'tis the season and tsk to fedex ground

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Jan 22, 2008
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elmer, nj
Our orchid society wanted some seedlings for a compotting clinic in march, and I ordered a few from Tom K. here. Shipment was scheduled to be delivered my home address via fedex ground (since I wasn't sure if we would be working or laid off at my former work address), since I had seen that fedex ground had a 'hold for pickup' option and the facility was very close to my former address a few miles away.

It turned out that fedex doesn't 'do' 'hold for pickup' if it's a ground delivery and not an express so it was going to go to my apartment, which was fine because all deliveries always go to our back porch where the mailboxes are, and there is an unlocked entrance just feet from the mailboxes and the sidewalk where they put packages (inside, protected, some heat).

I came home middle of afternoon from work and looked through back entryway and saw no packages, so went to take shower etc and get ready for a blood donation that evening, didn't check email or anything because of lack of time. As going out, still no package.

I get home from my donation and have some dinner, and go online. Immediately I see an email from Tom alerting me that fedex had delivered my package of orchid seedlings, clearly marked fragile seedlings this side up etc (very clearly marked as to perishable items), to the front entryway at 9:30am.

Clearly, my blood pressure jumped at that point.... I looked at my other emails and sure enough received note that package had been delivered at 930am. I go out to back entry, and no package there, so go out front and on the front entryway is the box sitting in the middle of the porch, with the 'this side up' label pointing sideways instead of upwards....... packages are always delivered to the back door/entry and nobody ever looks at the front entry for packages. The box had been sitting outside for twelve hours, but since it had been packed very well by Tom, had a heat pack included gratis, and fortunately it had been between 39 and 37 degrees F all day, the seedlings at least looked fine, and Tom felt that with the temps and heat pack, they should be okay (and they do still look fine).

I felt that a note to customer service was in order so sent the following note, hoping at least some sort of apology or maybe an adjustment of the shipping fee...

Please select a topic: Technical Support
Please select a product or service: FedEx Home Delivery
Please select a category: Status of shipment
Type of Email:
Acct Num:
Other: 092549115057444
Other: Fox Valley Orchids
Other: Charles Ufford
Date: 12/19/2012
Comments: I was sent a box of expensive orchid seedlings, and the delivery person left them on the front porch of the building early this morning. The mail boxes and drop area for all of the delivery services is at the back of the house and packages are always left by the mailboxes in warm weather and inside the 'unlocked' back door. The package was clearly marked as 'fragile- live plants' and had other disclaimers about plants etc so it was clearly obvious that leaving a box of young plants in an unheated, unmonitored area would be very bad for the plants. It was in the 30's all day today and is near freezing right now (when it was discovered that the plants were out front). If a multi-national company expects people to use their services, in this day and age when money
can be very tight, how are we supposed to justify paying for unreliable service? I'm very sure that if your payroll company were to leave your driver's paychecks 'somewhere else', then they !

would have a problem with that.... ...... don't you think? I would hope that fedex would do all that they could to ensure that their customers were satisfied with your services, as the worst advertising is someone going on the internet and talking to everyone they know about how bad their fedex service was, and to avoid it at all costs

thanks and regards,

after a bunch of days I received the following non-reply

Response (N***** A.) - 12/23/2012 02:16 PM
Dear Mr. Ufford:

We greatly appreciate that you have taken the time to write and share your concerns. This allows us a valuable opportunity to examine and correct possible deficiencies that cause customer dissatisfaction.

I deeply regret that the service you received has failed to meet your expectations of excellence. FedEx is genuinely concerned with providing the highest quality service possible.

I hope you will continue to allow us the opportunity to handle your global shipping needs. We look forward to serving you more satisfactorily.

N****** A.
FedEx Customer Service

it was interesting to note that they felt that I probably just had too high expectations of their service though there was a slight, tiny apology of sorts at the end... I should have used priority mail as that would have to have at least gone to the back porch by the mailboxes outside, where I would have at least seen it and it would have had a little sunlight, if they didn't put it inside the back door. I have had excellent results with priority mail and plants from all around the country

why is it that at the one time when you need these carriers to come through and have their usual service, that they fall down when it counts the most? if it had been the day before or after, it would have been much colder and we would have had a real problem. as it was, there was mostly a polite hope that I would continue to use their services despite this situation. NOT

beware fedex ground!

p.s. - I must add that I had ordered one flask of paph liemianum from Tom/Fox Valley and he had offered to send me two for a very good price (had to decline since orchid club money and couldn't justify the expense), and as it was, he included a very nice compot of paph sukhakulii seedlings for free! :clap: so, definitely look for orchids from Fox Valley, just don't use fedex ground :D
I also have to add that the flask seedlings were very nice and healthy, and I am trying out the deflasking instructions on their website where you just place the agar puck/seedlings whole into a pot with seedling bark;... I dug around my orchid supplies and found out that I am out of the plain pine bark (acid, what is wanted to suppress fungi) and had only seedling orchiata (neutral to higher pH or just not acidic) and ground sphagnum (supersphag), so used some chopped sphagnum with a hard sponge underneath in the pot around the puck/seedlings until I can get to the store to see if they have any seedling pine bark to replace the other media


Well-Known Member
Sep 18, 2012
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Wisconsin, Minnesota border
During the holiday season they hire helpers. it was probably a helper who left your package in an unusal spot. Stink about the so so apology. I just think the person didn't think outhat reply very well.


In Remembrance 2023
Supporting Member
Jul 8, 2011
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Kentucky zone 6B
Charles, several members of Orchid Source Forum complained as a group
to FedEx about really bad delivery practices and even sent photos of clearly
marked boxes that had been thrown in the snow, left outside a gate in winter, etc., etc., etc. None of us ever got an apology or even an acknowledgement. I just paid $45.00 in shipping from Joan Bateman for
two day delivery. The delivery was almost as much as the plants. However, they did get here on time and in excellent condition. I just don't use ground shipping at all any more...that includes USPS Priority.
It just ain't worth losing the plants!
Jan 22, 2008
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elmer, nj
I always had excellent results using priority mail, but then again I was probably close enough to a population center so that things didn't get hung up in spots, or we had good workers on our end. clearly fedex ground is not the way to go if something has to be kept out of the cold/weather

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