Friday, March 16, 2007


I was wondering why every time I get a package from FedEx, it's busted up in some way, and then I was watching the History Channel's Modern Marvels. They were showing FedEx's central sort facility in Denver, Colorado. Most packages that are shipped FedEx will cross through this sort facility at some point. It's a massive, impressive operation, and truly and amazing feat of engineering.

The basics of the facility are this. Each truck backs into the warehouse and utilizes the dump function, like a dump truck, dumping all the packages onto the ground, which is much faster than loading and unloading them. (the ground is padded so boxes don't get smashed up.) Planes don't even land, they just air drop packages into the sort facility like the UN airdrops supplies into a war zone. Once the packages are on the ground in piles, FedEx Union operators push them to the central sort machine with specialized package dozers. They're not really a dozer but more like what they use to load gravel into a dump truck.

Once the packages arrive at the center of the warehouse, a gigantic man eating robot known only as X-321 reads the destination code on the package and kicks it into the proper destination truck or plane like a soccer ball. X-321 was originally developed by the military but they quit using it when they found it couldn't tell the difference between a terrorist with a grenade launcher and a child with an ice cream code. A video of X-321 kicking a small child's head like a soccer ball ended up on youtube and the military sold this robot to FedEx.

Although X-321 occasionally does smash up merchandise, it's only if the box doesn't have enough peanuts or packing material. Think of it as a cushion. The best thing you can do to protect items shipped by FedEx is to put them in the center of a large, hollowed out Nerf ball. If you want a package to get smashed so you can get the insurance money for it, put a turban on top of the box. FedEx hasn't properly deprogrammed X-321 yet and he'll rip it to pieces and try to eat it for fuel.

As bad as all this sounds, it's no where near as bad as what UPS does to packages with their cargo cannons.


Blogger Ms. Non Sequitur said...

I can't believe you guys are still telling lies! I haven't visited your site in ages! Hope all is well!

7:17 PM  
Blogger Lew said...

How dare you! If the content of a history channel documentary isn't accurate, how can I be held responsible for believing it? "telling lies" bah.

10:43 PM  
Blogger LeoBro said...

Speaking of which, did you like the rare ancient urn I sent you from China?

4:29 PM  
Blogger Lew said...

I didn't know you sent one, I got a box but all it had was some smashed up pieces of what looked like a vase.

6:53 PM  

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