While at three years, my favorite shoes aren’t as old as my favorite jeans, they’re still pretty worn-out. They’re especially bad on rainy days when the rain seeps in through some apparently invisible holes, and my feet get soaked.
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a pair from Zappo’s. Bam bam bam, done! No sales tax, no shipping costs. Sweet!
But then I got a shipping confirmation saying that my shoes were coming from UPS.
Those brown shorts wearing bastards.
No, no, I take it back. My experience with them has been mostly good. I’ve loved every UPS delivery guy at my jobs. They are always nice and friendly, and sometimes quite cute (those shorts!). But while our area’s UPS guy is very nice, he doesn’t try very hard when delivering stuff to our building.
True, delivering to our building, if you’re not the post office, is incredibly hard. There’s no one to sign for shit. Neither the super nor owner live in the building, and it seems the “manager’s” duties don’t include collecting mail. So the guy will try the buzzers – once he didn’t even ring our buzzer and MB had stayed home from work to wait for him – and of course no one will answer because we’re all at work. He’ll leave notices, and then, seemingly, ignore the signatures and phone numbers left behind.
So that’s a long way of saying after two failed delivery attempts, I finally decided to pick up my package myself from the UPS center in Protrero Hill.
If you didn’t already know, San Francisco is spread out. It’s not compact like Manhattan. Plus there’s nothing like New York’s subway system (the Muni and BART don’t count). The only option aside from cabs? Buses.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve actually gotten used to riding the bus. In New York I rode it regularly, especially living and working so close to 2nd Avenue, where there is one line to service the whole area.
Anyway, Monday night MB and I cabbed it. We thought it would just be easier and faster, and it was. Even UPS itself was empty. The woman looked at my ticket and asked, “Did you call to have your package held here?”
“Uh, no,” I said. “I thought it would just come back here.”
Nope! So I had gone there for nothing.
I planned on returning last night, but did not want to blow more money on a cab. I’d take the bus, I decided ambitiously, and figured out my route. I’d take the number 10 from the Cal Train to 16th and Rhode Island, then take the 19 from the same spot back to my apartment.
Easy, right? Not so much.
First off, I had such trouble even FINDING the 10 going in the direction I wanted. I finally did, after walking down a long, dark, and desolate block. It was one of those “metal poles disguised as a bus stop” instead of a shelter that tells you how long before the next bus. So I had no idea how long it would take, and judging by the dark and desolate street, I guessed a long time.
Luckily a cab drove by, and a five dollar, five minute ride later, I was there. But did I say fuck it and ask the cab to stay? No, I had to be a cheapskate and, after very easily getting my box (again the center was empty and the same very nice woman helped me), I thought, I am taking the bus if it kills me, and it nearly did.
Take the number 19! Google maps said. You’ll find it on Rhode Island and 16th! Well, I found Rhode Island and 16th, and there was no goddamned bus stop. I wandered up and down the street for a good 20 minutes, and finally spotted one but it was for the 22. I stopped in Whole Foods, where the woman said, “It’s right by that little Mexican restaurant.” Couldn’t find the restaurant. Stopped in Starbuck’s and got the same spiel. Found the restaurant! But where the hell was the stop? There was only parking, and more parking, and – Oh crap there’s the bus!
I thought it would stop somewhere near the Mexican restaurant, but it did not. It turned and kept going. I followed it, and saw finally at the very end of the street, the stop. Of course by then the bus was long gone, and I was thisclose to crying.
On the bright side, it wasn’t raining, and the stop was a real one with a sign telling me when the next one was coming: 12 minutes. Not a long time, but it felt like the longest 12 minutes ever.
And after all that, I decided I don’t like the shoes. Thank God you can return unworn shoes to Zappo’s for a full refund, and shipping via UPS is a billion times easier than receiving.
UPDATE: I ended up buying a pair from a shoe store near my job. Same brand, different style. I figure the sales tax I’m saving via Zappo’s will be spent on cab rides to UPS. Plus the ones I bought were on sale anyway.