Abandoning Android: A Series, side-note #1 — The FedEx Failure

Two Apple Computer logos side-by-side, each stylized a different way.
Two Apple Computer logos side-by-side, each stylized a different way.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect this. Shrewd readers of footnotes from a will remember that I have a personal hatred for FedEx, even going so far in the past as to order from different websites in order to avoid using their service. I’d have done the same thing with my new iPhone if it weren’t that the Apple website is the best place to buy a new device when the Apple Store is closed which — thanks to our friend the pandemic — it is.

When I made my order the shipping arrival estimates from Apple were between 3 and 4 June, 2020, which was about two weeks out from the order date. I’ve already said it but if it weren’t for the pandemic I’d find those shipping times unacceptable. I then went on, in another post, to begin by saying that I was pleased Apple was putting a conservative estimate on the arrival estimates when placing an order because I was pleasantly surprised when instead I was told, once the device was actually being sent out, that it would get here on 26 May.

This brings me to the point of this side-note: FedEx is the absolute worst shipping option. Yeah, that’s subjective, but to this day I’ve never had a good experience with them. This time it’s even more obscene. It’s been a while since I’ve ordered anything that they were going to be delivering to me, probably a few years actually, so I was surprised when Apple sent me the tracking info and I was given the arrival date as shown.

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This was initially kind of exciting to me. Could it be that FedEx had so improved their logistics capabilities that they were able to predict not just the day my package would arrive, but an upper limit on the time of day it would be there for me to receive?

Well, let’s see!

It’s been showing this since 19 May, the first time the tracking number actually showed any information. To be fair, this particular screenshot is from last night, but since the 19th it’s said “Scheduled delivery: Tuesday 5/26/2020 by 10:30 am” verbatim.

It’s presently 11:55 am on 5/26/2020 as I write this very sentence and would you believe it, I’ve not received my iPhone.

You know what? Honestly, I was rooting for them. I specifically said to myself that I wanted to change my mind about FedEx and every day that same “Tuesday by 10:30 am” scheduled delivery showed up after I refreshed the page I thought “hmm, they must really know their stuff. If this works out, I’m going to make sure to mention it in the next entry in my series.” But instead, they’re getting a whole entry in this series to themselves because they are horrible.

The chutzpah it must take for them to actually go out of their way to tell me the time of day my package is going to be here — or rather, the latest time it’ll arrive, if we’re being precise — must be astronomical.

In the past I’ve seen those “scheduled delivery” dates change throughout the shipping process and that’s pretty standard. Logistics is hard! However, the more precise your website is in telling people when something’s going to happen, the more reason we have to assume that you really know what you’re talking about. Or perhaps the more reason we have to expect that you’re actually capable of fulfilling a promise you made, if you want to look at it that way, which I do.

But — and please forgive this total cliché but it’s unavoidable — the icing on the cake is that they pulled this next move. Take a look at the screenshot from their webpage.

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I will admit straight away that yes, the time I took this screenshot was 10:55 am. I did not check it after about 10:10 am because that was the last time I thought it would be necessary and at that time it still said 10:30 am.

When 10:45 rolled around and nobody had dropped off a package I thought “fifteen minutes late, eh? Overall, not that terrible. Maybe they’ve revised the time by an hour or something. I dunno, I’ve got stuff to do today and I’d like to be here when they arrive so I can sign for the thing (another serious irritation) and it’d be great to know when I can expect I’ll be able to dedicate my attention to the tasks I need to do.”

So I went to my browser, refreshed the tab, and saw that the total failures at FedEx have suddenly lost all that cocky swagger they had only a handful of minutes ago, insisting 10:30 am was the latest I’d get my package, and instead now are just telling me it’ll get here when it gets here.

Let me be perfectly clear: if the page had looked like this from day one, I wouldn’t be angry. If it had changed to this after one or two days in transit, I would also not be angry. Logistics, as I have said, is hard! It’s a pandemic, too, so just giving me the estimated day it’ll arrive would be fine!

That’s not what happened here. What they did was insist on a pretty tight delivery timeframe from the beginning and continued that ruse right up until the moment they completely failed to, pardon the pun, deliver. There was an expectation here that they’d come through on this very oddly specific scheduled delivery and they’ve failed to live up to that expectation. Coming from a company I already abhor makes it sting a lot more.

I am curious what my readers think, however. I don’t want this to look like I’m begging for engagement or anything but I’m honestly extremely angry and disappointed about this outcome, although I’m also aware that the level of anger and disappointment is likely much, much higher than it ought to be(?) since the company involved is one that I’ve hated for such a long period of time. One more frustration in a string of frustrations; a pattern it looks like I’ll never be able to break free of until every vendor decides to nix FedEx as a “shipper”, though I use that term extremely loosely in FedEx’s case.

It’s just very stupid to me to tell someone you’re going to do something so specifically and then not live up to it, but still expect to get paid. If I could demand my money back from them I would. Since I chose free shipping from Apple I don’t think that’s an option.

The better option would be for FedEx to stop being bad at its job. I would forego a refund on shipping costs if they’d just get around to doing that.

Oh, still not begging for interaction here, but I would love to here any other horror stories from readers, apropos FedEx shipments. Particularly if they’re not the usual “my box was squished/stolen” fare. I strongly suspect I am not the only person who has consistently terrible experiences from this awful company.

Hopefully at some point today I’ll get my new iPhone SE and I can start a real entry in this series, probably about first impressions, setup, etc. But who knows? FedEx says I will get it today but at 8:00 pm tonight it might suddenly say tomorrow, or next month for all I know.

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I’m an IT consultant, I studied physics, and I enjoy securities analysis in my free time, when I’m not writing. He/him or they/them. BLM!

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