Thursday, September 03, 2009

Free Market vs Government

I'm watching a perfect example of government versus free enterprise in terms of efficiency. I've long been in total awe of the capability of UPS tracking to accurately tell me the progress of a package from initial contact to arrival at my doorstep. You've seen it as well. It is much more than simply "got it, had it, delivered it". Amazing.

Now, I've got an order from coming my way. It was a new product due to be released on the 30th of August. I ordered it around the first of the month. Amazon let me know that it was on the move my way via USPS and they gave me a tracking number for the box.

The fact that I had a tracking number meant it had actually been posted. I checked. The first entry was Aug. 29--package left shipper in Clarksville KY. Expected delivery 9 September.

Wait a sec. It is going to take 12 days for the Postal Service to move a 2 pound box eight hundred miles? Pony express got mail across the country on horse-back in three days and that was without roads! The cheapest, slowest UPS service takes three business days. What's up?

I went back to the tracking site on the 31st and there was no further information beyond the first entry. Yesterday, the 2nd of Sept, a quick five days into the journey, a new entry appeared. "Arrival scan, Sept 2---" Where was it? No entry disclosed where the arrival scan took place! It got there, but where "there" is can't be displayed. If they don't know where it is now, how can they know it will take six more days? Estimated delivery is still the 9th of September.

I wonder where it is. I wonder how they got a scanner to input arrival data to the tracking system without any destination included. I wonder if it is a Los Angeles distribution center. I wonder who programmed their software.

Yeah, that USPS system is right there competing shoulder to shoulder with UPS and FEDEX. The "public option" for package delivery gives Americans a reasonable, low-cost, equivalent system...or not.

Healthcare coming your way soon.

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