I recently bought a t-shirt from an online retailer. Their chosen method of shipping the shirt to me is a new service from FedEx called "SmartPost," which uses FedEx facilities/transportation part of the journey and then hands off to the US Postal Service for final in-home delivery.
A large number of this retailer's customers have noticed that SmartPost takes a really long time to get from the origin to the destination and often follows some rather peculiar, if not nonsensical, routes. As an example, here's the route my own package is following:
Manifest ID: 218_____|
Status: Sortation Center Departure
Est. in Home 07/31/2007
|July 23, 2007||5:00 PM||Pickup||CARROLLTON, TX|
|July 23, 2007||6:05 PM||Sortation Center Arrival||DALLAS, TX|
|July 24, 2007||7:10 AM||Sortation Center Departure||DALLAS, TX|
|July 25, 2007||2:34 AM||Sortation Center Arrival||NEW BERLIN, WI|
|July 26, 2007||8:15 AM||Sortation Center Departure||NEW BERLIN, WI|
|July 26, 2007||5:26 PM||Sortation Center Arrival||GROVE CITY, OH|
|July 27, 2007||3:01 AM||Sortation Center Departure||NEW BERLIN, WI|
|July 27, 2007||8:02 PM||Sortation Center Arrival||CHARLOTTE, NC|
|July 31, 2007||5:10 AM||Sortation Center Departure||CHARLOTTE, NC|
And just for fun, here's a map showing the rather circuitous path my t-shirt has taken so far (the purple envelope is the origin in Carrollton and the golden house icon is my home in Cincinnati):
Needless to say, I don't think it's going to be making it to my house by the estimated delivery date.
Update (8/2/08): My second item sent SmartPost took only 5 days to get from Texas to my home in Ohio, so maybe they're improving things. One can only hope.