The Stupidity of Private
(Non-) Delivery Companies

Ever used the internet to order something and discovered that your goods will be sent through a private “delivery” company? Then you'll have read in your order confirmation something like “Your order will be delivered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on 8 January.”

No problem there if you’re a medium or large company, nor if one member of your household is available to answer the doorbell at any moment during the working day. However if you’re a one-person company, or if you live on your own, or if no-one in your household is available, you’re screwed. What happens?

The delivery person arrives while you’re in the bathroom, or when you popped out to the corner store, or when you left to deal with something urgent, or after you went to work. Then your order goes back to some depot in the Styx and you spend hours on the phone with the delivery company tracing your order and trying to arrange another time. Sometimes a company representative even asks you to drive out to their depot and pick it up yourself — some “delivery service”, that!

I congratulate companies like who have the good sense to send orders by Canada Post. If I’m not in when their package arrives, I receive a card in my letter box and instructions to pick up the order at my local post office which is 100 metres, not 10 km, away. I’m no longer at the mercy of a company which expects me to be 100% available for eight hours of whichever working day they see fit to deliver.

I’ve asked several internet order companies to send goods by post (mail), adding that I would gladly pay one or two dollars extra to avoid the inconvenience of private “delivery services”. No go. It’s always “company policy”, a bizarre statement which has apparently replaced the equally dubiious “I’m only obeying orders”. So, it’s company policy not to heed customers and not to provide customer service, even when customers are prepared to pay the difference. Frankly, I find such attitudes arrogant (“we’re big and powrful and don’t need to bother about what you want”) and hypocritical (“we provide a service to our customers”). Let’s stop this silliness, please!

Why do we accept being treated like this? I no longer do. If the company can’t send the goods I pay for by post (mail), I cancel the order.

Philip Tagg (Montréal)
5 January 2007