5 Warnings From Ex-UPS Employees

You probably can't avoid the shipping service, but you can be smarter about it.

These days, if you're on either end of a shipped package, there's a good chance it's going through the United Parcel Service (UPS). Easily one of the biggest shipping companies on the planet, UPS runs a fleet of more than 120,000 vehicles—all done up in their trademarked Pullman brown color—in upwards of 200 global regions. It's pretty hard to steer clear of this ubiquitous service, but there are some things you should know before ordering or mailing your next package. Read on for a slew of warnings to keep in mind, straight from those who know best: former employees.

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1
Delays might be the shipper's fault.

Person Preparing to Ship Items
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Everyone's had something stuck in package purgatory—that liminal space where it's in transit for weeks or months on end. When this happens, the instinct is to blame the shipping company, but issues like this often stem from the original shipping source. If they don't provide all of the necessary shipping information, UPS can't get the box to its final destination.

"What usually happens is we will hold onto the packages and try to contact the shipper first, but if they don't respond within a few days then we have to return the package," one employee said on Reddit. "Imagine what happens when the same shipper does this over and over again."

If you're continually not getting a package you've ordered, you can try checking in with UPS directly, but it couldn't hurt to double-check with the original sender—whether a retailer or an individual—to make sure all of the shipping information has been provided.

2
Your package is definitely getting tossed around.

Open UPS Truck
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It's nice to believe your packages are getting handled like a Fabergé egg at every turn, but the truth isn't quite as cushy. As the same UPS employee pointed out on Reddit, your packages take a long journey across "a system of belts that spans miles." Along the way, it's bound to bounce around. The basic idea is that bubble wrap protects any of the internal contents. Hopefully.

"As far as the delivery guy throwing your stuff goes, there is no real preventative measure against that," the employee added. "Workers are supposed to place packages, not throw them, but when you have a schedule that is invasive as hell and the pay doesn't make the jobs worth it, people start to not care."

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3
Missed deliveries could be a driver issue.

UPS Delivery Driver
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You specifically designated that your package be delivered without a signature or someone to receive it, and yet, it never arrived. Even worse, you were actually at home when the package was marked as a failed delivery. The first time it happens is annoying. The second? Frustrating. Even more maddening is it all could be because your driver has misread, misunderstood, or straight-up ignored the instructions.

"It sort of sounds like your driver doesn't really know what [they're] doing," one UPS driver said in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. "If the driver is getting instructions on the DIAD (the handheld delivery computer) to leave the package, they're supposed to just leave it. All responsibility and liability is left to you, so why would they care? They need to be talked to about this."

There are two exceptions, however: alcohol and firearms. "Those need a signature in person no matter what."

4
Keep your animals away from the truck.

UPS Package Deliveries
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Maybe you think it's cute, or maybe you think it's a harmless nuisance, but few things are more dangerous to your pets than allowing them to wantonly chase after a UPS truck—or even, according to one driver, allowing them to jump in the cab.

"When the animals follow or chase the vehicle we have a chance of potentially hitting them," another driver wrote in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. "For all the owners of cute fur babies, I highly recommend that if you see a UPS driver, put them inside or have them on a leash so we don't get anxiety of potentially getting hurt by or hurting your pet."

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5
Yes, employees check the packages.

Person Scanning Packages
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Don't worry—it's not to snoop. If UPS employees do end up opening any packages, it's mostly to find and double-check shipping documents, an employee revealed on Reddit. That said, if they do find anything illegal—for instance, according to a story this employee recanted, "two basket-balled sized bags of cocaine"—it'll get seized on the spot. Not that we needed to warn you.

Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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