One for the “This is Broken” files.
In the past year, I’ve moved both home and office. Keeping the addresses straight was tough for a while, but I think I’ve finally got a grasp on it. Occasionally though, I still get packages delivered to my home address. Naturally, I’m not there during the day.
Most of the time I can simply pass along the office address to those sending the packages, but sometimes it’s not that easy. In those cases, after receiving the first delivery notice, I phone up UPS to redirect. (I never seem to remember the automated customer-service line shortcut [for most systems, press ‘0’], so I get stuck listening to their tediously comprehensive, non-skippable set of tips that cover everything from what to do if you missed the third delivery attempt to what action you can take if you accidentally ship your prize schooner-in-a-bottle to Mongolia.)
When I get through to an actual person and request the redirect, the first thing they’ll ask for is my forwarding address, complete with postal code (US equivalent being the ZIP code). Given the moves, I now have two to remember and a few to try and forget; they continually blend together, and I always end up telling the rep to hold on while I Google my own damn postal code.
An aside on postal/ZIP codes: does anyone else get the feeling that these have outlived their usefulness? They exist for an extra level of precision when street naming is an inexact science at times, but isn’t that a relatively easy problem that software should be solving these days? It seems to me that the using a postal code in 2005 is akin to exposing a unique database ID to a user; there should be better ways.
But that all brings me to the real problem — how come UPS doesn’t remember my forwarding address from the last time I redirected? I asked last week whether this were possible, and received assurance that it was not. It’s a pretty safe bet that every time I choose to redirect a package in the future, I’ll be sending it to the same address. I really shouldn’t have to give them the same address every single time; software can do that for me.
I don’t necessarily mind having to take action and inform UPS of the redirect, since I can see a lot of ways the system could potentially be confused or abused were the redirect automatic. But it should take a lot less effort on my part to make it happen.
Keep in mind that I’m not the shipping party, and I didn’t choose the shipping company; when I see obvious customer service holes in the response to what I’d assume is a common action, the next time I am the one making the choice I may just dial up the other guys first.