Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Waiting On Infonotices

I’ve got three things coming to me via UPS. The first item is the copper sink for the kitchen island. They told me it would be 4 to 6 weeks and I ordered it on March 1st. Being that today is April 19th I think it’s safe to say they didn’t quite make the delivery on time. Every company on earth should add a minimum of 20% to all their estimates they tell customers. Even companies I’ve worked for in the past, when they tell me a certain product or upgrade will be happening by a certain date they almost always miss the mark.

I think the length of delay is somehow based on the size of the company but trying to figure it out exactly would be tough. It is that fuzzy logic sort of thing. Maybe it could be worked out with chaos theory. I think that a company starts out and things run on time, and then they start to grow and if they are successful they get to a point where the wheels fall off and everything goes to hell for a while. Then they reach their stride and things seem to run smoothly for a while. Then they start to drift. The larger they get and the more successful they are the more they drift and the less it matters. Really big and powerful corporations really don’t have to care.

I remember Lilly Tomlin did a skit on Saturday Night Live where she resurrected her phone operator character from Laugh In. This was just before the brake up of Ma Bell. She was going around unplugging phone lines and disrupting long distance service and finally she said, “We’re the phone company. We don’t care. We don’t have to care.”

Fortunately I’ve become so jaded that I now expect failure at every turn. In those rare instances when a big corporation actually does what it says it’s going to do I consider it a fluke. I called the people today about the sink and they said I should get it by the end of next week. Friday of next week is April 28th so I’m expecting the sink sometime in the first week of May. And I’m not holding my breath for this one.

Oddly enough, given the diatribe above of Corporate America, and the fact that I’m waiting on all these deliveries from UPS, UPS seems to be a company that is run well. Maybe it’s just one of those flukes. Maybe they miss delivery times all over the world but Eureka is in this weird place were everything comes together and all the pieces fall in to place. All I know is that when I get a UPS tracking number, and their web site tells me the package will be at my house on Thursday, the package shows up on Thursday. I can also pretty much guarantee that the truck will pull up to my house some time between 3 and 4 o’clock on Thursday. Maybe they’ve reached their stride or maybe they just haven’t gotten big enough yet that they don't have to care.

I’ve also ordered some burl and curly redwood. A better way to put it was that I was the high bidder for the redwood. Here I am in the heart of redwood country and I’m buying redwood on Ebay. Isn’t that strange. I found burl redwood locally but it was half as much on Ebay. Sometimes the wood goes for really high prices but I happened to get a good deal. The burl slab is going to be cut in to drawer fronts for cabinets that I will be building someday. These are the cabinets that will separate the dining room from the butler’s pantry. The originals were removed back in the 20s. All the woodwork in the dining room is burl and curly redwood so I want the new cabinets to look like they belong. If you’re not sure what burl and curly redwood is you can click on the link here to see the other woodwork in dining room. Of course, I will be posting pictures as soon as the wood arrives. When ever the hell UPS decides to show up with the stuff. Those fat bastards!


Allison said...

I think it's less the size of the company and more the degree of competition. UPS still has the postal service and FedEx. But look at companies like Microsoft. They don't even have to put out a bug-free product anymore. It's the same for the small niche-market companies - you sometimes have to wait forever for a product, but where else are you going to go?

Peter A. said...

If you want to get obsessive with tracking a shipment look at

I used to track a package I got today (the rug in the current post in my houseblog). It e-mails you with every step along rou're package's route.

slateberry said...

UPS has phd operations reasearch types who are paid to sit around and think about disaster scenarios (tsunami, earthquake, geopolitical flare-ups) and how to reroute and continue service under each scenario. Oddly it sounds like a fun job to me. So, yes, they have their shit together. At least, until they make the mistake of hiring me into their disaster preparedness department.