Friday, June 6, 2008

I won't be there

Ever since going back to work, the thing that bothers me the most is how many hours every day I spend so far away from the house. This has always been difficult for me and was a part of the reason that I stopped working last year. Now here I am back to making a color coded spreadsheet for where my children will be for each day of the summer, and depending on an intricate and tenuous combination of help and scheduling from my mother, my sister, vacation time, daycamps, and a proposal to my management for a telecommute schedule, which is still under discussion. To put it mildly I am freaking out which has manifested into some unusual behavior.


Everything started when I left my camera at Jillian's first communion. It turned out that my cousin Derek had picked it up after the party, but until I knew that I had to face the possibility that it was gone forever. Which made me start thinking about how much I'd really like to have a new digital camera. A better one. With a greater zoom. Image stabilization. More pixels per inch.

You may know this about me: that with the exception of the occasional escapade to Target, I am not much of a shopper, I tend to over-think and over-research both big and small purchases and often just don't make them at all. So it took a while to warm up to the new camera idea. I started learning about the features that are out there, and checking out friends cameras, and comparing prices. Then came the cost justification phase. I never really got a birthday present this year, and there was some profit sharing at GM, I got a little raise in salary, and then George Bush sent us a check in the mail to stimulate the economy. It's my patriotic duty to go out there and drop a little cash on the just-right camera of my dreams!

We went to Best Buy and the helpful man showed me the new Kodak Z1012. I was in love. But not quite ready to commit. I did some research on the internet about this camera and other comparable one. It looked like the best deal was to order it online through Kodak's website. I got a 2GB memory card and 10 percent off that way. So I put together the order...and then waited. And then when I was really ready and sure I placed the order. Of course the next day Kodak put that camera on sale for another $20 off but I wasn't going to think about that, I was going to wait for My New Camera to come in the mail.

The cranes showed up on our side of the lake again. I looked at them and thought about how once My New Camera gets here I'll be able to get some awesome zoomed-in pictures to post for you to see on my blog. At Jeff's baseball games I thought about the action shots I'll be capturing with My New Camera. The low lighting at Timmy's band concert would be no problem for a camera with the features that my new one will have.

Then yesterday when we finally all got home from school and work, there was a gold and white sticker on the front door. UPS was here and tried to deliver My New Camera, but there was a check in the box for "signature required." There were boxes checked that indicated the next attempt would be Friday between 10:30 and 2:00. Nobody would be home then either. On the back of the sticker was a phone number to call "to prevent your package from being returned to sender." So I called and had to go through that horrible voice-recognition conversation with the fake computer lady. She asked me what I wanted to do and offered the choice "arrange future pickup." What I wanted to do was change the delivery time but she was not offering me that choice. I tried to say that but she kept going in her fake perky way: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch what you just said, would you like to" and then listed the same choices. So I selected "arrange future pickup" and picked Friday with the hopes that the next set of choices would be the time categories shown on the delivery sticker. But no, it just started asked me if I wanted to track another package. Arrrgh. I tried repeating the call but the choices didn't change.

Well today when I arrived home there was another sticker on the door marked "second attempt." I only get one more. I called the phone number and had the same exact conversation with the fake computer lady. This time I kept hitting buttons on my phone until she offered to get me an operator. And a real person came on the line! I asked the real person how I could schedule a different time for the delivery, and she said that wasn't a choice, I could only pick the dates, and not holidays or weekends. I explained that no one is home here during the day, and so what are my choices then? She said after one more attempt on Monday it would go to the pickup center. I asked her where that was and she seemed kind of put out but after a lot of clicking she was able to spew out an address in Pontiac. Which is not an easy drive from here and I can't imagine when I would ever be able to get there during business hours. I asked her what else could be done. She said that I could arrange to have it redirected to a neighbor's house and give them authority to sign for it. I started thinking about whether I could ask Kendrea to do that, and whether she'll eventually start to feel put upon for being the "person who's home during the day" around here. But then the real phone lady finished some clicking and said that wasn't a choice, am only allowed one change and I already did an "arrange for future pickup." But I didn't change anything, I told her. Doesn't matter, she said. The rules of UPS are concrete and final. I have used up my one chance, and now the only possible thing that can happen is for the camera to be delivered to my house between 10:30 and 2:00 on Monday when I'm not here and then it will be returned to the sender.

This is the part where I started getting just a wee bit hysterical. "Are you telling me that I have to QUIT MY JOB if I ever want to get a camera delivered in the mail? That there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for me to get this done without using up the same scarce resources I am about to be juggling to manage the care of my children? Just to receive delivery of something that I had to pay for shipping on? I'll NEVER get my new camera!" She wasn't the slightest but sympathetic which actually might have helped at that moment. I know it's not her job to soothe hysterical customers.

So what is going to happen? I just don't know what I'm going to do next. Calm down, for starters. Blogging is good for that. And since I'm not taking pictures with a new camera I've gone low-tech with the illustrations.


~Amy said...

You should've called me !!! I have an in w/a UPS driver, remember? What a crappy experience with their customer service. Believe it or not Joel deals with worse on a daily basis from management

Mindy said...

Amy, I did think about that, but the lady was so absolute about what was going to happen, I couldn't think of any way to work the connection unless Joel was still the UPS driver for this route. I still can't believe that UPS drivers are going around all day putting delivery stickers on doors of empty houses and then returning packages back to the senders. You would think that eventually they would go out of business. To help myself feel better I tried to imagine that the hours of delivery are so restrictive so that nice delivery men who are also fathers can be home with their cute children at a reasonable time of day, but then what do they do if THEY get a package delivered? It just doesn't make sense. Am I the only person with this problem?

Anonymous said...

Mindy, I'll go sit outside your house on Monday and take delivery!


~Amy said...

Nice thought but Joel is NEVER home in time a ball game, a school event not to mention...dinner!!!

Nancy USA said...

Oh those summer kid schedules! ARG! I got a stomachache just reading about yours! I HATED it too! Part-time work was nice, but it made the "spreadsheet" even more complicated! I too just hated missing so much! I wanted to be home more. Time flies. And it did. I treasure every moment I had home with Julian! He's living 7 hours north of us now (but closer than Michigan!)

Now, I won't even START about deliveries......

I do want to know how you did the drawings!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mindy-It has been my experience to check if deliveries could be handled by US Post office instead of UPS or Fed Ex, etc.. The post office is willng to leave items on a porch in a decent area, or if given directions, to a near neighbor. We got to know where the pick up centers are for UPS, Fed Ex, etc.. I thought that they did have Saturday hours- maybe it's a thing of the past now or I worked it out otherwise. Why don't you have future items mailed to me or your folks? What are you doing with your older camera now returned by Derrick? I have a buyer for you. Aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

I like the pictures you draw, forget the camera!
Mary Beth

Nancy USA said...

I'm not sure why they wouldn't leave your camera... UPS leaves stuff at our door all the time. We are really surprised about it. Maybe they do it more often in California???

Mindy said...

For some reason Kodak designated this delivery as "signature required upon delivery in person" and I can't change that.

FYI this is how I did those pictures way too late on Friday night: After fussing with our scanner to get the image of the UPS slips I grabbed a piece of paper out of the printer and then spent a long time searching around the house for a nice dark pen that worked. Then I spent about 2 minutes drawing the pictures and way more time than that scanning and uploading them into the post. Ah, technology!

Note to Nancy: I still remember back when Julian was my boy's age and you were going through the process of figuring out what to do with him for the summer. You came over to my desk in a fluster and announced "Remember this for when you need it someday: The Metro Parent Summer Camp Fair is held in FEBRUARY!" And I looked down and told my pregnant belly to remember that for me. You always lead the way.

Jenny said...

I hear you on the UPS thing. I can't believe they waste their resource trying the Second Attempt instead of just giving you an after hours option or a pick up center that is open after hours...
Good luck!