wonder where the hell the FedEx delivery guy was I look outside, and lo and behold its sitting in my driveway. I was not happy. Luckily I live in a good neighborhood, and either people never though about taking it or no one believed that anyone would actually be stupid enough to leave a giant TV sitting in their drive way unattended so it must be an empty box.

    Fuck FedEx, lazy bastards.

    • Woden says:

      Although I would like to point out that I never once had an issue with the FedEx guy that my old store got deliveries from. I believe I was once told its because the residential and business delivery groups are two separate divisions in the company. Which would make perfect sense as to why I’ve heard very few horror stories from large businesses while I constantly hear complaints about the residential deliveries.

  7. some.nerd says:

    FedEx is my least favored shipping option… I live in Chelsea, and instead of leaving my package at the nearest facility (3 miles away, in Boston), they drive it 45 minutes north to Andover. As anyone who resides along I-93 will tell you, driving that stretch of I-93 North anytime from 3-7pm is (generally) a total Cluster F.
    At least UPS leaves my stuff at their (nearby) Somerville warehouse. Good on ’em.

  8. polishhillbilly says:

    I’ve seen them bowl a strike with my package right into the carport. The Fed EX guy jumped out of his skin when I yelled “STRIKE!!!!” from beside the house.

  9. chicagojay says:

    They need to develop a technology where one can communicate via glyphs on parchment. If this guy could have left a note, all would be well. I’m off to Kickstarter to get funding for this.

  10. Jemaine says:

    The last time I received something via FedEx or UPS, the delivery dude tapped on the door and ran. If I hadn’t been listening, I would have thought it was just a house noise. He did leave the package.

  11. Velifer says:


    USPS… well, the regular driver is good, but I can always tell when she takes a day off.

    The UPS drivers I get are cool though, and do a great job.

    • vorpalette says:

      Oh my god, do we live in the same apartment complex? I love my UPS guy. He knows me by name, is always very friendly, etc. FedEx drops packages off on my doorstep without knocking or anything. USPS…yep, I can always tell when my regular person takes time off. The sub is the laziest person ever–she NEVER takes packages to anyone’s door. I saw her standing at our mail boxes one day, just filling out and dropping package slips into them, no packages in sight.

  12. Tyanna says:

    I don’t know what it is about delivery people and apartment buildings, but they seem to be stumped EVERY FUCKING TIME. It doesn’t matter what company we use, they manage to screw up.

    From delivery people not being able to match my name to the name on the buzz board, to them not understanding “buzz office” instructions on the parcel, to them not reading our buzzer code in the instructions, to sitting on the balcony and watching the UPS truck pull up to our apartment, then drive away without them even getting out and having my parcel status updated to “recipient not home”.

    We now just have things shipped through regular mail. The post office delivers if the package is small enough, or leaves a note saying there is a package waiting at the closest pick up. It costs less and is less hassle, and normally takes less time than waiting for all the failed deliveries.

  13. n0th1ng says:

    I used to work for Fedex. If something is REALLY critical and you think FedEx will fuck it up, or you don’t want to wait, tell the company that is shipping said package to HOLD AT LOCATION, and go pick it up yourself. If I get a laptop or anything expensive shipped I always hold at location whenever I can to avoid that bullshit.

  14. SteveHolt says:

    “Well, it was and it wasn’t.The Rhodes Scholar that FedEx sent over on Monday did the same thing, again.”

    I laughed so hard I choked. Well done my friend.

  15. Mike says:

    I am shocked. They left my 42″ tv on the from door, and my laptop at the neighbor’s house outside the front gate.

  16. CubeRat says:

    Say what you want about the Post Office, at least all of them know what a door bell looks like.
    And, I must say, I never have any problems getting packages from them.

    Last week I was expecting a package from UPS stayed home waiting for it. Outside the gate (which isn’t a locked gate, just closed) is a phone and a list of all owners by unit number AND name. As this has not helped in the past, I attached a note that said, UPS please call #5. About 4, I got a call and went out to find a kid from the neighboring tutoring center, UPS left the package there, on my note was a message that said; “Sorry, no phone” It was taped TO THE PHONE.

  17. charliew77 says:

    Same kind of thing happens at my work almost daily. Our lobby has a door, a bell and a two-way mirror. They’ll try to open the door, and when they find it it locked do they knock? No. Do they press the doorbell? No. Do they peer into the two-way mirror like a creep? Absolutely.

  18. rekoil says:

    I lived in an apartment complex once where the UPS driver would drop off all his packages at the rental office, and then go around to all the buildings putting slips on the doors. Caught him red-handed once.

    I wouldn’t have minded it that much, except our rental office closed at 6pm, and I almost never got home from work by then…

  19. AngryK9 says:

    Yet if Fed Ex had left the package in the lobby then the OP would be whining about it being left in an “unattended area”. These guys don’t have time to push a button, hope the doorbell actually works, then sit around for 20 minutes waiting for you to finish up that email.

    • Pelonis says:

      Uh, that is exactly what they are being paid to do. Do you work for fedex by any chance?

      Twice I have been sitting in a window in clear view of the porch and watched a fedex guy walk up and put up one of those “We were here” stickers (that he obviously had filled out before he got to my house) on my door without knocking, and then get in his truck and drive away. All before I could stand up and walk to the door 10 feet, about 30 seconds of time.

      In order to save time, most delivery drivers have developed shortcuts, which is not their job.

      • jebarringer says:

        You obviously don’t and have never worked for a delivery company of any sort. A delivery driver is most definitely not allowed the time to wander around trying to find someone. A driver might have 150 stops to make in a day. If you allow for an eight hour day, that’s 3.2 minutes per stop. You want him to wait 20 minutes for you to come to the door? Prepare to pay substantially more than you do now.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          This is why, when I was working, I pushed my coworkers to get stuff to me by the pickup ready time. They require a two-hour window in which to pick up, to allow for variances on the route that day. We closed at five so the ready time was three pm. If the package wasn’t packed and labeled, they weren’t supposed to wait.

          My pickup guys would wait if I was finishing up a package because I schmoozed the hell out of them, but I could never guarantee that if there was a sub. My coworkers thought I was being a harpy about it. Let’s see how they are doing now that I’m not there and they don’t have me to keep after them to get stuff up to the front in a timely manner.

  20. mikec041 says:

    I’ve had FedEx show packages as “delivered” on line then actually get delivered hours later.

  21. cspschofield says:

    My experience of delivery companies runs as follows;

    FedEx; Great for delivery to office complexes. Even if you’ve just been moved from the top floor of building A to the basement of building X, they get it to you, or at least to the building desk. No good outside true Urban areas. Get them into the countryside and they apparently fear attack by werewolves.

    UPS; Depends entirely on your route and driver. I’ve had several drivers who, so far as I was concerned, could walk on water. One could even handle that (when we first moved to a particular address) we were sharing a street number with our immediate neighbor. Then when the Post Office got around to re-numbering the road (the plots had only been sub-divided for a decade), he handled THAT without batting an eye. On the other hand I’ve also had drivers who I don’t think had evolved as far as opposable thumbs.

    Other delivery companies; I suppose that some of the ones that seem to hang on must have their good points, but I haven’t ever seen them.

    Net result? Since I live in the country, and the current route-driver doesn’t appear to be a dolt, if I’m offered “free shipping upgrade to FedEx Next Day” I say “Please, no, send it UPS ground. It’ll get here sooner.”

  22. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I worked in a high rise office with a buzzer. Nobody wanted to answer it – esp. the people who were closest to the door and kept getting interrupted.

  23. toodarnloud says:

    Don’t most employers use Fedex or UPS for shipments? My old company contracted out with Fedex, so I felt super-comfortable getting Fedex packages sent to work.

    My new company has over 150 buildings on campus, and my apartment complex has piss-poor management. So I would opt for pick-up at a local Fed-ex store if I needed anything sent overnight.

    The UPS and Fedex guys also like to throw packages over our patio fence. We’ve had to start leaving notes telling them to stop doing this. So at home, I much prefer USPS cause they aren’t in such a hurry and they’ll leave the packages in the office.

  24. elkhart007 says:

    At an apartment complex I used to live at everyone left packages with the rental office who would sign for them but then have you sign for them when you picked up. This was great, but the one time I pay full price for a cell phone the idiot UPS driver leaves it under my floor mat. As if it wasn’t obvious, luckily I could run home for lunch.

    Fedex at our house now is great, UPS is the worst, USPS only marginally better than UPS. We did have to insinuate theft by our mail carrier though, my wife had bought a Nook on eBay and USPS said it was in town, the sorting office said it was at the delivery office, but the delivery office said they didn’t know. That we’d have to wait til our carrier got back which was after the office closed to see if she had it. Wife said something about carrier theft and 10 minutes later she came back with the wife’s package. Little creepy.

    Hoping I don’t have to fight Amazon now, finally ordered something and it shipped from their new facility in Chattanooga, about 3 miles from the house and 3 miles from the local UPS hub, the package went all the way to Nashville and back.

  25. Wolfbird says:

    Ayep. I work for a courier (not FedEx, but close) and not even I will ship with them. Canada Post FTW!