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[TenTec] Musings on the "Dreaded/Damaged UPS Pkg." from a Driver

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Subject: [TenTec] Musings on the "Dreaded/Damaged UPS Pkg." from a Driver
From: n8crf@apk.net (Michael A Goltz)
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 00:27:15 -0500
Have read with great interest your writings on UPS and the dreaded
damaged package. Before saying anything else let me say I am a UPS
Driver and just passed 30 years service with them. I am 52 years old and
still doing daily deliveries. Much has changed over the years. The
advent of "Driver Release" or DR came about a few years ago when UPS
realized our society had become a "Two Wage Earner" or "nobody's home"
type of delivery. We used to leave the pkg. with a neighbor and get a
signature but even that became undesirable due to "that one person in
the group of 3 or 4 homes" that was ALWAYS home and did not want to
accept pkgs for the neighbors anymore. Believe it or not this became a
problem with complaints from the package receiver saying " I don't want
them to take my pkg. anymore" and also complaints from the people you
left the pkg. with saying "I'm tired of taking all the pkgs. for my
neighbor's." The logical solution was to leave a delivery notice saying
" we will be back tomorrow." This backfired because people would call
and say "We both work-why do we need to sign for the package? Can't the
driver just leave it?"  It was amazing just how many customers wanted us
to leave their merchandise because they  WANTED it badly. After a lot
of  years of  very unhappy customers (because they would have to stay
home from work or come up to the UPS  building to pick up the pkg.) UPS
decided to try what the Post Office had been doing for years-with an
improvement- leave the pkg. and assume FULL responsibility for it. I
have had less than 20 or 25 tracers for driver released packages since
its beginning  5 years ago out of approx. 15 or 16 THOUSAND  I have left
at homes in the same time frame. Most of these end up to be
recovered--funny how people say they did not get something on the phone
but when you go out to the house and tell them you left it right by the
grill on the back deck and Oh yes-- I also said hello to your son Robbie
that day-----they say  "well-- I MIGHT  have gotten that "--let me check
with my husband or look around the house."   Bingo. The tracer gets
Now I am not saying that is the case in ALL tracers. I have had some
stolen off the porch or just disappear from the garage or carport.. But
UPS will always pay for the merchandise on a driver release
delivery--the key here is to have a receipt or bill of sale or some
DOCUMENT  to establish the value of the driver released package. This is
where ALL the complaints come from--people just do not save that sort of
stuff. Even if they do they cannot find it. That in turn holds up the
process because UPS will do nothing until some kind of paperwork is
presented. I admit I HATED  the driver release program from its
beginning- my workload increased by over 25 percent because you could
get more stops delivered in the same amount of time with no
signatures-but by and large most of my customers loved it. They would
all tell me "exact spots" to leave pkgs.by placing small notes on their
storm doors---- something like " Mike- leave my pkg. in the barn" or
"UPS person--leave the Land's End pkg.please. I am not here". I did not
think that was such a good idea-telling anyone at the door that no one
was home. But as time went on it worked out better and better.
Management kept telling us that complaints were going down-- our
customers liked it. All was well!!
Then -as always- something goes wrong. The major guideline in driver
release is to "leave the package out of sight-and out of the weather."
Also leave the customer a note if you left the package in an unusual
place. Unfortunately, some drivers do not follow these guidelines. It
sounds as if these "bad UPS service" postings stem from actions of
individual drivers. BELIEVE ME-- The company is concerned about this and
I can prove it to you. Each driver has a print-out listing ALL the
driver release claims for him ( with dollar amounts)  and under what
conditions they occurred. A bad driver stands out like a sore thumb and
management will document his "bad deliveries" with photographs taken
from the street right after he has left an "unsafe delivery". Some have
been fired. Others are "re-trained in the driver release methods".  I am
telling you all this because I want you to understand the Big Brown
machine does not want to spend money on claims that are some lazy
driver's fault. It is a great temptation to leave a package in plain
sight---many of my customers get home after dark and would not even see
it if it was not right in front of the door. In fact, some ask me to
leave it exactly that way-so they will be sure to see it when they pull
in the drive. SO----
Why not have the shipper put a "signature required" sticker on the
package?  It does not cost any more to ship  (unless the shipper is
getting a  negotiated discount which is not my area of expertise) and in
fact many companies do just that. Gateway 2000, MMR Pharmacy, Dell
Computer etc. A  long list. Ten-Tec could do this on everything they
ship or just certain high value items. Again-- we open the door to all
the unhappy folks who got home looking for that OMNI VI and found a note
saying "stay home tomorrow - we will be back." It comes down to
pleasing  MOST of the customers and most like the idea of getting their
package as soon as possible with no delay.
Granted--the horror stories about deliveries placed on the reflector
should not have happened. I guess what I am trying to get across is that
it is not UPS's fault--it is your driver. I realize he represents UPS on
your street and it is easy to say our service has gone sour--but it
takes two to tango. Leave the idiot a note saying " HEY-- Don't put my
pkg. by the garage door--put it on the back porch where it is safe!!!
(or whatever applies). Tape this small note right where he has been
leaving your stuff and LEAVE it up there. Leave it for a few months if
necessary.Tape it down on all sides--it does not have to be big. The
point is " HE"  (or she) will get the point and do what you ask. I don't
care if he is the "original " idiot--no driver wants a customer
complaint. Every complaint is presented to a driver the next day as soon
as he reports to work and he needs to give an answer about it. Even if
it seems the person on the phone who does not speak very good English
does not understand--Believe me- he will hear about it pronto.
As to damages that occur in the system--  I have no helpful ideas for
that. All the package sorts are mechanized and use conveyor belts and
human loaders/unloaders. I do not see that part of the operation. Most
of it is during the night. One thing I tell my customers when they get a
damaged package that looked fine on the outside is " I'm sorry it is
broken -but I was the last person to see that package before you did".
I know that is an excuse--what I mean by that is that I never saw it
being handled. It is loaded in my truck when I leave the building. Here
again--call the 800 PICK-UPS line and report "concealed damage". I know
it is frustrating-you have to listen to that stupid recording. Finally I
have come to something that is UPS's own fault. The handling of packages
within the building by the sorters and the redundant telephone recording
with seemingly un-caring telephone people. Again--those people are all
documented  (like the drivers)  and all it takes is "I don't like the
answer you just gave me. Let me talk to your supervisor NOW." Believe me
again--you do that and a comment goes in that operator's file. Not a
good thing- and maybe that person will straighten up!! I  KNOW none of
this should be necessary--but as the last post said--the world is not
perfect. Make a little noise sometimes-it clears the air!!
I hope this long winded post has helped. It has made ME feel a lot


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