Disclaimer: The following is based on information from an unidentified source who requested anonymity on the basis that he was not authorized to speak on any facet of FedEx’s operation in the countdown to taking over the US Postal Service and that if we didn’t conceal his true identity he wouldn’t be an unidentified source anymore. I will therefore guard his identity with my very life… unless you like threaten to kill me or something. (Hey it works for Fox News, right?)
Due possibly to a glitch in an overly friendly FedEx Customer Service tracking computer, a few folks are finding out that the tiered system by which a shipper varies it’s shipping charges according to the amount of time it supposedly takes to get your package to you may not have much of a foundation these days.
I’ve often wondered why it takes a week or ten days to ship something to my house from say, San Diego, 350 miles down the road. I’ve also wondered why it takes the same week or ten days to ship the exact same item from Moosebutt, Maine, three THOUSAND miles across the country and why it would cost the same amount in both cases.
I know, part of the answer is that the merchandise from both places has to be shipped to a central distribution hub and that stuff I buy in California has to go to Atlanta and then come BACK to California but that still doesn’t explain the rather arbitrary way in which the costs of shipping merchandise are computed. If you step back and take a good look, it almost seems that it’s simply a matter of them saying, “OK, we have your stuff. If you want it in a week or two, give us ten dollars, but if you want it tomorrow or the next day, it’s gonna cost twenty otherwise we’ll just hang on to it for a while.
Fact is that in spite of having to ship something halfway across the country and back, we’re talking about doing it by air… which is the way FedEx does it… and it very seldom ever takes a week or ten days to get a package to anywhere from anywhere in the country by air and that the real time interval is probably more like 2-3 days no matter what “level” of shipping you choose. When you get right down to it, there is no standard rationale of any kind for determining shipping charges. On line merchants just charge whatever they’re being charged by the carriers plus whatever they think they can get away with for their own pockets and the shippers set theirs by a phony system they try real hard to make you believe is calibrated on the actual transit time of the merchandise..
Due to the aforementioned overly friendly computer(s), we may now have at least a partial explanation as to why this and other forms of weirdness occur such as the shipping on many small objects… as a computer hobbyist I tend to order lots of small objects… actually costing more than the merchandise itself, another pet peeve of mine (but perhaps not all that pertinent for the purposes of this post).
It appears that no matter what you pay, your package is going to go on a plane either the same day you order it or the day after, depending on the time of day the order is placed. In fact, many if not most most online merchants take great care to point out that your item will ship on the same day the order is received. It’s only common sense on their part since good logistics practices don’t allow for letting purchased items stack up in warehouses taking up space that’s needed for new merchandise so getting it into the hands of the carrier as soon as possible is a smart move.
And once it disappears into a carrier’s vehicle the other player… the carrier has total control over how long it will take you to get your stuff While there are others, UPS, DHL, TNT, etc that work much the same way, for our post here, that would be FedEx (because hey, they use The Flash in their ads and The Flash is way cool) who is obviously paid the lion’s share of the shipping costs charged and who’s charges to the shipper form the basis for the setting of the amount of those charges by the merchant in the first place. (And, incidentally, FedEx is one of the major shipping companies that is bankrolling the attempted coup against the USPS so they can apply their tactics and price structures to ALL your mail).
Once FedEx has your merchandise, it goes to Atlanta and is sorted and routed to the closest local FedEx facility and we can be pretty sure that all this is done in the shortest possible time or there wouldn’t be any such thing as overnight or next day service and it makes absolutely no sense to have separate sorting and routing systems for supposedly various small segments of the overall operation.
This means that your package probably reaches your local facility in a maximum average of two days, possibly less since the only difference between it and an overnight delivery would be that upon arrival at the local facility, the overnight goes directly into the local system for delivery while your raggedy assed package winds up going into the “system” for a week or so where is is subject to being shoved around, run over by forklifts, “accidentally” opened by employees or just flat out lost.
When the time finally arrives for your package to be carried that last few miles… or yards, since you could live right next door to your local FedEx and it would still be the same… the tracking system computer lets you know… provided you’re tracking it… that the locals have your stuff and it will be out and on its way to you momentarily. And that’s a drastically simplified version of how a simple package gets from point A to point C by doubling back from point B… or something like that. And it does NOT take seven to ten days to do it.
This has been SOP for decades with these glorified messenger services and 99.9% of the American public have probably never thought to question it. Only lately, when the tracking computers have screwed up and notified customers that their package had reached the local warehouse instead of waiting until their penalty box time for not shelling out extra bucks was up has someone looked at the thing and said WTF?.
And that’s not the end of the story either because these folks found out that this was NOT some kind of happy little serendipity thing where you’re gonna get your package sooner. Here’s how it appears to work in this case.
After being notified that their merchandise is already at their local depot… say maybe after a day or two of waiting while no doubt heaping praises FedEx for being so much “faster” than usual…it dawns on the customer that they still don’t have their package. At this point some decide to call FedEx to see what’s up with that.
Short version of the answer: “You only paid for the 7-10 day service so you have to wait the full 7-10 days to get your stuff.”. And right there, the whole tiered shipping charge rip off is exposed in all it’s malodorous glory .
Silly wabbit. I’ll bet you thought all along that 7-10 day wait was due to increased transit times maybe due to your choosing the cheapskate route, the schlepping of your stuff across the country or world by truck, train or banana boat or something like that there, right? Oh contrary moan Amy. They already HAVE your package, you’re just not going to get it until the time you opted for is up. You can’t even drive over there and pick it up yourself unless of course you want to pay the difference.
It does NOT cost FedEx any more to deliver your package in 2-3 days than it does to deliver in 7-10 days. The package spends that extra 5-7 days sitting in the local warehouse, just tantalizingly beyond your reach, only because you didn’t pay to have it loaded on a truck and sent out sooner, NOT because it’s still in transit because it was shipped in a rusty old 76 Freightliner that’s stalled in a truck stop in Gohmertville Texas because the owner/operator spent his fuel money play playing slap and tickle the cook’s daughter.
Small thing? You bet. As a matter of fact, 99% of the scams perpetrated on the public by these ginormous corporations are “small things”. The occasional “big” ones you hear about when the whore media simply can’t ignore them any more are designed so that they not only to make the same old fat cats a bunch of money in e relatively short time but… when the bubble pops… serve as shiny objects to distract people from these ongoing and everyday “small” scams that may not be so spectacular in terms of instant gratification for Wall Street and its government pimps but which, taken in view of the millions of people and small businesses affected over the many years, often decades, that most of them have been going on, have proved to be just as lucrative, if not more so, than the bubbles have.
If you’re OK with it,more power to you. I’m sure Wall Street is more than happy to have it’s little boiling frog theory proven out for them. I just wish you’d find some way to have all this crap you’re OK with apply only to your own bank account and leave mine the hell alone.