Google’s Order-Fulfillment Cluster F*ck
As noted above, I placed my order on the Google Play store within 30 minutes of the announcement of the Nexus 7 at the Google I/O developer conference. A charge was authorized on my card. (It was only later that I discovered that that amount was never processed.) Fast forward several weeks later, and rumors started to surface that GameStop, Adorama, and Office Depot had received shipments of the tablets. According to reports on Friday, July 13th, retailers were specifically told not to sell or release of of the devices. Nevertheless, GameStop has been handing out Nexus 7s to anyone that pre-ordered, as well as a few that hadn’t. There were a number of people who were running around with their hair on Friday, July 13th. (I’m not superstitious.) My outrage was more tempered and focused than many I saw going apoplectic online. My ire was not directed at GameStop, or those who were able to get their Nexus 7 tablets at retail stores before those of us that ordered through the Google Play store. No, my annoyance is directed squarely at Google.Come on Google. What a shitty way to treat customers who followed your encouragement to order through the Play store!
This is the message that Google delivered on Twitter Friday, July 13th.
Locked and loaded, ready to play: we’ve started shipping +Nexus 7 pre-orders today! google.com/nexus/#/7
— Google Nexus (@googlenexus) July 13, 2012
Of course, yours truly, and probably a number of other people, are not on Twitter. Was it too much for Google to send an update email to all of the people that placed pre-orders through the Google Play store? Friday the 13th came to a close with absolutely no word about shipment from Google. Bummer!
Apparently, the Pony Express finally reached Google’s headquarters with the news of consumer outraged about the bungled release of the Nexus 7. The following message was posted on the Google Play store support page on Tuesday, July 17.
An update on Nexus 7 pre-order shipping status
We’ve had incredible demand for our new Nexus 7 tablet and are shipping them as quickly as possible. When your device ships you will receive a notification from Google Play with a shipping tracking number. We will have all orders placed through July 13 processed and shipped soon. Orders placed after July 13 will ship according to the quoted timeframe when you purchased and we will update you with a tracking number when we’ve shipped. Thanks for your patience.
Below are more specific details by country for devices ordered through July 13. If the below information is not true for you, and you ordered on or before July 13, please reach out to our support team so we can investigate.
In the US:
We’ve shipped all standalone Nexus 7 8GB orders (e.g.: those without a case, charger or Nexus Q). By the end of day on July 19 (PDT), we will have shipped all standalone Nexus 7 16GB orders placed through July 11 (PDT), and upgraded these orders to overnight shipping. We will process the remaining standalone Nexus 7 16GB orders by the end of next week with overnight shipping.
If you ordered your tablet with a case, charger or Nexus Q, your Nexus 7 will ship this week with overnight shipping, in some cases ahead of the rest of your order. But don’t worry, the rest of your order will be on its way soon.
We’ve shipped all Nexus 7 8GB orders. We are in the process of shipping Nexus 7 16GB orders and will ship them in 1–2 weeks.
In the UK:
All Nexus 7 8GB orders will ship by July 20 (BST). All Nexus 7 16GB orders placed through June 30 (BST), will ship by July 20 (BST). The remaining Nexus 7 16GB orders will ship next week.
All Nexus 7 8GB and Nexus 7 16GB orders will be fulfilled by the end of day on July 19 (AEST) and will arrive in 3–5 days.
My Odyssey With UPS
I was greeted Saturday morning, July 14, with an email from Google, sent at 3:33 am.
My excitement about receiving a shipping notification was tempered by the fact that there was not projected delivery date given on the UPS page. There was just a message that the label had been created, but UPS had not yet received the package for shipping. Interesting, as you can see from the email, the label was actually created on Monday, July 9. Why did it take six days to actually set the UPS shipment process in motion?
I got all excited on Tuesday, July 17, because my UPS shipping tracking page showed the I was due to get my Nexus 7 that day. Womp Womp! The UPS page never updated to show that the tablet was “out for delivery.” I called the UPS store where the Nexus 7 was being shipped, and the guy told me, rather matter-of-factly, that he’s pretty sure that they’re not getting any more deliveries for the day. He followed by saying that I should expect to see it the next day. Incredulous, I connected with a UPS rep on its website. The rep told me that the package was, indeed, out for delivery and it would arrive at the UPS store before it closed. I left work and decided to camp out in front of the store from about 6:10 on. Just as my hopes began to crumble, I see a UPS truck rumble up to the store. My heart started to race. The driver go out the truck (spying me looking like a puppy in the window waiting for mama to open the door) and walked into the UPS store. She came out with a number of packages to be shipped. She put the packages in the back of the truck, got settled in her seat, fired up the big brown box, and rolled out. My heart sunk. I got back online with a rep from UPS and was told that the package won’t be delivered until Wednesday, July 18. I slumped down in the driver’s seat and tried to muster up the energy to drive off — Nexus 7less. Sigh! What’s another day? It’s just around the corner. At that point, I was deflated and simply resigned to waiting to see what happened the next day.
Here is a little something that struck me as bazaar about the handling of my package by UPS. Here is the tracking page updated as of 7 am, Wednesday, July 18.
First of all, that “Out for Delivery” at 7:47 am on Tuesday, July 17, was not listed all day. That must have been added overnight Tuesday. Interestingly, if the package was, in fact, out for delivery on Tuesday, July 17, why didn’t it reach Rockville? Why is there a departure scan from the same location, Landover, at 7:59 pm? Did the package ride around in the truck all day and then come back? Why was it sent to Laurel, and the returned to Landover? In fairness, UPS would tell you that my shipment was 2nd Day Air, and Wednesday is still within the promised second-day delivery. I don’t dispute this timeline, but if the package was out for delivery on Tuesday, why wasn’t it delivered? What Brown Can Do For Me is answer some questions.
If you’re not familiar with the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Landover (A on the map) and Laurel (B on the map) are not that far from each other — about 15 miles. The UPS Store in Rockville, MD, where my packaged is to be shipped, is about the same distance from Landover than is Laurel. If nothing else, I will have a well-traveled Nexus 7.
Wednesday, June 18 was supposed to be “The Day.” I checked in around 11 am, and was told by the UPS website and by representatives on the phone that the package was, indeed, out for delivery. I checked with the UPS Store, and the person told me that they received their package drop off, and there was nothing for me. I called UPS to inquire, and somehow the story change. One person told me that the package was out for delivery. Another person said that it appears that the package is still sitting in Landover. Or was it. I spoke to someone at the UPS facility and Landover and she said, in no uncertain terms, that they didn’t know where the package is. WTF?!
Come again! UPS scans everything. How on the world could a package go missing??? Perhaps because I was still hopeful that I might receive my package on Wednesday, I was patient than I might normally be with conflicting answers and matter-of-fact customer service. Late Wednesday, I was transferred to someone in the “investigations unit” of UPS. A very pleasant woman walked through my dilemma, and she revealed that the package had, for the last two days, been riding around in a truck for delivery in DC. Because the package was supposed to be redirected, the driver — for two days — scanned the package and realized that it was not supposed to be delivered to my house. The driver would bring this package back to the Landover facility, which does not deliver to Rockville to be sent to the Laurel facility, which does deliver to Rockville. It appears the package was routed to Laurel for deliver to Rockville, but then the machines or a person scanned the original label or bar code and sent the package back to Landover. Argh! The UPS representative assured me that both the Landover and Laurel facilities were notified about my package. I was annoyed that another day was coming to a close with no delivery, but I felt (naively) hopeful about a Thursday delivery.
I was planning to go to New York on Thursday afternoon, and I really wanted to have the Nexus 7 with me for the trip. I must admit that I approached the day less hopeful, because the UPS tracking page showed the package was yet again in Landover. Honestly, I was starting to reach a point where I no longer cared. Nevertheless, I called UPS to see what story (read: excuse) they would yarn. What happened to “We Love Logistics®?” I was shuttled from person to person, demanding to speak to managers/supervisors. I became increasingly frustrated because I had to explain my situation to each person. I finally asked, rather angrily, “Don’t you all have/keep notes?” I never really got an answer. It sounds like a call log is kept, but possibly not much more. After finally blowing a gasket, I was connected to someone in UPS’s “tracer unit.” (Does that mean that the person in the “investigations unit” was not really investigating? I was told that there was no referral of my situation to a the investigations/tracer unit. Ugh!) I had to leave to get on a train to New York, but I was told that they would have the supervisor of the driver from the Landover facility call me. Before leaving for the train station, I submitted a second complaint, this time online, with Google. About 90 minutes later, while relaxing on the train to New York, someone called me, saying that she was from the UPS in DC. The young woman basically told me the same thing I’ve heard for the last three days. This young woman had no answers, but told me that they would call me back once they reached the driver. About 45 minutes later, I got another call saying that the package was, in fact, on the truck for delivery in DC. The driver will bring it back and it will be sent to Laurel for deliver to Rockville. I just about burst into flames in my seat.
What Happened to “We Love Logistics®?”
On Friday, July 20, I received several emails from UPS indicating that they initiated a delivery intercept on the package — meaning it should be routed to Laurel for deliver to Rockville. Isn’t that what I did with UPS’s own MyChoice service? (A service that costs $40 a year, by the way.) At 11:05 am, I received another email notification from UPS.
Just before noon that day, I received a call from a representative from UPS. She wanted to make sure that I knew that the package had been delivered. Nice touch, but a little too late. This tracking detail sheet almost serves as a storyboard for this story.
This week, I am going to demand that UPS refund the $40 I paid for the MyChoice service. I have also asked (read: demanded) that Google refund the amount that I paid for shipping! I have yet to receive any reply to the two complaints that I lodged with them.
This whole thing is the epitome of shitty customer service.