Monday, January 31, 2011

UPS Store--U Positively Suck

Ten-and-a-half years ago, when I first moved to Saratoga Springs, I rented a mailbox at the local UPS Store (then Mailboxes Etc.) for my business mail and especially for packages, because I quickly learned that the USPS, UPS, and FedEx liked to leave packages out in the rain and snow. (FedEx in particular has a remarkable knack, I have discovered, for placing boxes exactly where water drips from the eaves of the house.) A PO box was out of the question, because it was predominantly to receive packages from couriers that could not deliver to a PO box.

For 10 years, this system worked fairly well, although once I moved out to the suburban hellhole I couldn't walk up to get my mail anymore, which had been convenient in winter when I can't get my car out of the driveway. The transition from Mailboxes Etc. to The UPS Store went fairly well, and, well, the original owner's idea of "good customer service" was to not actually hit anyone. It also meant that I didn't have to change my business address the three or four times I have moved. And may (hopefully) continue to move.

A week or so ago, the UPS Store location began having strange hours, being closed during my usual dedicated errand times, and cryptic signs on the door would say "Due to a change in ownership at the Wilton branch, we are closed." Which meant I couldn't get my mail.

Today, they appeared to have shut down for good--no notes, no nothing. No one answers the phone. The Wilton branch number doesn't even ring. I e0maled the Wilton branch and (shock!) got no response. I called the Post Office hoping to retrieve any mail that had not been delivered, but they "didn't have it" and they pointed out (I could detect the nyah nyah in her voice) that the contract I probably signed with them (I don't recall; it was a decade ago) gave them the right to take possession of the customer's mail and do with it what they will. So I guess my mail, including checks (assuming anyone has deigned to pay me in the past couple of weeks), bills (like for my first semester of grad school), etc., is all in limbo. It doesn't help that I have to go out of town tomorrow for the rest of the week and will be unable to resolve any of this. Grrrrr....

This is just really lousy business practice. If they are in the midst of a change in ownership, I hope they realize that they have lost a lot of customers (given the swearing I have witnessed as people tried to get in), including me. A simple letter or a phone call or an e-mail explaining the situation and arranging some sort of contingency plan would have gone a long way toward not making me feel like a complete schmuck for having been a loyal customer for 10 years. Never again.

I don't like to use this blog to bitch about things, but it has been an incredibly frustrating experience, and I feel I should warn folks out there to absolutely avoid using these services and "businesses" for anything important.

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