Murphy’s law[?] hits you when you least expect it. But of course!

Friday was my day of dealing with postage services.

1) I needed to ship a package so I use the account with DHL because of the good rates I get.
As usual, I called around 2:30, for a 5pm pickup (i still needed to pack it, tape it, etc)
The lady at DHL lets me know that due to it being Christmas eve, the last schedule could only be made before 2pm.
She says I have two choices – either wait till monday (too late) or rush to one of the central pickup locations before 3pm.

I have 30 minutes, in which to UNpack the hardware, install the software, re-pack it, with other literature, printer, etc, etc. Hmm, I get working!
And i am done! It’s only 2:55pm
F’ing awesome if I say so myself!

I go to the ‘central pickup location’ which happens to be 744 Broad st, Newark (across from Prudential headquarters). And the security guard there says that there won’t be any pickups that day as the mailroom and the rest of the building is closed for the holiday weekend. Fair enough. I call DHL about the issue.
The lady on the phone tells me of another ‘central pickup location’, located 2 blocks away.
Are they kidding me, 2 ‘central pickup locations’ within 2 blocks of each other. I’m not complaining, the shorter my walk/drive, the better.

I reach there 3:11, expecting to have missed the DHL truck. I look around for a few minutes – no truck. It’s deserted.

Then, suddenly, I see a lone FedEx truck at the other end of the building, through the atrium.
It’s cold It’s freezing.
It’s a heavy package i’m carrying.
The truck is about 50 meters away.
I do what I have to do.
I sprint towards it.

Once I reach the truck, I take a decent 2 minute breather while the driver is revving her engine.
But she’s nice enough to wait till I can speak again.
I tell her my problem. No problem she says. She asks if I have a FedEx account?! How the hell do I know?!
However, she speaks with her contact person, we feed them my company information, address, phone number, my shoe size, etc. Yes, we do have a FedEx account, never used, but usable!!!
I quickly swap the DHL shipment label with the FedEx one and the package is on its way!

Real easy you say, right.
So what if I didn’t see the DHL truck, so what if I barely made it to this FedEx truck.

Well, you see, when Murphy hits you, he hits you hard.
As I am walking back towards my car, I see this …

Not one, but two FedEx vans. And a DHL van.

Ohh, did I tell you the day wasn’t over yet? This was just till 3:30pm. When I go back to office to wait for another package.
Yes, the good boyfriend I was, I was waiting for a laptop for (Surabhi’s) dad (never one to loose a chance to score a few extra points there!!).

This package was due on thursday morning from IBM. Didn’t make it due to some weather issues in Kentucky. I can understand that.
So instead the rescheduled date was Friday, 24th Dec. I was in Newark, sitting at work (reading my feeds) – being the only one in the building, i must say. Because, while ordering, we expected this to come in on thursday when I would not be at home, and anyone in the office could pick it.
That aside, i’m in office, just waiting.
And refreshing’s package tracking page every few minutes.
I check at 3:45, nothing.
I check at 4:00, nothing.
I check at 4:10, it says, and I copy/paste here …


Yes you dimwits, I am on a holiday. But i’m still waiting in the office just for you and the package.


You have to understand the seriousness of this package …
It’s for my girlfriend’s dad.
He’s ex-air-force.
It’s for her dad.
He’s taller and better built than I am.
It’s for her dad.
At some point of time, he had the license to fly and kill.
It’s for her dad.

You get the idea? Good!

So I call UPS’s toll free number. They say that the driver tried the intercom in the building (yeah, riiiight).
But I still have an option, they will call the local UPS office in Newark, and have it ready for me so I can pick it up in a few hours.
Wow, good luck shines on me.

I don’t fall for the ‘pick up in a few hours’ BS, I pack up, start the car and am on the way to the UPS facility.
On the way, I get a call from the local UPS office, they have the package and I can come around 6, 6:30.
It’s 5 o’clock now. I get there at 5:15pm.
This is what I see  ….

Looks like the entire town (of Newark) is here to get packages. Hmm, looks like the driver tried ringing a LOT of door-bells and honestly didn’t get any answer.
(If you didn’t get it, I am betting the UPS driver didn’t make many any stops today and returned with his truck full!!!)

I get in line.
By 6pm, the line is twice as long and doubled over, in this small cramped space (the photo was with me standing at the entrace).
I stay in line. Seems like I moved up a bit. Getting closer …
By 6:30, the dude behind the counter announces that ‘as we are experiencing logistical issues during the holiday season, I have a list of people (name, address) whose packages are confirmed, so I will call out your name, and raise your hand if this is your package, then collect it.

Are you kidding me??????
I’ve been here over an hour and am the 3rd in line. NOW he decides to use his brain? or abuse, as we shall find out.

He calls the first dozen names, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM belongs to someone who JUST walked into the door.

While we are at it, even the Mayor of Newark (Sharpe James?!) walks in the pick up a package.
I feel good.
There is now a cop, a firefighter and the Mayor of Newark in the same line as I am, and BEHIND me.

Want to guess how soon they get their packages.
Don’t bother.
Politicians and Cops get the same treatment everywhere, be it Bangalore or Newark.
They are done signing for their packages and out in a second.

It’s 7 o’clock now. Still nothing on the package I came for.
In the meantime, I saw tons.
I saw a poor dude from Ohio (was here for holiday with his cousin, etc) get his package, then they DID NOT let him take it … because he had a drivers license from Ohio and it did not match the address on the package (which he had gotten shipped to New Jersey). You need govt. issued photo ID with address proof matching the address on the package. Oops.

My drivers lic. said Jersey City (home address). The package was shipped to Newark (office address).
So I sweet talk my way into letting them agree that my business cards say Newark, I have an NJIT ID (located in Newark), etc.
They agree. I’m good at this thing (esp. with T-Mobile, read here).

Still, I need them to find the package before they can agree on anything.

I also saw a really frightened and scarily quiet old lady, very very softly saying “i’ll be patient, i’ve waited for 2 hours, just get me my package before christmas”.
She was ready to cry, i swear. She went and sat in the corner. I found out this was her 3rd visit here in as many days. The UPS people knew her by street number AND first name (Jackie). Scary.

She waitied some more, then they told her, we really cannot find it, please come back on monday.
She left. I noticed a tear in her eye.

Exactly 5 minutes after she left, some UPS dude found her packages.
Merry Christmas Jackie. Hope your family forgives you for the delay in getting the gifts. It wasn’t your fault.
Murphy was a little too aggressive today.

Then another woman, this one was more aggressive, kept complaining loudly about not getting her package (she came in before I did).
She had to leave. It was 7 o’clock on Christmas eve.
Not everyone has the advantage of being tied to Diwali and Holi.
These people need to be home, with their families.
They found her package sometime before I left too!!!

However, I’m still in line, remember?
In fact, at this point, I *am* the line …

The guy in the blue jacket is a UPS employee too, waiting to close up and go home. I felt bad for them all.
They were supposed to close at 6:30pm. It was 7:15 now.
Every single UPS employee in that office was looking for one package: Mine.

They didn’t find it.

I wished them a merry christmas, and told them “Guys, it’s christmas eve, I won’t leave here angry. I’m calm and wish you guys can spend whatever is left of the evening with your family.”

Surabhi, and Surabhi’s dad … I didn’t get your package in time :-(
But you should feel good that I didn’t get pissed off at the poor employees on their biggest holiday of the year.
I wouldn’t expect to be work for atleast 2 days before and after diwali. They tried their best.

(her brother leaves for India on Sunday, 26th Dec, so the package will NOT get to India this year)

Murphy, wherever your are, I hope you have a shit-faced new year.