Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who Says People Don't Care?

Sorry for the gap. Tuesday I determined that the fifteen-odd Rubbermaid containers full of baby and toddler clothes I've accumulated over the past seven plus years were doing no good to anyone taking up space in my guest-room closet. With so many people needing so much, I had no good excuse not to sort it all out and ship it down south, so I rolled up the shirt sleeves and got busy. Little did I know this project would take two full days.

I sorted by size, culled out the stained items (which were clean when I packed them up, I swear), and grouped like items into bundles. On Tuesday night my husband came home to find our family room looked like an explosion in a clothing factory. Anyway, when all was said and done, I ended up with five large boxes full of infant and toddler clothing. Actually, I'll have another box in a day or two as I've set many infant items with faint milk-stains to soak in Oxyclean, which if you haven't discovered yet is the miracle chemical of the modern age.

Neat story. I hauled my boxes to the local UPS store to ship out, figuring with the current perfomance of various US governmental systems, I'd be better trusting private enterprise to get my stuff to Louisiana. I've marked the boxes very clearly with what items are inside so there is no mistaking whatsoever that this stuff is meant for the hurricane survivors, and only the vilest of FEMA beaurocrats would thwart its progress into the hands of children with nothing more than a single change of clothes or no shoes at all. You'd think that would inspire the US Post Office to speed things up or at least make sure the stuff arrives intact, but I'm not taking my chances.

Anyway, the man behind the counter at the UPS store was weighing and measuring my boxes, muttering the cost to ship each one as he finished. I joked that it would be a great service if UPS would waive shipping fees of relief items being shipped down to the Gulf region. The UPS man said he was surprised that they weren't doing exactly that, to which I replied they could at the very least offer a substantial discount.

When my bill was totalled, the shipping cost amounted to over $76. As I fished in my wallet for my credit card, the UPS man reached into a container on the top of the cash register and pulled out a $20 bill. He told me that my amount came to $56.

Now, I don't think this money was UPS money, but rather money that maybe the store employees had put together for some use or another. Pizza. Taco Bell. A dozen donuts from the Dunkin Donuts on the other end of the strip mall. Or maybe they'd all tossed a few bucks in the jar for occasions like mine. But I thought it was just the nicest thing in the world that this guy chipped in to pay for the shipping.

This is the kind of stuff that shows what we Americans are really made of.

And anybody in the upper echelons of UPS management who might happen to read this, you should take a note from your employees. Offering people discounted shipping of items meant for disaster relief is good PR for your company and it's good stewardship of this country.

At the very least, someone needs to give that UPS guy a raise. He deserves it!

No comments: