Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Me?

A couple of months ago, I realized that the postcards I made for last Expo were almost gone and I hated the design... so I decided to redesign the cards and get some printed for Expo. I gave myself plenty of time, because the last design was a rush job. These cards are nothing special - but Expo has thousands of screenwriters, and my hits have been falling off lately. This would be a great way to get the word out that I have a free script tip every day, and maybe increase my website traffic.

Card designs were sent to a printer on the East Coast with good rates and nice samples. Cards were printed, and to be delivered by UPS ground. I should have had them within 5 days...

But when I checked the tracking page online the day after Columbus Day (about a week after they shipped) I discovered that UPS had made an attempt to deliver to my biz address on Columbus Day... and since it was closed, they sent the cards back to the sender that same day. No second attempt at delivery. No door tag. Nothing.

According to their tracking page, the cards arrived in LA on Monday (Columbus Day), they made one attempt to deliver, then by 9pm that same day (Columbus Day) they were on a truck to the sender.

So, I called UPS. Asked why they didn’t attempt a delivery on a non-holiday? Why they were shipped back the same day?

They said: We don’t deliver to Military Bases.

This confused me, because the nearest military base has got to be at least 40 miles away.

After a great deal of time convincing them that the address was not a military base, I asked - you know, even if it was a military base, why ship it back to the sender on the same day? Why not hold it for a couple of days and door tag it? Well, policy is to ship it back - to make sure the package is promptly delivered. I brought it to their attention that if the package had been delivered, I’d have it. They asked what I wanted them to do, and I said: Deliver the package that is addressed to me. This got me bumped up to a supervisor.

After giving her the tracking number, she tells me that package has been delivered... to the original shipper.

So, I said all of the same stuff. The supervisor admits that a mistake was made, someone ticked the Military Base box by mistake. (I wonder how often that box gets ticked when the driver is running behind and just wants to get rid of a package?) They said they will cover the costs of reshipping - the sender just needs to reship the package and then fill out some refund forms and....

I asked why the shipper should fill out any forms - they didn’t tick the wrong box. She tells me that the package has been delivered - completed - and that we need to start from scratch. I ask if they have a category called UNDELIVERED or MISDELIVERED? She says “No, only DELIVERED.” At this point, I’m probably becoming a jerk... but I’m holding my temper and remaining calm. I’m just trying to figure out how to solve this problem within the rules of their system. So I ask if the package can be retrieved for a second delivery attempt? She tells me someone will call me back within an hour.

Two hours later, I call them again. Go through all of this all over again with new people. And they say again “Someone will call you within an hour.”

Two hours later, my phone actually rings. It’s someone who is going to resolve my problem! I explain everything again... and they tell me they don’t deliver to military bases... and I have to convince them this isn’t a military base, and they say they will take care of it. Problem solved!


A week later, nothing has happened.

So I call, and go through all of the same stuff with new people again, who all tell me they don’t deliver to military bases, and eventually I get to a supervisor who tells me they have a note that it has been taken care of. I say that’s nice, but do they have a note that says where my package is? No. They have no info that it was ever retrieved and reshipped, or that the anything was done other that the person in charge saying that they have taken care of it. There is no “not taken care of” problems at UPS.

Nice, but I don’t have my package and I want it.

“Well, we don’t deliver to military bases.”

Okay, there was a moment where I almost went UPStal. Instead I remained calm and asked how I am supposed to get my stuff. They said - the printer will have to reship it and fill out a form for the refund...

Fine. I call the printer. I explain what happened. They try to track down the returned package - can not find it. Swell. But they will reprint the cards for free and reship them. UPS Ground. I should have them within 5 days of when they are printed.... and my big fear is that they will arrive on the Monday *after* Expo. I will have thousands of postcards and no one to give them to.

And I’m just waiting for them to get shipped back to the sender because UPS doesn’t ship to military bases....

- Bill


TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: A new one about 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and Vampires.
Yesterday’s Dinner: Brocolli Beef @ CityWok.


Laura Reyna said...

When this kind of stuff happens to us we always contact the sender IMMEDIATELY & have them take care of it from their end, if possible.

For some reason it's usually easier for the SENDER to take care of it, than it is for the reciever.

My husband orders a ton of crap tru the mail & he's constantly bitching about having to sit on the phone and deal w/ "retards" & "bureaucrats".

"DMV matron" is his most damning insult. He hates the DMV. ;-)

Emily Blake said...

Same here. Two months ago I ordered a package from Victoria's Secret. When the UPS guy called from the gate - the gate phone goes to my cell - I was across town. So I told him, I'll be home in an hour. Can you put the package outside my door? He said yes, then I buzzed him in.

When I got home, no package. I looked it up and discovered he had left it outside the gate right next to the street, so obviously someone stole it. Why on earth would he think I wanted him to leave the package there?

I called VS and they said they'd ship me a new package at no cost. It still hasn't been shipped even though I've officially paid for it.

The package is a bathing suit.

Anonymous said...

Big Brown smudge

Richard McNally said...


I always think of UPS as standing for "You Piss" [in frustration and fury]. And I've never had a bad experience with them.

Excellent Script Secret today on exposing character by pairing characters with contrasting natures. I'll send you a check for $1,000 soon.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Richard...excellent tip!

Now to convince my characters.

Reply To:
Why Me?
Why Not?

Emily Blake said...

Ugh. Yesterday I got another Victoria's Secret package delivered by UPS - to the Wells Fargo half a mile away.

Because someone at the bank really needs my little black dress.


Lion Poet said...

Okay, this has nothing to do with this current post, but on your script tip for October 23rd, about the Matrix. It was the longest tip of yours I've ever read and I could feel your passion for the original Matrix, much like me. I friggin' LOVED that movie and spent the time between it ended and I sat my ass in the theater seat for Matrix Reloaded thinking about all the possibilities that it held. After I left the theater I realized that unless they paid me to write the damned thing, what my brain was able to conjure could never match what someone else could/would come up with, for better or for worse. I too had all these speculations, and the movies answered none of them. I think they were afraid to fully embrace the intelligence of the world they built. That if they got "too smart", it wouldn't draw the audience they needed to draw.

Or maybe they were lazy.

Richard McNally said...


Having read today's Script Secret, a highly intense analysis of the Matrix films, I gotta say, you're the T.S. Eliot of the Hollywood trenches--prolific writer, prolific critic. And a born storyteller. I related your tale about the stuntmen and the empty water truck to my headshrinker and she was in stitches.


Richard McNally said...

Addendum--the expression "sex in a submarine" showed up on the Urban Dictionary site, defined as having sex in front of other people, in case you didn't know.

wcmartell said...

I did not know that... I wonder how many people come to this blog and are then disappointed?

Postcards succesfully delivered today.

- Bill

Janet said...

Hi Bill,

Have you been affected by the fires?

Richard McNally said...

Strangely, "sex in a submarine" has disappeared from the Urban Dictionary. I went back to check before forwarding the earlier comment and it wasn't there, and I checked again today and it still wasn't there, but I KNOW I saw it there about a week ago; I tried to contact UD but couldn't get through. Mysteries of the web.

Anonymous said...

Strangely, "sex in a submarine" has disappeared from the Urban Dictionary.***

My goodness, really!
Maybe UPS got a hold of it...if so, it could be anywhere.

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