Recently a lovely lady in faraway Georgia, USA bought “the Yogi rug” from our online shop. I was excited because it’s always a bit extra special when a person from a distant destination buys something from us. This was doubly special because the lady from Georgia told me she also lives on a farm so I loved the fact that the Yogi rug would be going to live in agricultural Georgia, a far cry from rural Scotland, but also somehow very connected, a home from home almost.
The following day I packaged up the rug and popped in Yogi’s photo, packing slip and all the bits. I then booked in FedEx to collect the parcel from us on their next day collection service. FedEx are a brilliant company to send things to the US, we have used them before and in fact last time two rugs flew off to America and arrived at their destination within only three days! The great thing about using a courier is that you can track the parcel’s progress which is quite good fun. It is also comforting to know that while you can track a parcel it is unlikely to disappear into a great big abyss and appear mysteriously some time later, or not as the case might be. In the past we used standard mail to send parcels around the world and although we’ve had no parcels go missing and only one late arrival due to a post office strike in France, (the parcel did eventually make it thankfully), we’ve decided to offer courier only service for our rugs and cushions because it gives us and our customers peace of mind to be able to track packages and know roughly when they will arrive.
The following morning the FedEx van arrived and off the Yogi rug went. We waved it goodbye and I admit, I had a bit of a lump in my throat. The Yogi rug is very special you see, Yogi is Witchy’s lamb and Witchy struggled when she was young so it was a miracle that she grew up to be a mum and then go on to make Yogi who is our first strawberry blonde sheep. She is exceptionally pretty and has a very cute baaa. This rug is the first I have made from Yogi’s fleece, it was her lamb fleece so very soft and cuddly.
Anyway, I carried on with the farm jobs and went off to my gardening job. Later that evening I opened FedEx’s tracking page to see where the parcel would be. I was a bit surprised to see no update to the tracker but thought nothing of it, I presumed the driver had forgotten to update his device and it would show up at some point. I carried on with life.
Two days later I thought I’d have a peek at the tracker. I was surprised to see absolutely no change at all to the parcel’s status. It was still showing “waiting for collection”. My heart sank, I thought something had to be wrong so spent a while looking for contact details and eventually found a “chat” button. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long, along came Emily who was really helpful and friendly. I told her I was concerned about a shipment and gave her the details. Emily said she’d look into it and then disappeared off for about half an hour, (well, it felt like half an hour at least, it was probably about 4 minutes but still). I was starting to think I’d been abandoned when she reappeared and said she’d located the parcel and it had a new tracking number. She said it had arrived into Memphis Tennessee and was in Customs. I was so relieved, I nearly jumped for joy. I went about my business with a spring in my step.
Two days later I wondered if the rug was sitting pretty in its new farm so I entered the tracking number into the system and waited for the internet to chug into action. When the page decided to open, I was really disappointed to see absolutely no change at all in the parcel’s progress, it was still at the FedEx Memphis hub, in Customs. At this point in time demonstrations had started to break out in the US and obviously there is CoronaVirus, so I assumed this was causing a backlog in processing parcels. Never the less I starting to feel a shadow of worry creeping over me and that night I woke up at 4 in the morning picturing the Yogi rug all alone on a shelf in a warehouse in faraway Memphis Tennessee.
I tried to push the nagging worry from my mind and went about my business. That morning I emailed the lady in Georgia with the new tracking details and told her there appeared to be a hold up at Customs and that I would let her know as soon as there were any updates.
I stopped checking the FedEx tracking page daily, I thought it would work its way through in its own time, I did however set up an alert with FedEx so if there was any movement on the parcel I’d get an email.
A watched kettle never boils, but if it doesn’t boil in two weeks you can’t help but wonder if something might be awry. So, after two weeks of no movement on the tracker I decided to get in touch with Customer Services. I wanted to know if it was normal for a parcel to be stuck in Customs for this length of time. It was then that I had the pleasure of meeting Leroy Williams. I was astounded at the speed with which a representative came back to me after sending in my initial query, I think it was half a day if that! Leroy was brilliant, a real credit to FedEx Customer Services Department, the speed at which he dealt with my query was phenomenal. Within a short space of time Leroy had informed me that the shipment had disappeared off the radar. It should have arrived at its destination by now so he would open a “search query” and this would take 72 hours. Although my heart sank to be told this, I felt strangely positive and upbeat, purely because of the way Leroy was handling the issue. He asked me to send photos of the package and a detailed description of it and all sorts of other info. He said to leave it with him and he would be back in touch after the allotted time, if not before if the parcel was found sooner. So although the parcel being “lost” was awful news, the blow was definitely lessened by the way Leroy handled the situation.
However, the spring in my step didn’t last long, I’m not sure why, it just kind of disappeared, probably not helped by my overactive imagination and tendency to worry. Images of the Yogi rug lost and alone on a shelf in a cardboard box in a stark warehouse full of conveyor belts and robots in Memphis started to haunt me day and night. Doubt that the shipment would ever be found didn’t just creep in, it started to rampage through me, and under my calm and bustling exterior my mood was spiralling fast downhill. The sensible part of my brain fought with the emotional part, at 4am when the emotional part was hitting over drive the sensible part asked; why are you so affected by this? Parcels go missing all the time, Leroy is dealing with it, there are more important things to worry about than a missing parcel, for goodness’s sake pull yourself together! People are dying of corona virus and you’re worrying about a missing rug! But I couldn’t pull myself together and on day three with no word from FedEx my calm exterior disintegrated into little pieces and I reverted to the five year old me, I rang my mum and bawled down the phone. “Yogi is missing in Tennessee!!!” “Pardon?” “Oh,” she said, “not the sheep, the rug!!” “Yes,” I said, “the rug, but it’s as if part of Yogi is lost, and part of my soul too” I said. It was then that I realised through my sniffles that the reason I was so upset was because each time I make a rug, part of me, and part of the sheep goes into it, not just physically, but also on a kind of energetic sort of spiritual level. My mum was brilliant, she listened and said it was totally normal for me to be reacting like this, she would feel the same way, we had a long chat and then I made a cup of tea and resigned myself to the fact that Yogi was missing and not just presumed dead, but actually dead. (Note, the Yogi rug had now actually become Yogi somehow)!
That evening I did the 5pm sheep check which meant climbing the hill with the dogs and counting the sheep, then mooching around a bit checking their behaviour and generally making sure they were OK. On approaching the flock, I immediately saw something was wrong, they were bunched together and their body language was peculiar. As I climbed the hill towards them I could see a dead deer with antlers in the middle of their circle. As I got closer the antlers became four legs, and as I drew closer still, the dead deer became a sheep on its back with its legs sticking straight up into the air. A cast sheep, “oh sh*t” I said out loud and started running through treacle to get there. It didn’t look good, there was no movement and Yarr’s tongue was lolling out and there was foam around his nose. I dived on top of him and rolled him over, to my amazement he sprang into action and legged it down the hill snorting and sneezing. I was so shocked at Yarr being alive, I just sat on a mole hill for about 10 minutes trying to gather my thoughts. Within this time, Yarr, being a friendly chap, came back over and stood next to me. He was in a bit of a state, the wool on his back was totally flattened and his rumen seemed to be a funny shape, kind of distorted. He kept sneezing and snorting and so I stayed with him for a good while to make sure he reverted to normal. I wiped his nose with my sleeve and gave him a gentle back rub (his favourite). He was slowly coming back, but still out of sorts. Eventually he wandered off to graze and I thought, phew, he’s OK. I headed back downhill for a cup of tea and planned to go back in an hour or so to check up on him before bed. It was over that reviving cup of tea and scone (which later flew out of my mouth) that Adrian suddenly announced, “oh look, an email has just come in from the lady in Georgia.” “Pardon?” I said, followed by, “what does it say?” “The Yogi rug has arrived” said Adrian calmly, “what? Are you sure? Really?” Followed by half a mouthful of scone flying across the table. I couldn’t believe it, my emotions had already taken me on a gravity defying rollercoaster with the Yarr incident, now I was being dragged back up again, I didn’t think I’d be able to cope! Of course, I was ecstatic. Once I’d digested this brilliant news I rang my mum, danced for joy in the kitchen, all was well with the world again, the sense of calm that had deserted me so unceremoniously these last few days flooded back and I felt great.
Later that evening Adrian and I whizzed up to the sheep on the quad bike followed by two panting and slightly reluctant dogs. Happily, Yarr was fine and on four legs, grazing away as if nothing had happened.
That evening I slept really well, Yarr was alive, the sheep were OK, and best of all the Yogi rug was happily ensconced in its new home in Georgia, no doubt having a welcome rest after all its adventures!
And of course, we will continue to use FedEx to send our parcels. Things go wrong in life all the time but it is how problems are handled that matters. FedEx dealt with the issue brilliantly. We will never know exactly what happened to the Yogi rug, we can only guess that it was probably something to do with the system failing to read the bar code or something like that and then obviously someone would have had to step in and do a manual search. What ever happened, we were very impressed and amazed that the parcel was found. If you look at pictures of the FedEx hub in Memphis, it is enormous, apparently the largest of their hubs in the US so in short, FedEx did a brilliant job to find the missing shipment!