UPS et al

Glen Zook gzook at YAHOO.COM
Wed Aug 17 14:58:02 EDT 2005

Up until about 2.5 years ago I was a firm believer in
United Parcel Service.  Then, things started going
downhill in a hurry.

I don't know about the other UPS "hubs", but the main
one for the Dallas (Texas) area is in Mesquite, Texas
(a suburb on the east side of Dallas).  Boxes that
have been "properly" packed that go through this hub
are often "shaken to bits".  That is the outer box may
not show any damage at all but the contents have been
so severely vibrated that hardware comes loose, parts
are literally shaken loose, and so forth.

Now that is not to say that the boxes escape severe
handling.  I have received several items that were
actually packed in wooden crates that were damaged
(the crate usually showed signs of being "hit", run
through with a fork lift, etc.).

I owned a company for almost 10 years that used to
ship between 20 and 50 (even more) items per day that
most of which were in the 30 to 50 pound range.  We
shipped most packages less than 50 pounds by UPS.  At
that time we only had one problem with UPS and that
was when they literally ran a fork lift "tong" through
a box.  However, even then they tried the "improperly
packed" thing when we put in an insurance claim.  It
still took a "long" conversation with their customer
service people to "convince" them that no packing was
going to help survive such damage.

The last item that I shipped by UPS (over a year ago)
was at a customer's insistance, it was a Collins
R-388.  The box WAS properly packed and it arrived in
Florida without showing any damage.  However, the box
had been so badly shaken that all four of the rubber
feet had vibrated loose, the screws holding the front
panel to the cabinet were loose and a couple had
fallen out, and several of the switches/controls on
the front panel had come loose (the nuts had vibrated
loose).  Fortunately, the actual damage was slight (a
contact on the mode switch had been damaged but could
be bent back into position).

Now, since I switched to FedEx ground I have not had
any problems at all with outgoing shipments.  In fact,
I have received a number of boatanchors that were
shipped by FedEx ground that definitely were not
properly packed (a few sheets of crumpled newspaper,
etc.) and every one of those has arrived without any
damage at all.  Had those same items been shipped by
UPS I probably wouldn't have been able to save
anything except a few parts.

Also, I get parts from Mouser on a regular basis. 
Mouser does use UPS.  Now, the Mouser operation is on
the south side of Fort Worth so I normally get my
parts the next day.  However, I have had it take as
long a 5 days for the package to go less than 50
miles.  But, that is not what really "gripes me". 
Every so often the box will arrive with UPS tape on it
instead of what Mouser uses.  Mouser normally puts the
parts in separate plastic bags then puts everything in
another, larger, bag before putting the shipment in
the box.

On several occasions I have received boxes that have
been resealed by UPS that have had the internal large
bag opened, and certain (usually expensive) parts
removed.  Then the inside bag is resealed with UPS
tape and the box sent on.  All that I can do is to
telephone Mouser and they replace the missing parts. 
Obviously, someone in either the Fort Worth or the
Mesquite UPS hub knows that Mouser sometimes ships
"expensive" parts.

I have "heard" all sorts of "tales" about the UPS
labor situation and how many of the employees
(especially those in the "hubs") handle the packages. 
Now, as for my local delivery drivers they are
definitely "super".  If I am home when a large package
is delivered the driver almost always offers to bring
it into the house and put it where I want.  This is
definitely "above and beyond the call of duty".  They
are "friendly", helpful, and so on.  Unfortunately,
the same thing cannot be said about those who handle
the packages between the pickup driver and the
delivery driver.

Glen, K9STH

Glen, K9STH

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