Sending away (Part 2)

My relationship with shipping companies is of the love/hate variety. Lately, mostly the latter.

I spoke last time about a damaged tool I received following an online purchase. Amazon made everything good, quickly arranging to have the bad one picked up and over-nighting a replacement. The new one arrived exactly when promised, but one look at the box immediately had me worried:

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Despite appearances outside, however, the machine inside was perfect. There was probably only one significant amount of empty space inside that box, and luck placed the damage squarely in that spot – the tool was fine.

I had similar luck a few days later when a tool arrived for a magazine article I’m writing. I had no idea it had been delivered until my wife got home from work and asked why there was a big Jet box sitting on the porch in the pouring rain. The box was soggy and literally falling apart, but the tool was fine thanks to the molded Styrofoam around it.

A commenter on Tuesday’s blog noted that shipping companies are affected just as the rest of us by rising costs, resulting in lower quality, and he’s right of course. However, neither of these cases was the result of rising costs, but rather a simple don’t-give-an-expletive attitude on the part of the shipping company employees along the route of my packages. In the case of those sanders, my package was tossed around like a rag doll because they didn’t care what was in it. The incident involving the soaked delivery is an even better example: The delivery guy just couldn’t be bothered to take the extreme effort it would have required to ring the doorbell.

It’s bad enough that rising costs have impacted all aspects of our economy. But when simple bad attitude and lack of caring about how good a performance one does at one’s job can destroy what goods are being bought – requiring a lot of expense to reship and replace damaged goods – I don’t see any real hope for the economy.



  • Tom says:

    A frustratingly familiar story! We ship a lot of wood products. We would experience frequent damage and claims with the carrier would always be responded to with “packaging not adequate”. We requested a visit from one of the carrier’s packaging expert. At the end of the visit we asked if we followed the packaging guidelines would damage claims be honored. He said probably not. We switched carriers, but options for small package delivery are limited.

  • Nancy Kroes says:

    I’m curious about who delivered the Jet package – I have discovered over the years that anything delivered to me by FedEx is shoddy, packages left uncovered in rain, etc., whereas UPS seems to go the extra mile. I always cringe when I get a notice my packages have been shipped by FedEx. Thankfully UPS is the majority of them.

  • Gary Coyne says:

    Not always the shipping company: About 12 years ago I ordered a Morticer from Amazon. The box looked fine but when I opened the box. the cast iron was cracked. Amazon then overnighted a new box and picked up the previous one. Again the box looked fine but the cast iron was also cracked. My guess is that a whole palette of these things were dropped at the source. Amazon canceled the order. I did find a “not” local store that had it and was able to finally get a not-borken one.

    I also have to ship glass and there’s no doubt that putting warning labels like “Glass,” “Fragile,” and “Do Not Drop” seem more like challenges than warnings. The shipper eventually paid but it took over 3 months. Their first response was to deny the claim but I pressed on and eventually get reimbursed.

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