The Check is in the FedEx

There’s an envelope with our return address on it lost in the bowels of a 37-story office building in San Francisco. I’m almost positive that it has slipped into a crevice or is sitting overlooked in the bottom of a locker in the huge mail room that serves this building. I mailed this particular envelope a week ago to our client’s office 40 miles away and it still hasn’t arrived on their desk 19 floors up.

More than once, I’ve had the thought that if I could go there, I could use my mom intuition and root it out like a bomb sniffing dog. After all, I’ve been finding misplaced stuff like library books, articles of clothing, and keys for years.

But unlike when my daughter loses a sweatshirt ““ in which case we go over to the school, rummage through the lost and found, retrace her steps, and we don’t leave until it’s found, there is no way I can track down the whereabouts of this envelope. Why? Because that slot at the post office”¦it’s a black hole.

Sure, the client said that they weren’t in a hurry to get the CDs of photos returned to them so just send them by regular mail. “OK, fine, I’ll just make a stop at the post office while I’m doing my afternoon rounds of school pickups.” But that little voice said, “Think about what you’re sending.” Even when I was working 20 years ago, anything that was really important was sent by courier or Federal Express, as it was called back in the pre-Internet, dark ages of communication.

Still, I didn’t think about how I would feel when they called to say, “We never received those photos back from you,” Gulp. “I mailed them a week ago and I don’t have any way of tracking the package.” That sinking feeling is the price I’m paying for not trusting my own intuition. I now vow never to send anything more than paper that comes out of our ink jet printer by ir-regular mail.

Two days after my “why did I trust the post office” experience, I had a demonstration of why FedEx will henceforth have my undying loyalty. We had instructed a vendor to ship DVDs by FedEx Priority Overnight service which means delivery by 10:30 the next morning. Their shipping department didn’t read the instructions closely and shipped them by Overnight service for delivery by 3:00 pm.

When our client called us at 10:35 asking where the DVDs were, I called FedEx and in 15 minutes I had a call back from them telling me they had notified the driver of our situation and requesting delivery ASAP. I imagined a FedEx truck driving down Market Street when he gets an urgent call from the FedEx hub, “Marketing company in Petaluma needs you to save their ass. Make an immediate u-turn and head to California Street.”

Our client got the DVDs by 11:15. That FedEx driver is my hero.

Although the resting place of the envelope full of the client’s CDs is still a mystery, in the end, we were able to make our client a copy of all the photos we had used. And thankfully, the client was happy with that solution. And getting it to them? The only question is, “Do you want that to go Priority Overnight, Overnight or Ground?”

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