There’s nothing better than talking to a robot on the phone at 11:00pm when you’ve been waiting over 15 hours for a delivery of a vital computer part to arrive from UPS into the root of your urban core.

My advice in defeating the UPS robot call center is to just keep saying, — Agent! — over and over and over again at every prompt until the robot voice lady gives up and chillingly feeds you into the queue to speak to a real live person with the personality of a robot.

In my neighborhood in the Jersey City Heights my regular UPS guy is great.

He lives up the block from me and if I have any sort of box to be delivered he brings it right to me at 9:00am no matter what shipping urgency was used because “he knows how it feels to wait all day for a box.”

He knows I get a lot of boxes.

Woe are the days my UPS friend isn’t working because then I become ordinary and ignored. When he isn’t working I am not worth the spit used to polish the boot soles of the brown-shirted UPS army of delivery goons.

Now we all have our delivery service horror tales but I’m telling you there is a severe problem here when 50% of my deliveries are not delivered on the proper day if my regular guy isn’t driving the truck. We live on a street that is only two blocks long.

Maybe that confuses non-routine drivers?

I was expecting an expensive and vital computer part yesterday. When 10:30am passed I knew my friend was not working and that I’d have an all-day wait for delivery satisfaction. When 3:30pm arrived and left I knew I was in trouble. If I don’t get a package — any package — by 3:30pm then I know the box isn’t coming.

You can’t however, call UPS to “inquire” until 7:00pm because that’s their cutoff time for Overnight deliveries to a residence.

So I called UPS at 7:33pm and I was told my box was “out for delivery” and it would arrive soon. I said I thought the cutoff time was 7:00pm for residential deliveries and Paula told me “the drivers stay out as long as it takes. I’ve seen them deliver packages at 10:30pm at night!” She assured me I was getting my box.

I wasn’t so sure. Here’s a screenshot from the UPS website taken at 11:02pm last night indicating my box was still “Out for Delivery:”


I called UPS and asked about the status of my box and I was told by Jason at UPS my box was going to be delivered “in a few minutes.” I knew he was lying.
He knew he was lying. We were in the midst of the “UPS Waiting Game” so I pressed him.

“My box is going to be delivered in a few minutes?”


“Will it be here by 11:30pm?”

“It will be there tonight, sir.”

“So if it arrives at 12:01am is that considered today or tomorrow?”

“Your box is on the truck sir, and it will be delivered tonight, sir.”

“I’m getting a little sleepy, Jason, how long do you think I should stay awake tonight waiting for the box?”

“The box is on the truck, sir, and it will be delivered today.”

When I hung up the phone I knew there was no box and Jason knew there was no box and together we knew “Overnight” really means “Two Day Delivery” and “Regular Ground” means “We’ll deliver it when we feel like it.” Tracking Numbers with delivery dates mean nothing because UPS can invent any exception they wish.

I just wish Jason dropped his script and said, “Look. It’s 11:00pm.

Your box isn’t coming tonight. It’ll be there Monday.”

If he had done that — if Jason had treated me like a real person with human needs and a life beyond being tied home all day waiting for a box that never arrived — I would have gone to bed happy and refreshed knowing UPS was a company that cared about reality and not smoke and illusion.

This morning I awoke boxless and when I logged on to the UPS website to track the status of my non-delivered package, I was amused to see the system had magically updated overnight to indicate the UPS delivery courier went back to the hub last night at 8:41pm:


I called UPS to see why the box wasn’t delivered — they usually blame it on the
customer not being available — and when I spoke to Melissa she told me three stories. The first was I was not home. I told her I was looking at the website and that exception was not listed. Then she told me my box arrived “too late to get on the truck in time for delivery.”

I asked why every UPS person yesterday promised me the box was on the truck if it was never on the truck? She changed her story again and said, “The delivery person overlooked your box on the truck and went back to the station thinking it had been delivered.” I asked her if she could page the central office and have a Supervisor call me back with an update on delivery.

Melissa told me “no one works on the weekends so they’ll get back to your Monday.”

I was at my bitter end. “Melissa,” I croaked, “Are you telling me no one is working at UPS over the weekend? I thought you were a 24/7 international company?”

“Well, we are,” she said, “But nobody’s going to call you back until Monday.”

Finally, I received a glimmer of truth from a UPS phone representative and I wondered if there might be hope, after all, for UPS to stop playing the waiting game and to start giving honest answers.

It really didn’t matter what suite of lies Melissa spread before me.

The bitter truth was my vital computer part delivery was delayed until Monday and I was dead in the water until then. My only hope is my regular delivery guy will find my box on Monday and fondly remember me by 9:00am so I don’t have to waste another entire day playing — and always losing — the UPS Waiting Game.


  1. Hi tajuki!
    Yes, that happens to me, too. With Amazon Prime shipping you can “join the club” and get really cheap Overnight shipping for a reduced price. I like it a lot since I order so much stuff. I suppose one could always pay for fast shipping and when a carrier fails you, get a refund! I always find the hassle of getting a refund outweighs the end benefit.

  2. You will like it, tajuki! You get many keen benefits when you go “Amazon Prime” — and don’t forget to login to to get a discount on all your Amazon purchases. It all adds up to save you money!

  3. Sorry to hear of your frustrating ordeal. Makes me wonder about UPS’ IT systems. They are constantly touted in the IT press for their technology-enabled customer service.
    It is crazy that the reps you spoke with didn’t know the package had already been brought back 3 hours before. The only thing that comes to mind is that the scans are done on a handheld and the information uploaded at some later time — such as the next shift in your case.

  4. Hi Antoinette!
    I agree UPS has great technology — but when it comes to boots on the ground and voices on the phone — they fail more than they find success.
    I think UPS should require drivers to finish their routes by 7pm. Period. None of this “we stay till we empty the truck” stuff they feed you over the phone because I haven’t found it to ever be true.
    If we don’t have our package by 7pm, the day is done, we get a refund on a promised delivery and everyone is happier dealing with the reality of the situation instead of the making up of the myth.

  5. I haven’t used UPS for a while.
    A lot of shippers are using or offering the US Postal Service’s 2 day mail service. If given a choice, I’ll select that option because it’s usually free or cheaper than the express shipping.
    I’ve found that the post office seems to have gotten better over the years.
    First class mail seems to be able to get to places within a day or two. Mail doesn’t seem to get lost as much as people like to say it does.
    Most of the things we send out at the office routinely go by regular or certified mail — it’s rare that anyone ever says they didn’t receive a letter unless they moved away and didn’t leave a forwarding address.
    I must put in a disclaimer that I worked for the Postal Service as a temporary employee for two months during a Christmas rush.

  6. Chris —
    I agree the Post Office is great. They can get into most locked apartment buildings with their skeleton key and they can leave your package in a secure location.
    The problem is companies tether to a single courier for deliveries. FedEx is tethered to Apple. UPS is tethered to Amazon. PC Connection is tied to DHL. You can pick how fast you get your package but you cannot pick your shipping company because that’s where the companies selling you stuff make their big money. They get a good “exclusive” shipper deal with the courier and then they double that shipping price for you.

  7. UPDATE:
    The box arrived!
    My friend was not working on Friday. He told me, “If you have a box you’ll have it no later than 11:00am. You’re always a priority.”
    Huzzah! Now THAT’S service!

  8. David, I found a resource that helps bypass the computer prompts and gets you directly to a “real” person. That person may not be on this continent but anything is better than “press 1” click on “database”

  9. And now I find myself waiting for two packages to be delivered today, and it is 5:51pm. Fingers crossed. Salt tossed over shoulder.
    I want my electronics!

  10. Same here… but it’s only 3:30pm but i have a feeling that it wont get here. The sad thing is their office is really not far away. I think for future reference i will request a pick up reather than delivery. UPS is such a sad company… i wish they would just go out of business.

  11. if only that were an option. the UPS warehouse here is less than 5 miles from my house. i’ve been waiting for a package since 8am and so far no sign of them. i’ve had deliveries from fedex AND dhl for my neighbors but nothing for me.

  12. I payed for a next day delivery service on the 4th. Its now 5:15pm on the 6th and i havent got my package, and its “Out For Delivery”

  13. i’m waiting on two different boxes from to different places ironically they arrived within minutes of each other since 5 a.m. one has been sent to a destination? and the other has been out for delivery its 9 am now and i live fifteen minutes from two ups stores.

  14. I know this is an old post, but I too am now waiting on around $500 in computer parts. I got the 3-5day and this is monday and day 7. It is now 6:19pm and there are no signs of me getting this package. Previous deliveries have always been before 3pm. I feel I have gotten the shaft today. As it has been out for delivery since 4am.

    1. There’s nothing “old” about this post, Chickenfloss! UPS delays are timeless and I’m glad you stopped by to ping us with your current dismay!

  15. I too find myself waiting for UPS. I ordered a game with release date delivery (next day air) and it shipped yesterday. It shows out for delivery but alas I still await my package. I love Fedex, much like your friend at UPS, a guy my father went to school with works at Fedex and always makes sure we’re one of if not the first delivery on his schedule.

  16. I too am playing the UPS waiting game! I ordered a GPS from Amazon as I need one for work and my current one broke! It was supposed to be here today (11/02.) It apparently took the little box 26 hours to travel from the distribution center in Kansas to the Airport in Oklahoma now my delivery has been rescheduled for tomorrow! I am apparently the last person on the route and nothing ever gets here until at least 6pm by which time I will be at work! At least Amazon will refund my hefty 1 day shipping charge.

  17. Out for delivery … for 12 hours? Please UPS! It is bad enough that I watched it sit for 3 days in Commerce City, Colorado … oh, UPS! I love you because you have my package, and I hate you because you refuse to give it to me.

  18. here I am on christmas day without my present 😀 I ordered
    it on sunday with UPS express which they promised will take a
    maximum of 24-48hours… the package came from France but no plane
    could take off until wednesday but my package was in my city by
    thursday and “out for delivery” from 9:45am I called them 3 times
    that day and each lady on the other end of the phone assured me
    that the package is going to arrive on that day… i waited until
    2am when i realised i just lost this precious little game -,- of
    course there was no customer service on friday… so i guess my new
    phone will only arrive on monday…. the funny thing is that their
    system still says that its “out for delivery”. sure hope the
    delivery guy didn’t take it home with him/her 😀 i only wish they
    could have told me this and then i wouldn’t have wasted the last
    day before christmas sitting at home all day long… anyways, love
    your post! its awesome! i think we all can relate to it merry

    1. Thank you for sharing your story of woe, Tepet. Many of us have been there and we feel for you. It looks like you’re writing from Hungary.

      How does UPS in Hungary measure up against the other delivery services? Is it reliable or it comme ci comme ça?

      1. thanks! 🙂
        yeah i’m from hungary. I’m not really sure of ups i think DHL is more popular here, but most companies (inside hungary) use their own delivery system usually. but internationally i think… yeah, maybe standard postal deliveries and dhl is more popular then ups (which isn’t too much of a surprise for me!) I only used it so i’ll get my present for christmas… but silly-silly me 🙂

        1. Thanks for that update, Tepet! UPS bought DHL in the USA, so it’s interesting to see how the International flavors of DHL and UPS stack up against each other on another continent. Let us know when you package actually arrives!

          1. called them this morning, told me that there were a mix-up and my phone won’t arrive until tomorrow, then i shouted with them for a while and hang up when i realised it’s useless…
            then i called the company i ordered my package from that it still hasn’t arrived and either do something about ups or send me back my money…. two hours later my package arrived…. -,- i’m never ever using this company again

  19. I’ve been waiting for it all day, then found this update… (I got overnight shipping and was expected to get it by 3PM Friday. Now I’m not getting it until Monday. What the hell? Never using UPS again, peice of crap service, I better get my money back. Emergency beyond their control my ass. I can drive to their facility in 5min.

    “02/04/2011 8:24 P.M. Emergency conditions beyond UPS’ control.
    02/04/2011 7:53 A.M. Out For Delivery
    02/04/2011 6:35 A.M. Departure Scan
    02/04/2011 6:25 A.M. Arrival Scan”

    I tried calling and seeing what this is all about, but their thing is automated and after fiddling around with it for like 10min trying to talk to a real person I just gave up, lost my patience, too pissed off about this. I waited all day because I didn’t know if I would have to be there to accept the package. Now I must wait until after the Superbowl and on Monday. I better get my money back.

    1. Here’s a trick I learned for dealing with UPS Voice prompts.

      Just say “Agent.”

      Then, no matter what the vocal prompt response is, just say again, “Agent.”

      Then you’ll be connected to a real person.

    2. Ups SUCKS BIG TIME…unprofessional people services -you pay the price to ship, they lose the package along the way,and use exception as a word to say they lost your package and give you the runarounds… this number call that number, sorry!!its your job ,your the company that lost it,track it !!!

      1. UPS is full of excuses ……never use them again…seriously talk about time commitment..they are losers!!

  20. I ordered a CD over a week ago from a store in Kentucky’s Amazon account. I live in Tennessee and it still isn’t here. I never got a tracking number so there’s not much I can do, I don’t think, but wait until it gets here. It’s very frustrating. Kentucky to Tennessee… What a trip, right?

  21. Looks like I’m playing the UPS Waiting Game today! >:| The UPS truck usually delivers by 3 pm, and they have never failed me. Well, there’s always a first. It’s been “out for delivery” since 4:38 am and it is now 8:48 pm. I’m not holding my breath. The funny thing is the truck actually came by and dropped off 1 of the 2 packages I was expecting today, however they always just throw it over my fence and I just check after 3pm and they’re there. Also, I have an Amazon Prime account so this was two-day shipping on a order I made January 30, but then there were weather delays and that took a week. Good thing they are just a couple of dvd’s, I’m not going to lose sleep over this. 🙂

    1. Hi Carol —

      Thanks for your message. I wonder if the bad Midwest weather delayed something in the delivery system yesterday? Let us know if and when your package arrives!

  22. UPS should use GPS to show customers via tracking EXACTLY where there package is once it’s “Out for delivery”. Customers would be happier and they would most likely save a considerable amount of time and fuel, as most of us would rather go to the trucks current location to pick up than have to wait all day. I know I would right about now.

    1. I love that idea, Mindy! That would be especially convenient if you “just missed” the delivery guy and you wanted to go find the truck to get your package! SMILE!

  23. Looks like I’m playing the waiting game as well. I’m waiting for 2 packages today that have said out for delivery since yesterday. I hate UPS!!! Plus I can’t go anywhere because I have to sign for one of them (a computer)! I am fed up with this terrible company, the Postal Service is ten times better.

  24. My package is supposedly arriving on the 6th which was a little disappointing since I was hoping to get it around the weekend, but after searching around the internet, I’ve recently found out that they don’t ship on the weekends OR holidays. Now, the holidays are understandable and I suppose that everyone needs a break on the weekends. I’m just hoping to have a regularly short Waiting Game on Tuesday since there is nothing worse then waiting around for a package that doesn’t come until later. Currently, I’m mentally bashing my head on the wall as I wait. It’s…frustrating.

    1. They are always shipping, though, even on the weekends. You package may not update, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t churning through the system. UPS delivers on some “holidays” though — so make sure you check their website to see if they are actually delivering or not.

        1. Good luck! I know I’ve been burned in the past by being home, but not being AT home on a holiday and I’ve missed deliveries from all the major carriers. I’m not sure how they decide which holidays are worthy of actually being “off” or not for them, though.

          1. Thanks! I’ll need it! I’m not sure either. Maybe its the events that happen during those holidays? Oh, I’ll be home though. No morning classes that day!

  25. It’s after 5 PM and I’m feeling a little nervous–even doubting if it’ll come today.

  26. UPS outsources their customer service. Kind of hard to believe, but I know because I used to work at one of their call centers doing the exact same thing the people you spoke to do; tracking lost/late packages. The people you spoke to on the phone are trained to give you the responses they did based on the exact same thing you see when you track your package online.

    In fact, when I worked there, we couldn’t see anything more than what you see online. We were encouraged to teach customers how to track online. This was sometime between ’02 and ’03. People were a lot less internet savvy back then, so maybe things have changed a little.

    The poor schmucks on the phone pretty much have to tell you it’s coming if the tracker says “out for delivery.” Getting a package center or a driver on the phone to find out what’s really going on is next to impossible — like, your package has to be priceless or genuinely lost. The best thing to do in this situation, or any time you know your regular guy isn’t working, is to will call the package. Just call UPS and tell them you want to pick your package up from the package center when it arrives. Unless, of course, you can’t get to your package center for some reason.

    I, too, am playing the waiting game today; also waiting on a vital cpu part. I live in a rural area, so there’s no telling when it will arrive. Sometimes UPS just passes it off to my local post office, which is both comforting and distressing. Comforting because my local post office is only a few miles from my house. Distressing because I can no longer track my package at that point.

  27. I have also ordered a vital computer part from UPS shipped it, it has been out for delivery for two days!

    October 26, 2011 05:32:00 AM Latham NY US Out for delivery (Again)
    October 25, 2011 06:00:00 AM Latham NY US Out for delivery
    October 25, 2011 04:48:00 AM Latham NY US Arrival Scan

    It is now October 26th @ 11:00am…. UPS doesn’t show up untill about 3:30 ish.

    I live about 20 min from their distrubution center.

  28. I’m playing the waiting game. Pre-ordered Goldeneye, spent $10 more on overnight shipping, and didn’t get the game on the street date. Package has been “out for delivery” since the 1st. Not sure what’s so difficult about delivering a relatively small package. I’m a bit paranoid that someone stole it. 🙁

  29. I Pre-Ordered MW3 from Walmart and UPS says that it has been out for shipping since 7:35 a.m. It is now 5:43 p.m. and packages are supposed to be here by 4:00. Every time I have ordered a package, no matter who is delivering it, they never make it on time. I ordered black ops last year and I’m guessing that one of the obese drivers is delivering and decided, “Hey, you know what, I’m not gonna climb any stairs, so I’m just gonna not give the package and leave a notice at the door.” When I called UPS, they told me that the guy said he knocked on the door. I was sitting in front of the door the whole day (watching t.v.)!!! No knocks. And then i asked the person why the driver didn’t ring the bell when there is a bell for a purpose (of course i didn’t believe their BS). And now, alas, i am playing the same game again. Hate UPS. Why can’t Walmart be in NY?

      Maspeth, NY, United States:
      11/08/2011-5:26 P.M.-The customer was not available on the 1st attempt. A 2nd attempt will be made.
      11/08/2011-7:35 A.M.-Out For Delivery
      11/08/2011-1:24 A.M.-Arrival Scan

      Latham, NY, United States:
      11/07/2011-9:08 P.M.-Departure Scan
      11/07/2011-5:58 P.M.-Origin Scan

      United States:
      11/07/2011-4:53 P.M.-Order Processed: Ready for UPS


  30. It’s 8:30 and I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s not coming. I had 4 things that were supposed to be delivered today but 1 was sent out for delivery at a different time. The first 3 showed up and the 1 that cost the most and is the most important and was sent out at a later time just happened to not show, I’m only upset now because tomorrow is a holiday so it won’t be here until Friday, maybe.

    1. I feel for you. I had a UPS pickup scheduled. Charged me $9.17 just to pick up the package — shipping charge to be added later — and then they didn’t show up. I cancelled the UPS pickup and called FedEx and they were here in 10 minutes with no pickup charge. Then, half an hour later, UPS shows up to pick up the package.

      They’re definitely closed on Thanksgiving. I the stuff shows up on Friday!

  31. Out for Deliver at 6:34 A.M. I check the window constantly feeling like the UPS will pull a ninja stealth mode operation and bypass my radar long enough to post a “Sorry we missed you” note on my door. It is 11:00 A.M. and my patience grows weary.

    1. I know that feeling! It’s horrible thinking you might miss an important delivery. Be sure to let us know if the package arrives on time!

  32. I’m stuck in UPS HELL!!!
    Today’s Date is 3/13/14 My guaranteed Delivery date you ask? Friday 3/7/14.

    Thunder Bay, ON, Canada 03/03/2014 4:35 P.M. Origin Scan
    Canada 03/03/2014 3:00 P.M. Order Processed: Ready for UPS

    It’s a package worth around $800.00. DID I INSURE IT??? HELL YEAH!
    thank god I paid insurance to keep something like a lost package from ruining my day……….
    What is that you say UPS Customer service??? I have to have the Shipper contact you so you can START an investigation? I think we can Both agree the package is lost and since the shipper won’t contact me back how about we just go ahead and START LOOKING FOR THE DAMN PACKAGE. Or you could just process my insurance claim so I can purchase a NEW item and send via Fed ex, lets see if THEY can get it right. Whats that? Your Policy is to not even put out a Tracer until the shipper contacts you? Ummmmmm, Well see here’s the thing. I haven’t heard back from the shipper in 4 days I have tried via email, via phone and nada, as a matter of fact YOU even tried to contact then and they haven’t replied to you either. See my problem? Great go ahead and start that tracer now. Whats that about your ridiculous Company Policy? Ok UPS I have a question for you, the guy is obviously MIA, what if, he was on that Boeing 777 that mysteriously disappeared 5 days ago? Lets assume for the sake of argument that the shipper is Dead and unable to make a phone call since neither of us has been able to contact him. How bout now? Could you pretty please look for the package I was supposed to receive a week ago? You know the one I paid extra for insurance on so if something crazy happened like you LOST my package I wouldn’t be out a bunch of cash? That IS what insurance is for right? Oh i see you still have to hear from the dead guys company. Well WTF if the guy is running the biz out of his house and he is the sole employee of said company and has no other employees??? NOW can we start looking for my GD package????? NO? ok so what do we do here? What if you NEVER EVER EVER hear from this guy who is presumably dead at this point? Whats that? Oh I see after 6 months it becomes the Property of UPS and all rights to start a claim are forfeited. Good so Start a claim I don’t want the rights forfeited on my package I never received. Whats that? OH the SHIPPER is the only one that can file a claim because HE paid for the shipment. I see, well he PAID for the shipment and Insurance with MY MONEY!!!! So lets get the ball rolling here huh? Sorry sir the shipper has to contact us to start the claim. I thought we established the guy died in a fiery car wreck or plane crash or ice fishing in alaska, whatever the guy isn’t responding to communications from either of us so lets go ahead and file that UPS insurance claim I paid extra for K, thanks. Sorry sir it’s our policy to screw the end customer if the shipper doesn’t start the claim process. Check mate, Well played UPS, well played. Nice way to make money by totally SCREWING the customer that is supposed to receive the package. I guess insurance is really just a value added service you can get extra money for and then NOT have to be liable for ANYTHING because of whatever excuse you can come up with on the phone. Don’t worry I’ll call you back every hour on the hour and check the status of my package. Could I by chance have your home phone number so I can check up on the status in case you not in the office? I’m sorry sir, I understand your frustration. No Ups I don’t think you do understand. I guess your customer service script doesn’t tell you what to do if the shipper was in a horrific accident and got both his arms cut off so he can’t pick up the phone and call you, you may want to revise that so customer service reps can respond accordingly. I hate you UPS but I’m still holding out hope you find my package.

  33. So I paid for overnight shipping on a package to be delivered over night by ups on the 20th and it is not 7 30 pm of the 23rd and still no package? whats going on here guys? way to go ups! also my priority packages from usps never came either and it was sent 2 day priority 4 days ago! well one of those days was sunday but still come on! I really need to make a very reliable shipping company where the reps don’t treat you like a pos and that everyones package has the ut most importance! the way the u.s is now a days is such a joke! and its partially due to obama! this is exactly what everyone who had a brain though would happen and now were all having to pay for it!

  34. I am waiting for a game. It saw at 8:02 am (Out for delivery) And… I believed that it arrive today. Now 6:11 pm… I am waiting…

  35. So UPS just pulled one on me. This morning I checked the tracking to see it as arrival scan at 6am and on the top it said “Scheduled for early delivery on 9/12/15 by end of the day” and so I waited the whole day refreshing page to only see “Arrival Scan” and now its already midnight did not even bother to call UPS based on past experiences. It feels like they did not even mean it. Really disappointed in UPS. Had me going crazy.

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