Obama Took My Bus Stop From Me

As of Thursday, the bus stops on 51st St. at Greenwood and at University Aves. have been "permanently" removed, and there's a rather ostentatious police blockade preventing traffic from entering the 5000 block of Greenwood. I wonder how long they'll let traffic go by at all? I guess this is what being the party's official nominee brings with it. So much for public transportation a block away from my house!



Forget it Jake. It's Chi-town

So all last week I was waiting patiently for my new Credo mobile phone to arrive. I'm feeling pretty good about how every call I make is going to help make contributions to good liberal causes.

Credo uses Federal Express for deliveries. So on the first day, Federal Express leaves a door tag on the gate outside my building. The driver has checked the option on the door tag that requires me to be there in person to sign for the package. The next day, when they are supposed to come again, I stay home as long as possible, but finally have to go into the office - and then they come and leave a door tag. Same thing happens the third day.

All this time I'm thinking "why don't they try ringing all the neighbors' bells, like UPS does?"

So on the third day, the FINAL attempt, the driver leaves a phone number to call. I call it, and no one picks up. I try tracking the package on the website, and the website tells me that the package was sent using the "indirect signature" method, which should have allowed me to sign the door tag and leave it out so that they would leave the package even if I'm not home. But this is not the option that was indicated on the door tag itself. 

I call the main 800 number for Fedex to complain; after all, it's their fault for misrepresenting the option the sender had selected. The nice and seemingly well-informed person I talk to at Customer Service agrees, and says she'll put a note in so that they take the package out again on Tuesday. I ask if it'd be possible to send it to my work address instead. No, she says. We're not allowed to redirect a package.

On Tuesday, I put the door tag out with an extensive description of what the driver should do: ring every buzzer if I'm not there; buzz twice, once at the gate and once at the door, to get in. I go out for a series of meetings. In the early evening, on my interminable bus ride home, attempt to use my old cell phone. The one I am still able to use, because my service has not yet been deactivated, because my new phone hasn't arrived, and, according to Credo's website, I'll activate my new phone when I receive it. It'll take 30 minutes to 4 hours.


My old phone has already been deactivated. 

Well, Goatdog's been home all day, I think. Maybe he received the package, opened it, charged my phone, and activated it for me.

Why does this not seem plausible?

At home, I learn that in fact Fedex has not brought the package. 

So by now things are rather dire, because I'm expecting a call from a potential buyer of my car. He only has the cell phone number, and I don't have his, and he doesn't have email at home. It's about 6:30 pm. I call Credo. The nice and seemingly well-informed person I speak with there (Debbie) gets Fedex on the line. They're holding the package at 5151 W. 73rd St., she says. Is that a location I could get to easily? Transitchicago.com informs me it will take me an hour and a half to get there on the bus. No, I say. I don't think I should have to take three hours out of my life for a mistake Fedex made.

They tell her they will put the package on the truck tomorrow morning, but that I need to call in the morning, at 8:00 Eastern time, to make sure it's on the truck. What do I do if it's not on the truck? I ask. Well, they'll have to get it on the truck, Debbie says. I say: this seems complicated, they told me it would come today and it didn't, I don't quite trust this, so couldn't I have it sent to my office? Well, Debbie says, that'll take a lot of extra days.

OK. So it's coming tomorrow (that's today). But I'm still left with the problem of the potential car buyer not being able to reach me. What if maybe I can set up my voice mailbox from my landline? I try calling the number. I have a new outgoing voice message that allows callers to leave a message. But I can't get in. I can't set up my new voicemail except by calling from my cell phone. 

I call Credo again. Coincidentally, I get Debbie again. She tells me I should be able to set up the voicemail from the landline and tells me how to do it. I try again. Her method seems suspiciously like my method. It doesn't work. I call Credo again and talk to someone else. No, it's impossible to set up voicemail from a landline. I mention that Credo has deactivated my old phone. "Credo didn't deactivate your old phone," the guy snarkily says. "Your old phone company did."

Cut to 7am. I blearily get up and call the Fedex call center. The nice lady I talk to tries to reach the Chicago Fedex center. "I don't know why they're not answering," she says. "They open at 8."

"Um, we're on Central time here."


So she says she'll put in a note that they should be sure to put the package on the truck, and suggests it would be a good idea for me to call back at 8. I call back at 8. The nice Fedex person talks to the Chicago office and informs me that the truck has gone out and the package is not on the truck.

I let her know that I'll never use Fedex again and will tell this story to everyone I know. I hang up on her. I feel bad. 

I call Credo. I tell them my sad story. The Credo rep doesn't seem to understand. She calls a Fedex rep. He tells her that they've made 3 attempts and the package is being held for pickup so I should come pick it up. 

I ask to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor, Kathy, explains that Credo doesn't have a direct contract with Fedex, they work through a distributor, so it's a little weird that Fedex reps would give information to Credo reps, because legally, Credo is neither the sender nor the recipient. But that, according to her information, the package is going out today. What? I say. Why did the Fedex person I just talked to say that it wasn't on the truck? I don't know, Kathy says, but they are supposed to be delivering it today. And if they don't? Call us back. Oh by the way, I say, could I have it redirected to my office? Debbie said it would take an extra day or more? More, Kathy says, it would have to go back to the distributor and then back to Fedex. It could take an extra week. 

I put the door tag out, go about my business, and am coming home around 3:00 when I see a Fedex van pass by my door. Quickly, I notice the door tag still on the gate. 

"Hey!" I yell. "You have my package!"

Quickly, heatedly, I recap my story. "We came three times," he says. "But it was supposed to be indirect signature," I say. "We don't do that," he says. "Call this number."

It's the same number where nobody answered before. I tell him this. He says dial zero as soon as the message starts. 

I try it. Someone finally answers. She informs me that a) in Chicago, the rule is never to leave a package unattended at an apartment building b) their drivers are independent contractors and are only required to try three times and probably don't want to ring every buzzer because other people get mad if they're asked to help out a neighbor [I say, "but the UPS guy does it all the time - maybe I just have a friendlier building than most people?"*] c) the people at the national customer service call center don't know shit and as an illustration of c, d)....


you guessed it...

(did you guess it?)

"Did you want that package redirected to a different address? 'Cause we do that all the time. We'll get it there by Friday."

*I told my mother this story and she laughed and laughed. "It's because people like UPS guys better than Fedex guys." I thought about it for a minute. Just last week, I was on my way home, I stopped outside my door because there was a door tag on it. It was from UPS; it was a package for me. Darn it, I though. I missed my UPS delivery. I walked upstairs, went into my apartment, and a few minutes later the buzzer sounded. "Who is it," I said. "UPS." Huh - UPS again? I go downstairs. The UPS guy is there with my package. "I was across the street and saw you grab the tag," he says. "I figured it must be your package and I came back with it." 

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