Today, December 13, is my birthday. As appropriate for such a horrible day, I am going to recount an awful experience I recently concluded that involves Nintendo of America and UPS, or United Parcel Service.
My aim in this story is to hopefully get this shared on the Internet to reach Nintendo's attention, and get them to switch logistics providers from UPS to, say, FedEx. UPS is a disgrace and left me extremely unsatisfied, and worst of all, as a customer of Nintendo's, I couldn't choose which shipper I wanted. I was forced into a bad experience, and were I not a dedicated loyal Nintendo fan, I would associate UPS's disaster with Nintendo's own brand and then not shop from Nintendo anymore.
Well, I certainly won't shop at Nintendo's online store anymore as long as UPS is handling it. You'll agree by the time you get to this article, but keep in mind there is a reason why UPS dropped their We Love Logistics jingle.
I've written this article in a timeline format so you can understand what happened and when. The premise is that I ordered amiibo from Nintendo, and UPS screwed it up. Big time.
November 12, 2017
I had accidentally discovered that you could order amiibo from Nintendo's online store (store.nintendo.com). Previously I thought all you could buy there were refurbished parts and games that they happened to have sitting around, but these amiibo are brand-new! I then saw that they had the Koopa Troopa amiibo and Wedding Bowser amiibo, which I've wanted since they were announced at E3 2017:
Here was me when the Koopa Troopa amiibo was announced:
(4:08:19 PM) Ludwig Von Koopa: I WANT THE KOOPA TROOPA”Here was me (and Rawk for some reason) a few hours earlier when the Wedding Bowser amiibo was announced:
“(12:50:34 PM) Ludwig Von Koopa: BOWSERWhen I'm screaming in caps-lock that I want something, I'll buy it if I see it available. And, hey, I was looking for the Koopa Troopa amiibo before. I made my order via that online store.
(12:50:36 PM) (rawkhawk2010) I want that Bowser.
(12:50:37 PM) Ludwig Von Koopa: AMIIBO
(12:50:42 PM) Ludwig Von Koopa: ME TOO”
November 13, 2017
I received an e-mail from Nintendo stating that my order had been shipped via UPS Parcel Ground, and they provided me a tracking number. I thought nothing of it. Nintendo predicted it would take around 5 to 11 business days with Standard shipping, which is what I picked.
|Here's my order. $5 shipping is rather costly, but I didn't care and just wanted to take the opportunity to buy it.|
(You don't get to see how much I paid in sales tax, but it's roughly equivalent to how much I owe the IRS.)
November 20, 2017
According to UPS, they attempted to deliver my package to my house, but they provided this message on their tracking site:
“The street number is incorrect. This may delay delivery. We're attempting to update the address / We're attempting to contact the receiver to request additional information.”Now, I gave Nintendo my phone number and e-mail address when I filled in my order, along with street address. They typically ask for those things because they pass them to their third party logistics partner. Well, they never called me or e-mailed me, so what are they talking about regarding contacting the receiver?
November 27, 2017
11 business days had passed, so I was wondering where the hell my amiibo were. Surely they could not be caught in the Thanksgiving rush, right? I had made my order before that on purpose. I went back to the November 13 e-mail and checked the tracking code. To my shock, I just now saw that they said my street number was incorrect. I made a UPS account, signed up for updates, and looked at my street address.
It was spot-on.
UPS allows you to change one field of your address one time, and that's it. Any mistakes and you can't correct it. I saw the fields and had no idea how my street number was incorrect, so I didn't change it. It wasn't broken, so I didn't fix it. There was no additional information I could provide.
November 28, 2017
I received an update from UPS, stating that the street number is incorrect. Their resolution? Send the package back to Nintendo of America. When I went to UPS, there was no longer anything I could do in terms of editing my address. There was never any way to provide an unstructured text field or provide any direct feedback to UPS through the tracking.
If I never made a UPS account, I wouldn't have received the update, even though they know my physical address, phone number, and e-mail address.
November 29, 2017
I sent an e-mail to UPS's customer service under technical support, topic UPS.com. I was confused by the many terms that UPS was giving on their site and they didn't give any explanations of what the hell was going on. Very poor user experience. I told them my tracking code and my address, which was always correct, and ended it with “I don't understand why you can't do your job and get my package here.” I heard that if you're angry in your correspondence with customer service, you'll get upgraded in priority.
November 30, 2017
I had received a postcard in the mail labeled “An important message from UPS”. It was apparently sent November 20, and the postcard said that they could not deliver my package because I provided an incorrect street number, and that it would be held in a UPS facility some miles from me for pickup until November 28. After that, it'll be returned to Nintendo. On the postcard they provided my address, because obviously they need my address to deliver the post card.
|A heavily redacted photo of the UPS postcard.|
A question I asked many people: How could UPS send me a postcard to my address saying that they didn't know my address, so they couldn't deliver my amiibo to me?
...And why did I receive the postcard 10 days after it was sent, and 2 days after it would be of any use?
I suspected foul play. Perhaps UPS employees saw that there was a package from Nintendo, and thought they could snag a hot holiday Nintendo Switch? Maybe the Teamsters union people were out protesting UPS's workload and they just refused to actually ship my amiibo? Or the union drivers were so exhausted from 70 hour workweeks that they were too lazy to give me my package?
This tardy postcard represented the entirety of their efforts to get in contact with the receiver (me) to request additional information on my address.
December 1, 2017
I got an e-mail back from UPS's customer service (as a reply to the one I sent on the 29th) saying they would call me. I then received a voice mail from a UPS non-working number (so I couldn't call back) saying that they had shipped my package back to the sender. The voicemail went something like this:
“Hi I'm calling from UPS. I'm just following up, we received a message for a package to [my correct address]. The driver shooted it as no such number. Um... I do apologize, we do have a lot of cover drivers and helpers out on the road at this time of year. We put out a postcard on the 20th and did not get a response on the postcard. It was sent through the postal service. We did not receive any response on the postcard, so the package was returned.” And then they said it's in the shipper's hands now and I could call UPS's customer service if I have any more questions.Seems like she blamed the temp workers for not being able to find my house.
So I called 1-800-742-5877 (1-800-PICK-UPS) and pressed 0 on their phone menu to get to a live person. I got one after being on hold for 17 minutes (and they said it would be for 17 minutes, so props to them), and gave her my tracking number, and she said the same thing as the voicemail, and said that I should contact Nintendo and that Nintendo was notified of the events. I asked how UPS could know my address to send a postcard to but not my package, and she said that when UPS sends the postcard through the United States Postal Service, the USPS the ones who figured out what my address is. (Which was the same address that I gave UPS.) Something about being local.
Basically, USPS could find my house and UPS couldn't with the same information, but USPS took their time doing it in typical government fashion. So much for loving logistics. Why couldn't UPS just ask USPS where my house is, or use Mapquest or something? I mean, it's marked, so it's not like it's hidden. Every other mail carrier can find it! I consider them holding it in some faraway location while they knew what my address was, and then alerting me it was there after they shipped it back to Nintendo, tantamount to holding my amiibo hostage.
I called Nintendo of America at 1-800-255-3700. The last time I called them, they weren't exactly a shining example of quality customer service. I navigated deep within their phone maze to a very specific path about their online store and got a representative named Lauren. Lauren sounded like a man. Perhaps they're trans? I don't know. Anyway, Lauren expressed their apologies to me about my bad experience with UPS when I explained what I was going through, with them not finding my house and then sending a postcard late and shipping it back to Nintendo.
Lauren was pretty smart when I was trying to spell out my e-mail address and realised that it's named after, you know, myself, Ludwig Von Koopa. Good dude. Anyway, they said I won't have to pay for shipping again, and that they wanted to avoid the inconvenience of UPS's shortcomings. ...However, shipping through another carrier wasn't an option.
I got a new Nintendo Order number, and then two e-mails. One was for a Nintendo Customer Satisfaction Survey (I provided high ratings for Lauren), and then a UPS Customer Service survey (which I gave very scathing ratings to).
December 4, 2017
I received a shipping confirmation for the new order, and Wedding Bowser and Koopa Troopa were sent out.
|This is a different order number than the first one.|
This time, it's at no cost! (So no sales tax censor.)
December 5, 2017
I received a notification from UPS that they delivered my first package to Nintendo of America. I also received another notification from UPS that they delivered the amiibo out of Nintendo of America. Did Nintendo send out the same amiibo that they originally sent me, or did they send me another Wedding Bowser and Koopa Troopa?
December 6, 2017
UPS says that they “rescheduled” my new set of amiibo (or possibly the same set) for Friday, December 8.
December 8, 2017
Nothing happened. A normal Friday.
December 9, 2017
I received this e-mail from Nintendo:
“Hello,This, of course, is referring to the first package. The fact that they sent this e-mail to me means that the second shipment had a different Wedding Bowser and Koopa Troopa amiibo than the first shipment, and that if I did nothing, those first amiibo were going to be “recycled.”
This is to inform you that your part order package was returned to us because the carrier was unable to deliver it to the address provided.
We want to get your package to you as quickly as possible. To arrange for re-delivery of your package, please reply to this email with the following information:
1. Your first and last name
2. Your complete mailing address. If you’re in the US, please include your house number, street, city, state, and zip code. If you’re in Canada, please include your house number, street, city, province, and postal code.
If we do not receive a response by 12/16/2017, we will proceed with recycling the product.
Nintendo of America Inc.
I can only imagine what kind of horrors would befall the “recycled” amiibo! Why do they need to be “recycled”, and what does that really mean? Obviously, it's a euphemism for something. Will Nintendo grind up the poor Koopas because UPS screwed up getting them to me? But they should be in their original, unopened packaging! Unless those UPS bastards messed with them.
I didn't reply to Nintendo because, of course, I didn't get the second shipment of amiibo. They might not be able to find my house on the second go-around, so I might need them to re-send this one!
December 11, 2017
I was refreshing the UPS tracking page all day because they said they'd deliver the second shipment to me on December 11. The end of the day came and it was night, so I got home and was ranting to anyone who would listen (which was no one) about how UPS were scoundrels. Suddenly, there was a wildly-waving flashlight outside — clearly not someone with the technique of the CandlePowerForums (CPF). They went to my door and dropped off a package. I rushed to my door, but the lanky man had ran away, obviously not requiring my signature. He was obviously a temp worker hired to deal with the holiday demand.
I received my amiibo:
|Fortunately for my sanity (and unfortunately for poetic purposes), the delivered amiibo don't appear to be defective!|
I also received notifications from UPS stating the package was delivered. Hooray!
The fate of the first set of Wedding Bowser and Koopa Troopa amiibo remain unknown. I hope they'll be okay...
Anyway, here's the lesson: Nintendo was great throughout the process. UPS was awful throughout the process. Why was Nintendo great? Because they're a consumer brand. UPS doesn't care about the people receiving the packages, because they're not the ones paying them. It shows in how they do their jobs, and it shows in how confusing their damn website is.
It's still ridiculous to me that a company that is built on logistics can't find my house. If I doxxed myself and told all of you my address, you would all be able to find my house if you chose to stalk me, and all of you reading this are just ordinary laypeople. UPS is supposed to track people down for a living. That's the reason for their existence. It costs a lot of money to ship via UPS versus the United States Postal Service. The least they can do to justify that cost is bring packages to the correct place.
...Also, how the hell can they just go and trademark the colour brown? That trademark statement is on all their e-mails and even the postcard. Probably something about being the colour of shit. If you're going to trademark a colour, don't you have to say the specific shade, too? Pullman Brown. #NotAllBrown
If Nintendo people are reading this, then please reconsider using UPS. They clearly are incompetent, and this story isn't the only one out there you can find on the Internet of UPS being awful. Do you have a shipping horror story? Let KoopaTV know in the comments! You don't have to go into the level of detail that Ludwig did, but details are always nice. Ludwig spent a large chunk of his birthday writing out this article, and now it's over. About time. What a horrible day.
A year later, Ludwig again has to deal with UPS during the holiday season. Did they do any better?