Putting The P In Packaging

, , , , | Right | May 24, 2021

A customer walks in and sets a wet box down on our front counter. He goes over to the retail wall, picks out a new box, and proceeds to repack what was in his wet box. He comes up to the register and sets both boxes on the counter in front of me.

Customer: “So, um, this box is from your wall there.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “And this one… Can you throw this one away for me? I work at a vet’s office and someone peed on it.”

Me: “I… What?”

Customer: “Yeah. Someone peed. On the box. So, I can’t use it for shipping, soooo… Can you throw it out?”

I’m too thrown off to respond with the “absolutely not” that I should respond with.

Me: “Um, yeah. It’s $2.13 for the box from the wall.”

After he paid and left, I grabbed a pair of gloves and took the box to the dumpster out back, and then I sanitized the counters he was at.

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This Is What Happens When The Couriers Drive TARDISes

, , , , , , | Working | May 20, 2021

I have been ordering a lot of things online over the last year for fairly obvious reasons. On this occasion, the delivery company provides tracking updates by email. At 1:30, I get an email saying that the package is with the local delivery agent and they will be delivering it between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. At 3:30, I get an email saying that they failed to deliver for the third time and will be returning it to the sender. 

I have been having issues with the wireless doorbell for my top floor flat, so I’m not too surprised at missing the delivery, but that was a first attempt, not a third. I decide to email customer services. Unfortunately, the company has made their customer service email address rather hard to find, so I am very annoyed by the time I find it. I try to remain polite in my email, I state my tracking number and what happened and then I ask if they intend to claim they tried to deliver three times in an hour and a half, which defeated the point of redelivery, or if their delivery staff were just being lazy.

I never get a direct reply to my email or any response indicating it has even been read, but the next day, I get a tracking update telling me there will be a delay in my package. The day after, another tracking email says it will be delivered the next day.

By this point, I have bought and installed a new doorbell, so the delivery goes smoothly, but when I get back to my flat, I notice that a new delivery sticker has been placed over the original one and the delivery instructions read, “3 comes after 1 and 2.”

I guess my email did get read after all!

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Would’ve Been Quicker To Walk It There Yourself

, , , | Working | May 2, 2021

A few years ago, I sent a birthday present for my mother to her by using a private courier service instead of the regular German mail, because their packages were cheaper and insured. This delivery was time-sensitive, not only because of the birthday, but because my parents were going to leave for a vacation a few days after and the package also contained some things they would need for the trip.

Tuesday: I take the package to the shop, fill in the address sticker, and get the receipt, all normal.

Friday: My mother’s birthday. I call to congratulate her and the present hasn’t arrived yet. Okay, this takes longer than usual, but let’s give them a day more.

Sunday: Still no sign of the package. I call customer service, and they tell me that the address was incorrect and the package could not be delivered. I’m confused since I know my parents’ address by heart and am pretty sure that I did not mess it up, but I filled it out by hand and mistakes happen. Since the package is still in their depot, I’m able to tell the representative the correct address, and she assures me that it will be delivered right away. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as my parents are scheduled to leave early on Wednesday.

Monday: My father calls me. The delivery guy showed up with the package in hand, then glanced at his digital notepad, stated that he couldn’t give it to my father because it was scheduled for Tuesday, turned on his heel, and drove away. My father was so stunned by that behaviour that he wasn’t able to keep him from leaving. He is furious and so am I.

Tuesday: After a day of worrying and frantically rearranging delivery to a shop near them for the time they would be away, my parents finally receive the package late in the evening.

The kicker? The address was absolutely correct from the beginning. For some reason, the courier service changed the house number, couldn’t find the recipient — guess why? — decided to also change the name of the recipient by subtracting the first letter, and then concluded that they could not deliver the package. Who would have thought?

Guess which courier service I’ll never use ever again?

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Lack Of Computing Does Not Compute

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2021

Our store is moving. All our signage is down. There’s a note on the door explaining. The front room is completely empty, except for our front counter. It’s been taken apart and stacked in a corner. The door is unlocked because the owners are on their way back to pick up another load to take to storage. I’m in the back room, cleaning.

Woman: “Hello. Hello.”

I peek out the doorway to see an older woman standing in the empty front room, holding a box. She sees me step out in shorts and a tank top, covered in sweat and dust from the back room.

Woman: “Oh, hello. I’d like to ship this.”

Me: “Ma’am, we’re closed.”

Woman: “Oh, but your door was open.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but there was a note on it. We’re moving the store to a new location.”

Woman: “Oh, okay.” *Long pause* “So, can you ship this for me?”

Me: “No, ma’am, all my computers are already packed away.”

Woman: “Do you need your computers to ship this?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Woman: “You know, in my day, we didn’t have any computers. We had to do all the calculations in our head.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Another long pause.

Woman: “So, when will you be able to ship this for me?”

Me: “If you go to our new location when it opens, we can ship it for you then.”

Woman: “But not today?”

Me: “No, ma’am.”

Woman: “Because your computers are down?”

There is another pause where I reject the idea of explaining again.

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Woman: “Do you know where I can ship it out today?”

Me: “If you take it down to the post office, they can probably get it out for you today.”

Woman: “Are their computers working?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I believe so.”

Woman: “You know, it would really be better if you learned how to do the calculations without a computer.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I’ll let the owners know. You have a great day.”

Woman: “You, too, dearest. I hope your computers come back up soon.”

She left. I glanced around the empty room, questioning what had just happened.

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This Story Starts With Hurricanes, And Then It Gets Worse, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | April 18, 2021

Hurricane Irma is making landfall in a few hours. The storm is record-breaking in size, so despite being mid-state we’re already getting high winds and heavy rain. Our store waits a bit late to close down, but we still close down mid-afternoon before our customers would normally expect the drivers to pick up. We’re busy inside tarping equipment.

Boards are all sold out, so we’re also putting tarps up in the front to try to keep water off the merchandise and equipment if the windows break.

From the other side of the tarp, I hear a frantic knocking.

I pull the tarp aside and a woman is standing there in a business suit, getting absolutely soaked, a piece of paper in a plastic sleeve pressed to the glass.

Customer: “I need to get this shipped out overnight!”

I provide a lengthy blank stare as I try to process the customer’s request. The store owner hollers from the back of the store.

Store Owner: “You have got to be s***ting me!”

Customer: “Please. I have to have it there tomorrow. Let me in!”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s not happening.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

Me: “We’re closed. All the drivers are off the road. No one is going to be taking your package anywhere until after the storm.”

Customer: “Can you just make a label for me and I’ll find a truck?”

Me: “No, ma’am. We’re closed. All our computers are disconnected and bagged up. There are no trucks for you to find. They’ve been off the road for hours now.”

Customer: “Why would they do that?”

Me: “Because they have other priorities right now.”

She smacks my window with frustration and taps away through standing water up over her high heels. She stares back at me for a good moment, mouth open with shock.

Store Owner: “F****** idiots.”

There’s another tap on the glass behind me. A man is standing there holding a box. 

Next Customer: “Can I just drop this off? I know it won’t go out today.”

Store Owner: *Rushing to the front* “Absolutely not!”

Next Customer: “I just wanna drop it off! It can go out after.”

We both watch as a large banner that used to be bolted in front of the neighboring gas station blows past him through the empty parking lot.

Store Owner: “There might not be a store left standing here after. Go home.”

Sure enough, the roof came off. Windows were about all that survived.

This Story Starts With Hurricanes, And Then It Gets Worse

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

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