Before I get into the wacko packo thing, I would like say happy birthday to my daughter Kathy who's birthday was just yesterday. It is hard to believe she's getting up there in age! Seems like just yesterday she was a little tyke that I loved taking to York with me.
OK, now the wacko packo thing. Or it could have been entitled How NOT to Pack a Train Collection! Or, why you should never ship through ‘The UPS Store'!
I never knew this, but ‘The UPS Store' is actually not directly affiliated with UPS. It is a franchise much like Pony Express or other convenient mailing facilities. I'm sure there is some correlation between the two, but only in name. If you ship an item through ‘The UPS Store' believe it or not you will pay a lot more than directly through UPS. I love UPS, but I'm not a fan of ‘The UPS Store'.
If you have been watching our auctions on choochooauctions.com lately you have noticed we have had some funky Lionel items of which some are damaged.
OK this is what happened. I agreed to purchase a train collection from a very nice couple in New England around a month ago. She told me that she was going to take the 19 containers of trains to ‘The UPS Store' and have them packed and shipped to me. I agreed to pay for the shipping charges, because after all it is UPS right?
Well, she did have the containers picked up from her house and taken to ‘The UPS Store' to be packed and shipped. It took a while for them to pack the items. Actually a week to be exact, and I began to wonder what was happening.
I'll never forget that day when the packages were delivered. My UPS man Robby just shook his head as he and his partner lugged those huge boxes in our store. Each one weighed seventy five to one hundred twenty pounds. I mean, these things were huge. And to make matters worse, they rattled. It was a sickening rattle too! Robby made the comment he thought there would be big time damage inside those boxes. And he was right.
I opened one box after we had them lugged down in the basement. Then Kathy and I started to open each container. And this is what we found as I screamed at the top of my lungs and tried to escape out the window!
‘The UPS Store' had taken the plastic containers that held the trains, and literally threw them in boxes, putting some special padding around the containers and filling the boxes with peanuts. I mean even though the bins rattled, they said they didn't open the bins to inspect. When I opened the first bin, as I said I was shocked. There was no padding for any of the trains. There was a mixture of plastic trains with heavy metal ones on top. The trains weren't wrapped in anything. It was like a bad dream. At that point I had no idea what we were going to do. There was a 746 steam engine in that first box that was turned upside down in rubble. Miraculously it wasn't damaged terribly, but the tender did suffer damage to the trucks. And that was only the first bin.
To make a long, hellish story short, we just dealt with the problem and went through each bin until we finally finished the collection yesterday.
Surprisingly the damage was not as significant as I thought it might be mainly because that first bin was the worst I saw.
The thing that really angers me though is that ‘The UPS Store' charged that poor lady $2,200.00 to throw 19 containers in boxes.
And worse yet there were some items missing which were fairly expensive.
I guess the moral of this story is do not under any circumstances ever ship through ‘The UPS Store'. At least don't allow them to pack for you!
OK, now to get more into the Holiday spirit I would like to relay one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever experienced in my life in the train business, which happened just this morning.
I received a return from a customer who wasn't happy with an item we had sent him. It seems there was a crack that was fairly hard to see on the boom of this American Flyer crane car.
I talked with him about it on the phone the other day and he admitted that it was hard to see. Regardless I didn't see it when I processed the item, and of course as I always would, told him to return it, no problem.
I looked at the boom of this crane this morning and don't you know he wrote ‘crack' with an arrow pointing to the crack with a permanent marker!!! OK, please if you ever have a problem with an item, which is possible, please don't ever write on the actual item with marker or anything for that matter! Now what am I supposed to do with it?
This is the single stupidest thing I've ever heard of in all my years in the train business. And that is saying something because I myself have done some really stupid things! But at least now I don't hold the record anymore!
Hey, it's Christmas Eve and there is snow on the ground. What more could anyone ever ask for. I sincerely hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. And if Christmas doesn't apply to you, then I wish you the best of whatever you believe in!!!
Whoops.. time to wrap presents. And then set up the train. And then yippee... it's Christmas!!!!
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