Author Works Web Writings Stardance Reviews Appearances Gallery Links Contact  
     You are here: Home > Web Writings > Online Diary 2005 > So THAT's why they call it 'Federal"

Spider napping

Spider's Online Diary

15 July, 2005--So THAT's why they call it 'Federal'…

© 2005 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved.

Dear FedEx:

This message will also appear shortly as a blog on the popular Diary Page of my website (I am an international-award-winning writer, 32 books in print)--and will be posted on the newsgroup alt.callahans (the largest non--porn newsgroup there is)--and it may appear on the Crosby Stills and Nash website as well:

On or about April 24 (of this year, if that helps you track it) David Crosby most generously sent me a new computer of some kind as a gift. I cannot describe it, as it has still not arrived as of today, 13 July.

Mr. Crosby has been hampered since in tracking it somewhat by being on the road with Crosby Stills and Nash in Europe. He has not been able to supply me with a tracking number or his FedEx account number, or even to confirm the precise shipping date. All I can tell you for sure is that it was sent at the end of April, from near Santa Ynez, California, to the following address:


Last Wednesday, 6 July, one Anita Foster of FedEx Trade Networks Canada [(604) 541-1990 x 225] phoned to say the parcel had been found--no explanation or apology for the two-month-plus delay--and GST and PST were owing on it. I faxed her a credit card number and my GST number, we settled on PST of $310, I paid it, and Ms. Foster told me the parcel would be delivered today, Wednesday, 13 July. I explained that I work nights and would have to change my sleep cycle around to accept delivery; she was confident today would be the day.

Today the parcel failed to arrive. Artisan Express, the local FedEx affiliate here on Bowen Island, says the earliest it could now possibly arrive here on the island is late tomorrow afternoon's ferry--too late to deliver it to my home....but if I want, I could go wait at the ferry dock, flag down the truck, and try to talk him into handing over my parcel. Or wait until the NEXT day for home delivery.

Assuming the damn parcel is even ON tomorrow's ferry, which no one has even promised me, not that it would mean anything if they did.

I promptly e-mailed Ms. Foster asking what had gone wrong; this time she coyly admitted she has no idea when if ever the package will be delivered, and in fact she doesn't actually work for FedEx itself at all, just a customs broker FedEx uses (often enough to put you in its name), so she isn't remotely interested in my anger or FedEx's alleged honour. She told me to call your Express Help Line, 1-800-GOFEDEX. She did not give me a tracking number for my parcel, or any other useful information, though she must have had the necessary paperwork in front of her to have phoned me last week.

I did call your help line. And found that of the dozens of phone-tree options given me by your telephone robot, the ONLY ONE that claimed it would produce an actual human being was lying: all it produced, three tries in a row, was a fast-pulse busy signal, meaning "no such line." Every other remotely relevant phone option without exception required me to input data I do not have before it would grant me audience with a human. Was it your thought that frustrated customers would find a "help" line that offers no COMPLAINTS option amusing, like a dribble glass or a hot-foot?

For nearly THREE MONTHS now, FedEx has repeatedly lied to both Mr. Crosby and me. You have done NOTHING for the fees Mr. Crosby paid you, or the provincial tax I paid your broker, except to cause both him and me endless hours of lost worktime and annoyance. Throughout this abuse, not one of your employees or representatives has even troubled to appear sympathetic, let alone offer anything like an apology for the total incompetence FedEx has displayed. Your help line was far less than no help, literally adding insult to injury. Performance like this is usually expected of a federal government.

Ever since I moved to this island paradise seven years ago, I have been telling publishers and producers that if they courier things to me, they should use FedEx, as it is the only courier service whose local delivery rep knows how to find home addresses on Bowen Island--saving a trip into town and a day's time. From now on I will have to reverse that instruction, and tell everyone in my industry that FedEx should be avoided at all costs, on grounds of gross incompetence and rudeness. You're lucky I no longer write my op-ed column for Canada's national newspaper, the Globe and Mail. (Actually, they might buy a short funny piece for the Saturday edition. This message is just the right wordcount, ca 1,000 words....)

I would greatly appreciate it if someone connected with your organization could bring Mr. Crosby's parcel to my home, ideally without waking me up for a signature, some time before the Heat Death of the universe, and hopeably while David and I are still warm.

Shame on you, for turning his sweet generous impulse into a months-long source of aggravation for him. You owe him a refund and an apology, at minimum.

--Spider Robinson,

Postscript: July 16, 2005

Croz man,

it arrived late this afternoon. I can't fucking believe it--it had started to become mythical to me. No explanation or apology from FedEx, of course.

It is BEE-YOOTIFUL! And the iSight camera is a most pleasant surprise. If I had it running I could show you a pretty big smile right face hurts from smiling, but I am not willing to stop.

Allow me to thank every atom, past present and future, of your body, with particular attention to the large warm heart.

I will probably not have a chance to even start setting the bugger up until Monday at the soonest. Today I have two weeks of backed up housework to do, shoveling out the place, hosing it down, preparing it for the arrival of a goddess. Tomorrow I go get said goddess at the airport, and once I have her back within kissing range there will be no bullshit about setting up computers for the rest of THAT day. But I predict Monday is going to be a most interesting afternoon around here...


Love, right back at you,

ps--last night I revisited thanks to his son Aza, Jef's legendary breakthrough non-stupid operating system is now available for download. He once told me it was intended to correct all the "stupid mistakes" made in designing the Mac OS. I think I might just try installing it on my new G-4 Powerbook....

Thank you for that, too.