Kel Kelly

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UPS: Brown & Gold Or Scaredy Cat Yellow?

October 31, 2011 11:24 AM

I buy everything online. I would rather wear a dress, pantyhose and high heels for the rest of my life than go shopping in the physical world. And let me tell you, I would look like a drag queen in that outfit — it’s not pretty and I’m doing everyone a great service by staying out of stores. Anyway, because I shop online so much, I usually have a consistent stream of packages arriving at my house.

I have lived in my house for almost ten years and have had four dogs for just about the same amount of time. For ten years I have had UPS and FedEx deliver my online orders with no issues. Moreover, both the UPS drivers and FedEx drivers bring treats for the dogs and get out and pet them. The dogs tails wag in everlasting love as they happily soak up the attention — and snacks.

Fast forward to the middle of 2011 and our neighborhood is assigned a new UPS driver. All of a sudden my packages stop being delivered. Instead of packages, I receive a tsunami of paper notifications that cite the packages are undeliverable because the “dogs were out.”

Now let me immerse you into reality of this “dogs were out” situation. My dogs are not like Cujo — the rabies-ridden St. Bernard who unleashes a reign of terror on a family. Two of my dogs are chocolate labs. Have ‘ya ever seen a lab? They are incredibly sweet and the only terror they unleash is if you happen to turn your back on your food — they will swoop in and consume it like a seagull. One of my dogs is a Shiba Inu. She is small and looks like a fox. She wags her tail so crazily she looks like a middle-aged woman doing the chicken dance at a wedding. Our forth dog Indy is a rescue dog. We went to the shelter and told them we wanted the dog that nobody wanted and had been there the longest. We think he is an Australian Sheppard/Spaniel mix. He is definitely a barker, but certainly doesn’t foam at the mouth.

I was finally able to catch the UPS driver one day and asked him why he wouldn’t deliver the packages. He was surprisingly rude and actually barked at me when he responded. He said he was not going to risk his life to deliver my packages. Excuse me? I never recalled reading that a lab had killed a man. Just to be sure, I Googled “lab kills man.” The only lab that ever killed a man was an exploding meth lab, not a dopey chocolate lab.

I went on to tell the driver that we have an electric fence for the dogs, so they couldn’t get on the front walkway or grass. As such, all he needed to do was drive down the driveway and step out his driverside door and directly onto my front walkway. The electric fence means he would never have to be within 10 feet of any of my harmless dogs. He barked at me again and said he refused to do that.

I called the local UPS distribution center and spoke to a supervisor. I was very reasonable and calm while I explained the situation. She informed me that this particular driver had been bit by a dog and now feared them. While I empathized with his situation, I explained that I thought that should be UPS’s issue, not mine. A quick Google search identified that 39% of US households own at least one dog — that’s 44.9 million households who own 78.2 million dogs.

So here’s my question: Should the customer who owns a dog/s suffer the consequences of a UPS driver who has a fear of dogs or should UPS deal with this issue because the driver is incapable of performing his duties? I’m pretty sure if a person was afraid of water (Aquaphobia), they wouldn’t be hired as a lifeguard. Or if someone was afraid of riding in a car (Amaxophobia), they wouldn’t be hired as a limo driver. So if 44.9 million households in the US have dog/s, how can someone with a fear of dogs (Cynophobia) be hired as a UPS driver?

Do you think UPS brand colors should be brown and gold or, perhaps more appropriately, brown and scaredy cat yellow?I

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

12 Comments on “UPS: Brown & Gold Or Scaredy Cat Yellow?”

  1. Shelley Says:

    Wow, that is just plain ridiculous! The driver’s fears – and especially his rudeness and inability to communicate in a professional manner – are definitely UPS’ problems – not yours! Hope you get a new driver in your ‘hood soon.

  2. Chel Says:

    I’m a lab owner, and I’m comfortable around large dogs (even had a Great Dane once).

    I’ve also had a job that involved delivering things, and, as a result, I’m on the UPS driver’s side. (Aside from the part where he was rude to you, that is.)

    Lots of people insist that their dogs are friendly, leave them unleashed, and then immediately blame the victim if something sets off Rover. I’m sure your dogs are fine, but I’d bet that almost every delivery person who has held the job for a few years has stories about close calls or getting bitten by dogs whose owners insisted that the dog wouldn’t even chase a squirrel. It’s a numbers game, really. Tread on enough dogs’ territory as a stranger — part of the job — and sooner or later, it will happen.

    I agree that most labs are lovable bundles of fluff (and tongue), but all it takes is one who isn’t or one who is having a bad day to change your perspective forever. Once that happens, it’s not always easy for a delivery person to find a different job, especially one with UPS’ union benefits.

    As an aside, one of my labs has been willing to breach our Invisible Fence when a suitably tempting critter has come into view. He has since been banned from being in the front yard unless leashed. :)


  3. Liza Says:


    My advice would be to ask driver to leave your packages outside of you driveway at an agreed upon location and put a notice in your mailbox when he’s left a package (behind a tree, stonewall, whatever). This may sounds ridiculous, but it will protect you, your dogs and your home! The majority UPS drivers are great, friendly, outgoing, and would go out of their way to help customers out. They work hard, long hours, etc. I should know, I was in a relationship with one once! Regretfully I have heard stories about UPS (and FedEx & DHL & Jordan’s Furniture, etc) delivery guys who would do anything to go out on workmen’s comp! Drivers could easily fake an injury (twisted his ankle running from your dogs) just to get paid for not working for a while. And sadly, we live in a sue-happy world these days – and people would do anything for money!

    Just yesterday I had my electric fence moved because my own sweet, mild-mannered pooch kept breaking through the fence and terrifying people walking by our house with their own dogs. He has bitten THREE DOGS in two years – and again – he’s not a vicious dog – he’s just very protective of his home, and something set him off those three times. THANK GOD no one has sued me!

    So now my dog has less room to run free in our yard, but I can breathe alot easier knowing (I hope) I’ll never get another call from the animal control officer again.

    We need to protect ourselves, families, animals & property. ‘Cause you never know if the person on the other side of your driveway is looking at your house and seeing dollars signs light up!

    NOW again, that’s not to say everyone is like that. This UPS guy may have a real fear of dogs (since being bitten), and although being a delivery person may not be the ideal career for someone with this fear, it’s the job he’s in – and like the rest of us, he’s just working hard to provide for his family.

    So that’s my two cents.

  4. Kel Says:

    shelley, i think it was his rudeness that evaporated any empathy that i would normally extend. as i always taught my kids — “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

  5. Kel Says:

    chel — labs are so sneaky! ours go through the fence every once in awhile. ratfinks. yet, i still love them to death.

    i appreciate your perspective and firsthand insight. i would imagine being bit by a dog scars you in a way that you never forget.

    as i said in my response above to shelley, i think the guy’s attitude was more alarming to me than his fear. there is always a solution, but you cant get there if you are not willing to talk things through.

    btw, i value your comments as worth much more than two cents. i would say $1.25 at the least. haha.

  6. Kel Says:

    liza, thanks for all the great advice! interestingly, i love ups and fedex. my love is based on all the amazing drivers i have had throughout my life. it’s sad that one bad apple can negatively impact a lifetime of happiness with a brand. onward & upward!

  7. Dianna Huff Says:


    Great post as always. I’m on both sides. If you’ve been bitten, dogs can be terrifying. I have two dogs: one is my prince charming dog that I’d leave with a newborn. The other is my “special needs” rescue. He’s a total love bug but also is scared of new people and will snap at them. I don’t let new people or children pet him.

    The UPS driver sounds like he needs to be rescued and rehabilitated.

  8. Kel Says:

    dianna, ginny and i have a special needs dog. he spent too much time in the shelter and i think it really affected him in a sad way.

    having never been bitten by a dog, i certainly don’t know the impact that would have. these comments have helped balance my perspective. as always, thanks for taking the time to comment!

  9. Pamme Says:

    That’s tough transitioning from a driver that liked your pups and went out of his/her way to be a friend to them. Clearly a dog person, or someone who has learned how to interact with dogs on the route.

    As a reasonable person, you assumed your new driver would be someone to reason with. While I can respect his fear (and who knows how badly he got bit and maybe by a seemingly innocuous dog), I certainly can’t respect his interaction with you. While UPS may back his reason for not wanting to interact with dogs, they definitely should not be backing his bad attitude with a customer. That’s never cool.

    Love Dianna’s remark: “The UPS driver sounds like he needs to be rescued and rehabilitated.’

    I have 3 dogs – two dachshunds and a blue heeler cross rescue – in the house. My UPS driver backs in the driveway and sounds her horn before getting out with the package which incites a barking mob response from the dogs in tandem. Tails happily wagging, mega-loud barking (sometimes howling) ensues and she seems to find it quite comical, especially from the mini-dachshund. I guess I’ll consider myself fortunate from here on in. :)

  10. Kel Says:

    pamme, your description of your dogs’ reaction to the ups driver made me smile. i love dogs and i love dog lovers. it is so simple to make a dog happy — a pitch in your voice or a little rub of their head can ignite tail wagging that would make even the grumpiest person smile. as always, thanks for taking the time to comment.

  11. Jacci Wolff Says:

    I work at ups and I am not afraid of dogs.

    However. There is a surprisingly huge number of dog bites that occur to the drivers each year, and it’s always by a dog who “is sweet and friendly” or “just barks”. I myself have been charged by dogs as big as Rottweilers to small underfoot Chihuahuas. Labs are great dogs sure, but many of them have seemed very timid or terrified or angry with me when delivering packages. Why is this? What is it about delivering packages that makes such friendly pooches so angry at us that we get bit all the time?

    I figure it out recently.
    Dogs only see in a color spectrum of blue, yellow, gray, and brown. As a ups driver, we are dressed in all brown. Dogs have a tendency to ignore their trainers signals if the trainer is wearing brown,because to a dog, the trainer is super camouflaged into the equally yellow brown background they see.

    Ups drivers are basically invisible to your dog.

    That is why they act aggressive towards us when they are besties with everyone else.

    That is why we get bit more than other packages handlers.

    This is also why I bring treats and am purchasing a dog whistle. It is also why you should keep your dogs in your home if you are having packages delivered.

    It doesn’t matter how friendly they are to you. We are seen as a menacing camouflaged threat walking right up on their territory, and there are many horror stories to prove the seriousness of it.

    If you order brown, keep your dogs inside.
    Or order from someone else with an outfit your dog will trust. Like the easily spotted blue of USPS postmen.

  12. Kel Says:

    jacci, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to this post. fascinating insight! i love when i learn something new from others and appreciate the time you took to comment. :)

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