Hell's Bitchen

A blogging threat succeeds where FedEx fails

By Kelly Kreth  |
January 3, 2013 - 10:58AM

I recently celebrated the joys of living in a crappy tenement (most notably, less tipping and more interesting neighbors). But now that the feel-good holiday season is over, I'll go back to my complaining.

A compulsive contest enterer and oftentimes winner, last month I won a $300 black Perlina leather purse via Lucky Magazine (Yay!). I considered it my holiday gift from the Universe. 

The firm handling distribution of prizes mailed it out via FedEx on Dec. 13th. I tracked it online and it saw had been out for delivery but that it was not delivered. This was baffling because I’ve been home waiting for it and not only has my bell not rung, but I got no notification tags on the door from FedEx alerting me of a missed delivery attempt.

It wouldn’t be impossible, though, for my not-so-super super to pull said tags off the door. 

FedEx's online tracking service said my package would soon be returned to the warehouse. I called customer service.

The automated teller could not be bypassed easily, offering up a host of selections that I did not want, so like a mental patient, I screamed “Representative” into the receiver for about 20 minutes trying to reach an actual person.

It turns out they mistook Apt. 2S for Apt. 25. Now mistakes happen. But I live in an eight-unit building and my name is clearly marked on my bell. Wouldn’t the driver (it is the same driver all three times) notice that while there is no Apt. 25 there is one called 2S and coincidentally that one is marked with the same last name as the package? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. 

Wouldn’t he at least ring 2S’s bell to inquire if there is indeed a woman by the surname of the package he is delivering residing there and then wouldn’t there be some sort of lightbulb moment where he puts two and two together and realizes “S” looks a lot like “5” in handwriting?

Or at the very, very least leave a tag on the door alerting me of an attempted delivery? I suppose sometimes you need to have a box before you can begin to think outside one. 

Day 2 of the FedEx package hostage crisis

The next day was like Groundhog Day and the SAME EXACT THING HAPPENED. I called again, was on hold for even longer, shouted “Representative” at least three times and upon getting another rep, ultimately got the same response. I was told they’d simply add to the notes that yet again, it was apartment 2S, not 25. Ugh.

Hoping to make this less time consuming, I requested the package be held at the FedEx facility on my block. But the operator said that while the package would be held at a FedEx facility, she couldn’t be sure it would be held at the one closest to me.

It’s just never easy. 

Day 3 of the FedEx package hostage crisis

I waited in my apartment all day for the third day in a row, fearful I’d miss FedEx ringing my bell as this was the third, and final, delivery attempt before the package was held hostage, handcuffed to a rusty radiator somewhere in a facility in the bowels of Brooklyn. 

My buzzer remained mute.  Around 4:30 p.m., I got an email notice (but no notification tag on my building's front door) that my package could not be delivered. I think it may have even said a cheery “Delivery Attempt Aborted” on the tracking system.

Not only have I called twice to alert them the apt. number is 2S not 25, but each time they have assured me they will alert the FedEx facility and make notes in the system.

I picked up the phone again.

The woman who finally answered put me on hold to call the facility. After awhile she came back to say they simply don’t answer their phone.

All she could do was leave (another) note in the system that the apt. number is 2S not 25 and send the package out for a rare fourth delivery. 

I said, perhaps not politically, “You’ve done that three times; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new result.” 

In the case that they had to leave the package, it would be held in Brooklyn on Messerole Street, but she could not really be sure where the package was and when it may arrive there. I explained I am not going to the bowels of Brooklyn in search for a package that may or may not be there. Although on further thought, videotaping this whole epic misadventure may have made for an interesting flick. 

The customer (dis)service rep basically said to suck it up and either go to Brooklyn or stay home again tomorrow hoping it would show up. She said there is absolutely no way she could contact the driver or facility and a zero percent change I could have it re-delivered tonight.

None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. 

Did I really, honestly, honest-to-God need my $300 black Perlina purse that night? Or the next day? Or that week? No, I just wanted to make sure it wasn't lost forever.

Finally when I threatened to blog, FB and Tweet about this, asking her to repeat sentences so I could type them exactly, the woman said she was sending me to another department because of my “blogging threat."

I LOLed and held another ungodly amount of time while I’m sure she alerted this higher up there was a “blogging threat” on the line. 

The woman I was transferred to was nice and actually got through to the office who dispatches my driver.

I was then put on the phone with Marielle who thankfully was a New Yorker. Finally someone who could understand! She said she was trying to reach the driver and would contact me in ten minutes. She then asked for my number and as I was saying “2 1 2….” We got disconnected before I could finish. Now I’d never find Marielle again. 

<insert primal scream>

Then my cell number rang (I guess they had it on file) and she said FedEx had lost power (it was December 21st after all, the day of the supposed Mayan Apocalyse and subsequent FedEx one…) and she was calling me back from her personal line. Big props to Marielle! Finally someone who is willing to go above and beyond!  

She said if that package doesn’t get to me in an hour to please call her on her personal cell phone. Amazing what the threat of a bad blog entry will do!

So now we all know the secret of how to get FedEx to do their job: Threaten to blog and/or tweet!

Fifteen minutes later the bell rang. It was FedEx with my package. My own personal "Argo"-style hostage situation worked and I was momentarily victorious. 


Lest you think the Universe has let up and that it doesn’t really hate me, the purse that came—-it isn’t the one that I won. They mistakenly sent the wrong one. 

And lest you think that I fought Fedex and ultimately won, several days later after waiting for a client check I needed desperately to arrive in '12 that never did, I found out from the sender that after three supposed delivery attempts that week, Fedex sent it back to her. Not only did she send it Priority Overnight with the correct apartment number, but I didn't get even one tag on my door alerting me of a missed delivery attempt and suspect it was never tried because Fedex notes each delivery attempt happened at 7am on three consecutive mornings; I am always home at that time--in bed--and even if for some reason I didn't hear the bell my dachshund certainly would, always on alert for the buzzer. 

Nicely played, Fedex, nicely played. 

See all Hell's Bitchen. 

Also by Kelly Kreth:

15 things I've learned from 'Million Dollar Listing NY' so far

The 20 deadly sins NYC rental agents should never commit (but do)

Escape from the UES: Goodbye douchebaggery, hello Hell's Kitchen

Dear Neighbor: I am your worst nightmare

Living next to a bridge & tunnel club: KY Jelly wrestling, all-night noise, no regrets


Getting packages in a non-doorman building: Is a live-in super enough?



Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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