Subtitled: Why I’ll never trust UPS (United Parcel Service) again.
When last we spoke, I was about to get married and waiting for my wedding dress to arrive.
So what happened, I hear you ask.
First there’s no reason for suspense. Almost eight years after we exchanged our first email, Reader, I married him.
The dress, on the other hand….
The night we decided to get married I went and found the dress I wanted on eBay, won it and paid the seller to ship it UPS next day air. This was on Wednesday, 22 December. The seller, who I’ve dealt with before, sent me a shipping confirmation and tracking number Thursday morning. Being a bit anxious, I called on Thursday afternoon and was assured by customer service that it would arrive sometime Friday December 24th, Christmas Eve or no. They actually seemed insulted at the idea it wouldn’t be there.
Even though I had a great many things to do, like finding someone to perform the ceremony, figure out something to do with my hair, find wedding rings, yada yada yada, I was constantly drawn back to my computer and the UPS tracking page. You see, my package had made it as far as Columbus, Ohio and even left and then arrived at the Louisville hub. But there it sat.
I called again at 10pm. Yes, they admitted, the package was not going to reach me tonight — it had somehow missed the plane (naughty package!). Clearly it wouldn’t be delivered on Christmas. UPS doesn’t deliver on Sundays. So it would arrive, I was promised, early Monday. First thing. I told the nice (they’re almost all nice — but completely powerless) customer service representitive that the package was my wedding dress, that I needed it for my wedding which was Wednesday. Again I was promised that it would arrive early on Monday. I’d be able to watch the package move from KY to Los Angeles over the weekend.
Snow was falling in Louisville Kentucky. They would get 24″ over the next two days. The customer service lines were on short hours for the holidays.
Monday morning at 4:00 AM PST, UPS opened its customer service line. My package was still in Louisville. Frozen out, it would seem. This call was less polite. Telephone representitives seemed annoyed with me for not understanding that there had been serious weather delays. That many people had important packages that were late and I was simply one of them. Twenty tearful (yes, I was turning into weepy sheepy bride) minutes later and I was on the phone with a supervisor who assured me that my package would be delivered either Monday evening or, at the latest, early Tuesday morning. A call late in the afternoon told me that, despite the on-line tracking service saying that my package was still in Louisville, that it was actually in Los Angeles on a truck and would probably be delivered that night. When I called back at 9pm, I was told deliveries would be until midnight and, no worries, I’d get my dress.
I went to bed at 1AM. Still no dress.
Tuesday dawned with me on the phone again, discovering that UPS had not been right the day before, that my package was still in Louisville. The customer service representitive I talked to seemed very annoyed with me, and further argued that it was impossible I’d been told the package was in Los Angeles as they only have access to the same information that we can see on the web. I argued a bit, then asked again when my package, due on Friday, would be delivered.
She told me they have a lot of packages and she didn’t know.
I asked if I could pay for delivery the next morning (during my time on hold I kept having to listen to a sales pitch about their “before 8am delivery” service. I was told this wasn’t an option for me as my package had already been shipped, but that I should have my package by evening. Evening came and went. My package now showed it had been in Onterio (near Los Angeles) but returned to Louisville. I called again. The representitive I talked to told me that they don’t actually scan each package (silly me for thinking that was the reason for all the barcodes and scanning equipment) so either my package had been sent to Onterio (California) but returned for some reason to Louisville, or more likely the computer had decided it should be in Onterio, but it hadn’t actually been put on the plane. He was sure it would be here soon.
I reminded him this package was a wedding dress and that if it didn’t arrive by 9AM the next day, they could keep it. He promised it would be here, laughing a little at the idea that they wouldn’t be able to get it to me. I dug my favorite pink skirt and blouse out of the closet. It’s Paul’s favorite outfit on me.
The morning of our wedding the UPS tracking system showed that despite promises the package would be held in the depot for our pick-up (should it arrive in LA), the package was out for delivery. There was a massive downpour of rain as I sat on the phone trying to convince someone to help me contact the driver of the truck so we could arrange to meet them. After waiting 90 minutes for someone to “call me right back,” I noticed that the rain had stopped and the sun had come out.
Suddenly sitting on the phone crying about my dress seemed silly. I was about to get married to the man I’ve loved for almost eight years. Who cared about a silly dress or where it was at? I gently put the phone back on the charger and went out in the sunshine to buy my daisies. The air was crisp and new. With each right step I told myself it was my wedding day. With each left step I let go of the dress.
At the florist I let myself be overcharged a small fortune for white daisies with a few hot pink zinnias to match my skirt. It didn’t matter. Paul was marrying me.
Just before I walked out the door to head back to our apartment the sky opened. As I waited for it to pass, it only started to pound down harder. Visions of Gene Kelly dancing in my head, I started for home.
Two blocks further down Wilshire, making deliveries to a tanning salon was a brown UPS truck. I paused.
After all, I’d let the dress go. Plus it was pouring. Besides, there must be 100 trucks delivering to West Los Angeles and Santa Monica every day. I turned to walk to the apartment.
And then turned around and ran down the street to the truck, taking off my glasses so the rain didn’t blind me. Like a stalker, I waited outside the tanning salon and then pounced on him as he ducked back into his truck. He was very polite as I explained that he might have a package for me. He took my address and then vanished for ten minutes to the back of his truck. I waited, all the while rain pouring down on me (our shower should have this much pressure!). I kept telling myself I was being an idiot, that I should be home getting some make-up on, curling my hair and here I was getting drenched while waiting to be told that there was no package for me on this truck. Laughter bubbled up inside me. Or maybe it was hysteria.
The driver came back holding a package and his clipboard. This was my dress.
I signed, sobbing and explaining that I was getting married. The driver’s look said “I pity the fool.” Well, indeed.
I waded home and, dripping in the living room, gave Paul my news. He was happy, but pointed out we needed to leave very soon.
Meantime, UPS had called asking for proof that the item was a wedding dress before they were willing to try and contact the driver. Aaaaughhh!
But I fooled them. I had hunted down my dress!!
As I wrapped myself in towels and packed for Santa Barbara, the rain poured down.
And my heart shined out its own sunshine.
[but the moral of this story is that if it matters to you, send it FEDEX.]