Right now, I have a splitting headache.

I have a splitting headache because I ordered some gear from the retailing juggernaut that is Sweetwater, and since it qualified for overnight via FedEx Ground, I went for that, then sat back the next day for this to show up.

Did it? No. Instead, what happened to mine and probably a bunch of others' orders is that they went to a suburb of Indianapolis...and stopped there for about 18 hours for what I was told was a snag due to "staffing issues". OK...fine, I've done this dance with FedEx's clown show before, so sit back, wait, and then tomorrow (ie: today)...

Nothing. Again. OK, check the app on the phone...and it arrived in Champaign, left Champaign, went to Champaign again, all early in the AM...and as of right now, this "overnight" shipment is coming up on Day #4.

Oh, HELL no! OK, so call FedEx AGAIN, punch through their customer deflection phone system AGAIN, and let's see what's causing this. The answers were appalling...apparently this was the package moving from the terminal to the local office, but this massive distance was simply a move from one part of their terminal to another part of that same terminal. Yes, scanning the package this way might make it appear that the package was on its way...save that that 'way' is about 150 yards.

I demanded answers at this point. S**t ain't funny. So I got connected to a higher-up in their customer mollification department, and they promised to "get this sorted out", and they'd call back in a half-hour.

Two hours later...the phone rings. And it's not the previous person, but someone at the Champaign terminal who was VERY hostile and combative, to say nothing of being a helluva insult-slinger. They suggested I come over and get the box. I suggested that maybe you need to do your effin' job and bring the box over like you're supposed to. Call ended shortly after that in an avalanche of four-letter words on BOTH ends! Call FedEx AGAIN, navigate the customer-deflector AGAIN...then I get told that "that package wasn't an overnight". Oh? Hmmm...Sweetwater.com, check this, that...nope, that assertion is 100% BS. Either that, or you need to see what THEIR website says about this "free overnight" shipping gobbledygook.

So...call Sweetwater, where this all started. They wanted me to, actually, as they were watching how this got dealt with by FedEx (which goes quite a way to my deduction that there were A LOT of Sweetwater shipments in that trailer that got stuck in Indy) because THEY have been pissed at FedEx since FedEx dropped their delivery guarantees which apparently has led to a bunch of lackadaisical behavior at that "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight" carrier.

I should note that I had Sweetwater change my shipment info around this point, leaving a note on my account that Sweetwater "absolutely, positively" NEVER ship me anything via FedEx Ground ever again, period.

Now, for those of you reading this who don't know the geography here, Champaign and Ft. Wayne, Indiana are only about 3-4 hours apart. By car. At this point, I could've gone over to Sweetwater several times, gotten a bit of the gear each time, and then by the time I'd reassembled it all we would be at...well, about NOW, actually.

So the lesson is: if you're ordering from Sweetwater and you're in the geographic range for FedEx Ground "overnight"...well, don't. Have them ship your stuff via UPS, USPS, ANYthing but FedEx Ground if you need it ASAP. Or if you need it at all, for that matter, if you value your gear AND your sanity!

FedEx is the worst (UPS close behind). They lie about delivery times, they don't provide notifications as requested half the time, they don't honour the signature requirement. I pretty much have to spend two days sitting within sight of the front window to spot them. (Packages have been known to disappear in my nabe.)

FedEx is terrible, the last five (modular) deliveries were all late by two or more days, the Dyson I ordered was left just inside the gate next to the sidewalk as they couldn't be bothered to even bring it up to the door, and it was signature required.

DHL is just as bad, the ECR+ I ordered was shipped "Express" on the 12th, the updated delivery date is the 23rd, how that is 3-day express is beyond me.

UPS is right up there in the race to be the worst carrier, every time a package goes through the main hub it sits there for days.

I'm not even going to mention Amazon or USPS because the majority of the post would be (expletive deleted).

Well, I'll mention them...

DHL is downright annoying. Fortunately, I only have to screw around with them when I order anything from Tangible Waves, but you HAVE TO be around to see what they're up to, as they'll just bolt if you're not there within, oh, 60 seconds. Makes signing for their shipments annoying as hell, but they do have a good track record on not smashing your shipment all to f**k.

And I can't say that about UPS at all! I still have very hideous and rattled memories of purchasing a Bruel & Kjaer Model 123 "Spectrum Shaper"...basically, think Stockhausen's Albiswerk filter banks at WDR, then shrink that down to a rackmountable form factor. This was shipped UPS, and it DID arrive on time...with one corner of the padded double-box job smashed in completely! After pushing the hell out of the UPS Field Inspector, they admitted that packages at the local depot tend to get "thrown around too often".

Who are they hiring? Gorillas? That filterbank weighs about 35 pounds minus the doublepacking! And the momentum + mass not only fubarred the boxes, it smashed in a corner of the unit itself, with the impact knocking components loose inside it, destroying soldered connections, and so on. Had it not been for my ultra-amazing tech, who has repair-fu that's WAAAAAAAY beyond my pay grade and his ability to figure everything out WITHOUT SCHEMATICS, I could've wound up throwing that poor filterbank in the trash. UPS doesn't have to care, though, once they paid out on this fairly-unobtainable thing. Rat-bastards...

Amazon does great on delivery...as long as your shipment isn't clearly expensive AF. A few pedals I got thru them, well, I didn't get them on the first try. Apparently when things go through their SW Chicago facility, they sometimes get subjected to five-finger discounts. So I quit using them except for boring stuff that people won't want to steal.

This problem also crops up with the USPS...same area, too. But the USPS actually has SERIOUS consequences waiting for anyone who gets caught (screwing with the US Mail is a bigtime felony!), so it's not as often nor are expensive things typically stolen, as those clowns tend to look for pocketable packages. HOWEVER...and shockingly enough...ONLY the USPS can consistently hit delivery times around here. UPS can be a day late at times, FedEx...who knows, and Amazon can hit the delivery times as long as one of their terminal crew doesn't steal your shit. And nothing domestic comes here via DHL, so it sees very little action. Even with DeJoy (appropriate name, that!) still trying to wreck the USPS, they can manage pretty well.

Solution? Talk to your shippers, explain that you want NO FEDEX (or whichever carrier is screwing up for you) on your shipments after the first time you get screwed, and also make a lot of bad noise at the higher-ups at the carrier in question about your concerns about their "clearly untrustworthy" shipping security. And while this might sound like a rather Karen-esque way of going about this, the fact is that the upper management of these companies are pretty bent out of shape about this for the same reasons YOU are, and they'd like nothing more to root out the pilferage and get those responsible locked up. ALWAYS report shipment screwery. Always. If more people hold these carriers' feet to the fire on these sloppy operations, maybe they'll finally start doing things like, oh, paying their employees something more than McDonalds slave wages and treating them like human beings so that they have LESS impetus to pull stunts like this.

Yes, we need to get those Telepods invented ASAP, hopefully, better than Brundle's attempt. I already miss brick and mortar (everything) and COVID put the death nail in so it's only going to get worse.

Shipping to Minneapolis (from Sweetwater or anyone else) was generally fine for me pre-pandemic. 2020+ it's all out the window. ETA means "sometime". "Signature required" means "whatever we feel like." My Erica Techno system was left at my neighbor's place yet "signed" by me -- really!? That is not a cheap mistake. Luckily, I saw the package, just grabbed it -- it did have my name on it.

My expectations of the delivery services are now close to zero; SO I make sure to work with vendors that are either well insured, or I know will make things up to me if there's a problem. My Sweetwater guy will fix any issue; as a result he's gotten a lot of business from me.

Perfect Circuit ships FedEx to me from CA. My packages run into black holes around LA and around Chicago. Some strange unknown cosmological process then decides when the package emerges again. I've got a room full of monkeys and Fermilab in a race to figure that out. I'm not holding my breath. FedEx does suck.

Maybe in 2022+ the shipping will again be "reliable"? Who knows. But for now, it's anything goes.

BTW anything I order from Patchworks (Seattle) shows up super fast and on schedule or ahead of it. Maybe I'm getting lucky where I am? Anyway they seem like a good bunch; I'd be happy to send 'em a bit more business.

Detroit Modular ships USPS to me in NYC. Despite recent attempts to destroy and privatize it, it remains fast and reliable, much more so than the "free" shipping done by the private carriers. I wish more suppliers offered this option.

Well I've just ordered some modules from Perfect Circuit and Control Voltage who use Fedex and UPS respectively, so fingers crossed how this turns out, all shipped on the same day (I'm in the AU), let the race begin...

Hopefully their corporate practices are entirely different in Australia. It's ground shipping in the US plus the "last mile" that we're all moaning about. Perfect Circuit at least has good tracking information. Two of my shipments from them have gone through the Navajo Nation, which is at least interesting.

Much of the "bad behavior" as of late seems to have been here in the States, partly due to how these companies treat their rank-n-file folks over here. In the rest of the world where government standards dictate AGAINST that, they're relatively trustworthy.

Meanwhile today in a private sale posted by USPS "click-n-ship", the package arrived before noon on the second day after posting, a day ahead of their original estimate.