Friday, February 5, 2016

Today's FedEx Service Alert

"We have no reason for any delays today. We have tried to come up with some basis, some excuse not to get your overnight package to its destination overnight, but we were unable to locate any local, regional or national disasters. There are no Mardi Gras road closings in Alabama (?), no tornadoes, no blizzards, no earthquakes. No terrorist alerts, no power outages, no catastrophes known or contemplated"

"That is not to say that we are definitely delivering your most important package when and where you think. There is the possibility of a SARS outbreak, or even a new case of Ebola that will require a quarantine exactly in the locale where you desperately need your most critical document to arrive. There is also the chance that the airplane may have a mechanical problem, the truck could break down, the driver could have a stomach ache or an endangered species could plant itself in the middle of the roadway and refuse to be relocated without an order of the court. Or maybe we are just a little slower because that is how we are feeling today."

"We are committed to providing you with the best and most reliable service in the industry.. We don't like to bad mouth our competitors but my Aunt Joan shipped a package by UPS and it was 30 minutes late in arriving. Just saying"
"We thank you in advance for your continued loyalty and we welcome your feedback (as long as it is positive). Again, we apologize if you are at all inconvenienced by matters outside of our control, but you should get used to it."

OK, you got me. That was not a real message from the company that notifies me, seemingly on a daily basis, why they may be experiencing problems in performing their agreed upon duties. Unlike the post office, where neither rain, sleet nor snow will keep those people from their appointed rounds, there are myriad issues that you and I would never imagine that could lead to your mother's special delivery of your favorite cookies arriving the day after your Super Bowl party.

Not all of the consequences are insignificant. When I googled "Fed Ex Service Alerts" this appeared on my screen; "FedEx is no longer experiencing national service disruptions. Any specimens that were recently delayed will be processed and reviewed as soon as possible." 

And when I focused my attention on FedEx International Mail Service for the last month I was alerted of "global hot spots"  including Rwanda where the constitutional referendum in that country resulted in no postal service on that day.

Speaking of the Super Bowl (which I did above, if you were paying attention) there is the following notice: "Operations During Super Bowl 50"- February 2-7, 2016 - "Some customers in Santa Clara and San Francisco, CA areas may experience service delays or disruptions during this time because of governmental of security measures in place for Super Bowl 50." 

You see, FedEx is a mirror for what is transpiring in the world in this most turbulent of times. Our environment is globally heated up and the plagues seem always to be at our doorstep (or at least at the doorstep of where our package is intended).  Political and social unrest and upheaval mean that we are on universal alert, a kind of perpetual lock-down and that we must be forever vigilant to the threat of attack. If caution dictates that we not rush headlong into potential disaster, if mother nature or ISIS is sending out messages of warning, then FedEx must heed its call.

But rather than contemplate tragedies and tribulations, I would rather just poke a little fun. I thought of sending my fictional message with which I began this piece to the company. I would then suggest that they run this as their service notice on April 1, 2016. Yet while I understand that my submission to them would most likely find the appropriate receptacle (that is the sound of a toilet flushing) my real fear is that my thoughts would fall into the wrong hands. And that my favorite cookies from my mother would somehow never find their way to my home, or my stomach. 

Or that FedEx would be compelled to respond in kind:

"Be aware of possible false notices. There is a rogue out there, perpetrating his own brand of mischief. He is conniving, clever and cunning. He will lull you into believing his fictions, but don't be fooled. There is no truth to the assertion that "my Aunt Joan shipped a package by UPS and it was 30 minutes late in arriving". The truth is that it was 45 minutes late."

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