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Shi##y Shipping Stories


At home our regular mail carrier is a gem, but we always know when it's her day off. The other guy is pathetic and lazy. The attached photo shows his methodology - cram, bend, stuff & overflow rather than pull into the driveway and place the bundle on the porch. I watched from a window one day as he put a great deal of effort into bending a package to force it into the mail box. Turns out he broke a Christmas gift sent by a dear friend. (Yes, calls were made. No apparent improvements)

At work there have been the usual "forklift incident" occurrences, so those aren't what stand out. I have 2 that do. One, a few years ago now, was an entire pallet used to ship a 1 quart size jar of an epoxy sample. I thought that would be the silliest thing I'd ever receive.... Then there was this, just today. I ordered 8x 15 foot thermocouple wires. They are stiff enough that the coils are about the size of a CD. So the thin plastic envelope/bag containing each one is about the size of a CD case, a bit fatter. These 8 TCs arrived today.... in 5 separate packages. From 2 separate locations. Of the 4 packages (7 TCs) that came from the KY location, 3 were shipped UPS and 1 was shipped USPS. I'm hoping there was some logic behind it all, but for the life of me I can't see it.

What are your shipping stories?



Looking for Reality
When I was first starting into shipping, I had the opportunity to visit an (unnamed carrier)'s airport distribution center. It was incredible!
Conveyors from dozens of trucks unloading, all merging onto a main input conveyor that put all packages through a central, circular disc conveyor with bar code readers everywhere.
The barcodes now read, a gate would open on any one of dozens of discharge conveyors back to waiting trucks...basically an automated sorting process. Hundreds of packages sorted per minute.

One guy manned the central disc, in a chair in the center of the disc. His job was to clear any package jams immediately. If packages jammed, nothing stopped...packages simply overflowed the edges and dropped ~20 feet to the concrete and were loaded back onto the input conveyors. Very important to clear jams quickly.
His only tool to clear jams was a sledgehammer.

It taught me quite a bit about how to wrap, pad and package things!


Looking for Reality
...and I have received a 5gal metal can on a skid, no tie down, just sliding around.
FedEx refused to ship it back out of the distribution center like that, so I had to go to the distribution center to pick it up.
It could have been in a $2.00 box and cost $40 to ship it...instead, the pallet freight was > $170.00 plus extra handling fees each time the can slid off of the pallet.
This one comes from my old salesman. Many years ago, when he was starting out at old pipe and tube mill. Customer ordered a truckload of long pipe - 20 foot plus. Required that they be shipped in a railroad box car. My guy argued with the customer -- pipe like that has to be shipped on a flatbed. They went back and forth. His supervisor then stepped in and said "no problem."

He took the order out to the field. Had the guys find on old box car and a torch. Cut one end of the box car off, loaded the pipe and welded the boxcar back together. Painted it up real nice. A few weeks later my guy got the call -- "How the hell did you get it in there?" :)


Involved In Discussions
A shipping clerk was given a very basic ship list for a subsidiary company. Nothing urgent, just needing to restock parts for later use. The ship list was handwritten, it said ship Part Number XYZ.
The empty flat bed showed up. The shipping clerk got one part and put it on the truck. The other company was pretty surprised when they received one, expecting for than 40,000 lbs worth of this part.
But, the ship list said ship Part Number XYZ.... just not how many of them.


Involved In Discussions
Where we are based there are a series of four roundabouts on the roads leading to our industrial estate. One morning a delivery driver turned up and asked us to unload his flat bed of aluminium sheets he had brought for processing Instead of there being five as stated on the PO there was only one which had slid off the pallet and was resting against his kick board much to his horror. Our truck driver then pulled in to be unloaded of his collections when we opened his doors he had the missing (badly damaged) aluminium sheets, apparently he had been behind the delivery driver and every time he went round a roundabout one of the panels slid out the side, so our driver kept stopping to pick them up. We did argue we should have charged for collection.
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