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July 28, 2007
Michael L. Eskew, CEO
United Parcel Service
55 Glenlake Parkway, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Dear Mr. Eskew:
I am a shareholder; and as a ruralite, a frequent customer of UPS. Unfortunately, I write today dissatisfied with the business model for UPS Stores. Last Thursday I went to ship a guitar I had sold on eBay. I expected to pay about $50 for shipping and some extra, say $20, to pack it. Note, the guitar was in its own hard shell case, that but for its irregular shape was itself shippable.
I was quoted $49 for shipping, but astounded and annoyed to be quoted an additional $49 to pack the item. I refused, but reluctantly purchased the carton for the inflated price of $18. I went across the street and bought packing material and tape. In the parking lot, in 5 minutes, I packed the guitar. Because the item was swimming in the large box, I cut it down.
I returned to the UPS Store and presented the item. NOW IT WAS ONLY $39 TO SHIP. Why; because I had cut the box down.
In summary, the UPS Store was going to charge me $30 for 5 minutes work ($360/hour); overcharge me $10 for shipping; did overcharge me for a box; needlessly fill an overly large box with packing, and ship this extra, wasteful volume 1000 miles.
I was very enthusiastic about the opening of UPS stores and the promise to charge the same as UPS direct (the reason I had not been using UPS authorized shippers), but my enthusiasm is dampened if this economy is to be made up by price gouging on other items. These stores offer a lot of ancillary services, from Web access to generator sales, but shouldn’t they first and foremost be experts in packing and shipping? As a shareholder I believe I am better served if earnings come from reasonable gross margins from a larger volume of satisfied and thus returning customers.