Aug 092012

Jean-Paul Villere

Some shipping companies make no mistakes.  Just so you know.  With such a bold statement that is in fact true (just ask), you would think the-shipper-that-could might add that to their huffy and overly confident, chin up repertoire.  Alas, they do not.  As consumers we are told they really adore systemization, that their quickness may be akin to a well-oiled operation and most directly how best can we serve you (which if this were a real question, then I might never shut up).  I say let’s start with making a quick end to the empty apologies for poor service and paying for my next shipment.  That’s how best you can serve me.

Recently a package I was somewhat looking forward to was returned to its point of origin.  I am told guys and gals from Deliveryland made five attempts before sending it back.  Five.  That’s a lot.  And yet of those five, I found evidence via sticky note of only two, and really only one.  Because only one was attached to my door.  The second one was discovered in my driveway after one of New Orleans’ famous summer afternoon downpours.  Leaving a sticky note on an exterior door in a town known for exceptional tropical weather defies logic. And the other three? I suppose it’s a matter of faith.

Never mind there is a post on my door asking all delivery folk to call me.  Never mind they could leave the package with a neighbor.  Or at least not return it to its point of origin and permit me to retrieve from the warehouse as I have done with all the other packages I miss.  I know I shouldn’t have to travel to the warehouse, because any logical person would call a phone number or find a solution, but I do.  Hey, I missed waiting on you, generic shipping company; let me come to you.  A solid business model I can forgive.  But what I can’t forgive is the circular thought some brands seem so heavy handed on.  Apparently, it’s my fault — though when you put it to them that way they get all deflective in a “I didn’t say that” kind of way.

Round and round I went, first with the customer service rep, then the supervisor.  And I have to hand it to them: they didn’t crack.  Their message was consistent and strong.  We are sorry.  We tried five times.  And, we are sorry.  Don’t bother asking why the driver doesn’t call.  Because of course Deliveryland doesn’t provide their driver with that sort of newfangled 21st-century technology, nor might they expect their driver to possibly use their own personal cell phone.  That would be illogical.  And the whole leaving-with-a-neighbor thing falls on deaf ears.  Like it’s some sort of fusion concept.

So when you sift through the airy and copious regrets, a practical consumer might seek some form of compensation.  And you will do so fruitlessly.  Remember: some shipping companies make no mistakes.  They tried to deliver.  Five times.  They never said they’d call or anything else; you aren’t paying them to do that.  You’re paying them to try to deliver five times.  Which, as they told me more than once, was an exception: it’s usually only three times.  I felt special for exactly 1.3 seconds until it dawned on me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  Like trying to deliver some thing five times without a phone call or neighbor drop.

I played my final card.  I protested they needed to pay for my next shipment as I still wanted my package!  We are sorry.  And I’m a young 38 years old with lots of shipping dollars left to spend in the next half of my life!  Again, we are sorry.  And lastly: I write a weekly column, and I’m certain I’ll write about this soon!  Uh huh, no, we are sorry.

And with that I stopped.  I tried to deliver a package of logic and best wishes for a continued mutually beneficial consumer relationship to Deliveryland.  But they sent it back.

Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and the Du Mois gallery on Freret Street and father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at, he also writes an occasional real-estate blog at and shares his family’s adventures via pedicab on Facebook and Twitter.

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