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Customer ServiceI am a UPS Store Manager! I've noticed quite a few AMAs for the drivers, but it seems nobody from store-side mustered up the courage to do one!!

Jan 20th 2015 by MassDebates • 22 Questions • 1114 Points

I make sure that your packages get to their destinations safely. I advise on best packing methods and work on print related materials. I was a graphic and web designer by trade before that.

I may not see or respond to all of your questions as fast as you may like; I'm on a mobile device for now. If I miss yours and you want it answered, shoot it to me via PM! I'll even post the answer on the thread, if requested. :)

Proof? Heres me behind my counter: http://imgur.com/EMox5I5

I also am a fan of dem vidya games. My favorites of all time include: Starcraft, Chivalry, Skyrim, Super Mario Bros 3, Battlefield BC/BC2/3, FTL, and ToriBash.

ASK ME ANYTHING!!

EDIT:: OKAY I've been at it for four hours. I tried to hit everyone!! I'm going to go sleep!!

I will resume answering after I have breakfast tomorrow!!!!

Q:

Do you ever take pride in the fact that your competitor lost tom hanks on a deserted island and you have only lost my Little Big Planet Collectors Edition?

A:

I'm sorry cam. At least we didn't lose a better game though!!!

Just kidding...

Maybe. Console peasant.


Q:

What is the funniest thing you've ever seen on the job?

A:

We have a glass door and people bump into it. Gets me every time. Sometimes they get saved by the box they're carrying.


Q:

Where are my damn Christmas presents for my girlfriend?

A:

Dude haha this Christmas was pretty bad. Idk what id do about it if I were one of the CEOs or something. We had a shit ton of stuff in our store alone. I can only imagine amazon and everyone else. They must have had like double sales this Christmas.

Honestly, idk what they're going to do in future years. I know that online shopping is going to be taking over probably, and people only ever increase the amount they ship year after year.


Q:

What is the biggest/most expensive item you've had to pack and shup thus far?

A:

35,000$ statue that had gold on it. Granite base. Huge crate for a relatively small statue. Heavy as shit.

Also once packed and shipped a $65,000 ring. I Quad boxed. I don't even think my driver sweat on it one bit.


Q:

What has been the worst customer that you've had?

A:

You know, I've had some rotten people. I don't know exactly who's the worst. Rude is always something I hate. I have this mailbox holder who is extremely rude every time she visits. A little creepy, and she is not familiar with bra use. (not a good thing this time, fellas.)

She abuses systems daily, including our mailbox policies, online product return systems, and logistics laws regarding courier vs postal service policies..

For example, returns from above. Uses it until return guarantee is over. Returns for free shipping on complaint. Creates new online shopping account. Re-engages self-created rental procedure.

Really a horrid person. I've seen how she treats her kids. Surprised she has them. Not surprised the original hubby is gone. Surprised she got a second. Not surprised that he's gone too. There's a third. I'm surprised he's still around. Dumb Shit. She abuses him and he projects/redirects it on to others. He's an ass too.

You want a surprise? I can tell you about all three because I've seen her go through all of them. I've worked at that UPS Store location for less than 1.75 years.

Not a care for anyone else. A cynic's reality wrapped up in one mean, little, abusive package.


Q:

Anybody ever have illegal shit delivered?

A:

Haha yeah this one guy was shipping in these box turtles from China under a false name with fraudulent IDs that we need to take copies of for acting as an agent of the post office for that person. (you know, when they sign the 6/12 month contract for a personal mail box) He'd come in, and he'd open them up, showing us what they looked like and telling us facts about them . Guy was pretty cool and chill. He collected them and loved reptilian pets. He was doing this for like 8 months before the FBI came with papers and affidavits, seizing all of his mail and stuff. Never came again.

Idk why it was illegal, they were packed well, had air, water, and food that surprisingly didn't get screwed up from shipping. Maybe box turtles can't be in the US? He had snakes come in too, but I was told they weren't the issue.


Q:

What's the creepiest customer you have dealt with?

A:

A guy offered me money to ship my own personal hairbrush (I had long hair at the time) to his house.

Of course, this was after he asked me if I would be interested in having nudes taken of myself. (said no both times)


Q:

How many conspiracy theorists do you get at your store asking to ship their manifestos to "The Director of Such-and-Such Federal Agency"?

Also, How many times a day do you have to explain that The UPS Store is not the local UPS center, and you don't have their package that a driver tried to deliver?

Or for that matter, that UPS and USPS (and even FedEx) are completely different companies?

A:

Never. haha

AND OMG LIKE EVERYDAY The hub is the worst one. Fedex is the easiest for people to see the difference. They have trouble with usps though. I find it easy to refer to them as the post, or the post office, and to refer to USPS's pricing as postage.

Thanks man that was nice of you


Q:

So I know there's been a lot of controversy about shitty drivers throwing/ genuinely not handling packages carefully. Have you ever had to deal with this out of your store? What do you do to prevent stuff like this from happening?

A:

I never really order online, to be honest. If it weren't for my experience at a store, I wouldnt know how a return works!!! I hear about that stuff though, and I think it's terrible. One of the things I like about fedex is the owner operator structure, but I know that has its cons too, and it may also have drivers that abuse packages.

I think a lot of it comes from the warehouse/hub's belt, and not the employees. They're not out to get vengeance in the world, but mistakes happen, I guess. I always thought it was the machinery that has little delicacy in touch.

Honestly, it's why were so rigorous about packing in the stores. Some people just think we get our jollies by suggesting more packaging, or by complicating a seemingly simple package shipment, but it's serious stuff if it's the difference between a broken item and an intact one. Packaging won't protect against abuse or ridiculous blows. It's packaging, not armor. We have weight to consider.


Q:

Why do ups store employees try to bully and intimate me every time I don't choose to add Declared Value Coverage? Also why do y'all position Declared Value Coverage as insurance when it actually isn't?

A:

That's really bad. I ask, and if they decline and it looks valuable, I'll ask again and state why I'm asking if they're sure, but I really leave it at that.

Adding insurance above a certain level will automatically engage a signature action that can be declined by the shipper. It lets the people that work on the trucks and in the UPS hubs how important it is to keep safe. It lets the driver know not to leave it on the porch where it may get stolen.

But hey, there are people who are immediately rude to me when I first ask. It's their loss. I don't get commission, so if they don't care, why should I? I'll still do my job my best, but I'm not in the car sales business.


Q:

Yeah, fellow UPS Store employee, I can't understand why someone would try to bully a customer into it either, unless maybe the store's manager made a big stink about it to them. Ultimately only the customer suffers if they don't get it when they needed it.

A:

Ik, right?


Q:

I'm a UPS Store manager as well, and I always thought about doing an ama but I figured no one would give a damn... Well I missed out. From one UPS Store employee what is the weirdest thing you've ever been asked to ship?

A:

Korean cabinets, ninja themed oars, apothecary sets (for sorcery, not regular) bird shit, glitter ( just a box full of the stuff)


Q:

Should I have my package shipped to the local UPS store, or just proceed to have it delivered to my house? Which will get there faster?

A:

Depending on how far you are from the nearest hub in comparison to the store (in distance to the hub) it could go either way. It depends on the routes that the drivers are taking in your area. Id ask a driver that's not on either route to avoid bias :P (unless he delivers to both)


Q:

I used to run an Etsy shop and always had difficulty figuring out how to pack small objects for shipping (for example, a single bowl, or a very small painting). Any suggestions on the best way to pack a small item so that it won't get lost or crushed?

A:

Cool!

There is a TON of things that go into packaging, and people don't think about it until they have to do it. It's really something that's taken for granted on a mass scale. This is something that we heavily stress in training, and often is harder for someone to perfect/master than all of the customs procedures for all other countries AND all custom procedures for corporate accounts COMBINED.

Try to use each tool or supply for what it's designed for and what it's most effective for. Peanuts aren't only tasty and good for stiffer, fluid cushion, they're also good for void-fill as well! Air-pouches/air-bags are good for void fill and even stiffer cushion (depending on the brand) , but aren't as fluid within the package.

I usually use a proprietary foam we have at this store and cut out pieces to make slots, then repeat and match together the two layers. It works wonders. It's 3 inches thick. You want it to sustain pressure evenly but not 'give' too much of dealing with items packed in boxes smaller than 8 inches cubed.

If it can fall 5.5 feet on the worst angle, I'd say you're good. (they go by 4 in our district, but that's me)

There's tons of tips. I'll come back to you and post more later.

When in doubt, double box. (product/peanuts/box/peanuts/box, in that order. Boxes are sealed and taped.)


Q:

Wow, thanks so much for the very specific response! As a further question, I am always wary of double boxing because it adds weight, do you think that affects the price much or at all?

A:

Absolutely. That's a high value practice to minimize risk. I don't do it for every box :P

Every box has a "dimensional weight" that is formulated by lengths of the sides. For example, I know that an 18" cubed box will be close to the same price for that destination and service level for any weights between being empty and its dimensional weight.

Size and weight weigh in pricing. If you add to either, there's a chance it will go up, depending on the circumstances.


Q:

Hey, I've got another packaging question.

Any tips on cheaply shipping skateboard decks?

Thanks in advance.

A:

Never skateboarded but I'd stick with a cheap, flexible foam that isn't Styrofoam. Or bubblewrap. Bubbles in.

I'm not sure what a deck for it is, but if the wheels arent off of it, take them off. Unfortunately, you have a pretty heavy rigid object. Sometimes size is negotiable (folding a chair or easle) or sometimes weight is negotiable (balancing out items in multibox orders or using lighter materials) but you're already heavy and there's not much you can do for size except keep it down.

If you ship to someone in the boonies, consider having them pick it up at the hub or a UPS Store nearby it to help with costs. It won't Dave money everytime, but it might help some times.

You want to use the durability to your advantage to keep size at a minimum around the object, because it's already big. You're going to be hating shipping these. Always check both ups and usps prices at the store.

If at all possible, marry some decks together. They'll be flat and uniform curvatures which will help. Don't forget to get them isolated so they don't scratch eachother or get scratched!!!


Q:

How do you feel about printing in your store?

A:

I like design, printing's just stress, honestly.

Someone brings you a ream of special thickness and size(were not talkin' your standard demy or medium quarto or your wacky royal folio- I'm hit with everything from A10 to A4 to 4A to custom sizes), uniquely textured or colored paper, asks you to print double sided documents that are crazy long(my store is close to a University) and never have page numbers for some crazy reason. Then, they give you a (Often times, people move their document margins outside of the print zone. You know who you are. Windows tells you. We Notice. And We Remember. )

You'll have enough paper in the ream you're given for 4 copies of the document (usually a thesis of some sort) , which is what the customer ordered. But that sounds easy enough, right?

Let's say you check the margins in every page of the document, and even adjust them back to an acceptable range without extending the document's # of printed pages, okay? Oh, and don't forget, you also know your industrial copier (which is way more complicated than it should be. I swear, these copier companies have completely abandoned all principles of UX/UI development. I'm great with all things running on some sort of electricity and these things are a bitch. I owned my own (very small) tech support company and I hate these things) inside and out, so you know how to set it for their wacky paper size and thickness. You get lucky, and the copier not only recognizes the size you've put in, but also agrees with the document settings and print settings(from the OS). Then the printer doesn't agree with the thickness you've put in, saying its sensors detect something larger or smaller or thicker or thinner in the print media tray. You know, just cause. Oh, and it definitely won't change its mind for no goddamned reason in 5 minutes when you adjust the settings to what it wants. :)

So you lie. And you feel like it knows you did every time. Creepy shit. You change its settings, the document settings, the OS's settings, (which so curiously makes you lie repeatedly) and try to make it print. Then there's a feed. Now, the copier can do a lot. Mine can fold, staple, flip, and scan pages of some books on its own. But sometimes it will overextend itself and say it can do something that it can't. (most likely because you lied to it earlier) it takes in the paper and misfeeds.. Then you gotta.....

You get my point.


Q:

If you could change one thing with your online printing solution what would it be?

A:

The workflow process. It's well designed but horribly planned out. They could have made a much simpler solution that could still handle their customer base for much less money than what the OLP system seems to cost. It's almost as bad as a copier.

Well, not THAT bad. They made a solution that works with many many independent stores, but still. As a Web designer, I'm not impressed.


Q:

What UPS store service do you think people don't take enough advantage of?

A:

That's a unique one. Probably binding. We comb bind and glue bind (like a book) and our unibind system rocks. Not a single complaint.


Q:

FINALLY! I've always wanted to know, but can never get a straight answer from the staff: If you were to attempt to mount a live bear sexually, what position do you think you would go with? I assume they never answered because of the corporate security cameras.

A:

I wouldnt mount. Id go doggy!!

Just kidding.


Q:

Do people think you can predict when a package will arrive somewhere? Can you?

A:

Yes, and sometimes. Closer destinations and frequent ones are easier. International parcels can be hard though. You can't even trust the computer sometimes because of customs. There are some rules of thumb that you learn to hold yourself by over time.

For example, I'll always know how many business days to nyc from any store in the US, at least within a business day of accuracy. I will always know Cross continental shipping too, because everyone does it. (Northeast to California)

I'm in NYS, just so you know.


Q:

The price for notaries varies wildly from state to state. A two dollar notary is only a fifth of what they cost here in California.

A:

Come to my store in NY. We only charge $2!! ( I'll be honest though, I think that's a state thing around here)