Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Efficiency of UPS

On Monday I ordered two books from Amazon, one a friend's recently published book of poetry, and one Tobias Wolff's hot-off-the presses collection Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories. I've been waiting for Wolff's book partly for its own self and partly so I could spend the minimum $25 required to get Free Shipping and get my friend's book. Yippee! (Adding to the happy savings: by "preordering" the Wolff book all of one day early, I got another discount.)

I don't know how Amazon makes shipping decisions, but I'm always just a little disappointed when the shipper of choice is USPS. It's not that they're slow, because they're not particularly, but their "track this shipment" information decidedly lacks information. Usually there's a cursory note -- something like "carrier notified to pick up package." And then there might not be another notation until after I've opened the package and am turning the pages of the book.

Not so with UPS, which o happy day Amazon chose this time. UPS practically offers the phases of the moon and the state of mind of the truck drivers. Here's the books' travel history:

March 27, 2008 04:00:00 PM BITTY'S TOWN FL US Delivered
March 27, 2008 08:18:00 AM BIG TOWN NEAR BITTY'S TOWN FL US Out for delivery
March 27, 2008 08:12:00 AM BIG TOWN NEAR BITTY'S TOWN FL US Departure Scan
March 27, 2008 06:28:00 AM BIG TOWN NEAR BITTY'S TOWN FL US Arrival Scan
March 27, 2008 03:11:00 AM ORLANDO FL US Departure Scan
March 26, 2008 06:27:00 PM ORLANDO FL US Arrival Scan
March 26, 2008 08:24:00 AM CHATTANOOGA TN US Departure Scan
March 26, 2008 04:04:00 AM CHATTANOOGA TN US Arrival Scan
March 25, 2008 11:43:00 PM NASHVILLE TN US Departure Scan
March 25, 2008 06:28:00 PM NASHVILLE TN US Shipment picked up from seller's facility
March 25, 2008 12:21:08 PM US Carrier notified to pick up package

I was up early this morning, so I got to watch the package move from its arrival in Big Town through all the moves except "delivered," which happened when I was not online. It's like watching a loved one run a relay race, or checking in periodically with the Tour de France. Go, go! You can do it!

Now the first part of the excitement is over, and I can move to the second part. I must publish post, shut down, and drive home so I can turn the pages of my new books.

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