They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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When Automated Systems Fail

I Think They're Trying To Be Helpful

Got the following email from Amazon.com just now:
Hello from Amazon.com.

We're writing about the order you placed on December 05 2008 23:06 PST (Order# xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx).

USPS was unable to leave the package at your delivery address as per their delivery policies. The package will be available for pick up at your local post office. Please visit http://www.usps.com and click "Locate a Post Office" to find contact information for your local post office or call 1 800 ASK USPS.


WTF? I had to go and look up the order to see what was going on, but I had my suspicions. You see, mostly I have Amazon orders come to the Physics Dept. But as the semester was winding down, I didn't want it to come after next Monday. Naturally, it shipped early. (grin)

And I'm sure that these sorts of messages come out all the time. Perhaps there is no good place to leave a package. Ice build up on roads and driveways. Too much snow. Or rain might soak the package. All part of the service to be helpful.

Here's The Thing, Though

Yeah, you knew there was a Yeah, but... coming, didn't you?

See -- I sent this package to my P.O. Box. The one located in a USPS Post Office.
USPS was unable to leave the package at your delivery address as per their delivery policies. The package will be available for pick up at your local post office.


The U.S. Postal Service can't deliver to... themselves?

Overactive Computers

I suspect the problem is that the box won't fit in my P.O. Box and so they put in a yellow slip saying I have a package. And somehow that got translated by the computer as "unable to leave the package at your delivery address".

Last week the check from Greece came. They sent it via UPS International to my P.O. Box address. Naturally, UPS can't deliver to a USPS P.O. Box address, so they got my street address from USPS and delivered it at my house. Huh. I'd call that above and beyond, and pretty thoughtful if the UPS Athens office didn't know UPS can't deliver to a P.O. Box. Or maybe it's standard practice.

Or maybe my P.O. Box is haunted and no one can deliver to it right now.

Dr. Phil
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