I packed all of my worldly belongings into a down-market moving box in California, confident they would join me in Illinois 10 days later. After 12 days and still no box, I started making polite enquiries as to the whereabouts of my things, and after countless phone calls and a total of 46 days, they arrived...
Deciding how to get myself and my things cross-country was a nerve-wracking process, as I was determined to hold onto the things that are valuable to me without spending thousands of dollars. I finally arrived at what seemed like the best solution, an 8'x8'x5' box that would be delivered to my door, loaded by myself and two people who clearly love me, picked up and shipped to my new door, unloaded by the same team, and then picked up and taken away. The total, including all taxes and insurance, came to under $1,800. Not bad, considering the smallest available moving truck would cost $2,400 in rental and gas (not counting the hotel rooms that would be required), and that the more upscale moving pods started at $3,000. It all seemed to be working out well, until the helpful folks in customer service informed me that there was no record of my box, my shipment, or me.
It's fascinating — or it would be fascinating if it wasn't so frustrating — that in this era of tracking numbers and GPS and scanning and what-have you, things can disappear. All it takes is one employee not filling in a form, one lost form, one little system failure, and your order is lost in the endless shuffle of an enormous corporation. You would hope there would be double-check systems in place — perhaps the business considers that sort of thing to be a waste of their money?
And that is where the true frustration lies: I was furious and frustrated with the corporation, but you can't get a corporation on the phone. I spent hours on the phone with people, humans trying to do their job, in some cases going well above-and-beyond their job to help me. Even though I wanted to scream about the situation, I didn't want to yell at the people trying to help me. They didn't lose my box, they didn't create a crazy, bloated system in which boxes can get lost, they didn't make the mess. When I told friends and family about the situation, they all advised yelling to make myself heard, so my case would be taken seriously. Maybe they were right- maybe my things would have arrived much sooner, maybe I could have made one phone call instead of dozens. In the end, employee after employee nudged me in the right direction, offering personal advice and contact information, giving me heavy discounts to make up for the hassle, and making sure my things arrived safely. The situation was utterly infuriating, but the people were great.
(Image: Tess Wilson)