Just Bouncing Around

Sometimes, technology 031708-1318-justbouncin1.jpgfails. And when it does, it ends up in the trunk of my car.

There’s a hard drive in there, along with a keyboard, a CD-ROM drive and a cell phone. There are two motherboards—the one that originally failed as well as the defective replacement I received from the manufacturer.

The broken products are all wrapped and packaged, ready to return to the manufacturer. But here’s the problem. The same technology that allows me to track a shipment in real time by phone or Internet precludes me from scheduling return package pick-up.

All of the packages are UPS ground returns—and UPS doesn’t schedule pick-ups on those packages. Instead, the consumer can take them to a UPS Store or put them in a Drop Box. But there’s a third option—and it’s the one that really confuses me.

“Just flag down any UPS driver and give him the packages,” the cheerful UPS representative tells me on the phone.

I don’t think so.

I don’t stand in lines for Black Friday sales–and I won’t stand on a sidewalk, anxiously awaiting a UPS truck to drive by.

The prospect of running from my office to chase down a passing UPS driver, with boxes of broken products in my arms, seems questionable at best. But it demonstrates a reality of the times: that technological sophistication has no direct correlation with ease of use.

It seems like it would be simple to schedule an open-ended pick-up. Couldn’t UPS log the return shipments into its system, and then give its drivers the option to collect them when they happen to be in the area, anytime within the next few days? But it doesn’t.

So I just keep tossing the packages in the trunk of the car, hoping I’ll eventually have an extra 20 minutes to drive to the closest UPS Store. You’d think technology would make life more efficient, and give us all a little more time. But sometimes I wonder. Does working faster and more efficiently just force us to do more—and leave us with less time than we had before?

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Filed under Technology, time, UPS

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