Category: rant

The Case of the Missing Box

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By , March 5, 2011 3:05 pm
No FedEx

I have finally summoned the intestinal fortitude to write about our most recent shipping mishap. Here is the backstory…

On Christmas day, the three of us were to fly from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale to visit family. The expectation was that Florida would be warm. From there, we were headed to DC where forecasts were projecting massive snow storms and cold weather. We were going to be gone a total of 10 days, heading back to the bay area after New Years.

Traveling with Maya is already less than ideal, especially given that she requires a ton of extra stuff, like a stroller, toys for the plane, etc. Consequently, we did not want to bring more bags with us on the place carrying things like winter jackets, sweaters, boots, etc. Instead, we had the brilliant idea of shipping it ahead to DC so it will be there by the time we arrived. Moreover, since we were already shipping stuff, we decided to also put a bunch of other stuff in the box, including a stereo receiver, hand-me-downs for Allison, some other electronics and a big bag of fresh lemons hand-picked from the lemon trees in our yard. Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it?

We shipped this package on Friday, Christmas Eve, with an expected arrival date of Monday. We then left for Florida without a worry. A few days later, we touched down in DC and ask my parents if they received the package (at this point, it was Tuesday). They hadn’t. A tad concerned, I called FedEx, expecting that the holidays tied it up a little. We also looked at the tracking for the package. It turns out that the package left the Redwood City FedEx location on the 24th, went to the Menlo Park location, then carried on to Oakland the same day. That was the last stop. FedEx, meanwhile, has no record of what happened next and they have no idea where the package is.

Let me take a moment to explain to you how amazing it is that they lost this package. It is not as if the box was branded and indicated that it could be some prize for someone to snag, like an Amazon package. And this was not a small package that could easily take a walk without anyone noticing or that could be hiding in some corner of the warehouse. Rather, this was a large 65-pound box that stood about 2.5 feet tall, was incredibly cumbersome to move, and looked like it had been shipped a few times already. The only thing that suggested that it was worth stealing was the fact that it was large, that it was shipped around the holidays, and that we elevated the insurance level a little. But it does seem clear to us that it went missing due to bad intent.

The only solace we have at this point is in imagining the look of that poor thief’s face when he opens his prize and sees a bunch of beat up clothes, some crappy electronics, kids apparel and a bag of lemons coating all of the other items with an everlasting sour odor.

As a side note, after doing some research, it seems as though FedEx loses almost 1% of all packages! That is astonishing to me! UPS, while better, still has a high error rate of about .5%.

(I should also report that FedEx did pay out the insurance money pretty quickly and even refunded us the amount of shipping.)

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