And I don't mean people with coats of a brownish color!
Have you heard the UPS saga of Seattle? O.M.G.
Okay, so those of you who have followed the trials of me getting items shipped to shows are no strangers to the things with which I have already put up with. Well, Conflikt presented me with new stresses that I could not have imagined (to be fair, Conflikt had nothing to do with the stresses- that's just where they happened t take place. They're really wonderful people running that show so YOU SHOULD GO! Hey, 2010 GoH Tom Smith! I need not say more!)
So, I am here in Canada and the show is in the States. Wanting to avoid any more joys of product border crossing I planned ahead and got the items ready for shipping when I was at my parents place in Pittsburgh over Christmas (brains!) So come the time for them to be sent to Seattle, Mr UPS showed up at their door, paperwork was filled out and the boxes went merrily on their way.
Now, come Sunday, I had asked at the front desk for some UPS way bills. They gave me forms for 2 day air. HA! Like I can afford THAT! I went back and asked for the forms for ground transport. They don't usually have those. What? Ka. They use DHL. I'm told that "most people go online and print the way bills out from the internet." Okay I'll do that... but I have to wait until I've packed up everything once the show closes- I won't know how many boxes or what the weight will be. Fine.
Sunday night...at 12:30 ish... I was at the hotel's computer filling out all the online things. Well, trying to anyway. It wouldn't schedule a pick up the hotel according to the web site. This was just baffling to me. I went to the front desk and basically said WTF! He said, "Which zip code did you use?" I said, "The hotel's." He replied, "Well, which one?" Again- WTF! Seems 'they' changed the hotel's zip code recently. He gave me the old zip code and I went back to the computer. It worked. Well, there's a half an hour of my life I'll never get back.
Okay! So then I try to print out the labels. They don't let you do that without an account with UPS. Fine. I'll set up an account with yet another company. Or so I thought. I tried and tried to put in a user ID. No luck. After 1/2 hour or so I gave up. I went to the DHL site to try to get an idea of how much they would cost me, since the hotel *had* their way bills. THEY won't give you an estimate without opening an account with them. Are you friggin kidding me?!?!?
So I went back and forth between other computer options and the not-helpful-at-all front desk "staff". It was 3:30 in the morning at this time and I was using all my efforts not to cry. I was leaving for the airport in 2 hours and still had no way to get my stock back.
I decided to see if anyone was still in the con suite. As I went to the steps, out came Halley and Tim (????... I talked to him all weekend and never caught his name. :( Well, it's not like he was walking around with his name on a badge or anything. Oh wait....) I spilled out my sob story and Halley said, "I *live* here" and offered to take my stuff to the UPS store. This was going to work, until I realized that I wouldn't be able to leave my business credit card with her and they'd want to see it. PLus my big honkin boxes wouldn't have fit in her car. She said that Cindy was still in con suite and maybe she'd have some ideas.
Well, of course she did! She suggested that it was just the user name problem on the UPS site that would solve all of this. She logged on to her computer and opened an account with them right away. So I resigned myself to trying again and returned to the hotel computer. After ten different attempts at user names I was going to burst. I was tired and stressed and almost at wits end. The thought entered my head "too bad there's a character limit on the IDs. I bet if I put in Raxacorafalapetoria no one would have THAT one!" This led me to another favorite Dr Who scene. I typed in a word from that scene and THANK THE DOCTOR it was accepted!
And then I printed the labels and everything was fine. So I went back up to my room and at 4:30 am found myself labeling 4 boxes on 2 sides. Unbelievable! I sat in the room for a little while trying not to fall asleep. When that was failing, I took my cart full of stuff down to the lobby and told them that it was all set to go. The pick up would be Thursday. Or so I thought.
Jump forward to Friday. I was back home and checked the UPS tracking site to see if my stuff was on it's way. It wasn't in the system. I thought maybe the site just hadn't been updated yet ('cause I'm stupid that way) and I'd check again on Monday. Monday saw the same thing so my fictious husband called UPS. What they said almost made me reach through the phone lines and throttle them. They said they couldn't pick it up because (are you ready?) "it is an international shipment." HOW IS A SHIPMENT FROM SEATTLE TO PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL?!?!?!? (and how is Harvey Wall Banger one word? But that's another story!)
UPS saw that my US Visa for the business has the billing address in Canada, so they wouldn't touch the shipment, because, you know we're all terrorists up here and train our geese to fly into plane engines so pilots have to land in the Hudson River. Now, that's ridiculous enough, but what's worse is they didn't call or email or anything to let us know they weren't going to pick up the boxes. They were just going to let them sit. Nice.
After several phone calls to several different people, it was determined that we needed an account with a billing address in the US before they'd touch the boxes. This is where my parents come in AGAIN. So we now have another account with UPS. They issue us new pick up numbers and tell us they'll get the boxes the following day. Tuesday comes and goes and no one gets the boxes. Oh, there was a UPS driver at the hotel, but the floor manager said he won't take them because they weren't on his call sheet. Great. We did get a call at home that went like this, "Is the the Seattle Renton Holiday Inn." "No, this is the Paddison residence" "Oh. Sorry" Click. On Wednesday we go through the exact same story as Monday and finally convince the UPS phone person that we have a US account with a US billing address and all that. They issue us ANOTHER pick up number and say they'll get it today.
On Thursday the boxes still haven't gone anywhere. We're told now that someone TRIED to pick up the boxes but were unable to do so. WHAT?!?!? We call Amber again (yes, we're on first name basis with the hotel floor manager as well as the UPS phone manager at this point.) Okay, after more phone running around we find out my boxes are gone. What? Where? It seems that a UPS driver was in the hotel the day before and whomever was on staff during that shift forced them on him. Great. We were told the tracking numbers on the labels I printed over a week and a half ago were invalid. So where were my boxes? How could I track them? And what about Naomi? Wait- that's something completely different.
SO I typed in the ORIGINAL tracking number that it took me hours and hours to get in the week hours of the end of Conflikt and what do you think? There was my information. The shipment was picked up, en route and being paid for by my business US Visa card LIKE I WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!
The stock is safely in my parents basement now, resting comfortably until I go and get it in March. And there it will stay until FilKONtario. And who takes it across the border then? ME! In my little red van I call Serenity. You know, if I would just sell out of my items at shows I wouldn't HAVE these problems! Geesh!
BTW- tons of eternal thanks to Halley and Cindy!! I really owe you guys! Remind me to take you out to dinner at the '10 Conflikt!
Until next time:
"This must be what going mad feels like."