Modern shipping

Tomorrow being a holiday, I’d just like to say how great it is to be able to order gifts with 1-day shipping. And true, it costs a little more than the free 2-day shipping, but it’s not that bad. It’s about the same as what we used to pay for shipping that was “allow 4-6 weeks for delivery” or even “allow 6-8 weeks for delivery” a few years ago.


I am amazed at how the stupid shit I buy from China will usually be on my mailbox in under 10 days.

When I first ordered from Ali Express, I’d joke it was the best secret santa present because by the time you gor it, you forgot you ordered it.

But, now, any of the small parcels show up faster than K-Tel records of a bygone era.


Not to mention how much nicer it is than traveling to The Mall, only to discover that despite the apparent wealth of goods, with multiple shops carrying Items Like That, it turns out nowhere in The Mall has the Exact Item.


It’s just too bad that companies like Amazon need to treat their pickers/drivers like shit in order to make one-day shipping profitable.


And unnecessary. The cost of door to door shipping in real terms is barely a quarter of what it was 20 years ago.


Is this where one complains about USPS package estimates having the correct day about 30% of the time?

And about tracking updates not actually updating until hours or days after the status changes, uselessly stuck at “In Transit to Destination” with no details?

And about how delivery estimates don’t usually update when packages are late?

And how a 2-day package can get from San Diego to St. Louis in 9 hours, but it takes two additional days to make the 37-minute journey to my local post office, and another day to make the 4-minute journey from there to my home?


Also I signed up for USPS’s “Informed Delivery” which emails you scans of stuff you’re supposed to be receiving.

For Monday, it showed me one letter I was going to get; that one plus two others were delivered.

For Tuesday, it showed me three letters; one of those arrived.

For today, it showed me the same three as yesterday, including the one I already have. It failed to show me the package which was successfully delivered.


Thanks to Informed Delivery, I learned that the Christmas card sent by an elderly relative was supposed to arrive on December 5th, so after a week or so I assumed it was one more item I was never going to see, but then it arrived (without showing up again in the daily Informed Delivery email) about a week ago. Not sure whether to count that as a win or not?


Be aware:

I’m not sure if they’ve made any changes to the verification process yet.


You’ve been my source for new knowledge all week…thanks!


I used to have to drive 20 or 30 miles to buy shoes. I don’t miss those days.


One of my two packages that was supposed to arrive today says:

Expected delivery: Wednesday Feb 14 by 8 PM."
Arrived in North Houston TX Distribution Center Feb 14 at 8:08 PM

Houston is where it shipped from on Monday. :thinking:


It was shipped from on Monday or the shipper got a tracking # from the post office on Monday?

I don’t know about USPS, but the way Canada Post works, they assign a tracking number when the shipper princess out the package shipping barcode. If it hit the distribution centre today, that means that the shipper has finally delivered the physical package to the distribution centre. Before that, the mail carrier just knew it was coming because they knew the label had been printed.

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Nope, it said “USPS is in possession of item” at 8:30 AM on Monday, and “in transit” to my city at 12:31 PM on Tuesday (and again on Wednesday).

In my experience they don’t give an ETA for printed shipping labels until the package has been scanned at a post office.

Ugh. I see what you mean.

Modern shipping is also killing the domestic tryst:

<CO2> relsqui: see, nowadays grocery delivery people are on a SCHEDULE, they need to do 15 more deliveries before lunch, so there’s just no time anymore to have a quick go at it
<@relsqui> amazon is killing the domestic tryst
< Vulpes> having sex with the amazon delivery man would indeed be difficult
<@relsqui> Vulpes: they’d just put a sticker on you
<@relsqui> “delivery attempted”


I realize this comment was from 25 days ago, but the thread has been revived and I wanted to reply because this really bothers me too.

It absolutely astounds me what they’re trying to sell in stores these days. It is literally never the best versions of whatever you’re looking for - it’s only the worst versions, and often for a higher price. It’s like they actually want me to buy on Amazon instead.

I like to go to a store and look at and handle things before I buy them. So I still make the effort sometimes, but am almost always disappointed (exceptions to follow). I haven’t bought anything in a store in years that wasn’t an immediate-need thing, large/difficult/expensive to ship, or groceries etc. (which I also get delivered sometimes, but that experience isn’t quite there yet).

Perhaps most bizarre, to me, is clothing stores (and shoe stores). They often don’t carry the best stuff they make/sell in-store at all - it’s all online-only. And then they may have “extended sizes”, but they also don’t sell those in-store. If you’re an “extended size”, there’s nothing for you in the store. If you’re an “extended size”, you know from experience that you really need to try things on before buying - more important than for that size M person who can just buy whatever they want anyway. It makes no sense.

I want to believe that they’ve run the numbers and that this somehow does make sense for them business-wise, but it really feels like they bizarrely misinterpreted a basic chicken-and-egg situation (this applies to non-clothing stores too). They noticed that nobody who wears larger (or smaller) sizes shops in their store, so they don’t carry those sizes in store (or they don’t produce them at all, in most cases) - completely missing the fact that if their clothes in those sizes existed, and existed in store, people who wear those sizes would flock to get them. Of course, they have to do extended sizes correctly, which isn’t a given - it requires some effort on their part, and if they use the sales results from a half-assed experiment to justify not carrying those sizes in the future, that’s a big problem too.

(I usually wear an XL - not really an “unusual” size - and even that’s hard, for some reason).

There are some exceptions which I’d like to point out to be fair (not counting boutique-y type places, and e.g. independent bookstores, which often are nice places to shop - depending on where you live).

I like shopping in Muji stores - though they’re a case where they do make larger sizes in some of the clothing but don’t carry them in store, I primarily go there for the non-clothing stuff. Of course, there are not many Muji stores in the US, and I’m just lucky to live near one (two, actually) - and this is a case where they do have an online store, but the in-store experience is actually a lot better.

The Container Store has good stuff, and prices are OK. This is a store that seems like it’s run by people who actually care about the products, and they carefully pick and choose which things to carry (it’s a totally different selection from other physical stores that carry similar stuff). I do occasionally run into something where there’s a better option on Amazon, but that’s fairly rare, and this is all stuff where it’s nice to see it in person first (and a lot of the similar items on Amazon end up being disappointments). Of course, again this is a store that isn’t in every city.

Ikea isn’t perfect, but they carry everything in the store, they have a good cheap cafeteria, and price/quality ratio is very good. If anything for many things you wish that you could pay a little more for something of a little higher quality, but typically there are cheap and less-cheap options anyway (and it’s easy to avoid the truly bad-quality stuff and only buy the good stuff) and I think that’s better than feeling like you’re getting ripped off as is the case at pretty much every other furniture store, and there’s little to no competition for all the non-furniture stuff they sell considering the price vs. quality (the only real competition is Amazon). I guess I have to say again that easy access to an Ikea is relatively rare too.

I thought I’d be able to come up with a couple more, but I really can’t. There are a few other stores I go to occasionally, and even buy things in, but they’re not really a great experience (at least when considering price and selection).

I have to admit that it’s rather clear that I’m not a typical customer, and I have very specific tastes and standards of quality and so on. But I find it hard to believe that the average consumer were presented with only decent options instead of only bad options like they are now, that they’d somehow not prefer that, even if prices were generally a little higher (the most price-sensitive customers will still have Wal Mart and Target).

I’ve been in Amazon’s physical book store (here in San Jose). It’s not bad, but it’s too small and only carries best-selling stuff. If you had a Barnes & Noble sized store run by Amazon, you’d have room for all kinds of highly-rated stuff from Amazon, and room for more obscure or esoteric items too. The Container Store sort of feels like that, actually, but their purview is limited. A general/department store with all the stuff we’d only ever buy on Amazon nowadays would be great (even if prices had to be reasonably higher than on Amazon).


You know, you say that, but from what you wrote our shopping habits (and size/inventory issues) are virtually identical.

Which begs the question: how many people are like us out there? According to size stats, quite a lot. Just going by obesity stats alone (and you certainly don’t need to be obese to take an XL – just tall), that’s 30-50% of the North American population. That’s a lot of customers to be ignoring.

But as you say, very few clothing and shoe shops carry the sizes. For all the crying about losing custom, maybe the end game is to reduce overhead and just have everyone shop from home.


There was actually a python-esque skit I was looking for, but couldn’t find


I should have been more clear (I certainly had enough words to be so) but that’s exactly what I meant - I am definitely not an outlier, and that’s why it is so bizarre!

I like your deduction that their end-game is actually to have us all shop online. :sweat_smile:

It’s clear overhead is a huge issue for physical stores, and for clothing stores a significant portion of that is unsold inventory. My idea is then to have less of the “regular” sizes, and an equal amount of the “extended” sizes, and if the size M sells out then size M people can know what it feels like for once - and sales of the extended sizes almost certainly will make up for it. If you build it, they will come.