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May the Delivery Service That Ruins My Packages Go Out of Business

Valuable packages are damaged on the last .001% of the trip because one company hires hostile, angry delivery drivers

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One of the magnificent days in the life of an author, after months of writing, more months of production, and then months of waiting, comes when your new books are finally ready to be shipped from the publishers warehouse.

Publishers know how to ship books so that they will arrive in good condition. So your author copies, in pristine condition, are carefully packed at the warehouse. Sometimes, they travel 1000s of miles, from one stop to the next, magically making their way to your destination.

From Delight to Fright

As an author of 68 books, I’ve experienced the delight in opening a box of my latest books and holding a copy in my hands for the first time. This experience seldom happens, however, when a certain carrier of record is involved. The carrier seems predisposed to hiring aggressive, angry, ineffective delivery men. I say men, because this has never happened with female delivery personnel.

As far as the book boxes might have traveled, and as many places as they might have rested, when the packages are ready to be delivered to my door step, here’s what happens: The driver takes a box out of the truck, strides up my sidewalk, and then, instead of walking up the two steps of my porch and laying the package down, he throws it. In throwing the package he saves perhaps two tenths of a second.

Perilous Odds

When the book boxes are thrown, if they fall flat the odds are that there will be no damage to any of the books. If one corner of the box, however strikes the flat cement of my porch first, then the books in that corner of the box are going to be damaged. In other words, brand new books, in pristine condition, that I have waited months to receive, and which have been shipped thousands of miles across the country, are now irrevocably damaged on the last .001% of the trip because this company hires hostile, angry delivery “professionals” who could not care less about your package.

I have chased such delivery men, after what they’ve done to my book boxes. I have called the company incessantly. I have complained at the local, regional, and national level. Each time I am told – year after year – that they’ll “look into this situation.” Yet, as months pass, and other boxes of books arrive, I receive boxes in damaged condition as a result of the last second in the delivery process.

A Handler Confesses

Confirming what I already knew to be true, an ex-handler from the company anonymously went on record in a national magazine, and exposed the horrors of the company’s delivery system. For example, it is par for the course when boxes arrive squished or bent out of shape. Such packages move along a slide with hundreds of other packages and eventually are crushed from behind. Also heavier packages can slide on top of other packages, and the ones below can burst open.

On a driver’s typical day, he will stand on one package to reach another. Submit a damage claim and often you will be denied because the tape you used on the box wasn’t wide enough. In fact, if you don’t prepare your vital packages in accordance with strict delivery rules then you have no claim. Fair enough, but this hasn’t been the issue in sending or receiving packages. My publishers and I are aware of the regulations. That doesn’t stop the flow of damaged boxes courtesy of this company.

Unbeknownst to almost any layperson, the trailers in which their boxes sit could have holes along the roof. When it rains, boxes can get wet. The drivers know this but in their haste to make their daily deliveries, they do not stop and file the necessary paperwork to have their trucks repaired.

Any Old Way

Shipping anything at holiday time? Shipper beware! Delivery services hire legions of seasonal packagers. Such workers are under-skilled, exhausted, and pre-disposed to handle your box any old way, never mind if it’s upright or getting crushed.

Don’t bother to write fragile on your package. Handlers might encounter hundreds of such packages during their shift. No one cares what you write on the side of the box. In one instance, a supervisor illustrated how to load a package on the truck. The supervisor picked up a small package and tossed on to the top of the stack of boxes.

Unfortunately he missed and the box crashed on the trailer floor, whereupon he re-tossed it back up. Amazingly to the newbie, the box said “fragile.” The supervisor saw the newbie’s sense of alarm and said, “they all say fragile.”

In Reflection

After posting my complaints on Facebook and elsewhere, the company predictably offer me corporate speak: “We will continue to assist you if you follow up via email to us.” I respond, “Do you have any flaming idea how much time I have spent, on the phone, at length, with local and regional supervisors who have said that they would ‘look into it’”? And yet the careless deliveries continue, year after year, regardless of who the drivers are.

As an author, I’ve had 100s of packages delivered over many decades: this company’s delivery people, in general, are the least attentive, least caring, and most likely to destroy packages. It isn’t close: All other delivery services, on average, are superior.

What does work? If you can, request that your publisher use a different delivery service. When you’re sending packages, have a child-like drawing on your box! No handler is going to risk having a package, sent by some child, becoming all mashed up. Short of that, you’re playing Russian roulette with packages every time you interact with such delivery ‘services’ as the brown truck company.

May they go out of business.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Running up Huge Deficits: Bad for Nations and for Individuals

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal

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Joe Biden seeks to spend $6 trillion annually, for now. It could be higher thereafter, as our national debt climbs to staggering sums: $28.5 trillion, and $153.5 in unfunded liabilities. Has any nation in history that accumulated large deficits over a prolonged period of time and, lacking a concerted effort towards reducing them, sustained economic prosperity for its people?

Personal Deficits

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal. What are the deficits in your own life? For example, based on how many calories you’re consuming daily, are you running a deficit in the number of calories you need to burn to maintain a proper weight level? If so, you know that you face many health risks.

Do you have a financial deficit? For decades, tens of millions of Americans have accumulated personal debt via credit cards. Sustained deficit spending erodes one’s ability to prepare for the future and, worse, exploit current opportunities.

Is there a deficit in the time that you spend with relatives and loved ones? What about hobbies? Friends? Worthy causes?

Answers Appear

When you’re honest with yourself about your deficits, the answers to reducing them naturally appear:

* To reduce a weight deficit, plot your weight each morning for six months. Once you become vividly aware of the relationship between calories burned and weight reduction, watching your weight drop will further reinforce your ability to maintain balance in your caloric intake.

* To reduce a personal financial deficit, place a moratorium on spending – regardless of what items entice you – until all your credit cards have zero balances.

* If you have a deficit in the time spent with friends, on hobbies, or on worthy causes, devote one evening per week to such endeavors. Give up addictive news and information via web and TV that, in retrospect, might add little to your life while creating other time-related deficits. To spend more time with your children, involve them in activities you have traditionally done without them.

Here are two resources:

Debtors Anonymous: www.debtorsanonymous.org
Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous: www.obsessivecompulsiveanonymous.org

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Business

Your To-Do List: Unforeseen Events Will Arise

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling tasks, unexpected obligations and interruptions arise that could throw us off our plan.

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Each day you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off our plan.

How do you react when you are humming along and, suddenly, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you felt was complete.

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

A Supplemental To-do List

I believe there is, and it involves making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately and completely encapsulates the new task you now need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course.

Equanimity Reigns

The key question for you is: Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions? The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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