Disrupting shipping

Acknowledgements/disclaimers/etc.:

  • Somewhat off-topic but at least adjacent since I just missed :cry: an Apple delivery (MBP16!) by FedEx while I went out for 20 minutes - and now have to go to the dist. center, or have them inefficiently (for them and me) try again tomorrow…
  • This is country-specific, of course (so for me: USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.). I’d be interested to hear what, if anything, shippers are doing in other countries.
  • Amazon is always a controversial topic but here I’m only considering their innovations in shipping (e.g. Amazon Key).

Amazon will open my garage door opener to securely deliver, even if I’m home. Since the entry into my house from the garage is locked, I prefer this to Amazon unlocking my front door even though I have a smart lock. But, of course, Amazon offers the smart lock option as well. This is great because nothing ever sets on the porch (our neighborhood has a lot of package theft) and I don’t have to be there or even be interrupted to answer the door if I am home. Alternatively, I could choose to have Amazon deliver it to one of multiple “locker” locations near me.

It feels like the other carriers are lagging or doing nothing to offer similar conveniences (when they save everyone, including the shippers, money are they even conveniences?). Sometimes I can “intercept” UPS packages on their way to me and have them diverted by to a local UPS store if I’m going to be out but its very inconsistent - maybe 50% of UPS deliveries. I’m signed up for UPS Choice but they don’t always send me email about a package and that’s the only way I’ve found to have them divert. Definitely no in-garage/home options. And FedEx doesn’t seem to have any way to do this at all.

Anyone have tips on avoiding the hassle of missed/stolen deliveries when not coming from Amazon?

I would advise to check the type of smart lock you are using. I had to change my locks after seeing some videos of the LockPickingLawyer :slight_smile: Amazon might be the least of your troubles.

2 Likes

Great advice - and I did do my homework before buying. In the end, no lock, smart or manual, is fool-proof so pairing whatever you use with notifications from motion sensors and cameras will always be part of my strategy.

Tricky stuff, to be sure. With Amazon, you never know what carrier they’ll ship with; often small items are USPS and their routes take them late into the night, where I live.

Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone, but I find best to have things shipped to my office. It has two advantages: first, there’s usually someone around to get it, and if I’m not there I know it’s safe, and not under a garbage can lid in my front little yard (this is how all the carriers in my neighborhood leave boxes … with the usual results.)

The second, better advantage is that whatever I buy I have to take with me on the train home.* Knowing I’ll have to carry an item or three home helps curb the impulse to buy it, which in my case is good.

*(of course larger items go to my home address; I try to line up their deliveries with other reasons to be home.)

2 Likes

You know it is getting more complicated and harder to get mail order than it is to go to a brick and mortar store, which now don’t have anything you need so one is stuck with mail order which is now harder than going to a store. That is what I find. Luckly I live where packages can be left on the steps, period.

4 Likes

When we were in Ohio, I always had things delivered to my office because UPS reliably came around noon and most of my deliveries were UPS.

The problem was FedEx, who would come sometime between 4pm and never, and usually said that the business was closed, even if I had been sitting at the door all day long. (They didn’t leave an actual note on the door either. When asked, they always said they had run out, which strains credulity, given the number of times I heard it as an excuse.)

Now we are in NY and I’m fortunate to live in a cul-de-sac in a small neighborhood with not a lot of traffic (by foot or car), so I usually have things delivered at home.

The main problem here is that it snows 9 months out of the year¹ and UPS/FedEx will usually say that they left something at my front door (which we never use and is snowed in most of the year) even if I know they didn’t because they would have needed a snowmobile or at least would have left foot prints.

Then it’s a matter of trying to see if they left it by the mailbox at the end of the driveway (!) or by the garage, or (on several occasions) inside the detached garage but out of sight so I’d never find it if I didn’t look for it. I have no idea why they always say “Front Door” when it’s clearly not true. At least if they said “Garage” I’d know where to look.

Last week UPS said “Front Door” but meant “I jammed it into your mailbox” (which I believe is technically illegal if they aren’t delivering for USPS). Presumably they didn’t want to walk down a snowy driveway.

So. Yeah. No good solutions, unfortunately, but definitely understand. I’m quite tempted to have my next important package (read: iPhone/iPad/MacBook) delivered directly to the UPS or FedEx store so I don’t have to spend all day waiting for the delivery. Probably get it earlier, too.

¹ not really but sometimes it feels like it.

1 Like

That’s a good idea (so is delivering to one’s office, but my office is…my house, if I’m not on a work trip). And given how much of a fiasco my Apple Store was this year during iPhone pickup, going to the Store (even if nearby) isn’t a great option on launch day.

I did in-store pickup for an iPhone on launch day once and will never do it again.

My appointment was for something like 9:30am and I think I finally got in around 11.

I’m still baffled by that. They obviously knew how many people were coming, and when they were coming, yet they still weren’t even close to prepared.

And to think I did it so save time (by not having to wait around for delivery).

Just saw Costco selling a parcel box (don’t remember the name).

It’s a large secure box that you can bolt down to the concrete or secure to a floor that you place outside your home.

There is system where using either an app or a special coded address common delivery services (USPS, UPS, FedEx) will have a secure code to open the box and leave a package inside for you.

Sort of a personal “Amazon locker” system that is not tied to one online shopping site.

Not sure I would go this route, but searching online I see there are multiple companies selling this type of anti “porch pirate” solution.

2 Likes

When I trekked to FedEx’s distribution center tonight to get my earlier missed delivery I asked what kind of online management is available.

Apparently they have a free service you can sign up for called FedEx Delivery Manager. Sign up is way too hard to find on their website and even knowing the name, it took me lots of poking around to sign up. I cannot find any reference to it on the homepage. This is currently the FDM sign up direct URL:
https://www.fedex.com/apps/fdmenrollment/

Since Apple tends to use FedEx a lot in the US, I’ve signed up. We’ll see how it works out.

I hope it is not like UPS where most “holds” require an additional fee. I’m saving you money by not having a driver stop by so why charge me?

1 Like

Sure, it was unfortunate that you missed the driver, but a MBP16 will require a signature. Be happy they didn’t just leave it on the steps :slight_smile:

I am in Sweden, so a bit of different setup I guess. I actually prefer going to the pick-up place at my convenience rather than being stuck waiting for a delivery coming (probably) sometime between 0800 and 1800. Worst case, by 18:15 the SMS arrives that “We unfortunately didn’t reach you today”…

My parcel pickup place is about 5 minutes away by car, so no big deal.

His channel single-handedly destroyed all confidence I ever had in locks, lol.

1 Like

I guess we have it good in Canada.

  • If UPS can’t deliver a package it usually goes to a local convenience store where you can sign for it, (I doubt packages are stored very securely at the c-store, but until I’ve signed for it it’s technically still UPS’s responsibility).
  • If Canada Post can’t deliver the package goes to a local post office for pick-up, (there are mini post-offices in pharmacies all over Canada).
  • We can choose to have Amazon ship directly to a Canada Post location - so it’s like a staffed Amazon locker, (but not open 24/7). It often takes an extra day vs. using whatever private courrier Amazon is using at the moment.
  • The private courrier takes a photo of the package when it’s delivered. I don’t believe those are sent to customers, but including them in the “Your package has been delivered” E-mail would make it much easier to find the package if it’s in a strange spot.

There are still a few problems:

  • I rarely have anything arrive by Fedex, so I don’t know what happens there.
  • The private courrier Amazon uses doesn’t have pick-up points so they usually deliver to the porch, and often the package is stolen, especially if it’s large. That may have changed since a sketchy neighbour moved out of my building, but I don’t really want to test it.

My nearby 7-11 which is open 24 hours/day participates in the Amazon Locker program. I don’t have problems having packages left in front of my door but nearby neighbors do get their packages stolen, and the free-to-consumer Amazon Lockers are a godsend for them. It’s also a great way to have a present delivered so that loved ones don’t know about it.

One thing I intend to try using it for is returns, as the 7-11 is closer than my local UPS Store.

If Amazon really wanted to disrupt they’d offer those lockers to competitors for a small fee.

Where I live, the Apple Store delivers by courier within 2 hours, so that’s what I use when I buy Apple Hardware. (Cables, etc., I just take via regular post.)

For high value items from Amazon I use Amazon Locker at a Whole Foods or other location.

Katie

This just reminded me of something…

I often order things for my Mom via my Amazon account. She’s in Massachusetts, although not in a particularly big city, but her deliveries are almost always accompanied with a picture of the package sitting by either the upstairs or downstairs door at her house. This is handy because she rarely uses the upstairs door.

But I’m very curious why she gets photo confirmation and I do not. That would be a very handy feature, especially when they say “Front Door” but mean “Well, somewhere near your house.”

We buy lots of stuff mail order. It’s a necessity when the nearest largish town is a 75 mile 1 way distance from us. We get stuff from FEDEX, FEDEX Ground, UPS, USPS and very rarely DHL plus the even more rarely Kangaroo ExpressDelivery, a local door to door package service kind of like an Uber for critical packages. Signing up for Amazon Prime and for the various alert services works well but even more important is learning the drivers.

Here at least the drivers for all services except Post Office are the same and once you get to know them (and pull out their delivery truck when they get stuck in the snow) a few times you can be sure they will make every effort to get stuff to you and to tell you where it is. Our only problems have been when they were on vacation or had relief drivers in who had no clue. I had some critical stuff left at the end of our driveway whose contents were not something to be left out. We’d been home all day. I called HQ and went up as many levels as I needed to to impress on them the potential liability if the items got into the wrong hands. I’ve never seen that driver since. Good Riddance too IMO.

There are advantages to being in a rural area where if a package is late you can get a phone call from the driver. Sometimes they will call to see if you can meet them someplace if they are running short of time.

One thing, if you can, make sure all delivery drivers do not have to back up to deliver to your location. Most of them get dinged with bad reviews by their bosses for too much backing up so circular driveways are a way to keep them delivering directly to you.

I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of multiple places where I can have UPS, FedEx, and DHL packages delivered for me to pick up.

Since I started doing that years ago I’ve had no issues.