Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where's My Package?

by Drew McClellen

“What the hell were you thinking putting the box at the front door? Someone could have easily walked up and stolen the package! Next time take it around back and put it by that door” said one of the customers I was delivering a package to. While walking up to the door to deliver a package the UPS worker doesn’t know what to expect from the customer when they deliver the package. People who work for UPS have interactions with many of the people who order the packages. These people range from being approachable and neighborly to being unpleasant and unsociable to nonexistent. Many of the people who get packages are regulars and the UPS worker knows what to expect, but some aren’t and it keeps them on their toes. The UPS worker will knock after delivering the package and some people with answer while others won’t come to the door. When working as a UPS man, I dealt with five types of customers.

The first type of customer I will talk about is friends. Not necessarily people you know, but people that are kind and sociable. These people will be the first to come out and ask you if you need help carrying a heavy package or will answer the door and have a nice conversation with you for 5 minutes. I was working with Scott when we had to carry an enormous, awkward sized box up a hill. We didn’t get half way up the hill before the owner of the house opened the garage door and yelled to us, “Need some help? Let me grab this end of the box.” After we all struggled up the hill with the box we talked to the guy for 5 minutes about UPS and how busy we were because it was Christmas time. Another example of this type of customer is a house that had a mini tree full of candy by their door that said, “Take one! Merry Christmas!” They make sure the tree is fully stocked at the beginning of each day so UPS, USPS, and FedEx drivers can all have some candy.

The next customer I will discuss is quite different and not as nice as the first. I never realized how important the placement of the package was until I experienced the second kind of customer, the grouches. This type of customer will come outside right when you get there and tell you where to put the package after you already set it down and sometimes even call the UPS store to complain about where the package was left. My first experience with a grouch was when I walked up to a house that had three doors I could have put the package in front of. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong door. When I went to place the package in front of the closest door I hear another door open and the lady yell, “That is not the door I want you to take the packages to! I have already told you I want the packages to go to this door.” The only thing to do in these circumstances is apologize and move the package to the door they want it at.

The third customers I experience are anxious children who peer out the window just waiting for the UPS man to walk up to their door with a package. These customers will usually open the door run out and grab the package and then are too shy to say anything, but “Thank you!” My favorite memory of this type of customer was when I was walking up to the house and could see two kid’s heads peering out the window watching me as I walked all the way to their front door. When I knocked, they ran to the door and took the packages and said, “Wait here!” They then brought me a Walmart sack full of snacks. In this bag was chips, a juice box, and a half-eaten granola bar. Other times the kids will watch me walk all the way up to the door looking excited and then when I get there they get too nervous to answer. If this happens I just leave the box at the door and when I start to walk away they run out and grab the box then run back in.

The interactions had with the next type of customers aren’t really interactions at all. I would consider these customers ghosts. They order copious amounts of items, but are never there to receive them. One type of this customer has items delivered daily, but are never around. One of the regular stops I had was this person’s ginormous garage where I would stop daily to deliver and pick up packages. I had never seen the person who owned the garage even after weeks of delivering. Another certain type of this “ghost” would be the ones who order items that need a signature, but aren’t around to sign it. They may call the UPS store and wonder why they didn’t receive their package or they may tell the UPS store a certain time they will be home the following day, but surprisingly enough not be there. UPS will go to the customers house three times to deliver the package that requires a signature, but after the third time the person will have to go to the store to pick it up. The experience I had with this customer was that we went to their house two times and they weren’t there. Later in the day they called and said they would be home at a certain time the next day. We made the stop the next day and they weren’t there and were then upset that they had to go pick up the package from the store. They called the UPS store and said “Where’s my package? It was supposed to be delivered today. This is ridiculous.” making it sound like it was UPS’s fault they didn’t have their package with them.

The last type of customers I experience are grumpy store workers. Every day, UPS driver’s stop at certain businesses like the college, Tractor Supplies, and Menards. The driver will either knock or ring a bell and then wait for the manager to come open the door. Sometimes, when I knock on the door or ring the bell for the person to let me in to deliver packages they take 5 to 10 minutes. This may not seem like a lot, but with 250 plus stops a day the time adds up. Then when they get there they are in a bad mood and act annoyed that I am delivering packages to them. One time I rang the doorbell to this business three different times in a 10-minute span before the person came to the door. When they did come to the door they were pissed and said, “I heard you the first time. I can’t be everywhere at once.” Then rudely asked how many packages there were while sighing and acting like she had more important things to do. I experienced this same result with this lady every time I went and delivered packages to the company she was working for.  

UPS workers experience many different people while on the job from getting yelled at for placing the package in the wrong spot to being thanked with candy and food. Some are very nice and friendly while others are not. These different kinds of people are both easy and hard to work with. After working with UPS for a long time, you will have seen almost all of these types of customers and will know what to expect from each one.  Every UPS worker has different stories about the different kinds of people they interact with on a regular basis. UPS driver’s do more communicating on the job than people think. They have to have the mentality that the customer is always right and try to please them as best they can.

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