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Entries in UPS (2)


Armed Guards & "Big" Problems for UPS. Will You Get Your iPad Tomorrow? Probably.

Security's been tight around hundreds of thousands of iPads sitting at Louisville's major international UPS hub. Earlier today I posted that a UPS employee I personally know told me that they were having "problems." Evidently the sheer number of iPads was overwhelming. My friend equated it with "Mother's Day."

Earlier this afternoon, a completely different UPS employee posted this on my FaceBook wall [which I've since removed]:

"I was so close to the iPads @ UPS last night it wasn't even funny.  they had them stored in the tunnel and armed guards were around them, along with customs, all night."

Then my original UPS "source" sent me a text message earlier this afternoon. Here is our ongoing conversation:

1:35 PM EST

UPS employee: "there are ipads as far as the eye can see."

2:01 PM EST

UPS employee: "you may not get it tomorrow. big problems"

3:24 PM EST

Me: "I hope you're kidding."

UPS employee: "nope. big issues"

Me: "you better get my ipad to me!" [kidding]

UPS employee: "man I am looking at thousands and thousands"

Me: "what's the problem?"

UPS employee: "long story...I'll email later...alot of stressed out peeps :-)"

5:24 PM EST

UPS employee: "it's like looking at the warehouse at the end of Raiders...boxes & boxes"

My friend got off work at 5:30 PM, so he called me. He said he's pretty far down the chain and doesn't have all the information, but he thinks some of them got processed but didn't get tracking numbers. He's pretty confident that individual customers who have tracking numbers beginning with "1Z..." will get them on time. He thinks most of the problems were with the ones going to the stores. However, he said that there was another crew coming in that was going to work all night, so no one should lose hope yet in regard to Saturday delivery. He said that everyone at UPS was taking this very seriously and bending over backwards to ensure delivery by April 3.

I also asked him about the security mentioned in the post from another employee on my FaceBook wall. He said they had armed Brinkley guards to make certain that none of the iPad shipments turned up missing. UPS takes such things very seriously.

For what it's worth, although my original Apple shipping notice said delivery by April 3, UPS tracking still has nothing under "Scheduled Delivery:

Nevertheless, after talking to my friend, I'm pretty confident regarding Saturday delivery. Heck, the UPS hub is only a half-hour's drive from my house. If they can't deliver here...

But you know what? In the big scheme of things, who cares whether it's a Saturday delivery or a Monday delivery? That won't even be remembered a month from now or even a week later for that matter. It's fun to look forward to a new gadget and the dynamics of delivering hundreds of thousands of them is kind of fascinating, but these aren't really life and death issues, are they?

If I have any kind of update to the delivery issue, I'll add it to this post.

UPDATE 4/3/2010: Although my tracking information never updated to say our iPads were on the truck for delivery, they both arrived right around noon today. Lots of fun playing. I'll update more later.


Overheard: A UPS Employee on the iPad Deliveries

I live in Simpsonville, Kentucky, one county over from Louisville, Kentucky, which is home to an international hub for UPS. Evidently, all iPads will stop in Louisville on their way from China to purchasers' homes and businesses. Anyone who has been trying to track their iPad shipment this week on the UPS website has seen their packages go from China to Louisville and then see the Louisville references disappear from the tracking detail. Although I've confirmed via a response from UPS contact email that my iPad will arrive on Saturday, I wouldn't know that simply from looking at my tracking information. There is nothing under the column of delivery date.

Moreover, it seems that iPad shipments may have been sitting in Louisville for a few days, but being held, presumably under instructions from Apple, until delivery on Saturday which is not a "normal" delivery day for UPS. Usually Saturday delivery costs extra, but Apple did not charge to ship iPads to customers, nor to have them delivered on Saturday.

Living so close to Louisville, I know a number of people who work for UPS. I was discussing the iPad shipments with a friend of mine who works in UPS management. Obviously, this was an "unofficial" off-the-cuff remark, but I thought he made an interesting appraisal of the whole situation:

"I know there was a problem with the way the packages were processed and there turned out to be far more [shipments] than UPS expected. It was like a Mothers Day week or something and caught everyone off guard."

Very interesting. But for those of us waiting on the delivery of our iPads tomorrow, I'm certain that we have nothing to be concerned about. This isn't UPS' first rodeo.