Why doesn't one of the package delivery services start late-hours delivery?

I am sitting here in my apartment right now, waiting for UPS to deliver something. I have absolutely no confidence that they will before I leave for work. UPS has never, in at least five years, delivered something for me while I was actually at home. I end up getting most of my packages on the third, and last, attempt only through what seems to be pure luck (i.e. someone else being there to sign for the package)

Now, my question doesn’t apply to this exact situation, because I don’t have to work until 3 p.m. today, but I wonder why UPS or FedEx or any other similar company hasn’t tried to do more odd-hours delivery in an effort to win more business. Every year, more and more households become two-income households. Both parents are away and the kids are at school. Not to mention single folk like me who are almost never at home during normal work hours.

So more and more people come home to that dreaded UPS/FedEx post-it telling us an attempt was made to deliver our package, and it will be delivered the next business day. Of course, the overwhelming majority of the time it will be delivered during is while you’re at work, again.

Sure, sometimes you can specify that the package be left at your door, anyway. But obviously not everyone would be comfortable with that. And those of us that live in apartment complexes have no way to guarantee that the deliveryman can even get buzzed in in the first place.

So wouldn’t it make sense, from a business standpoint, to let customers request that a package be delivered between only, say, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.? Or even on a weekend? And, if so, how come no one’s done it? (And if I’m wrong in that statement, please let me know.)

I’ve been wondering that too. The major delivery companies in Japan all allow the sender to specify delivery time. The latest delivery window is 8-10pm or 7-9pm, IIRC.

What I wanna know is – how come there’s no business that will make emergency chocolate deliveries to your home of an evening? I know hundreds of women between the ages of, say, 15 and 55 who’d pay big bucks for this convenience.

In Gainesville, there was a company that delivered beer or booze to your house or apartment, much like a pizza delivery service for drunks. They catered to the large college crowd and I’m sure they checked IDs (although I’m sure those rules could be stretched), but it was a pretty ingenious service, they made big money and got lots of publicity, and it kept drunk drivers off the streets at the same time.

Just a semi-educated WAG:

This is all personal experience and anecdotal (i.e. I don’t have cites), but UPS and Fed-Ex and such do a LOT of moving packages at night. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of their stuff moves from place airport hub to airport hub at night, and from airport to ground distribution place in the early morning. I’ve worked at a couple places who did a lot of business with shipping companies, and they always did pickups in the early afternoon and evening.

Anyhow, to deliver something in the evening using the current system, you’d have to A) let it sit around in the UPS place all day, taking up space (that could otherwise be used for outgoing shipments) and B) hire more drivers so pickup wouldn’t be delayed.

Still, a good idea overall, I’m just not sure if it’s economically feasible, especially with the existing systems.

My local UPS will delivery to 8 p.m. I’ve also called the number on the slip and told them to bring packages to my office, which they have always done.

Advantage of working down the road from your apartment.

Eh, all the pizza places (in Gainesville) deliver beer too and have since forever (like the 1970’s). That was a favorite scam for the middle school/high school kids: call, order a pizza and beer, meet the delivery guy at the door and say your dad’s inside. Most cases the delivery guy doesn’t want to go all the way back without payment so he’d just give it to you. I bet they’ve gotten a lot stricter nowdays…

In some areas of Montreal, convenience stores will let you phone in an order for delivery. Running out of chips and beer at the party and nobody wants to walk to the corner? No problem! Call, and within 20 minutes a guy will be lugging a cold case of beer up your apartment steps. And you can usually give him your empties as a tip!

You’d be surprised. When I was there (1996-2003), hardly any of them would deliver alcohol… at least not as an official part of the business. I’m sure your average delivery guy wouldn’t be opposed to picking up a six-pack for a calling customer along with their pizza order in exchange for a big tip, but that was all under the table.

Huh, they must have changed the law (or the pizza places opted out). You still coudl when I left Gainesville in 1988 (yes, yes, I know that was 17 years ago, I already feel old enough). My little brother got totally busted for it in 1984.

I’m guessing that most of the UPS/FedEx deliveries are to businesses, in volume, if not in number. So sending out deliveries when the businesses aren’t open is going to mean a lot of wasted space in the vans. And most personal deliveries are sent as economically as possible – that is, few people ordering stuff from Amazon choose the most expensive, get it to me tomorrow delivery. So there’s probably not too much motivation to increase the convenience to your least profitable customers.

This is especially true because the delivery people would likely have to pay extra for the swing (or extended) shifts. And winter deliveries would be in the dark, leading to increased chances of accidents and theft.

Yeah, not only do I not have that advantage (I take the subway to work and, in this case, the packages I’m expecting are rather large and awkward to carry) but the higher-ups where I work have also frowned upon us receiving personal deliveries at work. After all, the guys who work in the mailroom aren’t there as our personal couriers.

I also had a recent delivery beef. I ordered a new motherboard from Newegg last Wednesday, and paid more for 2-day shipping so I would get it by Friday. What do I come home to Friday afternoon? A slip saying that if I sign it and leave it, they will give me my package the 27th. Argh!!! :mad: If I wanted it by Moinday, I wouldn’t have paid seven times as much for shipping to get it here by Friday! And what happened to Saturday? I can get mail on Saturday, so why not a package?

Irritating, but I have to do with user error on this one. You knew it was coming on Friday and, unless you’ve previously signed a release with this shipper, you know they need a signature. So all you have to do is leave an envelope on the door addressed to [delivery service] saying, “Dear Delivery Person, Please leave the package. Signed, Bouv” with your signature.

If you don’t do this and something happens to the package, the delivery service is SOL – they probably have a requirement from the shipper that they get a signature.

One of my beefs with the local FedEx is their limited pickup window. On several occasions I have had deliveries that require a signature when noone was able to be at home. Even if I leave a note, they say that they can’t leave it because a signature is required.

So they leave a note on my door saying that I can pick it up at the local FedEx depot between 6:55 and 7:00 pm. If I go before 6:55 they won’t have it there because the driver won’t be back with his truck yet. At 7:00 they lock the doors.

More than once I have had to wait inside the office until 7:30 or later while they figure out that the stupid driver parked his truck and left without checking in or unloading his packages.


During the days of the Dot-com bubble, there was a wonderful company called Kozmo.com that would do that. You could send in an internet order, and very shortly afterward a wonderful person would show up at your front door with chocolate. (or books, videos, other cheap convenience food, there were a variety of services).

It was bliss. And one of those ideas that “should have worked”

They ran out of money and folded.

Meet FedEx Home Delivery. They deliver Tuesday-Saturday from 9am to 8pm and have all kinds of delivery options including delivery by appointment. And they have a really cute logo . [If they had actual puppies hand you the packages I bet this service would be a lot more popular.] The downsides are that it’s only ground shipping [no next or second day], and it’s totally separate from the rest of their services. Which means that your shipper needs to support it and send your package via FedEx Home. You can’t, for instance, “convert” a regular FedEx Express package to Home Delivery after it’s been shipped.

I try to use FedEx for delivery when I can because my local office is the total opposite of FatBaldGuy’s. I can usually pick up a failed delivery anytime between 3-7pm and I’ve never had to wait more than ten minutes in their office. But if your local office isn’t as good as mine all you need to do is call FedEx with your tracking number and ask them to hold the package at their office. When they get it they won’t load it on to a truck and you can just pick it up anytime during the day – no need to wait for the driver to get back. I believe that they can also [given sufficient lead time] redirect your shipment to another FedEx office. So if there’s one near your office, have it sent there and pick it up during lunch.

From my experiences, they are really good at delivering within the two-hour period. Some internet companies will also deliver to a local convenience store and you can even pick it up while you are stumbling home drunk. :slight_smile:

Many of the newer condos and apartment buildings (“mansions” in Japanese) have lockers which the delivery people can leave the packages.

Yeah, I’ve run into that situation before. I’ve also had a WTF moment with their phone support. They had a package for me that required a signature, and the driver left a note on my door saying he had been by at 4:45 pm. The note had a tracking number and toll free number, so I called and said that I’d just missed him (I was home at 5:00). Figuring the driver was in my part of town at that time of day, I requested that the driver attempt delivery after 5:00, and that I would be certain to be there. The customer service person said no problem, he’d make a note for the driver.

Next day, there is a note on my door. Second delivery attempt was made at 4:45 pm.

Anyway, I’ve learned that the trick to getting any sort of useful information from UPS, FedEx, etc is to get the LOCAL phone number. They don’t like to give it out as they would rather you call the toll free number to some call center a thousand or so miles away, which is useless. It’s like pulling teeth to get the local phone number, but it’s really the only number worth calling.


Allow me a moment to complain about toll free phone numbers. My bank, which I won’t name (but the initials are Bank of America) lists the national toll free number as the only number in the phone book for all the branches in town. So I have to spend about 5 minutes going through an voice mail system (eventually, and inevitably, talking to a live person) only to ask them for the local number to the branch on Main street. What’s so difficult about listing the number in the phone book, rather than the toll free number?