Open letter to Amazon

Amazon:

This rant is fairly self-indulgent, so I have decided not to send it to customer service. I know you will not change your practices based upon the dissatisfaction of one user. Also, the rest of your service has been more than adequate. But…

When I order merchandise from you, I opt for the slowest level of shipping. I have chosen to trade instant gratification for savings. If my order qualifies for your “Super Saver” free shipping, I use it. I don’t mind if you ship it in different boxes. I didn’t even mind the time you inexplicably sent three different books, all from your own warehouse, in three different boxes, using two different services. If you want to mix things up, go right ahead. It’s your choice to expend extra effort and money beyond what is required.

What baffles me is why you so rarely use the United States Postal Service.

When you use UPS, FedEx, Ontrac, or any other private incorporated courier, the package will be brought to my door during the day. Are you really under the impression that I am home all day, every day, awake at the beginning of your delivery window, waiting with bated breath for these packages?

The USPS puts it safely in the mailbox, where it belongs, waiting for me to retrieve it at my own convenience. Alternatively, they will hold a package at the post office and leave a notice – again, safely in the mailbox — for me to retrieve it there at my own convenience.

The other courier services:

leave packages in front of the door for thieves to see them;

leave packages in the back yard with a notice on the door so the thieves will know where to look for them;

go away if I don’t answer at the first (and only) knock, leaving a notice that delivery will be attempted tomorrow, so we can go through the same dance;

have actually been known to lecture me for not answering at the first (and only) knock: “I was just about to leave! Why did you take so long to answer?” “Because when I am at home, I am a day sleeper and it takes a moment to get out of bed.” “…”;

leave a notice stuck to the front door that comes loose and blows away so I don’t know the package is in the back yard. (I almost had four expensive vials of insulin become unusable that way in the heat of summer, left in the back when I WAS at home, awake, and expecting the package (and that was sent by the Department of Veterans Affairs, who of ALL people should be using the United States Postal Service. a fellow government agency. They do overnight, you know. But I digress. That’s nothing to do with you, Amazon.).

Now, if I were to choose one of the faster methods of shipping, I would understand your use of these courier services. It would be only logical for me to accept the responsibility of arranging receipt of packages whose delivery has been specified for one, or two, days from the placing of the order. But “5-7 business days” and “estimated day of arrival” allow for the use of regular postal mal

Despite the abundance in America of people who possess incredible senses of self-entitlement and expect immediate gratification, I have opted to make the process easier for the courier services and for YOU.

I have attached a clip to my door so that notices can be placed in it and not blow away, and a small, polite sign explaining what the clip is for.

When at home, I have posted notes explaining that I really am at home, that I am asleep (until I awaken, at which time I remove the notice), and that I would prefer a loud knock so that I will wake up. I even tap loudly on the front window after I haul myself out of bed, so that they know there is a person in the house who is aware the deliverer is there and would appreciate a moment to pull on some pants.

I have called your services and requested that the couriers not leave the packages out for thieves, and that the manager of my apartment complex is willing to accept package deliveries for the tenants. I’ve arranged with neighbors whom I know will be home to accept deliveries for me, and post notices directing the courier to them.

The above methods have met with success, for the most part. But many people don’t have managers or neighbors who can accept their packages. And many people don’t have the imagination to make the kinds of arrangements I do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a little convenience.

I don’t tend to complain about personal inconveniences, especially those with solutions, other than with a little bitch-whinge on Twitter. (After all, if you cant complain on Twitter, where can you complain?) Risks to my packages, though, arouse a bit more concern.

The United States Postal Service has been in this business for far longer than the other services. While they have their moments of fail, it should awe us how many things do get where they’re going on time, safely. They even have their own federal police to make sure nobody screws with your stuff and can be prosecuted if they do.

Please consider using this service more often.

Thank you.

Caveat 1: Some people have had the opposite sort of experience, in which the USPS screws everything up and the other services provide excellent service. YMMV.

Caveat 2: I am aware that the USPS is “privatized”, in a sense (it’s complicated), but they are still subject to more stringent requirements and consequences than the other services are. It is still a federal offence to interfere with, or commit a crime using, the delivery of postal mail.

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