Thanks to a Stupid FedEx Employee and an Only Slightly Less Stupid Writer, We Got the Child Seat Thing (Sort of) Handled

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
thanks to a stupid fedex employee and an only slightly less stupid writer we got the

A few weeks ago, I told you that I had found the winner of my impromptu let’s-give-away-a-child-seat competition. If you are possessed of an outstanding memory, you will recall that the child seat I was giving away happened to be my son’s Britax Pinnacle 90. If you also happen to know your child seats backwards and forwards (because some are rear facing — get it?) you will note that the child seat in this photo is actually a Britax Boulevard, not a Pinnacle.

What happened and why? Well, it started with a FedEx clerk who was just bright enough to poke buttons on a computer, but no brighter than that…

“I can give you the total before you leave.”

“It doesn’t really matter, I just want it shipped.”

“Alright then… the total is $371.20.”

“Hold on a minute. I guess it matters after all.”

Two weeks ago I went to my local “FedEx Office” to ship my son’s Britax Pinnacle to its new owner. I didn’t have a box for the child seat, largely because my wife had recently thrown away about thirty cardboard boxes of various sizes I’d had stuffed in the basement for future eBay sales. She pointed out that I was selling items at the rate of one a month and that most of the things I was selling fit in a Priority Mail six-by-nine. So she had a point. Nevertheless, the amplifier box she pitched would have fit the admittedly massive Pinnacle seat very well. I have not yet forgiven her for that.

I did expect, however, that the FedEx store would be able to find a box that fits a child seat. After all, they claim to be able to ship everything from bicycles to furniture. Yet when I got there I had to sit through a twenty-three-minute process in which the woman behind the counter called multiple stores to find exactly the right box. Finally I was told that the box would, in a case of at least mild irony, be shipped to the FedEx store within two days. At that point I was ready to pay whatever they asked, assuming that it would be even vaguely reasonable. It wasn’t.

There is no reason that FedEx should charge $371.20 to ship a child seat across a grand total of three states, but my helpful clerk was experiencing a decided inability to step outside her unconscious process and apply conscious thought. The machine said it was $371.20; therefore that’s what it was. Never mind the fact that Amazon ships child seats for free and that most stores ship them for no more than $29.99. Never mind the fact that it cost me something like $28 to ship two 17-inch car wheels in a common box to California a while back. She wasn’t interested in examining whatever underlying assumptions were resulting in the ridiculous price.

So I went back home and thought about different options. I sat down to re-read the original email from the woman who had “won” our competition, trying to figure out if she was near a racetrack or any place that I might be traveling in the near future. It was then I realized something that should have been obvious to me from the beginning: her son was just short of two years old, which meant that he was too small for the Pinnacle. Had I sent her the seat as I’d planned, it would have been of no use to her.

To make a long story short, I bought a new Britax Boulevard for her son and it’s working great. But while that purchase might solve her problem, it doesn’t solve mine, to wit: I still need to get rid of this child seat. Guess I’ll go read all the original emails again — and maybe I’ll try a different FedEx store next time.

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  • THX1136 THX1136 on Oct 19, 2017

    Seems like no one is acknowledging the fact - at least for FedEx - is they have to fit all the shipments into a plane in the most beneficial, expedient and efficient way. That's at least part of the reason for the combined measurement tier pricing. It helps them know ahead of time how the plane pack is going to go, how much they can pack and the appropriate charge since more room may be needed - hence another plane possibly. I agree with Jack, $371 is way too much. As someone else posited, next day air (or same day air) was probably selected. Shipped regular ground would have been way cheaper. On ebay stuff I've sent I always use USPS and never had a problem. Much of that is that I know how to pack things in the best manner to assure safe travel/delivery without damage. And, yes, the service from the PO varies from state to state and even within the state in some cases.

  • Kamil Kaluski Kamil Kaluski on Oct 19, 2017

    I have a free, used, Britax Parkway SGL in Boston. If anyone wants it, Jack or most other admins on this site know how to reach me.

  • FreedMike Well, y'all wanted a brown wagon...
  • Daveo We had it in NJ and don't in Florida. Can't tell you how many cars I'm behind in traffic that have no brake lights. I think it's necessary.
  • Tassos Is there any reason you could not put the ACTUAL 348 mile number in the TITLE of the damned article, so I would not need to read the whole thing to find out?
  • Tassos Honda is bleeding billions in order to keep this loser Acura alive.In the REST of the world, Identical vehicles to Acuras are just called HONDAS. Best example, the NSX! It was NEVER called an "acura" outside the US.
  • Cprescott Very expensive all terrain golf cart.