I get that this isn't the easiest place in the world to deliver packages to. We're way up past the Arctic Circle and flights don't come here daily. But it also isn't that difficult. I regularly get Express Post mail, and it is rare that it takes longer than a week, ten days at the outset.
I also understand that not everyone is familiar with the geography up here. Its a big spot on the map, with a lot of unoccupied space. But when you're in the business of delivering packages worldwide, you should have some competency in doing just that. I mean heck, anyone with a computer can figure out in ten minutes where exactly we are, and how things get here.
Not UPS though. I dread when I make an online order and see UPS is the carrier. Because it is a rare, rare occasion that they don't screw up. Packages that take weeks to get here are not uncommon, they often try (and I'll emphasize try) to collect brokerage fees from items ordered from Canadian sites. And they just don't have two clues when it comes to getting things here timely, without them criss crossing the country, sometimes several times.
Having filled up the hard drive on my senescent computer I ordered a new external drive so I can keep processing photos that I take. UPS is the carrier. So last night, with a moderate amount of trepidation, I clicked on the tracking number to see where my hard drive was, and where it had been.
The first thing I saw was that it was in Edmonton with the words that form the title of this post written boldly beside it. I've noticed that this phrase appears on all of their shipments here, so that didn't concern me too much. It was the next thing I read that troubled me. "Ship to Aklavik NT".
Arctic Bay is on the north end of Baffin Island in Nunavut's eastern Arctic. Aklavik is on the MacKenzie delta, in the Western Arctic of the Northwest Territories. If you hopped on a plane and flew directly from Aklavik NT to Arctic Bay NU, it would be about an 1800 km trip. Of course that's not the route my harddrive would take from there to here, and it would be more like a 7900 km trip, down to Edmonton, across the country to Ottawa and then north to here.
So soon I was on the phone to Apple. I love Apple, and I never have trouble with their service, but this was a little overwhelming for the person on the other end of the phone. After talking to UPS they came back (and as an aside they had a really good play list while I was on hold) to tell me that: UPS had tried to deliver the package to me in Aklavik, but were unable to. Now that hardly seems surprising that they couldn't find me there, seeing I'm on the other side of the country, but I was more interested in what UPS was doing to deliver my package to me here. The reply was that they would ship the package back to Aklavik but the address is in a remote area and deliveries are not made daily. I went on to explain that no matter how long or how quickly the package took to reach Aklavik it wouldn't do me much good seeing I didn't live there.
I know she was just trying to be helpful when she suggested that seeing as the package was at UPS's facility in Edmonton perhaps it was best if I just picked it up there, but I laughed out loud and said if I wanted to spend $5000 in airfares I'd go to an Apple store myself and pick the damned thing up. I then launched into a lesson in Canadian geography and began begging that they put some sort of note on my account never to use UPS to ship to me. Never. Ever. But alas that's all done at the factory/warehouse that the part originates in and it would apparently be impossible.
Luckily my latest order is coming via FedEx.