I’m getting a little frustrated with my package delivery service. We currently live in a condo complex where the driver typically comes through at about 4:00-5:00 pm. I go to work at 2:00 pm. My wife comes home from work between 5:30-6:30 pm. See the problem? You know how when a delivery driver stops at your house and you are not home, they normally leave a tag for you to sign so they can leave it the next day? Well, apparently they are not allowed to leave packages at my complex without an “in person” signature. I don’t really understand this because I live in a very nice part of town in a nice complex. This is not “the wrong side of the tracks” by any means. Still, my driver told me he cannot leave packages if no one is home.
This has been creating a real problem for me because, as you can imagine, I get a lot of packages delivered. Cups, bags, green coffee samples and a plethora of product ideas. Most recently I ordered a few “pit” or “mechanic” shirts in my attempt to create some nice Motorhead Coffee Pit shirts. They came in two deliveries. I came home from work one night this week to find a notice on the counter that I had missed the first delivery. The next day I came home to the second missed delivery. This is the ritual I go through on every package. So, I call the # on the tag and ask the company to start leaving my packages at the local facility. After all, its only about 4 miles away. I tell them that no one is ever going to be home during the delivery times, so they might as well not bother. They say, “Sure thing.” We go out of town for a couple days and what do I come home to? Two notices stuck on my door saying they “missed me.” And in case you don’t know, three strikes and you are out! Nothing to do but call again and see if we can get it right this time. I know, I know, you are saying, “Get on the web and sign up for the “your time” program or whatever they call it. Well, I already did…and they are still trying to deliver it.
Truthfully though, I don’t harbor any hate or ill will toward my delivery driver. I know exactly how he feels. I spent a year as a rural carrier for the USPS. I also spent some time delivering for FedEx. There are some really great benefits to those jobs. You feel like you work for yourself. You control your day to a degree. You are outside. You can listen to music. You can stop when and where you want. On the other hand, the jobs have gotten so “lean” (fancy word for more work, less wasted time), that they poor souls are working pretty darn hard just to keep up. That’s why when you are home, the mumble your name, toss the package at you, stick the signature gadget in front of you and run.
You also must realize that they encounter some pretty crazy stuff in the course of performing their job. All sorts of people greet them in all sorts of situations, some quite embarrassing. Like the woman who came to the door when I was delivering for FedEx with barely any clothes on at all, reeking of pot. Don’t ask me how I know it was pot! Awkward. I got out of there as quick as I could! Sometimes it can even be dangerous. Take, for example, dogs. I like dogs. However, dogs don’t always like visitors. My vehicle has been circled by a pack of dogs more than once. I cannot tell you how many homes I have gone to where the owner opens the door while holding back a snarling, snapping, bare tooth grinning dog, all the while saying, “Oh, don’t mind Killer, he’s harmless.” Right. I even had to make a delivery once to a remote farm that raised pit bulls. There were literally dozens of pit bulls roaming around here. I am not ashamed to say that I called the owner before I got out of the van.
I know they must be under a lot of pressure…sometimes more than they can bear. The poor guy who delivered mail on the route I took over was apparently overwhelmed by the job. Instead of delivering the mail every day, he took it home and buried it in the dirt floor of his basement…for years! Someone eventually realized they were not getting their Playboy or the Adam and Eve catalog regularly (yes, the mailman knows who gets those!) and raised a red flag. The guy was caught. Instead of facing jail time, he killed himself. True story. I came to work one day and was led to the back of the post office to a locked room. Inside that room, standing 5′ high and about 10′ long, was container after container of dirty, smelly, molded mail. I was assigned the task of delivering this old mail to its recipients. Neither rain, nor sleet….
It is no wonder that today’s delivery drivers don’t have time to chat and often are a bit “terse” when it comes to friendly conversation. They are always looking over their shoulder for the quickest escape route should things go bad! So, I’m going to cut the driver some slack. After all, I don’t want to be the cause of a nervous breakdown.