UPS Woes, Excellent coffees, world barista'in
Posted May 13, 2003 4:50pm
I must remember to not get all antsy when there's a lack of feedback for articles (repeated as I stare into a mirror) :) I was sure the last cafetalk would stimulate some discussion, but I was wrong. Or maybe the post was wrong, who knows. Anyway...
UPS / eBay tragedy
My heart goes out to Tom Best, who sent in the photos you're seeing at the right.
Here's the story, and take heed from it. Inside that "box" is a Rancilio S-20 Midi CD 220 volt commercial espresso machine. He bought it off eBay, and he requested twice that the seller insure the shipment. The seller claims that UPS "made a mistake", and that he did request insurance on the shipment.
There's three obvious problems here:
- The seller obviously didn't pack the exceptionally heavy machine properly. That's problem number one.
- Problem number two was that it either wasn't insured, or UPS screwed up and didn't mark it insured.
- Problem number three was using UPS to ship it. I cannot believe the gall of the company - shipping this product and damaging it this way (I'm betting it literally fell off the truck, the ramp, the airplane conveyer belt, and maybe from the back of the airplane as well) - shipping it this way, damaging it this way, then delivering it, AND just leaving it outside, as no one was home.
I really don't like UPS as a shipping company, but that mostly stems from cross border shipments. They are extremely unfriendly and user-unfriendly when doing cross border shipping (Fed Ex is surprisingly great when sending things across the border), but this takes the cake.
Poor Tom Best looks to be really screwed over. The machine is seriously damaged, cosmetically and otherwise, and many parts are gone, from the split packaging. UPS is claiming "no mas" as in "hey, we wash our hands of it". The company doesn't take responsibility when they damage something that IS insured, so of course they certainly won't if it isn't insured, even if it's their problem.
The shipper claimed to Tom that he will refund him the money for the product. But it's been a week, and Tom hasn't seen a dime. I've refrained from saying who the eBay seller is (or asking Tom) for now, but he may be someone to be wary of.
Great things came back from the SCAA Boston show...
One of the best things I took back with me from Boston this year has to be the amazing Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (pronounced year guh cheh fay) that Colleen Crosby, from Santa Cruz Coffee Roasters. Colleen graciously brought about 30 or 40 POUNDS of her coffee to the eMember Social event that we held on the Sunday of the show, and many eMembers and denizens of alt.coffee walked away with some. Even David Dallis of Dallis Coffee grabbed some. And if i didn't know any better, I am pretty sure I spied Robert Nelson, of the NCA, sneak away with some. Well maybe he'll finally find out what reall coffee is supposed to taste like ):-))))
(oooh, what a dig. But so true!)
The Yirgacheffe is a well balanced cup, and in my vac pots, it's literally given me some of the best coffee cups I've had in a year or more. I highly recommend it. Not only is the coffee socially conscious, but it shows how good Fair Trade coffee can be.
And in other news...
I'm really serious about getting my Barista judging skills up to world standards. I hope to go down to Seattle next week and spend some time with John Saunders from Hines Public Market Coffee (and John Hornall, and Bronwen, and others!) to get quizzed and shown stuff. John S. also wants to explore some new techniques and tricks we spotted down in Boston from the Baristi around the world, including Paul Bassett's "overstuff" technique, and Luigi Lupi's unique way of holding the pitcher when pouring latte art.
I've been getting antsy these days again for the smallest things in the coffee world. One thing that is really bugging me is the reaction I've been getting from some dude over in England about my refusal (for the time being) to add the HotTop roaster to the CoffeeGeek database of products to review. I have my reasons, and nothing is "political" at all - the product is still in a state of flux, somewhat, and I think some really good news out of the whole HotTop situation is going to happen soon, but I won't add it to the database until the product is "final" and is sold through regular channels worldwide. Right now, more or less "fly by night" operations are selling it and I have legal worries if I allow reviews of the roaster - people never think about the other guy when they get bitchy at me for the things I do - sometimes I have reasons, like saving my butt.
Oh well, you'll never win over everyone. There's always going to be people who don't like what you do, no matter what.
In fact, that reminds me of another situation. A fellow in alt.coffee talked about not getting a La Marzocco filter after waiting 8 months for it from a vendor. I've got a couple spares, so I said "kripes, email me your address, I'LL send it to you!"
Doing that got three reactions. Most felt it was a nice gesture. But I also had two diametrically opposed reactions - a couple of people thought I was defending the company that didn't send the filter, and a few others thought I was criticising the company that didn't send the filter! As my pappy says, you just can't win :)
Lastly, we just put some very cool Illy Cappuccino cups (a bar set) in the mail for Jim Schulman, as a thank you for the fantastic job he's been doing with CoffeeGeek forums as a moderator. Jeanette mailed off a set of six Illy Dream cups to him, and I hope he enjoys them! Thanks Jim!