Never before have I been excited to see an Informed Delivery email.

Speaking of these delivery emails -- which I get from USPS, UPS and FedEx -- why are they all so sucky? I get this endless stream of "Package 216280575216846420291 has been delivered" and before I endure the dual hardships of putting on pants and going downstairs to get it, I'd really like to know what it is, or at least who the hell it's from. After all these years, answering those questions is apparently still rocket surgery.

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9 Responses:

  1. Tadg says:

    I think all useful information got removed from these emails to limit harvesting by others with access to your email box, such as

    • jwz says:

      Attributing lack of utility to security rather than bureaucracy and institutional incompetence? That's adorable.

  2. Nick Lamb says:

    In the UK I receive emails like:

    Hi Nick Lamb / We've received your parcel from Name Of The Company. Delivery is due: Blursday, 1349 Trumpmonth 2016 by 3:00pm

    We [will/won't] need a signature. Not going to be in? [Link to information about how to tell them to deliver it somewhere else if that's authorised by the sender, or else how to hold on to it for a fixed period to deliver later]

    The emails link the tracking site, an app which I guess I'd like if I received way too many packages, and the terms and conditions of the carrier (the Royal Mail). Then I get further emails about the parcel makings it way through the system, and eventually (usually but not always on that due date they first gave) one that says the parcel has been delivered. If I'm not paying attention I get that second email before I notice that there's a package laying on the carpet inside my door.

    I don't think they know, or want to know, what's inside the parcel. They know who sent it because the sender pays them actual money, and I guess they know the approximate weight/ size or some equivalent metric but those aren't shown.

    • Kyzer says:

      This is what I was going to say. The Royal Mail don't want to know what it is.

      All the sender has to do for a nice customer experience is send you an email saying "I posted your PURPLE T-REX DILDO today, the USPS tracking number is 1234567890-12345. Check for delivery updates"

      • jwz says:

        Most vendors, I'd say about half, do sent you the tracking number. But that does me close to no good when I'm looking at a notification email and would like to know the answer to the question, "who is 216280575216846420291 from?"

        (Searching for that number in my email rarely works, probably because their HTML is obfuscated and terrible.)

        • Zach says:

          I've seen some vendors lately that automatically track the package on their end and send their own "your order has been delivered" email after the carrier reports delivery, which means you get an email at the time of delivery from the actual vendor with their actual name and your order details. I think any vendor that runs on Shopify can do this—not sure if it's turned on by default—but most others aren't as well organized.

      • Nick Lamb says:

        It occurred to me that although the Royal Mail does have an email address for me, probably this mail I based my template on above was generated based on the sender deciding to initiate it. Sure enough the email To: address is one I gave to the parcel sender not to Royal Mail directly, although Royal Mail sent the email to me.

        So my email above is a result of ordering something from a technically savvy company, my ISP - and you might get much worse emails or nothing if your supplier is less capable. e.g. The ISP has an ampersand in their name, it would not surprise me if they deliberately sent themselves parcels to confirm whether to write an ampersand, write the HTML entitiy & write an escaped Unicode sequence, or give up and use the word "AND" to have it displayed correctly in both HTML and plaintext when they were first given this "Send your customers an email about their parcel" feature.

        Thus it's possible Jamie's package senders could do better, they just didn't. Like when Jamie puts all the effort in to make Apple Wallet Passes for DNA Lounge but a lot of venues don't do that.

  3. K J says:

    Those emails and text alerts are shockingly information-free, aren't they? At least the FedEx and UPS websites seem to do a pretty good job of telling you the sender name once you log in. Finding the actual login location is a new puzzle, though. You would think it was somewhere obvious off the main page but it's just not.

  4. jwz says:

    I've voted permanent-absentee forever (I can't imagine why anyone would not do that) and this was the first election where the mailed ballot included one of those "I Voted" stickers. So I'm glad they have finally fixed this critical problem with our voting infrastructure.

    However, this is better than an "I Voted" sticker:

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