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Thursday, October 06, 2011

FedEx Does Not Actually Track Your Package

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking: Josh, it's been months since you have written here. And now this. Clearly this is just a rant.

And yes. For one thing, my apologies. I actually get to write with my new job and one of the side effects is that my hypografia is more or less tamed by it. Hence, I'm not writing on Cathode as much as I'd like.

And I am sorry for that, I will try to find the time. So much to catch up on. But, I digress.

FedEx does not actually track your package. And that is fucking ridiculous in an age of technology where I can find the closest and best brewpub to me in a city that I have never been in and do not own a map of simply by asking my phone to find it for me.

I'm not asking FedEx to lojack their drivers. I don't need GPS updates of the exact vector of my package is at any given time. I don't want a satellite feed of where the delivery driver is taking his lunch.

I just think that if FedEx is going to offer tracking numbers, and a page where you can supposedly track your package - that maybe they could actually track your package.

Backstory: The trusty PlayStation 3 got killed by an errant disc with a crack in it, but that is a whole other rant. Sony's customer support was, to be quite awesome without being overly fanboy ... pretty awesome. The PS3 has been to Sony, reportedly fixed, and sent back to me.

When I checked yesterday - the PS3 was supposed to arrive today. The sixth of October, 2011. This requires a signature (thankfully) so I made sure today was scheduled so that either myself or The Girl would be around to sign for it, because forbid the thought any delivery service let you know it might arrive in the AM or PM.

So when around 7:30PM arrived I called FedEx to see if the package was still going to show up today. They said it was still scheduled for today and that the local delivery went until 8PM. So I got a more or less verbal agreement that it would arrive in the next half hour.

A half hour later, I got a very different story.

This time, FedEx asked if I would go on hold so that they could "review the notes" for the delivery. A few minutes later, the person from FedEx informed me that the "initial confirmed date" was actually for Friday, October 7th.

OK. Wait. Let's step back here a second. October the 6th has been happily going around for many hours now. The original estimated date of delivery on October the 4th was ... October the 6th. It has said that all along. Every time I have checked the tracking site it said that. When I called FedEx, they confirmed that. Now that 8PM has magically hit, the estimated date is suddenly ....

October 7th

You know, I admit. I kinda suck at math. Most people don't think that because I work with computers but most people don't realize that people that work with computers have computers around to do math for them. So I'm not going to pretend to know the kind of calculus require to estimate on October 4th that a package will arrive on October 6th versus October 7th.

But I know some people who are good at math. I know some fucking brilliant people at math. And they will all tell you this: whatever equation required to make that calculation does not magically change at 8PM at night. Math simply does not play by those rules, I've been told.

No, what happened is that at 8PM someone at FedEx realized that their shame of a tracking system had been called out and this is the next thing I saw when I refreshed my browser while talking to FedEx:

Now the casual observer might ask ... what should I glean from this, Josh? ... and I will tell you:

That is a FedEx tracking page with no estimated delivery date. Minutes after the package was actually supposed to be delivered it was simply erased from reality.

So I ask FedEx: what the fuck kind of tracking system are you running over there? I mean seriously, I have to call you to report that my package has not been delivered, to go through your automated system, to hit zero a bunch of times, to talk to a human person, to have that human person read some kind of confidential notes, to have that human person inform me that the original confimed date is actually a day later than the original estimated delivery date, to have your tracking system erase the actual delivery date???

Was your software written by chimps? Are there pre-adolescent children involved? Is this some kind of nepotism gone horribly wrong? Please, tell me. Confess. I want to know how in 2011 when I can buy a car from Ford that fucking park itself that you have system that can't even track my package until I call you to ask where the fuck is my package.

Let me inform you of the useful and accurate information an actual human being was able to confirm from me when I called FedEx:

  • Where the package was shipped from.
  • Where was the package being delivered.
And so far, that is all I am sure of, because hours later the shipping page was updated with:
Ohhh ... so now you know, because I told you that my package had not actually been delivered on time. We live in an day where you could in theory be tweeted an earthquake before it actually hits you but I can't be informed by FedEx that my package will be late until I fucking call them to ask them if my package will be late. Don't get me wrong, people, it's not that my package will arrive on Friday instead of Thursday. My Thursday has been full of delights and really didn't miss the old PS3 one bit. No, it's that hours if not days went by where FedEx had the entire Internet at their disposal to warn me that my package was running late and that nobody had to stay home to sign for it but instead of actually using technology designed in this decade - I had to verbally berate a probably completely innocent phone operator to get that information updated for me. For shame, FedEx. For shame. I've sent much of this to your twitter account. I'll call tomorrow around the close of business to check to see if if anyone fucking monitors it.