A Visit to Trenton, NJ?

Twenty some years ago the mainstreaming of computers propelled us into the information age. What I find interesting is that companies buy and sell information (among other things) but private individuals want their information free. That’s partly why newspapers and other forms of print media are declining: you can get the same information free online.

But private individuals like to have stuff and that is something we’re willing to pay for. And when it comes to acquiring stuff, shipping is as important to stuff as communication is to information. (I define communication as the movement of information between two points and it does no one any good for information to or stuff to stay in one place.)

I suppose the oldest mover of stuff is the postal service. And they suck at it. Shipping anything and involving the postal service in any step in the process is akin to watching a 6-year-old play pin the tail on the donkey. He knows where the target is but once he’s been blindfolded and spun around a few times there’s no telling where that tail will end up.

Here’s a recent case in point. I prefer wearing contact lenses instead of glasses when hiking in Yellowstone. I needed a supply and placed an order with 1800Contacts. Their free shipping involves a not uncommon but contrived process of transporting long distance via a commercial carrier (in this case DHL) and then handing off the final delivery to the postal service. This system takes advantage of each carrier’s strengths: the commercial carrier in transporting cargo cross country and the postal service in losing it.

My contacts left the 1800Contacts fulfillment center in Salt Lake City on April 13 and arrived in Orlando 24 hours later according to the DHL tracking website. They were handed off to the postal service in Orlando on April 15. According to the postal service website the package arrived from Salt Lake City in Trenton, New Jersey on April 21 at which time they “departed the USPS facility.” I wonder which part of the donkey that is.

If you want to accept the postal service time line, a lot of time is unaccounted for between Salt Lake City and Trenton. If the package takes as long to return from Trenton to Orlando as it did to get there, we’ll be half way to Yellowstone when it arrives here. To their credit 1800Contacts reshipped the order no questions asked when I let them know of the situation.

Frame Cracks Update: We learned today that our RV manufacturer will cover the frame repair if we have the work done at their service facility in Shipshewana, Indiana, a condition we’re very happy to accept.

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