Fun With Shipping


reading time 3 min

I have to blog this so that when people say “that can’t be true” I can point to this blog post.

So…

We ordered a $30,000 device from a vendor in California, to be shipped to a data center in Jersey City.

Background

Our “datacenter” is ~200 sq ft of space we rent in a colocation facility (think of it as a landlord the provides datacenter space instead of apartments). The colocation company doesn’t own the building, they just rent the 16, 17, 18, 19th floor of a larger building.

To make matters more complicated: We don’t order directly from the vendor. We order from CDW and they either take it out of inventory or drop ship it (the vendor ships directly to us).

The problem

Our $30k device arrived at Jersey City. It turns out there is some kind of fight between the FedEx people, the company that owns the building (the loading dock), and the shipping/receiving people at the colocation company.

Due to the dispute the box was refused and “returned to the sender"ed.

The FedEx tracking website shows it left the vendor in CA, went to JC, was rejected, and was shipped all the way back to CA.

Failure to communicate

We assume that the people in CA will receive the returned box, investigate, and ship it to us againt. How stupid of me.

We wait a week and nothing happens.

So, we start calling CDW, the vendor, the data center. Nobody is able to find the box. Nobody admits that FedEx and others are fighting, but a low-level worker at one of the above spills the beans.

I’m about to stop payment. Not because I don’t want the unit, but because if you stop a $30k check it looks really bad and suddenly people that were useless pieces of “not my job” shit get calls from CEOs and other folks asking why they’re being useless pieces of “not my job” and when there are this many levels of “not my job” this is what you have to do.

…but I didn’t have to do that…

The solution

My contact at CDW is awesome and was certainly trying to do all the right things. Sadly he wasn’t getting anywhere.

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Tom,

FedEx tracking # REDACTED is not registering on FedEx’s website.

On Friday I googled “Union City REDACTED_VENDOR warehouse”. I called the
warehouse’s phone #, eventually was able to get to the Logistics coordinator
who found your box in receiving. They’re shipping this out today on FedEx
tracking # REDACTED.

For the record, we followed the correct protocol with REDACTED_VENDOR
/ distribution for getting this fixed a couple weeks ago. Since that wasn’t
working I just started googling and making calls.

Sorry for the inconvenience on this. I’m glad this is finally going to be
resolved.

Thanks!

Sooo… he googled and called random people until he could find someone to fix the problem.

We received the box a few days later.


TL;DR: Shipping problem resolved by guessing where it might be, calling the place, and begging them to look around the loading dock, find it, and re-ship it to the destination.

P.S. I can’t wait to fucking move to the fucking cloud where these kind of fuckups are invisible to us because they’re MS/GCP/AWS’s fucking problem. I didn’t study computer science for 4 fucking years to solve VENDOR’s fucking shipping problems.




Tom Limoncelli

Tom Limoncelli

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