Monday, June 28, 2010

Buying a goddamn book online

I'd like to relate to you some thoughts and emotions I experienced today involving my purchase of a book and its subsequent shipping via UPS.

A week or two ago, on a whim, I decided to buy a lighthearted book of humor, in case I needed the occasional chuckle here and there. It was the kind of purchase that just barely crosses the I want this item but I don't want it bad enough to fish my wallet out and type in the credit card number threshold.


But cross that threshold it did, the order was processed, and I promptly forgot about it. Then today I received a card in the mail from UPS, saying they had tried to deliver a package to me but I wasn't home to sign for it. So I'd have to come to their shipping center to pick it up.

First let's take a brief digression to to talk about how absurd it is for UPS, FEDEX, and the good old US American Postal Service of America, to require signatures for packages. How are they expecting this to work? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the average American goes to work during the day on weekdays. And coincidentally, during the day on weekdays is exactly the timeframe in which these mail services deliver their packages. So what exactly is the plan here? Is everyone supposed to take a few days off work around the time they're expecting the package and just hang out by the door, waiting, naked? Or are we still operating on 1950s rules, where we assume I have a cute and cheerful wife in a skirt and apron waiting at home for packages while cooking me a meatloaf and polishing the sex-swing for when I get home? (Despite common assumptions to the contrary, 1950s housewives did crazy sex stuff, probably.)

So since I neither took a day off nor got married to a 1950s housewife yesterday, I missed the delivery, and I now basically have to do a day's work as a UPS driver just to retrieve this stupid little book I bought on a whim, or they will ship it back to the seller in 3 days.

And as you all know, picking up a package is not a simple matter of walking down to the corner and dipping into the nearest UPS branch. You have to go to their actual shipping warehouse deep in the industrial district, navigating traffic jams of delivery trucks and 18-wheelers in lovely, welcoming areas like this:

So basically, my decision to buy this dumb little humor book has created this gigantic work task that I have to do in the middle of my day, in the sweaty heat, in rush-hour traffic. Which is why I've decided to never buy, sell, or do anything ever again.



Have you ever wondered why our landfills are filling up and our resources are dwindling and leading experts are probably estimating that the world will be completely depleted of trees and hydrogen by the year 2018? Well, here's the answer:

Everything you see in this picture except the desk, the window, the windowpane, and the shrubbery outside, was used to ship this book.

How big is this little 207 page humor book?

THAT BIG! And it's not like I have super giant sized hands or anything. It's a small fucking book. It's too bad Random House doesn't publish microwaves too, because I could have fit one of those into the same box and saved a lot on shipping! Jesus Herbert Christ.



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