An urgent shipment
by, 04-22-2012 at 10:22 PM (975 Views)
I had a customer order a sump in mid-March, and he had to have it by mid-April. He's serving in the military, and was coming home for one week before returning to Afghanistan for four more months. At the time, the time frame was easily met. Then life happened. My tank burst a leak. I got sick with the flu for 10 days. Time passed with my life in crisis, and his sump wasn't getting built, let alone shipped by my own April 10 deadline.
Last week, when I finally felt better I emailed him to let him know it would be completed and shipped on Friday, April 20. He told me needed it by Tuesday because he flies out Wednesday. It bothered me greatly that he wouldn't receive it in time, but what could I do? I looked up his zipcode in Google Maps to see if I could drive it to him myself. It seemed like a small thing to do that would assure its arrival before his leave was up. Until I saw the distance. It was 2100 miles round trip, and was going to cost me $400 in gasoline, not to mention 16 hours each way.
I asked the club members on DFWMAS if they had any suggestions. UPS and Fedex Ground don't ship over the weekend, and dropping it off Friday evening would mean it starts shipping on Monday, to arrive Wednesday... too late. One idea was to post the item on Uship.com, where companies bid to take it to the desired destination. The site was having issues that day (of course) but I managed to post an ad. And got zero response. Another suggestion was to use Southwest Freight, flying it to him. The price was great, but the problem I had was that I needed TSA approval and it takes a minimum of 10 days to get that. Another suggestion was Greyhound Shipping, and I began investigating. From their website, it seemed like a good choice, because I could drop it off at their terminal Friday evening before 11pm, and it would arrive in 1 Day, 4 hours, and 45 minutes later. In other words it would be moving over the weekend, which I needed. The final stop was the terminal in a town 21 minutes away from the customer, which he told me was fine. I called Greyhound to confirm but they couldn't assure me when it would arrive due to layovers as it headed east. I knew it would arrive around 3 a.m., but not what day. I offered to pay via the site, but the person told me to pay in person at the terminal.
I got the sump finished up, boxed carefully for the trip, and marked it fragile. Greyhound doesn't really insure from what I could tell, but accepted the value at $300 max. I was told it would leave Fort Worth, transfer in Dallas, then head to Atlanta, then Fayetteville, NC. Since time was of the essence, I opted to drive to Dallas to avoid that potential lagging point. When I got to the bus station at 10:30 p.m. that night, it was a little unnerving. A lot of people were in the terminal waiting for their various buses, and I didn't even know where to drop off the box. I pulled in the bus' drive through, and quickly unloaded the enormous box, after getting scolded that I wasn't allowed in that area and would only block nine more buses due to arrive any minute.
A guy helped me get the shipment into their computer and paid for. They need to see what is inside the box, but I had a series of pictures on my phone so they wouldn't have packing peanuts everywhere. It takes an hour to pack a sump so it arrives unscathed. I showed them what it was, and explained what a sump was for, and they got it put on a bus heading to Shreveport, LA. This was the better option. It even got Priority stickers applied to it, a courtesy because it was going to someone in the military. I got a tracking number, the destination terminal's address and phone number, and the rest was up to them.
Saturday, my inbox had an email asking for an update, and I provided all the information I had. I checked the website, but it doesn't track items NOT shipped via their online service. The phone number rang repeatedly, and then put me in an automated loop with no chance to talk to anyone. I had no idea where it was or when it might arrive.
Sunday evening at 6:51 p.m., I got this email:
How cool is that?! It gave him Sunday evening, Monday, and Tuesday to get it plumbed in. I was so happy for him, and all that stress that I was feeling was lifted instantly.Marc
Wanted to let you know I got the sump today thanks again it looks great.
Here's his build thread in Reef2Reef, with pictures of the sump on this page (2):
The moral of the story: Don't hesitate to ask others for ideas. This worked out as if it was planned well in advance.