Saturday, September 19, 2009


It's really really wonderful that you can get all sorts of detailed information online - but sometimes the information reveals a little too much about a company's internal processes.

We bought a Kodak ESP 7 printer early in the summer, primarily because of (a) its low toner cost, and (b) its wireless support, allowing easy sharing of the printer between multiple computers. The printed colors started fading recently - in some cases to nothingness - which is when I discovered that Kodak ESP 7 printers have a reputation for needing constant printhead replacements. To Kodak's credit, its online support website immediately registered a request to send a replacement printhead to my home in Ontario, California - via UPS Ground.

Kodak helpfully provided the UPS tracking number so that I could track the progress of my shipment. Tracking data, like blogs, is usually listed in reverse order, with the most recent action appearing at the top.

So the package actually arrived in my home city early today - Saturday, September 19 - at 2:39 in the morning. This actually got me hopeful that I'd be printing by this evening -

- until I remember that Ontario, California is a huge distribution hub for UPS. So I continued to read the fine print in UPS definitions, and I ran across these:

Arrival Scan
The shipment has arrived at a UPS facility.

Departure Scan
The shipment has departed a UPS facility and is on its way to the next UPS facility. The shipment is moving, however, there may be several days between scans if the shipment is going cross-country or moving between countries.

OK, that sounds fine, but then I ran into this:

Destination Scan
The shipment has arrived at the local UPS facility responsible for final delivery.

If you look above, you'll see that as of mid-afternoon on Saturday, there's no "Destination Scan" entry. Which means that, even though my package is in Ontario, it's not REALLY in Ontario - it's in the huge UPS facility south of Ontario International Airport, and only a computer knows where it actually is.

Now at this point I don't have high hopes that there will be a destination scan this afternoon, but even if there is, there's one more step:

Out for Delivery
The shipment has reached the destination UPS facility and is ready to be dispatched for delivery. Except for premium air shipments, deliveries can occur at any time during UPS's hours of operation to residential addresses and by close of business to commercial addresses. UPS cannot schedule a specific delivery time within that window.

And because tomorrow is Sunday, I'm not going to see an "Out for Delivery" status today or tomorrow. This means that the delivery will occur on Monday, September 21.

But it wouldn't do any good to complain to UPS, because from their perspective, everything is fine. They promised a delivery date of Monday, September 21, and they're going to meet their delivery date.

And I'll confess that this is an unusual situation, because most of you don't live near a major UPS hub. But it's just bizarre to note that my package - the one upon which I depend - was able to get from Indiana to Vernon, California in 60 hours - but is going to require 60 hours to travel the three miles from Ontario Airport to my house.

And I'm smart enough to know that UPS has to have procedures, bla bla bla - but the 60 hour delay to travel 3 miles (that's 1/20 miles per hour) - is maddening.
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