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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.

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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

Smart Move in a Rough Economy: Help Your Boss to Shine

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives

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Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you. Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this.

The best way to make your boss look good is to handle your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion.

If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it’s still likely that you’ll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you’ve been doing more than your share, and he or she won’t be able to take a new position without your help.

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Becoming a Mentor to Others

Maybe you’re only 27 years old, or perhaps you’ve only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you’re willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department’s goals are, and determining your company’s objectives:

Your Job Description

First, knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization, an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion.

Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.

Company Goals

Second, learn and understand the goals of your part of the company. By whatever method your organization is broken into groups — department, division, project team — your group has objectives.

Goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group’s goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.

What is the Mission?

Finally, be aware of your organization’s mission. Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don’t already know it, find out. Your organization’s brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out.

The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.

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Business

Lessons of the 2020s: Unanticipated Events Happen

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being as well as on our time

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By now, nearly everyone has mentally marked the first few years of this decade as strange and, for those on the right, entirely upsetting. While we can’t guard against the unknown, or anticipate radical moves emanating from Washington DC, we can seek to do our best with what we have and what we know.

Each day when 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 products and tasks unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off.

How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, 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 thought was complete.

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To Be Flustered No More

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?

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

Anticipating the Unexpected

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. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

So… when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed ‘knowing’ 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. 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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