Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That's not the half of it

I'm amazed that there's such a response to the Fed Ex guy throwing a computer box over a fence. If that bothers anybody, their minds would be blown if they ever witnessed what goes on in the distribution centers.

Many moons ago I worked in a UPS distro center as a box kicker, and man, did I see some shit. The process of unpacking and packing boxes into trucks is nowhere near gentle, even if you are careful. You're talking thousands of packages an hour have to be shoved violently out of a truck onto rollers and conveyors, and then shoved violently back into another truck. This is done as fast as the human body will allow, and UPS doesn't issue you kid-gloves, nor do they issue common sense. I've seen heavy steel farm equipment loaded right on top of stacks of Gateway computers, boxes marked 'fragile' on every corner get stuck at the junction between conveyors and sheared clean in half, and boxes fall off conveyors into the dark abyss below, never to be seen again. It happens.

Now, some of the stuff that people see fit to send through the mail is nothing short of unbelievable. I never had live bees come through my center, like the USPS, but I do recall a live goldfish sent in a clear glass tank with plastic wrap rubber-banded around the top and a shipping sticker stuck to the side. That had to be some sort of sick test to see if it would get broke. We had a giant box of pink rubber dildos break open on a conveyor one morning; there had to have been 500 or more of them tumbling and fumbling all over the place, getting hung up on the belts, and nobody had any interest in grabbing ahold of them to put them back in, if you know what I mean. You never can tell what's in the faceless brown boxes until they bust open, spilling a thousand New Kids on the Block CDs or leopard print negligees all over the place. The worst was lip balm; break open a box of that and you would have a huge mess. By far the most destroyed item was Sylvania fluorescent light bulb tubes; those you could identify by their box, and, no lie, they were on every single truck. I would just shake my head at the stupidity of sending those through the mail - eight out of every ten boxes would be completely crushed, with white powdered glass leaking from the corners. I didn't know where the origin of the stupidity was -- from somebody who thought it was safe to mail them, or UPS continuing to accept them knowing they would have to compensate whomever for all the destroyed boxes.

If you think your mailman is rough with your stuff, you can't imagine what goes on where you can't see. Fed Ex box-kickers probably put luggage handlers to shame when it comes to putting their hands on your property, so I wouldn't get all worked up over the delivery guy. Believe me, you don't really want to know what Brown does for you.
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