Tuesday, January 26, 2016
THE DOG ATE MY SCOPE
My wife needed a new scope with more magnification on her hunting rifle; she’s been getting by for ten years with a 2.5x pistol scope on an 03A3 Springfield configured as a scout rifle. She’s collected a pile of mule deer and whitetails with it, but the long-range shooting required for antelope hunting really does call for greater magnification.
So, for her birthday in early January, I ordered a Leatherwood 2-7x32mm Long Eye Relief scope from Natchez on 12/28. I had waited until the last minute, as usual, so I wasn’t going to get my panties in a wad if it didn’t make it here in time for her birthday. I was, however, pretty sure I’d have it before February.
Therein lay my mistake, for I was dealing with a big-name private shipper who is apparently vying with the US Postal Service for the coveted Lame & Incompetent Sloth Delivery Service Award. I won’t “say da name”, but I’ll give you a hint; their trucks are not brown.
After several days, I checked the tracking number on my order. To my surprise, I found out it had been delivered to my residence two days prior. This was news to me, as I had been home that day, and no little white truck had been here.
Since we live in a rural area and were trying to be nice, we’ve given both big name shippers permission to drop our packages off at the neighbor’s house on the main road when and if our road is too muddy or snowy. Since we got our tractor and I’ve been plowing snow all winter and laying down gravel all summer for a couple of years now, the road is seldom if ever actually “bad” these days. The guy in the little brown truck never has any problem driving up here and delivering packages. Nor did the guy in the propane delivery truck, or the neighbor who stopped by in a Chevy Caprice. The little white truck, which happens to be, IIRC, an F-250 4x4 with a cargo box, hasn’t been seen at our house in months. The driver immediately interpreted “when the road is bad” to mean 365 days out of the year and took to just automatically dumping our stuff off at the neighbors every single time to save himself a half mile up and down our road.
Still, we could live with that since either the wife or I will drive past the neighbor’s place and pick it up on a normal day.
This time, however, the package didn’t get delivered to us or the neighbor’s house. Nor did two other packages, from different companies, supposedly delivered by the same carrier. First, I went around to all the neighbors asking if any of our packages had been delivered to them by mistake. As I said, we are rural, but there’s only two named roads, both perfectly straight, and a grand total of five houses in a mile section. You can see them all from the main road, it’s wide-open sagebrush country. There are only two houses on Arrowhead Road, and we’re one of them. There’s only ONE house on West Arrowhead, and we’re it. You can’t go past our driveway, since the road turns into a two-track through a cow pasture that is at the moment covered with two feet of snow.
So, since no packages had been delivered to us or to any of the neighbors, we started calling the shipper. We got a big fat dog and pony show and had to wait on hold for long periods of time in order to speak to different clueless morons who, in turn, each gave us completely different answers. Finally we had to file claims for the lost packages. Eventually, these claims ground their way through the shipper’s Federalesque bureaucracy, where the claims were of course denied because the driver said he had delivered the packages to us.
After about a week of phone tag, we finally got to talk to someone from the shipper’s local office in Bozeman instead of one of the 1-800 Helpline people in New York or New Delhi or wherever the hell they were. The shipper insisted the driver had delivered the packages but, he said, and I quote, “There was this big German shepherd hanging around and it could have carried the packages off.”
I shit you not. What is this, third grade? “The dog ate my homework.” Really?
I doggedly hung on the line and noted the fact that neither we nor any of the neighbors even have a German shepherd and after some hemming and hawing, the driver finally admitted he hadn’t actually delivered to our place. But he had, as per instructions, delivered to the neighbors mentioned earlier. We’ll say SMITH at 2 WIGWAM Lane. So both the wife and I checked in with them again. Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch.
I went the rounds of the entire neighborhood again and finally found one of the three MIA packages, which the driver continued to insist had been delivered to Smith at 2 Wigwam Lane. It had actually been left with Jones at 15 Wigwam. There are only TWO houses on Wigwam Lane. Smith’s is kind of hard to miss as they’re on the intersection with the main road and have three big 100-foot greenhouses and the business name and address on a header gate. Jones is another quarter mile up Wigwam and at the end of a quarter mile long private lane.
So we called the shipper again with proof that at least one of the packages the driver insisted had gone to Smith actually went to Jones and that nobody had seen the other two MIAs. They basically said, “Our driver says he delivered it and a signature wasn’t required so tough shit.”
Fortunately, thus far two of the sellers, Natchez and Macy’s, made good on the shipper’s screw-ups and re-sent our purchases, and this time we made sure they were sent via the guys in the little brown trucks and not the buffoons in the little white trucks. The status of the 3rd MIA package remains in limbo for the moment.
Some might say I’m being too hard on a new delivery driver. He is, after all, apparently freshly escaped from the monkey house at the Seattle Zoo and the price of bananas is going up lately. But, as I pointed out, the guy in the little brown truck and his occasional substitute drivers have never once had a problem delivering to us.
By the way, yes I have indeed walked a mile in this guy’s moccasins, as it were. I drove truck on delivery routes in rural Iowa and rural Montana, back in the days before GPS and cell phones, and never had any such problems. It’s not rocket science. I figured anyone with opposable thumbs and a third grade literacy level could handle it.
I was wrong. Plus our driver didn’t pass the third grade. Turns out the dog ate his homework.