I make sure that your packages get to their destinations safely. I advise on best packing methods and work on print related materials. I was a graphic and web designer by trade before that.

I may not see or respond to all of your questions as fast as you may like; I'm on a mobile device for now. If I miss yours and you want it answered, shoot it to me via PM! I'll even post the answer on the thread, if requested. :)

Proof? Heres me behind my counter: http://imgur.com/EMox5I5

I also am a fan of dem vidya games. My favorites of all time include: Starcraft, Chivalry, Skyrim, Super Mario Bros 3, Battlefield BC/BC2/3, FTL, and ToriBash.

ASK ME ANYTHING!!

EDIT:: OKAY I've been at it for four hours. I tried to hit everyone!! I'm going to go sleep!!

I will resume answering after I have breakfast tomorrow!!!!

EDIT 2: THIS IS IT. I'm making one final sweep through the comments and replying where necessary!!! I hope you guys liked this AMA! Appreciate the love and support! Great questions!

Okay guys, I had a blast. If you want another, I'm sure another store rep would be happy to help.

My favorite question? The one about what I do on a slow day.

Here's a diagram from answering a question that you might find helpful!!

http://imgur.com/7SEmJJE

Alright!! This is over!! I might pop in to look, but I'm set! Have a nice one, Everybody, and don't forget :

ALL YOU GOTTA ASK YOURSELF IS WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU

Comments: 1704 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

cam54781174 karma

Do you ever take pride in the fact that your competitor lost tom hanks on a deserted island and you have only lost my Little Big Planet Collectors Edition?

MassDebates2173 karma

I'm sorry cam. At least we didn't lose a better game though!!!

Just kidding...

Maybe. Console peasant.

cam547873 karma

I'll have you know I abandoned my peasantry long ago. current parts list for proof: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hlKeQFlW51jV5KDao9A7JWrxEYlTq5xeXFcRF6ImtXs/edit?usp=docslist_api

MassDebates56 karma

Upvoted. I'm still glad we didn't lose a PC Game for you ;)

1893Chicago429 karma

Why are the UPS store computers still running Windows XP?

MassDebates433 karma

Not all are. But ikr?!? We have windows 7 on the customer computer, but xp on the pos and back office machine. -_-

worldwarmarvel304 karma

What is the funniest thing you've ever seen on the job?

MassDebates705 karma

We have a glass door and people bump into it. Gets me every time. Sometimes they get saved by the box they're carrying.

AdmiralIrish250 karma

Where are my damn Christmas presents for my girlfriend?

MassDebates336 karma

Dude haha this Christmas was pretty bad. Idk what id do about it if I were one of the CEOs or something. We had a shit ton of stuff in our store alone. I can only imagine amazon and everyone else. They must have had like double sales this Christmas.

Honestly, idk what they're going to do in future years. I know that online shopping is going to be taking over probably, and people only ever increase the amount they ship year after year.

Morty_And_Rick227 karma

Why should I use UPS rather than any other company?

SCUDSMcKenzie598 karma

They never left a man stranded on an island for 4 years. So there's that

MassDebates451 karma

Nope. Never will either! We did give a UPS truck to a kid though.

MassDebates237 karma

I'm no spokesman for UPS, but I'd use them even if I didn't work at the UPS Store. They are singlehandedly the best company that covers all of the bases. United States Postal Service (USPS) can be competitive with pricing at times, but they don't necessarily believe in guarantees of delivery times. UPS does. They handle larger packages, and have some of the more rewarding claims processes out there comparative to other couriers and services. They are world-wide, and the standards held within a private company are universal within that private company ( you get the same burger from any mcdonalds, right?) sending internationally is huge for this. I sent a box of toolings for a machine via USPS to Chile at the customers request(untracked first class mail is often the cheapest when going international) but they were stolen by Chile's postal service employees. If it was sent trackable for more postage, that would have stopped when it left US soil.

Some services out there might be cheaper. Some might be faster. But none are UPS.

mrs_arigold133 karma

What is the biggest/most expensive item you've had to pack and shup thus far?

MassDebates269 karma

35,000$ statue that had gold on it. Granite base. Huge crate for a relatively small statue. Heavy as shit.

Also once packed and shipped a $65,000 ring. I Quad boxed. I don't even think my driver sweat on it one bit.

ayfkm3113 karma

Was the customer aware there is a 50,000 dollar limit on DV?

MassDebates40 karma

The customer only insured it for just below half, I believe for both costs and policy limits. Ups capital had to get it approved.

neuroeng130 karma

I want you mail a friend a housewarming gift including some liquor and other liquids. What's the best way to do this?

MassDebates228 karma

Shipping liquor is tricky. It's all down to the states, unfortunately. This means that each state has varying rules that don't make sense in the grand scheme of things.

You'll have to look up regulations about your own state's policy of shipping liquor. It depends on where you got it, if you're shipping domestically, whether or not it's a different state that you're shipping to, the container type (keg/can /bottle /whatever), sometimes even the brand. Yay politics.

If everything's not cool with your state's policies, just remember, you can always ship olive oil instead. Just pack it up yourself. A store employee SHOULD check its contents if it's already sealed, but in all honesty, they probably won't. I do, though.

tweezer82142 karma

[deleted]

MassDebates71 karma

Are you sure? I thought that if they met all four conditions in the new year memo (as well as the access point email that reminded us to closely heed regulations for ATT's workflow in CAMS), including shippers license and state regulations, they could send ANY legal form of liquor that was legal in all locationsit would be present in. They, of course, would need the signature.

The store could have the license too, if I'm remembering correctly. Am I? I must be mistaken. If what you say is the case, then NO alcohol can be sent when shipping UPS. (except "generally wine-" are we talking alcohol-free wine??) Though, that would mean I need clarification.

And if I need clarification on that, please do enlighten me on the policies for tobacco as well. I know I can't ship any tobacco here in NYS, except to a prison for a legal care package. My buddy works at another store that ships all forms of tobacco frequently within and out of his state, prison or office condo.

Again, I just assumed that this was due to state relations, regulations, and their differing policies when going through training and reading TUPSS emails. Are you going to tell me that NO tobacco is to be shipped, either??

YON_MCCLANE7 karma

A store employee SHOULD check its contents if it's already sealed, but in all honesty, they probably won't. I do, though.

I've worked at a UPS store and I've never opened a sealed package. What's the matter with you? That's a pretty gross violation of trust. Not to mention I wouldn't have even had time to rifle through everyone's stuff.

I only opened it if there was movement and I asked the customer if they wanted extra packaging. Never on my own though.

MassDebates42 karma

Are you kidding me? You're going to put your stamp on a box that might have items that will be broken?

You don't check contents? You are aware of what you've been trained to do, right?

It's not about the personal relationship to the customer. While that's important, safety comes first. You're talking the customers value, the drivers reputation(which get slammed already) the safety of the hub workers.... Etc INTO MAJOR risk when you don't check.

Someone sealed a TON of dry ice in a reinforced container that was sealed in a box that nobody checked. It exploded later on in the store. The customer didn't think to mention it, which is fine. But someone could have gotten hurt.

This is 2015. You can take all of the candy you want, but I don't trust strangers as quickly.

That's like saying that having someone sign a receipt is a gross amount of distrust.

Do your job.

GHarriott105 karma

[deleted]

MassDebates261 karma

A guy offered me money to ship my own personal hairbrush (I had long hair at the time) to his house.

Of course, this was after he asked me if I would be interested in having nudes taken of myself. (said no both times)

scoopdawg98 karma

[deleted]

MassDebates155 karma

That's really bad. I ask, and if they decline and it looks valuable, I'll ask again and state why I'm asking if they're sure, but I really leave it at that.

Adding insurance above a certain level will automatically engage a signature action that can be declined by the shipper. It lets the people that work on the trucks and in the UPS hubs how important it is to keep safe. It lets the driver know not to leave it on the porch where it may get stolen.

But hey, there are people who are immediately rude to me when I first ask. It's their loss. I don't get commission, so if they don't care, why should I? I'll still do my job my best, but I'm not in the car sales business.

mrivorey91 karma

How many conspiracy theorists do you get at your store asking to ship their manifestos to "The Director of Such-and-Such Federal Agency"?

Also, How many times a day do you have to explain that The UPS Store is not the local UPS center, and you don't have their package that a driver tried to deliver?

Or for that matter, that UPS and USPS (and even FedEx) are completely different companies?

MassDebates83 karma

Never. haha

AND OMG LIKE EVERYDAY The hub is the worst one. Fedex is the easiest for people to see the difference. They have trouble with usps though. I find it easy to refer to them as the post, or the post office, and to refer to USPS's pricing as postage.

Thanks man that was nice of you

PuffsPlusArmada91 karma

Anybody ever have illegal shit delivered?

MassDebates187 karma

Haha yeah this one guy was shipping in these box turtles from China under a false name with fraudulent IDs that we need to take copies of for acting as an agent of the post office for that person. (you know, when they sign the 6/12 month contract for a personal mail box) He'd come in, and he'd open them up, showing us what they looked like and telling us facts about them . Guy was pretty cool and chill. He collected them and loved reptilian pets. He was doing this for like 8 months before the FBI came with papers and affidavits, seizing all of his mail and stuff. Never came again.

Idk why it was illegal, they were packed well, had air, water, and food that surprisingly didn't get screwed up from shipping. Maybe box turtles can't be in the US? He had snakes come in too, but I was told they weren't the issue.

CaptainNoKills78 karma

I'm a UPS Store manager as well, and I always thought about doing an ama but I figured no one would give a damn... Well I missed out. From one UPS Store employee what is the weirdest thing you've ever been asked to ship?

MassDebates91 karma

Korean cabinets, ninja themed oars, apothecary sets (for sorcery, not regular) bird shit, glitter ( just a box full of the stuff)

caseylarae65 karma

I used to run an Etsy shop and always had difficulty figuring out how to pack small objects for shipping (for example, a single bowl, or a very small painting). Any suggestions on the best way to pack a small item so that it won't get lost or crushed?

MassDebates90 karma

Cool!

There is a TON of things that go into packaging, and people don't think about it until they have to do it. It's really something that's taken for granted on a mass scale. This is something that we heavily stress in training, and often is harder for someone to perfect/master than all of the customs procedures for all other countries AND all custom procedures for corporate accounts COMBINED.

Try to use each tool or supply for what it's designed for and what it's most effective for. Peanuts aren't only tasty and good for stiffer, fluid cushion, they're also good for void-fill as well! Air-pouches/air-bags are good for void fill and even stiffer cushion (depending on the brand) , but aren't as fluid within the package.

I usually use a proprietary foam we have at this store and cut out pieces to make slots, then repeat and match together the two layers. It works wonders. It's 3 inches thick. You want it to sustain pressure evenly but not 'give' too much of dealing with items packed in boxes smaller than 8 inches cubed.

If it can fall 5.5 feet on the worst angle, I'd say you're good. (they go by 4 in our district, but that's me)

There's tons of tips. I'll come back to you and post more later.

When in doubt, double box. (product/peanuts/box/peanuts/box, in that order. Boxes are sealed and taped.)

caseylarae32 karma

Wow, thanks so much for the very specific response! As a further question, I am always wary of double boxing because it adds weight, do you think that affects the price much or at all?

MassDebates29 karma

Absolutely. That's a high value practice to minimize risk. I don't do it for every box :P

Every box has a "dimensional weight" that is formulated by lengths of the sides. For example, I know that an 18" cubed box will be close to the same price for that destination and service level for any weights between being empty and its dimensional weight.

Size and weight weigh in pricing. If you add to either, there's a chance it will go up, depending on the circumstances.

qdarius7 karma

Hey, I've got another packaging question.

Any tips on cheaply shipping skateboard decks?

Thanks in advance.

MassDebates15 karma

Never skateboarded but I'd stick with a cheap, flexible foam that isn't Styrofoam. Or bubblewrap. Bubbles in.

I'm not sure what a deck for it is, but if the wheels arent off of it, take them off. Unfortunately, you have a pretty heavy rigid object. Sometimes size is negotiable (folding a chair or easle) or sometimes weight is negotiable (balancing out items in multibox orders or using lighter materials) but you're already heavy and there's not much you can do for size except keep it down.

If you ship to someone in the boonies, consider having them pick it up at the hub or a UPS Store nearby it to help with costs. It won't Dave money everytime, but it might help some times.

You want to use the durability to your advantage to keep size at a minimum around the object, because it's already big. You're going to be hating shipping these. Always check both ups and usps prices at the store.

If at all possible, marry some decks together. They'll be flat and uniform curvatures which will help. Don't forget to get them isolated so they don't scratch eachother or get scratched!!!

PM_ME_urclimbinggear2 karma

When you come back to this can you go over effectively packing something small while keeping it small?

Is there a really good way to make corner fixtures out of something I have lying around the house? Something like egg/milk cartons perhaps?

MassDebates5 karma

Yes, I'll edit this msg when I hit you and the skateboard decks guy.

Okay. Yes, that's a great idea! They are flexible, but make sure the object isn't too frail for them.

The thing about small items is that you most likely will have something light. depending on why its fragile (trouble points? Frail material? Shape? Or can it just not be flipped upside down???)

These are all things to consider, but this isn't an exhaustive list. Keeping these in mind is a good start, though.

I abuse foam a lot for small objects. Its a regularly used tool ib my arsenal. I like to brace small objects in with cardboard (padded with foam if necessary) folded and rolled into various shapes to keep it anchored to one side, to avoid damage from inversion.

(I once packed a miniature bonzai tree. 12" cubed box. Anchored it to the bottom with a flat piece that had a slot for the trunk so that soil was contained. Braced it so it wouldn't land or stand on the top of its delicate branches or leaves. Foamed the base. Put in a few air pouches for emergency void fill incase if the braces failed. Customer called. They didn't, thanks to heavy duty cardboard staples!)

Heres the thing. The tree was 8 inches tall. There was still a lot of growth. You're going to find that its hard to keep some objects small, simply because they are that fragile and have enough weight to break themselves if there isn't enough shock absorption within the box. You don't get hurt on a trampoline, right? Your intuition can serve you well in many cases of packaging. 5.5 ft drop at the worst angle!

A feather made of glass never falls fast enough to break, but a snowflake made of stone will shatter like a glass feather.

Hopefully this paradoxical analogy will help. Came off the top of my head.

gayhomophob346 karma

What has been the worst customer that you've had?

MassDebates156 karma

You know, I've had some rotten people. I don't know exactly who's the worst. Rude is always something I hate. I have this mailbox holder who is extremely rude every time she visits. A little creepy, and she is not familiar with bra use. (not a good thing this time, fellas.)

She abuses systems daily, including our mailbox policies, online product return systems, and logistics laws regarding courier vs postal service policies..

For example, returns from above. Uses it until return guarantee is over. Returns for free shipping on complaint. Creates new online shopping account. Re-engages self-created rental procedure.

Really a horrid person. I've seen how she treats her kids. Surprised she has them. Not surprised the original hubby is gone. Surprised she got a second. Not surprised that he's gone too. There's a third. I'm surprised he's still around. Dumb Shit. She abuses him and he projects/redirects it on to others. He's an ass too.

You want a surprise? I can tell you about all three because I've seen her go through all of them. I've worked at that UPS Store location for less than 1.75 years.

Not a care for anyone else. A cynic's reality wrapped up in one mean, little, abusive package.

VersaceBabyRattle46 karma

So I know there's been a lot of controversy about shitty drivers throwing/ genuinely not handling packages carefully. Have you ever had to deal with this out of your store? What do you do to prevent stuff like this from happening?

MassDebates54 karma

I never really order online, to be honest. If it weren't for my experience at a store, I wouldnt know how a return works!!! I hear about that stuff though, and I think it's terrible. One of the things I like about fedex is the owner operator structure, but I know that has its cons too, and it may also have drivers that abuse packages.

I think a lot of it comes from the warehouse/hub's belt, and not the employees. They're not out to get vengeance in the world, but mistakes happen, I guess. I always thought it was the machinery that has little delicacy in touch.

Honestly, it's why were so rigorous about packing in the stores. Some people just think we get our jollies by suggesting more packaging, or by complicating a seemingly simple package shipment, but it's serious stuff if it's the difference between a broken item and an intact one. Packaging won't protect against abuse or ridiculous blows. It's packaging, not armor. We have weight to consider.

CaptainSomeGuy28 karma

[deleted]

MassDebates29 karma

I wouldnt mount. Id go doggy!!

Just kidding.

Mcsquizzy28 karma

Should I have my package shipped to the local UPS store, or just proceed to have it delivered to my house? Which will get there faster?

MassDebates28 karma

Depending on how far you are from the nearest hub in comparison to the store (in distance to the hub) it could go either way. It depends on the routes that the drivers are taking in your area. Id ask a driver that's not on either route to avoid bias :P (unless he delivers to both)

b_jodi23 karma

What UPS store service do you think people don't take enough advantage of?

MassDebates41 karma

That's a unique one. Probably binding. We comb bind and glue bind (like a book) and our unibind system rocks. Not a single complaint.

Raintitan14 karma

How do you feel about printing in your store?

MassDebates74 karma

I like design, printing's just stress, honestly.

Someone brings you a ream of special thickness and size(were not talkin' your standard demy or medium quarto or your wacky royal folio- I'm hit with everything from A10 to A4 to 4A to custom sizes), uniquely textured or colored paper, asks you to print double sided documents that are crazy long(my store is close to a University) and never have page numbers for some crazy reason. Then, they give you a (Often times, people move their document margins outside of the print zone. You know who you are. Windows tells you. We Notice. And We Remember. )

You'll have enough paper in the ream you're given for 4 copies of the document (usually a thesis of some sort) , which is what the customer ordered. But that sounds easy enough, right?

Let's say you check the margins in every page of the document, and even adjust them back to an acceptable range without extending the document's # of printed pages, okay? Oh, and don't forget, you also know your industrial copier (which is way more complicated than it should be. I swear, these copier companies have completely abandoned all principles of UX/UI development. I'm great with all things running on some sort of electricity and these things are a bitch. I owned my own (very small) tech support company and I hate these things) inside and out, so you know how to set it for their wacky paper size and thickness. You get lucky, and the copier not only recognizes the size you've put in, but also agrees with the document settings and print settings(from the OS). Then the printer doesn't agree with the thickness you've put in, saying its sensors detect something larger or smaller or thicker or thinner in the print media tray. You know, just cause. Oh, and it definitely won't change its mind for no goddamned reason in 5 minutes when you adjust the settings to what it wants. :)

So you lie. And you feel like it knows you did every time. Creepy shit. You change its settings, the document settings, the OS's settings, (which so curiously makes you lie repeatedly) and try to make it print. Then there's a feed. Now, the copier can do a lot. Mine can fold, staple, flip, and scan pages of some books on its own. But sometimes it will overextend itself and say it can do something that it can't. (most likely because you lied to it earlier) it takes in the paper and misfeeds.. Then you gotta.....

You get my point.

Times_Are_Rough12 karma

Do you enjoy your job?

MassDebates26 karma

Yeah, but there's nuisances. I got a great boss, and I see tons of stuff. You make great connections with people, and its pretty fun. I get to design a picture one day, and play structure-engineer the same day! Sometimes even making copies is cool. People bring in some neat stuff.

I once photocopied a civil war letter. It was astonishing to just see the language used in a natural form. Pretty gruesome story it described though. Life sucked back then.

ShouldNotBeHere11 karma

If you could change one thing with your online printing solution what would it be?

MassDebates18 karma

The workflow process. It's well designed but horribly planned out. They could have made a much simpler solution that could still handle their customer base for much less money than what the OLP system seems to cost. It's almost as bad as a copier.

Well, not THAT bad. They made a solution that works with many many independent stores, but still. As a Web designer, I'm not impressed.

PM_ME_urclimbinggear6 karma

Do people think you can predict when a package will arrive somewhere? Can you?

MassDebates12 karma

Yes, and sometimes. Closer destinations and frequent ones are easier. International parcels can be hard though. You can't even trust the computer sometimes because of customs. There are some rules of thumb that you learn to hold yourself by over time.

For example, I'll always know how many business days to nyc from any store in the US, at least within a business day of accuracy. I will always know Cross continental shipping too, because everyone does it. (Northeast to California)

I'm in NYS, just so you know.

zoffff3 karma

[deleted]

MassDebates7 karma

I deliver. Thanks for watching! :) I'll get to everyone soon

iTheOwl1 karma

can you ship fully built firearms (ar15 for example) to another resident?

MassDebates1 karma

Not through my store. Idk where you could, either. Sorry.

classicconstipation1 karma

What is the weirdest thing somebody brought in to ship?

MassDebates3 karma

Antique store that restores misc items keeps me busy. I got a lot from there. Random one? Mother of pearl Korean cabinet set. Huge. Had to build crates and freight it in an LTL

tweezer821 karma

I have to ask because I deal with a crap load of UPS Store complaints.

Why the hell are some of these locations so inconsistent, and frankly, awful?? I've heard everything from clerks forcing fees to pick up a My Choice package (after the customer already paid UPS a fee to reroute it there), tricking customers into buying materials or services they didn't need or were not told they'd be charged for, going MIA with claim issues, failing to adequately ship international packages with the needed customs documents, not being open on clearly posted hours, incorrectly denying GSRs, etc.

Your store might be one of the good ones, but a lot of people don't know UPS Stores are independently owned franchises and have little corporate oversight. It's... Aggravating. /end rant.

MassDebates2 karma

Sorry man. There's inadequate people everywhere.

Some people just can't do their job right. Some people just plain won't. What's worse??

Invictus50-1 karma

Nearly every package sent to me with or received by another party -with UPS as the courier, has been dented or smashed. Why is UPS notorious for damaging packages?

MassDebates4 karma

No idea. The nice man in brown that comes to my store treats them like precious kittens that die when inverted, even when he's seen me flip ones that can take it.

He gets REALLY sweaty though, and leaves visible marks of sweat directly on the packages. We're talking even in winter here. Sun or snow, he's coated. Like, really, it gets ALL over them. I'm glad that it doesn't penetrate the cardboard.

fire_fox_-3 karma

If I wanna work as a driver, what qualifications would I need?

MassDebates1 karma

No idea. I'm in the store