Mastering Inefficiency

Warning: this is a rant. Wednesday of last week, as many of you may know, I ordered an item from a company in Topeka, KS through Amazon. I ordered it well before the "ship today" cutoff time. I paid extra for expedited 2-day shipping. By my reckoning, I should have had the package, at the latest, on Friday. Initially, UPS showed a scheduled arrival on Friday. The item I ordered will arrive today.

Obviously, somebody, or somebodies, did something wrong. Let's take a look at the route the package is taking to get to me:



You'll notice that UPS has routed the package around and/or past the destination (J on the map) not once, but twice. Here's a closer look at the routing once the package reached the Pittsburgh area:


Now, years ago, I worked for a division of UPS, so I have a real good idea of how they operate, especially in this area. There is no reason that the package had to go through two stops in the Philadelphia, PA area (stops F and G). There is no reason that the package had to go through Laurel, MD, except that it was routed through Philly. The package should have been routed from New Stanton, PA (stop E) directly to Frederick, MD (stop I) and then to the final destination (stop J). That would have gotten the package to me on Friday, on time, as ordered.

It's a wonder to me that, with this kind of inefficiency, UPS manages to not lose money hand-over-fist. It's amazing that they manage to keep trucks on the road. Especially when another item, ordered at the same time (part of the same Amazon order, but fulfilled by a different company), was mailed from Laverne, CA on the afternoon of the 11th, did manage to arrive on time on Friday.

That's right. The struggling United States Postal Service was able to more efficiently handle a package for less money than big, bad, brown UPS. I don't get it.



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