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6 Warnings to Customers From Former FedEx Employees

There are a few things you should know before you send out your next batch of packages.

If you're looking to send a package as quickly and safely as possible, FedEx stands out as a clear go-to option. The logistics company has become an even more prominent fixture of everyday life in recent years, delivering as many as 16.5 million packages per day on average worldwide. But as with any other operation of its size, a lot about how your parcels get handled behind the scenes is still shrouded in mystery. Read on for some important warnings that former FedEx employees have for customers.

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Those "fragile" stickers may not help very much.

Close up Of A Man Packing Cardboard Box With Sellotape

Besides making sure your package actually arrives, it's preferable to have it make it to its destination in one piece. For many, this means splurging on plenty of bubble paper, wrapping items up nice and tight, and sending them on their way emblazoned with stickers alerting delivery drivers to be a little more careful with the parcel.

Unfortunately, however, those stickers are far from a guarantee that your item won't get broken en route.

"While we certainly didn't intentionally throw stuff marked 'fragile' around (or anything else, for that matter), there are SO MANY packages coming down the line that we typically didn't even notice whether or not something was marked 'handle with care' or whatever," explains former FedEx Memphis hub worker and Reddit user salvation122. "'This End Up' notices got followed as much as possible, but when the [truck] started getting tight, they were often ignored in favor of getting the box in the [truck]."

Other workers shared similar stories. "Most Package Handlers, including myself, aren't completely careful with boxes," FedEx package handler and Reddit user Kearnsy warned in an AMA thread. "Tons of packages just get tossed around. We don't really have the time to use proper methods and such. Unfortunately, speed is more important."

One type of FedEx delivery service is supposedly less reliable than others.

FedEx driver loading boxes into delivery truck day exterior

Sending a package with FedEx involves a lot more than just packing a box and filling out an address form. Customers also have to choose which shipping method they'd like to use to get the item to its intended destination, including if they want overnight or expedited service for items heading long distances. But besides pricing, employees say there's a big difference in how different arms of the company operate that could affect your experience.

"FedEx couriers have different divisions and yes they are compensated differently," Reddit user FedExGirl_ explained in an AMA thread. "FedEx Express couriers are paid hourly and have benefits and vacations, etc. FedEx Ground couriers purchase their truck and route and are paid on a per-package basis."

"It's their own small business. Many people purchase the truck and route then hire a driver to run it for them, taking a percentage of the profits (cutting the driver's incentive)," they wrote. "This, from my experience, has led to a small decline in the customer service aspect of FedEx Ground couriers because they are not as invested in the company and culture as much as FedEx Express couriers. But again, not everyone."

Other workers had an even more skeptical outlook on the division. "I can't tell you about FedEx Express or Freight, but if you use FedEx Ground, good luck," FedEx package handler Kearnsy warned in their AMA thread.

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There's no set time for home deliveries.


Waiting for packages and online orders to arrive at your front doorstep has become a more common part of everyday life—especially if you don't want valuable items sitting outdoors unguarded. But if you're hoping to organize your daily schedule around your FedEx delivery driver's arrival time, you'll unfortunately have a hard time doing so.

"It is not typical for a delivery to be skipped, but there is no definite order of deliveries," former FedEx home delivery driver and Reddit user downer3d wrote in an AMA. "The organization of a route can change from day to day: if you are accustomed to receiving your packages at 2 p.m., the next day may come at 10 a.m."

Consider seasonal weather conditions when expecting a delivery.

Senior man with a shovel cleaning snow from his back yard at his house.

The holiday season sees a definite uptick in packages shipped as gifts begin to make their way from coast to coast. But in some areas, it's also the time of year when the first snowflakes will start to fall. And while everyone appreciates the initial beauty of a freshly fallen blanket of snow, it can also make getting those packages to your front door a nightmare.

In a Reddit AMA, a FedEx delivery driver with the username PurpleGreenSanta said that the one thing customers could do that would make a courier's day easier is to shovel and salt their driveways and sidewalks if they know they have a package on the way. "I wear heavy-duty hiking boots with metal stud grippers on the bottom and have still managed to slip and fall quite due to people not doing this," they explained. "Also, if you have a long, unplowed driveway, chances are I'm not going to risk getting my truck stuck, and it'll take until it melts away for you to get your stuff."

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Package tracking can get complicated (and misleading) on hectic days.

Side view of FedEx Express

Even if you don't know precisely what time of day the FedEx delivery truck will arrive, technology has at least made it somewhat easier to get notified when an item has finally been left at your door. But while the texts and emails can sometimes come as a welcome relief, it's also not uncommon for a package to get marked as "delivered" when it's still nowhere to be found. And unfortunately, FedEx employees say this has to do with how the company works when things are stretched a little thin.

"New drivers are sometimes overwhelmed and may scan a package attempted and skip to try to get done so they may go home 'on time,'" downer3d explained in their Reddit AMA. "A delivery driver's day is not over until the last package is delivered and is completely variable from day to day," adding that the "average delivery driver makes between 100 to 160 deliveries a day, [which can be] can be stressful on the inexperienced."

Not enough customers are giving their delivery drivers a seasonal tip.

A FedEx truck being loaded by a delivery worker

Even though you may see your FedEx delivery driver practically every day, you still may not realize how difficult their jobs can be. This is especially true when the parcel business picks up for the major holidays. If you're looking to brighten someone's day and make them feel appreciated, you should consider slipping them a year-end tip as a thank you. After all, some employees say it can only help win them over.

"I have only received one so far, and it was a nice Christmas card with $20 in it, and it made my week," wrote PurpleGreenSanta. "I'm not biased, but that household gets the best service from now on."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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