I'll Never Understand Shipping Companies

The other day, I ordered an extra home kit for my XM receiver. (Got it at a good price as the receiver is obsolete being 3 years old and the model is older than that.) Anyway, it shipped from a wholesaler in Denver. I am in Las Cruces, NM. Now, there’s this handy little road called I-25 that connects the two cities. So I figure, they’ll just throw it on a truck and it’ll make its way down through Colorado and New Mexico over the next couple days until it shows up at my door. Wrong! They put it on a plane in Denver; flew it to Wilmington, OH, and it is now presumably flying back to this part of the country, probably into El Paso, TX, though I suppose it could wind up in Albuquerque and then make it down I-25. More annoying is that instead of getting it in a couple days like I would have if it had been shipped USPS (and probably get it on Friday), it went DHL and I probably won’t get it until Monday. How in the world did companies decide that it made more sense to fly something thousands of miles out of the way?

Distribution hubs get all the packages and then ship them local. The people whom you ordered from don’t route the packages. The default shipping is usually the cheapest that gets stuff to most places. You need to ask for the fastest shipping method if that’s what you want.

That’s the funny bit. The fastest shipping was only a couple bucks more, so I went for that. I guess it’s the same phenomena that makes it more pleasant to fly Southwest than a legacy carrier.

You might appreciate this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzsXqawswPc

OK, I got estimated ground times-in-transit from the Big Three and the breakdown is this:
DHL - 4 days
Fed Ex - 4 days
UPS - 2 days
for ground rate shipping (I took a guess at the zip codes based on Denver - Las Cruces and put the weight at 10 lbs.)

So it looks like you are in a weird area that should be 1 - 2 days in distance (when thinking about miles and practicality) but are stuck in a 4 day zone probably because there’s not as much going that route. For example, I ran your zips based on residential delivery. I did not as commercial delivery but that may have shaved a day off, as well as picking a different zip code in either city.

I understand. I once nearly had an anyeurism (how in the heck do you spell that?) when I was told that it would take me nearly 7 days to move something from Birmingham to a town outside of Jackson, MS. It’s because they just don’t have that many trucks that go to that area so it is more feasible for them to hold a shipment and say screw you if you pull it and try to get it on a truck with something else going that way. This was not one of the parcel companies, but freight lines, BTW.

Anyway, I know this doesn’t get you your receiver any quicker, but there ya go. One thing I don’t understand: you said you paid for quicker delivery? The next option on DHL should be 1 or 2 day delivery, which should be guaranteed. Check your paperwork and see exactly which option you chose and if you did get 1 or 2 day delivery and paid for it then you should call and complain. That probably won’t get the receiver there any quicker, but you may get your $2 back for the shipping upgrade.

Now I have to go to work and do this for paying clients, which isn’t nearly as much fun.

My favorite shipping thing happened last winter, when I bought a printer online from Circuit City and paid for 3-day shipping. The third day was a Friday.

So I get online after class, and check where my package is. “Delivery attempted - weather delay”, it tells me.

I look out the window. It’s sunny. I check the temperature. It’s 40 some degrees. Hmm. Perhaps they entered the wrong code. I mosey down to the mail room. Nope, no printer.

I call Fed-Ex. Corporate assures me that if it says weather delay there must be bad weather, despite my assurances that the weather is just dandy. Frustrated, I hang up.

Long story short, I finally get a local person who assures me that it was a weather delay: the truck driver hit a patch of melting ice (entirely believable in Santa Fe, where I don’t think the city even owns a snow plow or salt truck) and crashed the truck. So they’re delivering packages out of a van for now.

As she said that, I see out my window a Fed Ex truck rumble down to the mail room, and point this out to her. “Oh, that’s a ground truck,” she says. “Yours is an express package. We can’t put your package on that truck.”

:smack: :smack:

Interesting, ShelliBean. What makes it weirder to me is that I could drive Las Cruces to Denver in probably 12 hours. Drive to Albuquerque, stop for food and gas, drive to either Raton or Pueblo, stop for food and gas, drive to Denver. The way shipping companies do it would be like me driving to the El Paso airport (1 hour), wait at airport for at least one and probably two hours, fly to Chicago, wait at airport, fly to Denver. Thousands of extra miles and probably no time saved. (To be fair, United flies El Paso to Denver, but that’s not the point.)

Fedex Ground was actually a company that Fedex bought a few years ago and rebranded as Fedex Ground. From what I can tell, there’s still still a big separation between the two. For instance, Fedex Ground drivers are contractors that own their own truck, whereas regular Fedex drivers are employed by Fedex and the trucks are owned by the company as well.

Lets say your shipping company has a container. The container is going to travel the most sought after route, dropping off items at the most common places. So it goes A - C - B, even though A - B is quicker, but there is a lot of items going A - C and C - B. Now there is a spare half cubic metre in this container, to put something else in the container effectively costs the company nothing, to put something on its own from A direct to B is going to cost a tangable amount.

I understand where you’re coming from, but the thing is, they’re delivering more just your package. If DHL hired a bunch of guys on motorcycles who picked up and delivered individual packages without routing them through a hub, it’d be called a courier service. Instead of being an extra 2 bucks for the “faster” delivery, it’d end up being 200.

If I’m getting something in Santa Fe, it goes through Albuquerque no matter what. Santa Fe doesn’t have an airport that currently supports any delivery hubs. They’ve got to put the package on a truck, fly it to Abq, put it on a truck to Santa Fe, and then put it on a different truck for delivery.

I feel your pain, but it’s better this way.

I sure hope my package comes in today!!! I hate not having a phone. :frowning:

FedEx Ground is what used to be RPS Delivery. You can tell the ground trucks from the regular kind because they have the green logo.

The two operations are largely separate for the reasons that alanak stated.

You sometimes also see FedEx trucks with a red logo. Those are for FedEx Freight, the result of several other acquisitions including American Freightway and Viking Freight.

I truly don’t understand the whys and wherefores of shipping companies. I understand that FedEx packages can get delayed because of weather in Memphis – in fact, some years back we all laughed our heads off when a client absolutely insisted his transcript had to be sent FedEx rather than UPS overnight that we normally used, and it ended up getting fogged in in Memphis whereas UPS would have gotten it to him – but some things take days and other things are lightning fast. I think the fastest I ever saw was when my daughter ordered a book from a seller in Canada at 10 p.m. one evening, and it arrived on our doorstep in New Orleans before noon the next day!

But the delivery hub system seems to be the most common way to go these days. It takes me no longer to send a package across the country most of the time than it does to send it 40 miles down the road. It’s quite efficient – when it works right; when it doesn’t, it’s certainly maddening, isn’t it?

I’m probably the only person who looks at that and thinks, “They’re all going in and out of the chef guy’s p***s!”

Chef Guy:
Lower leg - Louisiana
Upper leg - Arkansas
Torso - Missouri
Head - Iowa
Chef’s hat - Minnesota

Apologies to anyone living in Memphis.

My favorite shipping company is DHL, because they don’t deliver here. Of course, they don’t tell you that - instead they drop it at the post office in Denver. Since my mailing address isn’t my shipping address, you can imagine how fast it gets here. I won’t order from companies that use DHL anymore.

That makes absolutely no sense. I don’t mean that in the “I don’t believe you” tone, I just don’t believe DHL can get away with that. I ran Birmingham - Telluride and overnight gets there in 2 days, 2nd day gets there in 3 and ground gets there in 4. So they are basically charging overnight service for 2nd day delivery. And they make no mention that it will be dropped of somewhere else.
Thanks for the info. I don’t really have many clients in your area, but you know if I had one that needed something overnight and had a DHL account I would not have known to ask if overnight really meant overnight. I will bring it up with our rep the next time she calls on me.

DHL has a marketing agreement with the USPS. For some (not all) residential deliveries they fly the package to the nearest distribution point, and then give it to the PO for delivery the next day.
I ordered something a while back, they flew it o/nite to LA then drove it to the San Fernando Valley where it was dropped at the PO. I got it the next AM.
The only WTF in the process was I went the track the package online and it said USPS. :confused: So I called and the DHL rep filled me in.
It was scheduled for 2 day service and I got 2 day service.

Hah. And when they say it “gets there in 2 days”, they don’t really mean two days, they mean four. Amazon Prime (UPS 2 day) usually takes 3-4. Granted, my house is out in the boonies, so for the most part we just deal. But I hate how they charge for shipping as if they’re going to deliver it and then use USPS, which can take several days to get here from Denver, believe it or not. And then there’s the mailing vs street address thing I mentioned.

I’d be interested to hear what they actually say about delivering here.

Well isn’t this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!