The midnight blue sedan pulled up outside the Fedex Business. As Andrew and I entered the vehicle I immediately noticed the windows were cracked and the air-conditioning was turned off, which I’m sure was a tactic the Uber driver was using in an effort to make just a little more money. To be honest I didn’t mind, the heat coupled with the recent rain combined to create a humid environment that reminded me of home. It was a particularly nice reminder, because as of that day I had been in Chicago for almost a week and only packed one pair of pants. In Florida, summer started three months prior and apparently the majority of the country hadn’t caught-up yet, so the shorts I had left me reasonably cold below the knees.
Andrew and I had just finished shipping a few of his personal belongings recently saved from several storage lockers he was emptying. This started with Andrew exiting the previous Uber vehicle with a look of discontent on his face, holding a large backpack and a severed bag and the words “I hate this place.” Once we got inside I began to understand his stance. The woman picking-up packages from the delivery box was on her phone with someone, whom I assume did not work for Fedex, as she continued to tell them how she “didn’t give a shit” as she collected the envelopes and left the building.
The girl behind the counter didn’t seem to care either, as she encouraged us to do as much as possible ourselves. This lead to what I can only define as a Dumb and Dumber moment as Andrew and I attempted to ready his belongs for shipping. The first mistake the clerk made was to give me the requested tape gun without question or concern for why we needed it, as the boxes provided by Fedex would not have needed said tape.
Before I go on with my story, let me explain a little theory I have about packaging-tape guns. They’re sole purpose is to stop hoity-toity business men from getting to high-and-mighty with blue collar workers. I have the utmost respect for laborers, such as warehouse employees, but the tape gun is a real piece of shit. It is impossible for a person lacking tape gun training to operate the device successfully, therefore the only people who can use it are those who use it regularly. At this point you are at the mercy of the blue collar worker, who has the chance to make you look foolish when they take the Satan’s Wrapper Contraption from your hands and easily complete the packaging of your parcel.
Fuck tape guns.
As you have probably assumed at this point, Andrew and I are sitting in the middle of a Fedex Business attempting to wrap “extra-large” boxes in tape. Now these boxes wouldn’t need to be wrapped in tape had they been labeled properly, but in Fedex land, the difference between large and extra-large is about as distinguishable as red-orange from orange-red in a box of crayons. The saving grace is the extra flaps and creases provided in the box, for with a little imagination and some skill with a tape gun, you can make what any red-blooded American would recognize as an extra-large box.
I can only imagine the spectacle it must have been watching Andrew and I attempt to master the tape gun while folding a box into a new box on the floor of Fedex; it must have looked much like cavemen mastering arithmetic by smashing rocks together to make slightly bigger or smaller rocks. Andrew was attempting to twist the gun after the tape was applied, and at a certain point I’m pretty sure I was biting it in an attempt to avoid those impossible little teeth. You know, the same teeth they put on plastic wrap packaging that is just as effective. Now, to add insult to injury, the whole time we’re building our better boxes we’re giggling as we repeat to ourselves “if it fits, it ships!”
Guess who’s slogan isn’t “if it fits, it ships.” Fedex’s.
After all of this we were encouraged to use the manual ticketing machine, where we were able to label the boxes which were clearly not suitable to ship under the “extra-large” option. Lucky for us the clerk was still too busy on her phone to care that we had clearly manipulated the system, and just had us place the packages on the counter so that the delivery driver who didn’t give a shit could come and retrieve the packages tomorrow, when in all likelihood she would still not give a shit.