A long wait for my brolly

Way back on June 9th I ordered a fancy new umbrella. The vendor created a shipping label that very day, and sent me a tracking number. For reasons (perhaps among them, as they claim on their website, precautions in the warehouse against COVID-19), it was six days before they actually handed the package over to the shipper.

As soon as I’d ordered it, I looked ahead at the weather forecast, wondering if there’d be some rain to use it in, but it looked like a full week of dry weather. Of course, after it took a week to actually ship the package, things had changed. Happily, the package was on-track to arrive Saturday—I’d have my new brolly in hand just hours ahead of forecast thunderstorms!

But then the package followed a mysterious path on it’s way from Wisconsin to Illinois:

  • Jun 9 2020 Shipment information received
  • Jun 15 2020 Shipment tendered to UPS MI BELLEVILLE, WI
  • Jun 15 2020 Package received for processing Avenel, NJ
  • Jun 16 2020 Package processed by UPS MI Avenel, NJ
  • Jun 17 2020 Package transferred to dest MI facility Avenel, NJ
  • Jun 19 2020 Package received by dest MI facility Kansas City, MO
  • Jun 20 2020 Package enroute to USPS for induction Kansas City, MO
  • 20 Jun 2020 22:29 Shipment Acceptance at PO Hazelwood, MO

In what way is this a sensible?

I mean, I’m willing to cut the vendor some slack for taking six days between sending shipment information and then actually tendering the package. I’m sure precautions against COVID-19 reduce their efficiency in shipping things out of their warehouse. But sending the package from Wisconsin to Illinois via New Jersey and then Missouri? They spent 5 days getting the package to a different adjacent state, to a city only 72 miles closer than where it started!

Now that the package is in the hands of the post office, I figure it will actually get here in a couple of days, just about the time the wet weather ends and it gets sunny and dry for a few days.

2020-01-09 09:05

I had not previously been aware of the site Forecast Advisor, which tracks weather forecasting apps and compares their forecasts to the actual weather in whatever specific place you care about.

Of course, accuracy is not a perfect metric for usefulness—a weather app that’s close enough that I’m wearing the right clothes for the day is more useful than one that’s usually one degree closer, but misses major turns in the weather.