Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Value of Private Business


I mentioned a while back that I am studying for the GMAT. This is because I hope to get into school again to pursue my M.B.A. I have very few illusions about the difficulty of that task, and so I have been collecting all sorts of aids to help me study and prepare.

To that end, I have been making good use of Ebay, and bidding on study aids and practice tests. And in that course, I have noticed an interesting side-by-side comparison.

I ordered one set of books from a supplier who is using the U.S. Postal Service, and another from a supplier who uses UPS. Both offer tracking numbers and a website to measure the progress of the packages. Both were sent out December 27th.

The UPS tracking showed a series of locations, and the package was delivered to me Saturday, December 31. Four days, not bad.

The USPS tracking shows the package went to an airport on the 27th. And it has sat there ever since. I called the toll-free number to ask what was going on, and basically, they did nothing but read the information off the website to me verbally, even though I had told them I checked there first. They had no idea why the package had not moved, and said they could not consider it “lost” or “delayed” until at least fourteen business days had passed. They gave me a number to the city the package was sent from, but that number, besides being a toll call, only offered four recorded options, not one of them being to speak to a real person.

Moral of the story – as we already knew, never trust the government to do a job, if you have a private business alternative. Thanks UPS, nuts to you USPS.

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