Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Online Shopping: Couriers + Oversized Packaged = The End?

Honey, it happened again: the courier was missed and now I have to go across town to pick the package up.

Today was one of those days. I had to blow two hours after work and head to the other end of town to pick a package up. A signature was required. Surprisingly, this was only the second time it has happened with this courier -- probably because we prepare since we're so paranoid about missing the delivery and having to go across town. All my usual "missed delivery" notices involve walking a few blocks to a nearby post office.

Cheap Items Requiring a Signature?

The worst part of all of these occurrences with both courier and postal service is that they have all been for packages worth less than $50. In fact, I had a new LCD TV dropped off on my porch without the need for a signature. But not the $15 DVDs, the $30 toys, $40 sale video games, "free" laptop bag with laptop purchase, etc. If I were to monetize the time it took me to pick the package up at minimum wage, it would almost be worth it to not even bother picking those things up and letting them disappear -- too bad my time isn't that important or expensive, and I want my stuff!

This courier, and I believe others, now allow me to sign a waiver and have all items dropped off regardless. Too bad that there's just something about that waiver and giving me nothing to fall back on in case something does go missing. In my rage, I almost signed it yesterday, but sleeping on it gave me that sober second thought.

Oversized Shipping Boxes + Beaucoup Stuffing

To add insult to injury, today's package was incredibly oversized. Two 4lb boxes about the size of board game boxes were stuffed into a 3'x2'x1' box. About two thirds of the interior was filled with air cushions. I just wish I prepared more this trip and brought a shopping bag so I could have gotten rid of the box. Did I mention I took public transit today? Once again, this was not the first time I have had to deal with an oversized box. The last one I remember was also around the same size and there was one 3'x0.5'x0.5' box in there (tripod) -- paper stuffing this time.

One could say that it doesn't make sense for shipping companies to stock every conceivable size of box available. However, I still feel kind of bad about the wasted space and extra stuffing needed -- ya, not my money.

And the Rest: Sigh

Ugh... I've been doing a lot of online shopping lately in my attempt to become a recluse. Unfortunately, I don't think it's working out. All that shipping material, the inability to pick up and feel up the exact package I'm paying for, the shipping time, non-instant returns, missed couriers, lost packages (to and fro), etc. These issues almost offset the generally lower prices. In the end, I think it's the stock level that is the only thing keeping me happy -- knowing if something is in stock and having someone get it to your door without having to actually talk to anyone. But lots of stores have online inventory checks for retail stores and "pick-up in store" options. Is this the end of online shopping for me?