FedEx Ground: Not Even Once


(If you haven’t heard the above phrase, this might help.)

The Green Fade shipped on Monday. But because I failed to SCREAM INTO THE PHONE that it must not, never, EVER be shipped via FedEx Ground, it was shipped via FedEx Ground.

And now the game begins.

Let me tell you how I feel about UPS. When I was in the hospital recovering from my hilarious cycling accident, my UPS guy, Tom, visited me in the hospital. He did this because over the course of dozens of on-time deliveries of cycling parts that occurred at predictable times, we had become close. It really cheered me up to see Tom, right up to the point that I realized that I wouldn’t be needing any more cycling parts for a long time. When my post-accident bike (a Cyclecraft 24 in red/black fade) finally arrived four months after the accident, we had a different UPS guy.

Still. When I ran Squidco, my mail-order bike shop, I sent hundreds of packages via UPS with very few mishaps. In the years since I have sent and received thousands of UPS packages. I can count on a single hand the ones that had real problems with delivery.

FedEx, on the other hand… The overnight and 2nd day Air services are pretty good. About as good as UPS here in the middle of nowhere. It’s the Ground service that sucks. Sucks hard. I’ll explain why.

When you have something delivered via UPS Ground, this is what happens:

  • The package leaves the destination in a brown truck.
  • It is taken to a distro center, where it is loaded into a semi-truck.
  • That semi-truck drives to the distro center nearest to the destination, or to a distro center where it can be transferred and sent along.
  • Upon arrival at the correct distro center, it’s loaded into a brown truck.
  • Which is driven to your house where it will arrive within the same time frame every day almost every time.
  • If you are part of MyUPS, you will be notified of every step and have the chance to modify the delivery. That’s new, by the way.

Note how the package is smoothly transferred from one facility to another until it arrives at your door. At all times, it is in the custody of UPS. It might even get onto a UPS plane, which would be fun for your package if it, like most Southwest passengers heading to Vegas, has never been on a plane before.

When you send a package via FedEx air services, the same thing happens, except a FedEx MD-11 stands in for the UPS semi-truck, and all the vehicles are white instead of brown. But when you send something FedEx Ground, the final step is this:

  • Some fucking idiot whose ambitions in life extend no higher than owning a truck and driving it around all day picks it up from the depot. In his own truck. That he owns. It says FedEx on it and there’s a picture of a dog with a bag in its mouth. That’s because they want you to associate this service with dogs and bags and your front doorstep, because a bag of flaming dog waste on your front doorstep is more likely to be delivered on time than anything you send via FedEx Ground.
  • That fucking idiot will then consult a map to see where you live. Most of the time, he’ll be wrong about that.
  • After driving in a circle for between two and twelve hours, he will arrive at your neighborhood and wait for everyone to leave your house. If it appears that you’ve forced your roommate to stay at the house all day, he will wait until he can hear the shower.
  • He will then approach the door and leave a Door Tag. Under no circumstances will he deliver a package. Ever.
  • Then he will disappear.

Prior to last year, When you called FedEx to complain about this, you would be told that your only choice in the matter would be to wait until the next business day for delivery. I’m serious. There was NO OTHER OPTION EXCEPT TO STAY AT HOME. Keep in mind that, unlike the UPS guy, the FedEx Ground dumb-ass could arrive at any time during the day. It’s all up for grabs. My ex-wife, God bless her, once raised so much hell FedEx made the guy meet us at the airport with the package.

Approximately seven other critical packages I ordered during my marriage were returned to the sender, where they were sent back to me via UPS.

Last year, FedEx realized that it was just potentially, possibly, maybe the case that not everybody in the world could take a day off from work without a shower to receive a package. So they initiated a program that allowed you to redirect your incoming package to a Kinko’s FedEx Store, where you would then have the privilege of driving 10 miles each way in traffic to wait for the Kinko’s employee to finish making a thousand copies by pressing the green button on the copier once for each copy. At that time, you would have a chance to explain the program to the employee, and the employee’s manager, and the person at the FedEx 800 number. Some two to three hours later, you would be able to leave with your package.

Although the above process is specifically prohibited by the Geneva Convention, it apparently works too well, because they’ve stopped doing it. If you request that your package be delivered to the FedEx Store, they won’t do it until the next day. They’ll try a home delivery first. Even if you’ve specifically asked on the phone for that to not happen. Despite the fact that the FedEx Ground truck goes to the FedEx store every night as the last thing it does, they still can’t give you the package until the following day.

Those are the rules now.

If you are unlucky enough to request the store drop-off before this unnecessary door-tagging occurs, it will reset your request and you will have to make it again.

This is simply not how business is done in 2013. Nor is it how business should be done. I would possibly have a mild understanding of the reasoning behind setting up a franchise system full of sub-100-IQ hammerheads if I lived somewhere genuinely remote. Since I don’t, and since there are more than one million people living within a thirty-mile radius of my home, I do not understand it, nor do I accept it.

Time to get hard-assed about it. I don’t care what you are trying to sell me, or what it costs. Starting today, by my troth, I shall no longer accept FedEx Ground shipments under any circumstances. Period, point blank. If given a choice, I will choose UPS. If I am not given a choice, I’ll choose another vendor. If what I need is only available from a source that will only ship FedEx, I will re-evaluate my need for that item.

FedEx Ground. Not even once.

6 Replies to “FedEx Ground: Not Even Once”

  1. Tomko


    I’m currently in a foor-way with an order from Coverking via JC Whitney, delivered by FedEx Ground to my UPS Store shipping address.

    For all intents and purposes JC Whitney is now a Philipines-based company doing business as US Auto Parts. The folks from the Philipines are lovely – but dang it’s hard to talk with folks on the other side of the planet, who are working the graveyard shift and speaking their second or third language over some kind of VOIP telephone headset.

    After arguing over price for a week (thank goodness I kept a copy of the chat confirming the price match) I waited for Coverking to direct ship from Mexico, via FedEx ground to a UPS store in Upstate NY. So I receive notice that my parcel is in, drive the hour down, cross the boarder, pay the bridge tolls and tax on importation into Canada, drive an hour home to discover… Coverking only sent two front seat covers – no back seat cover!

    So I’ve been arguing with the folks in the Philipines for three days now who insist that all has been shipped to me meanwhile I’m caught in this four way with everyone getting paid, but me still missing a desperately needed rear seat cover to allow the neighbour’s kids full range of my wife’s new Cruze Diesel.

    The costs of globalization!

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  4. dickie

    I got shafted by UPS only once in recent memory, but it was bad enough that I won’t allow even the slightest possibility of it happening again.

    I ordered my refurb iPhone 4 from AT&T to replace my busted jailbroken 3GS. I was tired of picking glass splinters and the screen replacement didn’t work out due to damage that wasn’t revealed until I had the phone looking like an exploded parts diagram on my desk.

    Tracking confirmed that the package was en route for delivery, but I had to run a minor errand. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, UPS was usually good about leaving packages and I had nothing to worry about from my neighbors. While on my way home, I noticed the status changed from “Out for Delivery” to “Left on Doorstep.” I rounded the corner onto my street and caught the UPS employee walking back to the truck, package in hand. She sped off as I started looking for the box, it was nowhere to be found.

    Refreshing the status in the hopes that it would roll over to attempted delivery or something that would explain the circumstances yielded the same “Left on Doorstep” message as before. The bitch had walked with my phone and would probably claim that she’d left it on my porch and couldn’t be held responsible for it’s disappearance after it left her hands.

    A quick call to UPS from my girlfriend’s phone confirmed that it had, in fact, been delivered as far as they were concerned and were no longer tracking it. I explained the situation and the doucher on the other end didn’t seem too willing to do his job until I mentioned that I was following the truck now, and that I had witnesses who saw the driver leave the scene with my package. Suddenly he was all ears and especially concerned with correcting the “mistake.”

    Five minutes later the driver flipped a bitch and she met me in front of my house, had me sign for the phone and avoided eye contact or verbal communication for the whole exchange. If you have to get shafted by shipping, USPS has surprisingly done the least amount of shafting to me over the years.


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