“Hi! So, I see from your website that my package is out for delivery. Is there any way you could tell me approximately what time the truck will be in my neighborhood?”
“Yes ma’am, any time between now and 7 p.m.”
“Ah. It’s just that it’s only 9:30 a.m. Is there any way you could narrow that down for me?”
“You know ma’am, I’m in a call center in Nebraska. I don’t know when that truck will be coming.”
“OK. Well thanks for your help.”
In the past UPS has always delivered in the evening so I headed out with Little L for a nice long walk. Of course my friendly brown delivery service came to visit during the hour and a half that we were out.
“Hi. I was out when the delivery truck came by, is there a place I can go pick up my package at the end of the day?”
“Sure, they’ll call you with details within the hour.”
“Can’t I just call them?”
“No, sorry, I don’t have a number for them, they have to call you.”
“OK. Then I guess I’ll wait for their call. Thank you for your help.”
An hour and a half later I gave up on UPS and jumped into the shower, but even being fresh and clean didn’t net me a call from the elusive Will Call Service Station.
“Hi. I never got a call from the Will Call Service Station. Do you know what time I can pick up my package?”
“Well ma’am, the system tells me that they left a message telling you to come at 8 p.m.”
“Oh. OK. Well, I never got the message. I had my cell phone with me the whole time.”
“Ma’am, the system says they got through and left a message.”
“I guess it doesn’t matter. Do you know how late they’ll be open?”
“No ma’am, I don’t have that information.”
“Well, do you have a number I can call to find out?”
“No ma’am, but I can send them a message to call you and let you know. They’ll call you before the close of business.”
“Ah. OK. I should probably give you my number again since they must have had the wrong number earlier.”
“Hello, this is the UPS Will Call center. You called to ask what time you could come get your package?”
“Yes! So what time do you close?”
“Well, we’re open from 8 p.m. until the moment when all the packages have been handed out.”
“And how long does that usually take?”
“15, 20 minutes, give or take.”
“Ah, that doesn’t give me a ton of wiggle room.”
“Well, thank you. See you later.”
Later that afternoon, while Little L napped in the bouncy seat at my feet, UPS teased me by driving up and down the street a few times. I even ran outside and waved my arms wildly, but the driver didn’t see me. Meanie. So at quarter to 8 I grabbed my directions and headed north to the secret Will Call Service Center.
I followed the GPS directions right into the heart of a sketchy industrial park, trusting that it knew where I was going, even if I had no clue myself. At the end of a dark alley a UPS employee wielding a light stick directed me into a packed parking lot. So much for being worried that I was going to be the lone loser picking up her package after hours.
I parked the car and headed to a lit tent in the corner of the parking lot. A line of very tense, focused people clutching their little brown and yellow sticky UPS notes and their picture I.D.s stood against a fence, staring resolutely ahead at a lone employee, barking out addresses randomly. As their address was called out people would demurely step forward and hand her their paperwork. I kept expecting her to bark out “No package for you!” and send them packing, but she never did. Instead she would hand them the signing tablet and their package and they would walk out just as quietly as they had waited.
No one greeted me and I stood in line for a while before noticing that I was supposed to sign in. Then I caught the employee’s attention and murmured that I had signed in. She barked at me to get back in line; she had a whole sheet of people to get through before getting to me. I looked down and shuffled away to stand with the others.
“That’s me!” I jumped forward and signed for my package before she decided to take it back. And then finally, after a long week of waiting, I headed to my car clasping my brand new camera tightly to my chest.
Now that I’ve survived the eBay purchase, long wait, and stressful non deliver, all that’s separating me from picture taking joy is a thick manual. Have faith, one day in the near future I might just know how to use my new toy. And then? Then it’s going to be photo central around here.