Logistics is big business these days. You know: getting an item from A to B. B preferably being the address that has been stamped all over A. It is surely an indication of how advanced we have become as a society that we can send an item half way around the globe in 24 hours and deliver it to a specific postal code in the middle of nowhere. Talk about precision bombing of the friendly sort.
So. Logistics then. It’s an amazing concept. A global concept.
And we’ve all heard of a few of these companies that specialize in logistics. FedEx. DHL. Erm... and some others.
We are all dependent on them at some point. We are all pinpoints in the vast logistical web that is the human race; part of the logistics network in a mostly passive sense.
We wait for these guys to find us and render unto us that which someone else has deigned to make ours.
Things like Valentine’s Day presents.
My wife bought me one of those this year – as she does every year.
I have yet to receive it. It has yet (at the time of writing) to be delivered. Because the logistics people can’t seem to get their heads around the simple logic of reading an address label and assigning the package to a correct delivery route or even – and this makes me gasp – finding the right package with the right name and address on it.
I do not yet know what my Valentine’s present is. Only that my wife is as cheesed off as I am that we are still waiting for it to arrive. She has, bless her, bought me a second extra present to keep me going in the interim so you could argue I have benefitted from this balls up. But that isn’t the point, is it?
The first attempt to deliver the package was a non starter. DHL subcontracted the delivery to a local logistics company who, ironically, were located a mere mile away from my house. If I’d known this at the time I could have walked round to the depot. I wish I had. They’ve “lost” the package. Not that they’re admitting to this, mind. It has been “loaded onto one of their vans for delivery”. This status was apparently flagged up on the 16th February. So, I can only assume the driver is coming to my house via The Maldives and will arrive as soon as he can get someone to haul his van off the coral reef.
My wife rang and notified the vendor who were as cheesed off as we were. They sent out a second version of the item express delivery. This time DHL would deliver it themselves personally.
They didn’t. They called when my wife and I were both at work (surely a common occurrence these days), didn’t try the neighbours who were all in and took the parcel all the way back to their depot in Sutton effing Coldfield which is miles away from my house. It is not a part of the world either of us are familiar with so we did not fancy having to drive all that way, with the kids in tow, after a hard day at work. Could we come at the weekend? No. They are closed Saturday and Sunday. So if you are working parents you are pretty well stuffed.
We opted to have the package delivered to my place of work. I had to email them to do this – or so the automated telephone message informed me. I did so. I gave them every piece of information that a true logistics-head could want. Things like my name and my work address; the delivery code of the item, the original address, the service route, my mobile phone number, etc. Everything.
Yesterday DHL delivered the wrong package to my place of work. A package not addressed to me, with not my name on it and looking nothing like the package my wife had bought for me. Gregory Beavis if you’re reading this... I apologize for the delay of the delivery of your own package. It is currently in my possession.
Cue tightly voiced phone call to DHL (once I’d navigated the automated telephone firewall and actually got to speak to a living breathing half-thinking human being). Cue many apologies.
They could see straight away what they had done wrong. They had delivered the wrong package. They had not delivered the right one. This from a logistics company whose whole raison d’être is to deliver packages to the addresses printed on them.
Apparently they’re going to call again today and we are going to swap packages. Kind of like a dodgy drugs deal at an international airport. Only this time, I hope, without further foul ups.
I am not holding my breath.
I guess the moral of the story is this: if you want to guarantee that something is delivered to some specific person in some specific place you’d better bloody well start walking now and deliver it yourself.
Trust me; it’s the only logical thing to do.