I ordered a box last week. I suppose technically, I ordered the contents of the box. I get the box as an added bonus. However, what was in the box is not germane to the story as this is the story of a box. And about now you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh goody, there just aren’t enough box stories going around these days.”
It all began last Tuesday when I bought something from a guy on eBay. He packed my purchase in a box and sent it to me via UPS. On Thursday, the guy sent me the tracking number. Upon going to the UPS site, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my box would be here on Friday. And yes, I realize that so far this is about the least interesting box story you’ve ever heard and are milliseconds away from clicking off to see if any of your friends posted quiz results on Facebook. They did. But stick with me for a minute.
Friday went by with no delivery. I checked the web site and saw that the box had been out for local delivery since 4am. Curious, I called. The guy explained they had a driver call in sick and were behind, but assured me the box would arrive Monday. Okay, no problem.
Morning comes. Evening follows. The Monday. No box. I call again. A young lady looks up my package and apologizes. She explains that something must have gone wrong as the package should have been delivered already. “Alright,” so I ask what seemed the logical follow-on question, “What are you going to do to find my box?”
I listened, somewhat taken aback, as she matter of factly explained that they couldn’t do anything because the package hadn’t yet been reported missing by the shipper.
“Really,” I inquired? Then protested a bit with, “Didn’t you just verify the box was lost? Your own system shows it rode two trucks, was scanned in three hubs, and then went AWOL in your Henrietta depot. What could the shipper know that your don’t? Aren’t you able to take your own word for it being misrouted?”
“I’m sorry sir,” she explained like this was a rational statement. “But we cannot begin to search for the package until the shipper calls to tell us it’s missing.” My only possible explanation is this is some new branch of Cartoon Physics where objects in motion exist in the place they are supposed to until the sender observes they are not.
Somewhat exasperated I said, “Okay, I’ll contact the shipper and ask him to call you and tell you to look at your system and believe what it says.”
“Excellent,” she replies in a way too perky manner. “Thank you for choosing UPS.”
“But I didn’t choose you, the shipper did!” Silence… [click].