So, like all good toy idiots, I have been tracking the arrival of my Apple iPad ever since the "shipping" notice from Apple showed up in my "inbox" early last week. While the accessories are all being delivered via FedEx, the iPad was being handled from China to me via usually more reliable, UPS. Given I had a drive to L.A. planned, my day was based upon the arrival of the newest son from Apple, so I made a few calls on Friday, first to UPS to be sure delivery was still on schedule, as the web site was showing messages that kept changing all week. For example, on Tuesday the box was supposed to be in customs in Louisville, KY. Then on Wednesday it was still in China. On Friday it was both in China, then back in customs for an "exception" for clearing. When I called, around 3 PM the nice UPS representative said, "all is on schedule. You'll have your iPad tomorrow with your regular UPS delivery."
So, I called my UPS store where the box was to be delivered and confirmed that on Saturday, the UPS driver arrives by noon. Perfect.
Then on Saturday, the horror of misinformation from UPS began. What started out as a nice morning, turned into an emotional summersault brought on by the UPS call center confusion, that was only medicated by the highly competent Apple customer service team, and some very professional on the ground, in the field UPS supervisors, notably Nick and Bill in the San Diego region.
Here's the gist...
At 1030 AM, the on screen tracking system showed that at 745 AM my box was in Ontario, CA, roughly two hours north of me. It didn't show it had left nor did it show, the normal, "Out for Delivery" type of indicator, nor the arrival scan in San Diego, which is the usual behavior of UPS reporting progress. So, I called. UPS had an outgoing IVR message saying all packages of iPads are on schedule to be delivered. Well, in the face of conflicting information, verification is the key. Remember the saying, "trust, but verify." Well I did, and that's when the emotional roller coaster began. I got "Andrew" the Customer Service Rep. He said..."looking at what I can see, I don't believer you're going to receive your iPad today. There was a delay in Kentucky yesterday and we just won't be getting it to San Diego in time to make the delivery. It will arrive Monday."
Shock..Horror and a polite request to talk with a Supervisor, as clearly something was wrong. The supervisor, whose name escapes me, was equally emphatic. The box is likely "on its way to San Diego" but "we don't have any updates. Sorry." So, I asked her to call the distribution center, as their information would be more accurate. While on hold for 30 minutes or so, I called Apple. Talk about an about face. The Apple Customer Service Rep was totally on the ball and said, "I'm seeing the same thing, but, I'm also seeing status go from being held to delivered with nothing like out for delivery. And, trust me, you'll be getting yours today." She also added that this has been going on all day, and yes, agreed it was frustrating.
Whew....now the issue was, when. Nick the district manager called. He was super, as was the San Diego station leader Bill, from UPS. Nick said, yes the package is on its way from Ontario and will be delivered today. He was "surprised" that the UPS Customer Service folks were giving out the kind of information they had told me, and assured me that the package was tracked and that Bill would be following up. He even went so far as to give me his personal cell phone number. That's service. A few minutes later Bill called. He said, "the package is on one of two trucks out for delivery. Then he really surprised me and asked "when do you need it by?" Wow. Talk about service. I told him by 1230 would be great as the UPS store closes at 2 PM and I wanted to grab lunch and work with the iPad before heading up to L.A." He asked that I give him 15 minutes, then called me back at noon, saying within 15 minutes the iPad will arrive. Like Nick, he too was amazed that no one from Customer Service had looked at the available information. Even more bizarre was the fact that my UPS store owner knew when he first arrived that the iPads destined for his customers (two of us) were already in San Diego and out for delivery ...before I had called UPS Customer service around 1030 AM.
Bottom line..Apple knows what its doing, and there are a lot of heroes at UPS, namely, the Supervisor, who doggedly called all over SoCal to find a district person to get clarity, Nick, Bill and Farouk, the former UPI Photojournalist who runs our local store.