I'm going to be slightly vague to ensure no co-workers find out who I am. I have worked for UPS for a number of years and worked in a large portion of the different positions you would imagine as well as some specialized positions that are lesser-known. Ask me anything.
Have you ever encountered cats and dogs that follow you and demand petting?
I have, I've even had multiple dogs jump up into the cab and just chill until the owners came and got them. While it sounds super cute on paper that is not the case in the real world, when the animals follow/chase the vehicle we have a chance of potentially hitting them, so we have to take it slow and use our horn to try and get them to leave.
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.
Can you go more in depth with what a UPS Auction house is?
I honestly don't know a ton about it because it isn't in my part of the country but I will do my best.
Basically if a package has a claim (damaged) or is considered an over good (items fall out of package and we can't figure out who/where they are supposed to go). We ship them to one of our auction sites. I know my facility ships to the auction site in Kansas City but I'm sure there are others.
From my understanding this site is essentially a warehouse of these goods, if we do happen to find out where items go, we do reship them out. In the less fortunate outcome that we don't find out, we auction them off. Typically it is by the pallet and is sight unseen so it is a gamble. I've never seen or partaken in one of these auctions. So I'm unsure if it is open to the public or just business accounts or any details along those lines. Sorry I couldn't be of more help on this subject.
Are your trucks governed?
I work at FedEx part time and all the trucks they have are governed at 65 mph. It's obnoxious because all the highways/ interstates around here have speed limits of 70. Sometimes I feel like it's close to a safety issue because I'm causing an impedance during busy traffic times.
Yes they are governed but I believe (don't quote me on this) that it is 75 mph. I do know I've seen them on the highway going faster than 65.
How do packages generally get handled physically when transporting them? Are heavy or “fragile” packages thrown around like pillows or is it taken at least a little seriously? If so, please share a time when someone has drop kicked a fragile package...
Bluntly in the past all packages were handled the same regardless of markings on the cardboard. This stemmed from online shopping blowing up and us feeding millions of packages through a system designed for a fraction of that amount of packages. Since 2015 UPS took an aggresive investment towards an automation approach and now has a system where your package is actually handled very minimally by humans and therefore is very rarely handled improperly regardless of the markings.
The worst broken package I've seen, this was not me but the person I was loading with, it was Friday and the Superbowl was on Sunday. This person had a 60 inch TV (2012 so this is super high dollar) and put it on the top shelf of a semi truck (on the wall of packages already there). It was slightly angeled toward us and when they walked away it started to slide back out and fell all 10 feet back to the ground and broke. I would like to say we are perfect but we aren't, accidents do and will happen.
Do you ever regret saying "I have seen it all" after you just saw something you never saw before?
Yes, everytime I think I've seen it all, things have a way of dropping a crazy new situation in my lap. The title was more because saying I work for UPS AMA just didn't seem like enough.
If you read my other answers from this thread you'll see that I've seen horse seamen, rubber half ladies and employees driving personal cars in warehouses recklessly. Not mentioned I've seen bomb threats, buildings flood, a hazmat fire, UPS trucks become convertibles from underpasses and countless other crazy stuff. There's always more crazy things to see. Bad choice of words on my part my friend.
has anyone ever tried to steal a package from you? if someone would try, would you stop them?
In a delivery situation, no. Within a building that I oversaw, yes.
I have had multiple theft related incidents within the warehouse. Once was a brand new employee that saw an apple store package bust open, once they knew what their packages looked like everytime the saw them they would open it and take a few items. This lasted 3 days before they were promptly caught, fired and arrested. In a more elaborate incident a worker who prints labels for customers as their job got creative and started printing labels to their own house for packages that were for FedEx and USPS (they aren't in our system. So we didn't know they went missing) and went unnoticed for years. They are now also in jail for 20+ years with hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen.
As for on the street, I personally have not but I have had co-workers that have. One was held at gunpoint and allowed the person access to the truck. Another was being followed and at every stop the "porch pirate" was collecting the packages as the delivered. Either way it is our stance to protect our driver first, so give the packages away if need be, they are replaceable, our drivers are not. This is then reported to the authorities.
How many times have packages been ripped open and spilled sex toys out?
I have seen it several times before. Usually it's just the classic vibrators that you imagine. One time however it was a larger package that opened up and I kid you not when I say the entire bottom half of a rubber woman came out.
If you work in Canada, how has all the cost and corner cutting affected you? If you're in the States, do you guys pay for your socks and is it a total clusterfuck to order them like it is in Canada?
I am in the US and yes the socks and boots are the only two parts of the uniform required to be paid for by the employee.
The process isn't complicated at all and most facilities take an approach of pooling money together from all the drivers and making one big order each year so everyone saves money. Not sure why Canadas ordering process would be any different. Sorry I can't help you there.
Have you ever broken a package? If so, how'd you handle the situation?
What's the weirdest package or letter you've come across?
Do dogs actually hate you or is the stereotype only partly/not true?
Have you ever broken a package? If so. How'd you handle the situation?
Yes, the most memorable one was a pack of tiles going to home depot or lowes. It was maybe 30 tiles, 15 on both sides. As I was putting them in the trailer I let go of it maybe 3 or 4 inches off the ground and every single tile shattered when it hit the ground. I just went wide mouthed and looked at my boss. Honestly all we do is pay for a replacement product to be shipped out for the customer. If the item is salvageable we will still ship a new one to the customer but actually have a UPS auction house with all of our semi-broken packages.
What's the weirdest package or letter you've come across?
We do get live animals on occasion. Usually crickets going to pet stores, but I have had a snake as well before. I've also seen more shipments of horse seamen than I would like to admit.
Do dogs actually hate you or is that just a stereotype/partially true?
I spent several years in Safety and during the Spring/Summer I would say my area (3 state range) averaged 1 or 2 dog bites a week. The issue more time than not is that a driver is on vacation and we have to send someone else on a route. The dog expects one person and sees someone else and each dog reacts differently. I've also seen injuries caused by cats and cows surprisingly.
Do you like the uniform? If you could change one thing about it what would it be?
The uniforms actually changed just a few months ago. You will slowly see the iconic browns that you are used to seeing fading out. Drivers will now be wearing (still brown) polos that are much more pleasant to wear during the hot months.
The old uniforms looked great and professional, however the material was hot and did not bench/stretch well for a job where you move a lot.
What kind of checks are in place for illegal items such as drugs? And do these checks apply to letters?
Also are letters manually sorted or automatically sorted by a machine?
Why are you asking? So it honestly depends on the facility, certain buildings that are further along with automation any small package (think cell phone box size and under 5 pounds) as well as letters are never touched by a human. However at some point every package is handled by humans either loading the brown trucks for delivery and the driver themselves.
A lot of smaller extended buildings still use the old manual labor method where every package is hand loaded/sorted.
As for what is in place to prevent illegal drugs, we do have drug dogs come in on occasion and sniff around. We also get tips from agencies to isolate certain packages due to suspicion. Lastly in some of our major hubs we actually have agencies that work in the facility 24/7. They can type in parameters for specific packages and it will automatically remove itself from the sort and be transported to the agency (all on automated belts) for them to inspect. It has gotten pretty high tech over the years.
Did you ever get any tip for just doing your job? What was it like?
Personally the only tip, if you want to call it that, is people coming up to me in public and saying thank you for what you do.
However, I am not a daily delivery driver, I do know many drivers that establish great relationships with the families/business on their route. Usually around Christmas time some families will give them a gift, which could be cash, cookies or small presents.
None of our drivers ask for nor expect a gift. If anyone plans on giving a gift my biggest recommendation would be to give your local driver a bottle of water during the summer months, it can get very hot and their routes can be secluded to where they can't stop anywhere to get more water throughout the day. A bottle of water will truly help them out and make their days.
Are there people straight up sending boxes of cash? There was an infamous case some years ago where a box broke open at I believe a FedEx facility full of cash. Turns out it was an illegal payment to a college student athlete and resulted in a huge NCAA investigation.
Personally I've never seen that. If I were to be sending cash, a wire would make more sense in my mind.
we’re you ever part of an undercover bust? like one where some kid orders drugs online the cops wait for him to sign the package to arrest him while you’re the mailman.
I have had my fair share (I would guess 5 or so) times where packages bust open in the warehouse and have weed inside of them at which point I reported the package to the authorities. I was never a part of the actual sting operation though.
I have however been involved in 4 different arrests in my career, 3 for theft and 1 for driving a personal vehicle into the building almost running several people over, all of which were internal employees and obviously don't work for us any longer.
What are some things we can do to make your job easier? (Also, could you please ask your co-workers to knock louder when there's a package I need to sign for? It's kinda annoying to miss the package delivery people because I never heard them.)
One of the bigger items would be if you know we are coming then bring your pets inside, they may be cute and innocent but it does give us anxiety because we never know how they will react to us.
Our drivers are trained to honk on approach, say "UPS", ring the doorbell and knock on the door to get attention. I'm unsure of where you are located and most likely will never meet your driver, I would call your local center and let them know about your incident so they can correct it for the future.
Do you have union?
Yes, UPS in the United States is part of the Internarional Brotherhood of Teamsters.
What happens when you delivered a package and then it’s reported missing, either from the box getting stolen (what happened to me recently) or the customer is a liar?
Do you get in trouble?
It happens from time to time, we monitor our packages and exactly who/where they are left. Depending on the circumstances we will either claim liability and reimburse for the package or claim no fault for following all the proper methods of delivery. Alas, sometimes you do have customers that are looking for a freebie. We typically have our drivers do a follow-up visit and speak to the customer. You'd be surprised how often and child or significant other grabbed a package and forgot to tell the person it belonged to. There are so many factors that go into to give a solid answer on this one.
If you could change 1 thing at UPS what would it be?
If you had the power to implement it overnight, would you?
Hire more employees and work less hours. As a salaried employees I work 12-14 hour days most days. Our drivers work slightly less than that but still well over 8 a day.
If I I had the power to change it would I? Probably not, in order to pay the wages we do, we ask a lot, if you hire more employees then wages go down. I'm young enough where I'd rather have extra money now. Down the road towards the end of my career I would prefer the less money, less hours approach.
How often do you find drugs?
Personally not that often, but that is not my department so I'm not actively looking either. It's happened a few times throughout my career but mostly accidently.
When I was loading feeder trucks why did drivers keep hooking up to my trailer and driving off with me still in it? Every time it was at least two hours prior to scheduled departure.
There are standard procedures for this. The feeder driver should not back up but rather come inside prior to coupling the trailer. I would let management know so that they can inform/reprimand the driver for unsafe behavior. Your safety is the most important thing.
I know that UPS opted out of its Amazon contract a while back, and I heard FedEx recently did the same. Is there any talks UPS picking up another Amazon contract?
We still have our Amazon contract. We currently are putting a limit on how much of their stuff we ship to ensure our other customers packages can be serviced. Unfortunately for Amazon they destroyed their relationships with all the carriers thinking they could handle their own volume and have proven they can't. Honestly Amazons outlook is a lot more negative than the stock market suggests, the logistics side is in a lot of trouble. They will either have to pay a fortune to ship through us or FedEx or lose customers from major delays in shipping their own packages.
What is the most expensive thing you ever saw shipped? I had one incident (I was a lowly handler) where the brass ALL came out to get a package, it wasn't very big but they were all clearly nervous as hell. Went into the cab of a truck, two people with eyes on the package at all times and nobody would say a word about what was in it. Is this SOP?
Most expensive that I knew the contents of was a wedding dress with a declared value of over 50k. There was mass panic to pull it from the system and get it delivered on time because they shipped it ground but needed it next day air. A lot of high value declared packages I never find out what is in it or how much it is worth.
How many failed "discrete packaging" fails have you seen? What the worse one?
Not too many times but it does happen, the worst was seeing the bottom half of a rubber female doll come out of a box. The worst case scenario is when we contact customers about discrete packages because of them being damaged or lost in transit.
What are the chances of getting caught sending illegal drugs in relatively small amounts through ups? What happens when it is found?
You will get caught, you will get arrested, don't do it.
What has been your longest drive of all time?
I'm not CDL certified, so I've never driven a semi which would typically be the ones that make long drives. The brown delivery trucks you see don't drive as much as you think, longest distance may have been 100 or so miles in a day.
I did however take a personal vacation where I drove from the east coast to the west coast in 12 days. The longest single drive day was 18 hours and nearly 1,200 miles in my buddies sedan.
How many UPS could an UPS truck truck if an UPS truck could truck UPS?
All the UPS
How do they justify skirting the state law that says that employees are entitled to an unpaid meal period during their shift?
They don't, all drivers get an unpaid meal during each shift. Depending on the local contract it is either 30 minutes or 1 hour. On top of that each driver also gets two separate 10 minute paid breaks.
Some drivers however decline to take their unpaid break to get done earlier. That's their choice at that point though.
Is 2 a prime number?
Yes, 2 is a prime number. Some fun facts, 2 is the lowest prime number. It is also the only even prime number as all the others are divisible by 2. Thanks for asking, have a wonderful day.
Most dangerous delivery?
Anywhere in the middle of nowhere once it gets to late. Middle of nowhere people don't trust people on their property after the sunset and always seem to be packing.
How has automation affected the way UPS does business? What will package sorting and delivery look like 5 or 10 years from now?
It enables us to ship more packages more efficiently, peak season doesn't feel like peak anymore because it moves so smoothly.
5 to 10 years from now, we will have more self driving semis, automatic unloaders and certain new delivery methods that I'm not allowed to talk about.
How do the drivers know their route? Is it pre-determined and certain people take care of certain parts of town? Or is it programmed into a gps or something based on what packages the trucks have? I'm sure once you've been running a route (or at least driving in general) for so long that one would know the area pretty well, but it boggles my mind that these guys have it down to a T.
If they are long time driver they have their own route that is more or less the same area each day. If they are newer they typically fill in for drivers on vacation and will learn a handful of routes.
We do have GPS now that was just implemented this year. Until then we relied on the old fashioned maps (with all the stops marked), most drivers drive their area in personal vehicles to learn the streets better. They are pretty sequential though, say you are on main st and all the sudden your next deliever is on 2nd st, more times than not 2nd st is right around the corner.
It can get pretty confusing and easy to get lost your first time on a new route though.
Do you think everybody should just turn their car headlights on at all times?
I wouldn't be opposed to it, I believe it would be more safe to do so.
What positions have you worked in? What's the craziest thing that happened on the job?
Given the fact that some States have legal marijuana and some do not, how many of these packages leaving the marijuana States does UPS catch on a given day?
I don't work in a legal state so I've never run into that scenario before. I'd imagine it happens more frequently than you think, we have a lot of technology to find packages like that nowadays.
What's up with the no doors thing, that doesn't sound safe?
We have doors, most drivers leave them open though to allow air flow in the vehicle. You can't access the back without the key fob though and the vehicles don't use keys anymore so they are pretty hard to steal, usually they are only left unattended for a 20 seconds at a time anyways.
Do you love logistics?
UPS ♡ Logisitcs.
But honestly yes, it is really incredible once you dive into it. Something that sounds so easy becomes so incredible complex and challenging when your bring it to the level that online shopping has. It really is a work of art.
Why do you scan packages as delivered when you've never actually come anywhere near the destination?
That's actually impossible, the device that scans is GPS enabled and can't mark a package delivered unless it is within a few hundred feet of the address.
Have you every bent a package? Or did it on purpose?
No and I'm not sure why anyone would do that on purpose.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen?
People literally having sex in public, broad daylight.
This is probably a common question but what was the worst “Karen” you’ve met?
All of our customers are lovely people!
Why do you always deliver my packages to the wrong address?
Do you have a well marked address at your house? I would recommend calling your local UPS building and informing them so they can put a note to any driver on the route to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Are you on? And if you are is it true you are using erratas
I'm sorry I don't know what erratas are?
What was your childhood dream?
To be a fighter pilot after watching Pearle Harbor.
I have a friend who is in local-ish management here in Oregon. He once told me that they do hire drivers off the street, but it's like a ratio of 1 outside to 4 promoted from within.
Is this the case in your area, and what is the success rate of an outsider vs those promoted?
Also, he told me that involvement in United Way functions and donations factor in to moving up there. Is that also the case for you?
There is a 1 to 6 ratio of off the street to current employee promos to being a driver in my area as required by the union contract.
The success rate tends to favor the off the street hires but that's simply due to circumstances in my area. Most current workers are PT and work another job, as such they do not drive seasonally because they would have to leave their other job. So when they finally get the call for a perm spot they have zero expierence and struggle during the 30 day qualification period. The off the street hires tend to be FedEx drivers that are looking for the better pay/benefits so obviously have lots of expierence and tend to be successful. The biggest bit of advice is to attend Integrad, a lot of drivers try to skip this and attend NSPT knowing it is easier, however Integrad truly sets a driver up for success.
United Way plays no role in promotions, there is a yearly campaign for donation however it is all 100% anonymous and therefore can't effect promos. The union also is seniority based promotions, so that makes it even less relevant.
There has been some controversy over Kickstarter projects (board games specifically) using media mail for delivery. Is this something that the post office really screens for? And how big of a deal is it if a company gets caught using media mail incorrectly?
Media Mail would all go through USPS not UPS. So I'm not all that familiar with the subject.
Why does delivery to a 3rd party shipping service take longer?
I have a courier service in Maimi that forwards stuff to the Caribbean and if I send something to it, you guys take a day long to deliver vs when I sent it home in Miami.
Our network has been around for 113 years, logistics is a lot more complicated than most people realize. We still aren't perfect after more than a century.
Do drivers typically drive the same route every day? Or does their route get changed depending on what packages arrive at the warehouse? And lastly, how many packages does the "average" driver deliver per hour / day / week / etc
Average driver relievers about 25 stops per hour. 80% of drivers have bid routes (same route everyday) the other 20% rotate.
Ok here's another. Why does UPS rough up packages a lot more than FedEx? I have never gotten a broken open or smashed up box from FedEx as apposed to Ups. Thanks. This has been bothering me for years.
Part of this was probably due to our rapid growth. UPS delievers over 20 million packages a year. FedEx is closer to 7 million. There was a point back in 2015/16 that our volume growth outgrew our system and caused some major issues. We have since built some massive automated facilities that have greatly reduced the volume issues. With more packages in buildings than they are designed for, they do have a higher tendency for damage. Once again this issue has all but been taken care of now in 2019. I'm curious if this issue was from the past or recent?
Edit: I will add that I've had hundreds of personal packages come USPS, UPS and FedEx over the years and never once had a damage from any. So sometimes it might just come down to luck, but a large majority of packages from each company go through undamaged, so I'm not sure if luck is the right word.
I was recently hired as a package handler over the summer for UPS. I'm a total geek so I'm not used to the physical work but I love the job, any tips for getting accustomed to it?
Just stick it out, the first few weeks are rough until your body gets acclimated. I almost quit my first week but I stuck it out and here I am years later with a career that I wasn't expecting (this was a PT job in college to get some extra money to start).
Did you ever pick up a package and something felt weird about it? Like something was scary or off about it ?
Most pickups are from businesses, so very rarely sketchy. We do some residential pickups though and sometimes get packages that are just taped reused boxes, but I've never had anything that triggered the thought "this package has something illegal or wrong with it".
Have you ever found anything strange in a mailbox? Seen anything in a house when delivering a package?
People sometimes use our drop boxes as trash cans, I once saw someone shitty underpants in one (literally pooped their pants and threw it away in our dropbox). We had to call a special team out to dispose of the waste and clean the box properly, all the packages inside were compromised as well.
I have seen people open the door and have a sex swing right in their living room. I've also had an older lady answer the door topless (not the good kind of older).
Was their ever an incident where uranium or other radioactive materials found being shipped?
We do ship hazardous materials fairly regularly, however I believe that uranium is on the prohibited list. The system is quiet complex to get a hazardous material into our system, so it is extremely unlikely that has happened.
what are the most important and helpful things to know?
About what? Our services, working at UPS?
Do you know what packages have sex toys in them?
No, we have a pure romance warehouse close by so get lots of those packages, however they are the most generic boxes that once they are in our system you'd have no idea.
Why does Orion suck so bad?
But honestly it is designed to minimize miles, it isn't smart enough to realize a few big issues though. For example it'll have you try an across the street delivery on a 6 lane road (not happening). A lot of the issues stem from improper dispatch, if you see issues like this get with your PDS and have them update the route, over time it gets better.