The Mysterious Errant “S”

It started out as a simple perplexity. Instead of the printer ink I ordered from an online store, I received a postcard from UPS telling me that they could not find my address. This brought up all manner of questions: UPS delivers to my home all the time. Now they can’t find me? My address was on the postcard, delivered by United States Postal Service—what was the UPS problem?

Then I noted that the postcard had been sent to my street address, with an “S” added. “– Drive S.” Did that have something to do with the non-delivery?

No matter–it was only printer ink and not worth the trouble to investigate, nor to drive all the way to UPS to pick up the package, as the postcard instructed. I cancelled the order, got a refund, and chalked it up to a fluke.

Until the next week, when the same thing happened with my order of tea.

Now, we’re talking tea here. The very elixir of life. At least of my life. I was not happy when I realized my order was late, tracked it, and discovered a trouble with delivery. What did they mean they could not find me? How many deliveries had they made to my house? It was the S on the end of my street address, again. UPS could find no such address. “The S is a mistake,” I told the UPS representative on the phone. “Just knock it off and deliver my tea.” To which she says, “We aren’t authorized to do that. You’ll have to pick it up, or call the supplier to correct the address.”

Well, bless her heart, and those of you from the South know what I mean. The UPS depot is some thirty miles from my house, or I would have thrown principle aside and driven right up there. I called the supplier, and I did my best to be calm. I requested delivery that very day. The sweet young woman from the online tea company looked into it. She then reported that she could have UPS deliver that day, for an extra $10 charge. No, I did not think I would pay, because I did not put the S on my address in the first place. She thought I must have, and, well, words were exchanged. The young woman consulted someone and came back with, “Oh, I see you did not put the S. It must have been added when the address was verified.”

Verified? With who? She was vague on the matter. She would, however, attempt to get my order delivered that day. She, wise woman, understood we were speaking of tea.

Unfortunately, as it turned out UPS did not understand. I never did get the order. I left town the following day, and when I returned, I discovered the tea order had been returned to the company. I telephoned, spoke to a supervisor, renewed the order, and they kindly sent it Express Mail United States Postal Service, at no extra charge. Oh, happy girl to open the box and see the Yorkshire Gold! The Taylors of Harrogate Afternoon Darjeeling! The Devonshire Tea!

I recently ordered again. I decided to request shipment by USPS. Good choice, because, yes, when the box arrived, there on the address label was that stupid S again. Thankfully the United States Postal Service pays no attention. They not only know their towns and streets, but they can be trusted to get the tea through.

Check out CurtissAnnMatlock.com for information on her novels.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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