What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Shipping. I know it’s the busiest shipping time of the year – and now it’s overlaid by the number of people who have increasingly turned to online shopping during this plague year. The big carriers – UPS, FedEx, USPS – are likely running near capacity and will be doing so for the next few weeks at least. I’m enough of a logistician to know that when you flood the pipeline, the amount of time to get things from Point A to Point B increases. Even in a low-defect environment (and I’m not conceding that delivery services are that even on their good days), an increased number of items means a correspondingly increased number of errors.  I’m a reasonably rational human being who understands these things… but that in no way means I’m not getting thoroughly annoyed by the number of packages in the last few weeks that seem to have been lost in transit or simply “disappeared” from tracking apps. 

2. Dog life. A certain short haired dog of mine decided earlier this week that he didn’t like going outside when temperatures were hovering at or below freezing. That led to an issue Tuesday night where he’d been “holding it” so long that he’d periodically dribble when he walked. Not cool. As a guy who once sequestered himself to the kitchen for six months to crack the code on housebreaking, I’m fairly certain a fit of willpower and determination will also see me through this phase too… even if that means carrying the fuzzy little bastard out the door over my shoulder like a 70-pound sack of squirming, unhappy potatoes.

3. Xfinity. I like to keep something streaming as background noise while I’m working from my home office. Usually that means one of the big news channels, but could be Futurama or Star Trek reruns when I get tired of hearing whatever stories the major news outlets are pimping on any given day. Increasingly, I’m met with buffering, dropped feeds, basically unwatchable content when signed in to Xfinity’s streaming website. Sure, I could just turn on the TV in the other room and boost the sound a bit, but that’s inconvenient for switching between channels as the mood strikes. Basic diagnostics show all speeds are great and I can’t come up with a reason there should be a problem, but there is one. I’d be considerably less aggrieved if this wasn’t part and parcel of the same Xfinity that wants to slap me with yet another regular charge for busting through their arbitrarily set data cap every month. Look, I don’t mind the cost of the service, but if you’re going to pillage me out of $250+ a month, I’d very much like to get the services for which I’m paying.

Missing in Transit…

Setting aside the fact that the US Postal Service has a legal monopoly on delivering first class mail in this country and they fact that they’ve had 236 years of practice moving things from Point A to Point B, sometimes I wonder why they have as many problems as they do. Then, of course, I get a handy reminder of why they suck and I used them as little as possible.

I ordered a prescription refill from my vendor of choice on the morning of August 11th and it shipped out later that afternoon. Then, somewhat inexplicably, on August 14th my order was scanned at a post office in Fort Lee, NJ and labeled “missent.” Which is fine, of course, except for the part where according to the USPS it has never been seen again. They’re quick to point out that theirs is a “delivery confirmation” system and not a “tracking” system like they use at such upscale shippers as FedEx and UPS. So it’s equally possible that the envelope containing my prescription has actually left the Garden State. It’s also possible that it’s still sitting there. There is apparently no way known to man to find out which of these options is the case. Let’s just say that the conversation with the USPS Customer Service Representative (and I use that term loosely) does not fill me with confidence. But hey, if it stays missing for five more Postal Business Days, we can officially proclaim it lost, so that’s a plus.

Don’t worry, I’m not letting CVS Caremark off the hook for their role in this little fiasco either. After all, they’re the ones who selected the USPS as the shipper of choice, which shows piss poor decision making skills right off the bat. They’re also the ones who won’t reship a prescription unless it’s been “missing in transit” for more than 15 days. They did, however, offer a very helpful suggestion of getting my doctor to give me a new prescription that I could fill at my local pharmacy… Which pretty much defeats the purpose of using your goddamned bloody mail order pharmacy program in the bleeding first place, doesn’t it you backwater asshats?

I’m a reasonable guy. I don’t expect miracles. All I know is that I can order tasty bits from Europe and have them in my hands three days later (including a Sunday) with UPS. I can order a book from Amazon and it’s sitting on my porch in 48 hours. But apparently delivering the drugs that keeps my blood pressure from rocketing into the “about to have a stroke” level in less than ten days is a bridge too far for United States Postal Service. Next time I’ll leave well enough alone and just walk to New Jersey to pick it up. It’d be faster.

Editorial Note: In the interests of fair and balanced reporting, two hours after I called USPS, the package in question was scanned in at my local post office and showed “out for delivery.” It arrived, crinkled and battered, ten days after I ordered it, but it arrived. Fortunately, the rant had progressed too far past its failsafe point to call back.