As you know, Kate and Richard are now married. One of the benefits of a wedding (besides a lifetime of happiness with your one true love) is getting gifts. Kate was low key in this respect as well, registering for a few basics – nothing fancy, and nothing electric, thanks to compatibility issues – from Williams Sonoma. Kate lives in a basement apartment in a brownstone – no vestibule, no doorman. Any boxes left would be essentially left on the sidewalk. In Brooklyn.
When Kate registered in the store (I was a witness), she kindly inquired as to whether Williams Sonoma could hold the gifts until she had a better, firmer shipping location option. Since she’ll be moving to England in a couple of months, and due to the aforementioned lack of a doorman or a suburban dwelling, this made perfect sense. Williams Sonoma demurred, saying that they don’t do that. Okay. Unfortunately, they also choose to ship with UPS, a company that a) doesn’t deliver on weekends, and b) has customer service ineptitude possibly only rivaling Sprint circa 2001 (when they gave me the wrong area code, then changed the number, making it look like I’d cancelled the contract, thus shutting off my phone).
Kate was gone for two weeks for the wedding and honeymoon. She asked her landlord/neighbor (Kate’s been renting from the same single-family homeowners for over 10 years) if they might be kind enough to bring in a box if they saw one. Nope. They’re far too busy managing the nanny that cares for the two young children while the mother doesn’t have a job. (Too judgmental?)
Anyway, Kate called UPS and asked them to hold all packages while she was gone. She was told by the main number that she’d have to talk to the local office. When she asked for that number, the main number customer ‘service’ representative couldn’t be bothered to find it. Good times.
Kate returned from her two weeks to discover not a note on the door from UPS nor a box anywhere. Which would seem great – they held the stuff! Nope. After making some calls to Williams Sonoma, it seems that about a half-dozen gifts purchased from her registry – some as far back as January – were delivered, but since Williams Sonoma doesn’t require a signature, UPS just left them. On the sidewalk. In Brooklyn. Needless to say, Kate never received any of these things. Some lucky people are enjoying a gift card, some place settings and I’m sure a lovely set of cutlery.
Williams Sonoma has now changed it so she has to sign for all deliveries, AND they are going to honor the purchases and re-ship them, which makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is not having ‘signature required’ be the default for deliveries. Isn’t that the explicit reason why one chooses a non-USPS shipping service? Ship it ground via USPS and it’ll cost a bit more AND you have to fill out a bunch of forms to get return receipt, signature, etc. But with UPS, isn’t the appeal cheaper shipping and the ostensible security?
What’s worse – UPS claims they are unable to look up deliveries by address. So, if anyone purchased something for her that wasn’t on her registry, and had it shipped UPS (which so many online retailers use), she has no way of knowing that it was delivered and got lost.