A STRAW AND A CAMEL – Marilyn Armstrong

I understand that Amazon is overloaded and slow delivery is routine and that’s okay. Most things I don’t need tomorrow or the next day. I don’t mind waiting a week and sometimes much more.

What gets me is that they deliver my stuff to other people’s houses. Our left-hand next door neighbor is one ornery, nasty old cuss. We used to listen to him shouting at his wife. She’s gone for at least a decade. I’m surprised she stayed as long as she did.

Not surprisingly, since Amazon has taken to dumping our packages on his walk, he has found it annoying. He refuses to return the packages. If we can’t figure out that he’s got them, he keeps them. Yes, it’s illegal and once we had to send the cops who explained the legalities and he decided maybe he should return the packages.

But, in all fairness, this is an ongoing issue. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told the package was delivered but it wasn’t … and it never appeared. It was delivered somewhere, but not here.

We have provided our phone number and very specific directions on how to get here. We put up a sign along the road so if you are trying to find the We have given Amazon specific instruction on how to get to this house and we have a big sign at the top of the driveway that has our house number on it. Four packages were supposed to be delivered today and all four of them went to the nasty old neighbor. And all four delivery slips said “packages given directly to residents.” No, they weren’t. Not to us, not to the neighbor. Not to anyone but us.

They promised me it would never happen again. I wasn’t my usual placid me because I can’t count how many times they have said this exact line to me and it hasn’t changed anything.

That they can’t get the address right is annoying. That they lie when they say they handed it to a resident is much more than annoying. I understand te drivers are under pressure, but they had other options including “delivery is delayed” if it is. But it wasn’t delayed. It was delivered to the wrong place.

I hate the lying. That they make it increasingly difficult to get in touch with anyone at Amazon to deal with problems is most annoying of all.

The whole point of ordering things is so they get delivered. To me. Not my neighbor who lives a quarter of a mile down the road. It wasn’t that the packages were delayed, lost, or still on the truck. They were delivered — just not to me. The guy lied, said he delivered them to a resident, and dumped them on our neighbor’s sidewalk. It isn’t okay. And if I have to find local places that sell what i want, then I’ll have to do it.

I hope the state lets some more store open soon because it gets increasingly difficult to buy anything except groceries.

THE WAITING GAME

YOUR PACKAGE IS HERE!

Along with the joy and excitement of on-line shopping, has come the lesser joy and excitement of awaiting delivery. We can order anything from everywhere, whether its Scottish jelly, Za’atar from Israel, or jewelry from Asia or Africa. Ordering? Piece of cake.

Then, there’s delivery. Mostly, if you are an Amazon Prime member, they promise you automatic two-day delivery and at least 75% of the time, that’s what you get. It was a bit rocky when the program began, but after a year and some, they got it nailed. Mostly. Depending.

Depending on whether or not they use UPS which almost always gets the package here, to our door, in 48 hours. FedEx, who get the package somewhere in 48 hours, but not necessarily here. The neighbors are the not infrequent recipients. Or, the post office, which may or may not ever deliver the package.

I have no idea what becomes of packages sent by Amazon’s version of snail mail which starts out as UPS, but then is delivered to a local post office somewhere. Typically, they drop the package in Sudbury, about 10 miles north of here. From Sudbury, they send it to Lexington, Kentucky. From there, it travels aimlessly to Seattle, then Los Angeles. During these wanderings, I get messages from Amazon.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

“Your package has been sent to the wrong delivery address,” it says. They’ve taken my package from a local post office here in Massachusetts and shipped it to the west coast. “But we’re correcting it right now,” and it includes a happy face so I know that I should not get upset about it. With each subsequent wandering delivery attempt, I get another chirpy letter. Sometimes, weeks later, the package arrives. Sometimes only a part of the package arrives. In the course of sending each package twice around the world, the box gets a bit damaged. It was probably the monsoons along the coast of India. Nothing like ten inches of rain to soften up a cardboard box. Occasionally, it looks like they put it on a ramp and drove the truck over it. Twice.

And then there are times when I never see it, but I’m pretty sure someone is enjoying it. Somewhere.

About a year ago, Amazon thought they could lower their delivery costs by starting their own delivery service. I’m not sure exactly what they were intending, but I know that none of the package sent by Amazon’s own personal service ever got to my house. They assured me it was impossible because the electronic thingies in the trucks would only beep when they were within a few hundred yards of my house. I explained that they may be beeping with rage and fury, but the package wasn’t getting to my house. Once, we tracked it to a neighbor’s house and he begrudgingly gave it back. The rest of the times? Refund and me giving up. I finally told them that if the choice was between not ordering an item or getting it through Amazon’s special delivery service?

Just say no. It would save us all a lot of agony.

When the snow melts in the spring, I find things. Items long-buried under snow appear, a lot the worse for wear. I don’t know what they used to be, but they aren’t that any more. There are packages deep in the woods and in piles of sand along the road. Usually, they are so disgusting, I don’t want to know what they were.

I should mention that normal snail mail packages get here in the usual way of our local post office. For example, a letter mailed from the other end of Uxbridge can take two weeks to get to us, but a letter mailed from Boston will get here in a single day.

It’s part of the excitement of the world-wide web and it’s “anything you want from anywhere in the world” shopping mall. Delivery in 2 days, guaranteed!