It is a well known challenge to all online sellers to be able to transport your goods to your end customers in the cheapest and/or most efficient manner.  When sending from/to certain countries, it is also useful to have some kind of tracking involved, but really, let me tell you a tale of why FedEx is not the method of transportation to use to try and accomplish any of these things…

My tale begins back in the summer when the lovely Terry’s Fabrics was trying to send me some fabric:

Their initial choice of delivery method was FedEx, and I got a dispatch notification that it was on its way.  I waited, and waited, and waited, and…  Well next I got an e-mail from Terry’s asking to confirm my address for them.  Oh, I said, I bet its because they can’t find my front door, but yes, the address I gave you is correct, and I included a phone number to help them along.  We all waited, and waited, and waited, and…  It eventually got returned to Terry’s marked ‘invalid address’.  No, they didn’t phone either me or Terry’s.  Thankfully Royal Mail 2nd Class got it to me 2 days later (the FedEx farce had gone on for about a month!)

Fast forward to a couple of months ago and a lovely lady in China tried to send me some bag hardware (I find it easier to buy in bulk from Etsy than try and hunt this kind of things locally).  More on the contents of that tomorrow, but her first choice was Swiss Post, which should have been tracked for her.  It vanished somewhere along the way, although due to their having been 10 Chinese public holidays during the normal delivery time, we waited longer than usual to see if it would pop up.  It didn’t, although we’re hoping it will eventually make its way either here or back to to her, it was a relatively small parcel that may have been overlooked.  Nothing daunted she tried again with FedEx, taking my phone number for them.

This time, 18 days after their 12 day delivery promise to her, they phoned me on Monday afternoon.  We can’t find your address.  ‘Oh yes,’ I said, ‘I’m familiar with this guy, let me tell you how to find it’, proceeding to do so.  And then, having thought about it for a couple of seconds, I said, ‘But let me make this easier for you, you only deliver Monday-Friday, when I’m at work, can you just deliver it there please?’.  There was much sucking of teeth – that would need permission from the sender.  The poor woman, being in China, was probably going to be tucked up in bed at this point, and I told her so.  Well, okay, they would give me the number for Customer Services, and they would do it.

I redialled Customer Services, explained my tale, and was told I’d been given the wrong number as she couldn’t do ‘international deliveries’.  Baffled, since the depot is in Motherwell, all of 10 miles down the road, I had a slight WTF moment.  Still, I dialled the new number in my arsenal (please note that they apparently have phones unable to do transfers), and spoke to a man somewhere ‘down south’ who took the address for the office.  Looking at it doubtfully, there was more teeth sucking from him, and he decided that it might be delivered on Wednesday.  ‘Really?’  I said, ‘It’ll take 2 days to travel an extra 7 miles?!’  He was dubious.  I realised what the issue was – my office postcode is Paisley, and the PA post code, for reasons that have never entirely been clear, is used for the Paisley area and pretty much the entire Western Highlands and Islands up to Fort William.  Still, he agreed that Tuesday was feasible if it really only was an extra 7 miles (he still wasn’t convinced).

The next morning I got a phone call again.  The instructions I’d given to find the front door of my own address had once again foxed the delivery driver (I strongly suspect this guy won’t bother his arse to get out of the van, and if that’s the case he’ll never find my front door, being in the middle of a building…).  Baffled once more, I said, ‘But why are you trying to deliver to my home again, you should have had instructions to deliver it to my office’.  ‘No, never got any instructions like that, Customer Services are useless you know.’  ‘Okay, can I give you the address again?’ says I, trying to sound patient.  She took it down, recognising that my company is actually one of their customers.  Okay, that would be the following day then (Wednesday).  In the meantime, they’d also contacted the sender to say they couldn’t deliver it and I would have to call to arrange redelivery or it would be returned to her, causing her no end of further panic.

Wednesday I was in meetings pretty much the entire day, and on my way out at about 5:45 I realised that I’d heard nothing from reception about a parcel arriving.  As they were long gone by this point, I went home and looked up the tracking number to  assure myself it had been handed over.  Except it hadn’t, it had sat in Motherwell all day, not even getting a wee jaunt round the Glasgow area like it had on the previous 2 days.  I gritted my teeth, muttered a couple of oaths, and phoned them the next morning.  ‘Oh,’ said the girl, ‘We phoned you on the 19th and you didn’t phone back.’  ‘Uh yes, yes I did, you’re now the 5th person I’ve spoken to.’  ‘No, the computer says you haven’t phoned.’  ‘WHAT?!!!  I can assure you I did, and gave a new address to be delivered to.’  ‘Well I can only go by what the computer says,’ greatly injured tones were added at this point, at my entire ‘unreasonableness’ about this.  ‘So where,’ I asked, as calmly as I could, ‘Is it meant to be delivered to now?’  She quoted the office address at me.  1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3 one thousand…  ‘Yes, that’s where it’s meant to be going to.’  They would deliver it later that day maybe (we’re up to Thursday now folks)

Late that afternoon I finally got the call from reception, it had arrived.  Our office manager handed the extremely grubby envelope (I don’t even want to know) over to me with a little distaste, and informed me that the driver had told her it was a really difficult place to find you know…  I could give them that my address is a bit of a challenge, but the office?!  The building is one of 3 that make up the entire ‘business park’ and right next to the motorway, such that the driver would just have to get on the M8 at Motherwell and drive straight to the exit that the office is next to, then turn left.  Yup, it’s a challenge all right…

Incidentally, Royal Mail, Parcelforce, UPS, DHL, Citylink, UK Mail, DPD, and Yodel can all find my front door no bother at all, without having to phone, and do so relatively regularly, apparently it’s just FedEx that employs the complete morons…