mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Adventures in TV delivery....

When networking companies talk about running broadband to homes, the classic problem is the "last mile" - the part of the network that goes from the switching station to people's houses. It's the hardest part of getting high-speed access to homes, because it's expensive and difficult to run cable to each house that might want broadband.

I'm thinking the last mile is also the biggest problem for online shopping.

Last week, I got an email from that they had an LG 42" plasma TV for $599 plus shipping. It was a pretty decent deal, and I felt like it was time to splurge and replace my 32" off-brand LCD with something a little bigger, so I ordered it.

I got tracking info, and it showed it would be delivered last Tuesday. It also said that it was indirect signature required, which usually means that you can sign a door tag. I figured it would work out perfectly - I'd leave the signed door tag and get the TV on Wednesday, which would be perfect since I would be leaving on Thursday to visit the parents in NJ.

So Tuesday night I come home to a door tag saying that an attempt was made. It had check boxes for what kind of signature was required, but none of them were checked. I signed the tag on the bottom and left it on the door.

So I came home Wednesday night expecting to find 42" of TV goodness. Like most things in my life, I found myself disappointed - no TV, just another door tag, this one with the signature part ripped off and "direct signature required". I looked up the tracking online, and it still said indirect signature.

Called FedEx. They didn't address the signature issue, but when I explained that I would be out of town they did offer to hold it for a couple days and deliver it today - Monday. Since I took the day off to drive down from NJ, I figured it was perfect. I made a point of leaving NJ early at 9:30 so I would be home when it came, and I made sure that I wasn't doing anything where I wouldn't hear the FedEx guy when he came. After a few hours I decided to check the tracking - and it showed an expected delivery date of tomorrow, with "package held for inspection" showing for the 2nd and for today. Damn.

So I call them again. The cute-sounding chick who answers has no idea why it's held for inspection, and she does see the notes that it was supposed to be delivered today. She also confirms that it was indirect signature required, but says some drivers still refuse to leave the item because they don't want to be responsible if it gets stolen (even though the signature thing you leave has fine print saying you release them from all liability). She says that she'll have the fedex depot call me in the next hour and let me know what's going on. She also tells me (contrary to what the last person I talked to) that I can't have the package rerouted, that only the shipper can. Damn again.

That was about an hour ago, so I think I'm probably not getting a call back, especially since the last time I tangled with FedEx ground I learned that the office closes at 5pm

So I pretty much know what's going to happen - assuming that the package isn't damaged or anything, they will try to deliver it when I'm not here tomorrow. Since that's the third attempt, they won't deliver it again, but they will hold it at the depot. Which means I have to spend my lunch break one day in the next week or so navigating the potholes of Dundalk to pick up my TV. I'm also going to have to talk someone at work into going with me, because the TV weighs 98 pounds, which is kind of bulky for one person.

The whole point of buying a TV online - and paying $53 in shipping - was, along with getting a better price, not having to worry about getting it home. Except that's exactly where I am now, and it would have been easier for me to pick it up from Best Buy, which is nearby and open at reasonable hours, than to get it from the FedEx depot. Unless it's a super-good price, I am never buying a large TV online again.


Post a Comment

<< Home