Friday, December 16, 2011

Death, taxes and UPS

There's nothing more constant that death and taxes (well, that they are unavoidable at least).

I've felt the same way that UPS (the shipping company, that is, not the thing plugged into my power outlet) was kinda this black box, never really changing, despite being at least mildly shoddy.  We've all got stories about packages that didn't arrive the day planned, or my personal favorite, the "Fragile" sticker with a boot print on it.

But recently it seems they've got clever. They have increased their service level, for a fee. And the services are useful ones, such as being able to call them to redirect a package to another address (perhaps your office or a neighbour who will be home). Check it out.

If I have a gripe with this it is that it seems a little bogus to charge for some of these services. The least defensible is probably them redirecting your package to a UPS store for you to collect .. that service is saving them money, for exactly the same reason that super-mailboxes (multiple customers with a single drop-off point) are more efficient than delivery mail door to door.

Clever positioning to make it seem as if this is a valuable service that you want to pay for.

Though it could backfire ... it could be viewed as a protection racket - you know, where you pay the Piranha Brothers to make sure something bad doesn't happen. Picking up your package at the UPS office reduces the service they deliver, and gives them fewer opportunities to make another figurative boot print.  I might very well pay for that.