Friday, February 12, 2010
What Time Is It?
Today we were waiting for the FedEx truck. I had to send my computer battery back to the company because it wouldn't fully charge. It would charge partway and it would run on the battery, but I could not get a full charge. After following all of the instructions received from the tech support people and discovering that none of them solved the problem, we were instructed to send the defective battery to them so they could send a replacement. Delivery of said replacement was to be today. Since we live upstairs and the only way in and out is a side stairway, we were watching for the truck so we could run down and get the package. Most delivery people just go to the front door, which leads to someone else's apartment—someone who happens to work at FedEx but is on vacation right now. We didn't know whether a signature would be required and if so, whether our downstairs neighbor would be there to sign for the package if it was and if they tried to leave it there.
We heard someone knocking on the door downstairs and looked out the window just in time to see someone get into a nice new FedEx van that was so quiet that we didn't hear it drive up the way we usually hear the big old trucks. We didn't hear the door get answered, so we thought maybe they'd just left the package on the porch. I went down the back stairs, out the side door, and around to the front. I walked by but saw no package. This was about 10 or 10:30 this morning. Bill checked the tracking number on the website and it said it was still on the truck.
Later on he was going out to move his truck to the other side of the street and he checked again. This was at about 2:10. It said it had been delivered at 1:59 and “left in front of door.” Well, not really. There was no FedEx truck here at that time. Bill went and checked again before he moved the truck. Nothing. As he was getting out of the truck, the neighbor pulled up so he asked if there'd been a package delivered. There was not—the earlier FedEx person had come to deliver something to do with this person's employment. So we began the hunt for the number to call, since we figured they had left the package at the wrong house. I called one number and was sent elsewhere. Then I got one of those automated menus that ask you to speak and give you limited categories. I chose “more options” until I got to “claims,” figuring that was as close as I'd come.
The woman I ended speaking to was friendly and pleasant. She asked for the tracking number, which I gave her. She said, “It says here it was delivered at 1:59.” I told her, “I understand that that's what the computer says. But it isn't here and there was no truck here at 1:59. We've been watching for it.” I think she repeated that the computer said it had been delivered at 1:59. I repeated that I understood that, but that I didn't have it and the downstairs neighbor didn't have it. I was told that they could trace it. I was thinking that it was unlikely that this was going to be at all useful, since presumably once it was scanned as delivered they would no longer be able to track it at all, and the computer already said it had been delivered at 1:59. However, realizing that this was a line of discussion that was likely to lead nowhere, I asked whether they would let me know the results of this exercise. “You can call back in a day or two,” she said. If they found nothing, which I suspected was pretty much a foregone conclusion, I should tell the company that sent it to file a claim. It was now 2:35.
At about 2:40, we heard our neighbor calling from downstairs that our package, which was already delivered at 1:59 and left on the doorstep according to the computer had just been delivered by hand to our neighbor. This is good to know. Either I am in a time warp or FedEx drivers just randomly scan things as delivered that have not been delivered at all. There was nothing about that computer entry that was correct. For a time, it had not been delivered, though the computer said it was. When it was delivered, it was not at 1:59, but at about 2:38. It was not left at the door, it was handed to a live person. So, now we know that “the computer says...” really means pretty much nothing. But at least I got my battery.