It'll be here tomorrow, but, sheesh. USPS and FedEx will just leave it at my doorstep, but UPS has to be all difficult about it.
It looks like it's time for me to really disturb people regarding the practices of the USPS, FedEx, and UPS. After I tell you guys this, you'll probably never look at the three biggest shippers in the US of A the same way again, but this is all information that I have gathered from employees of said companies over the past few years and it also explains why I am so paranoid about each of them in their own ways.
First off, UPS has a system as to whether or not they will leave a package or a notice when you receive something from them. According to a former employee, UPS has an unspecified hierarchy of residential areas that decides whether or not they will leave a package, leave a notice, or some other option. Here's how it works:
Level One: at this level, the UPS delivery person will leave the package hidden somewhere on your property and leave an InfoNotice on your door to point you to where this is. This is usually only done in "secure" areas, such as gated communities, rural areas with low traffic flow, or otherwise "safe" places. My parents live in the second category and UPS routinely leaves packages in their barn with a notice on the front door.
Level Two: at this level, the UPS person will only leave the package if you give them written permission to do so, or they will leave it with a neighbor (who, Jebus willing, won't bitch and moan about it after they agreed to do it in the first place, but I digress). If you give them neither, they will leave you an InfoNotice and attempt redelivery.
Level Three: at this level, UPS will only leave an InfoNotice on your door and would probably prefer it if you come to their distribution center to pick it up so they don't have to come back out to the DMZ.
So basically, the nicer the area/neighborhood you live in, the quicker you'll get your UPS packages. When I found this little tiered structure out last year, I got really depressed at being in Level Two.
Also, UPS is less reliable the larger your package is. One ex-employee said that anything bigger than a television that said "FRAGILE" on it was basically tagged as being target practice. He said that the employees would treat these packages in a much more haphazard fashion due to the working conditions they operated under. Kind of a Fight Club-esque revenge on people that have nothing to do with their work conditions, I suppose.
FedEx is the company that literally doesn't give a **** about you or your package. If you want it fast, they'll get it to you, but they are a slave to their computer systems. One story had a guy ordering a computer with five-day delivery only to have it arrive at the distribution center three days early. This distro center was a mile away from his home (he lived near an airport) and when he saw this on his tracking summary, he went to the distro center to see if they would give it to him. The people there said that he paid for 5 day and that it would not be given to him any sooner, despite the fact that it was right there. FedEx will often just throw the packages out of the truck (depending on how close to the residence you are) and several times (personal experience) they have not even knocked on my door to let me know that my package has arrived. They run up to the door quickly, throw it down and speed away. On one occasion, I literally tripped over the package as I walked out my door.
Their customer service is generally atrocious too. I can't recall all the details, but there was something said about them randomly taking days off and purposely not answering the phones at other times. And they're generally seen as having the absolute worst record at being able to find your package if it is lost. Also, keep in mind that FedEx Ground is operated on a local level (similar to a franchise), so often times, they don't communicate so well with the actual company.
As for the USPS, their attitude is basically "We're the only game in town, so deal with it!" They will more or less come right out and tell you that 90 percent of their services are useless, and that unless you want to be 100 percent sure you will get something when you're supposed to get it, you have to spring for their highest level of service (which is, predictably, more expensive than either FedEx or UPS). They also like to randomly acknowledge/deny their relation to the US Government. This changes from day to day, based on the given situation. If it benefits them (as in "federal holiday"), they will say they are in the govt. If it does not benefit them, they deny it.
So, in short, this is what they are good for:
UPS: packages up to the size of a television
FedEx: documents/letters that are time sensitive
USPS: cheap ways to send letters but otherwise nothing
Back to your regularly scheduled program.