FedEx on Yukon Time? A Tale of Two Packages.

I recently submitted two online orders: the first, a replacement laptop power adapter from Dell; the second, a memory upgrade for the same laptop from Crucial.

You would think a simple device like a power adapter (i.e., the brick that plugs into the wall) would long outlive its associated laptop -- they're just made of coiled wire, for crying out loud. But apparently the model for my Inspiron 5160 laptop is prone to failure: eventually the computer stops recognizing it when plugged in, and so refuses to charge the battery. A quick search showed that Dell stocks replacement adapters -- at the ungodly price of $90 (for coils of wire!) -- and so I ordered one. The site reported it would take a couple of weeks, but at least the shipping was gratis.

While my credit card was out, I doubled my laptop's RAM to a full gigabyte. Crucial makes it easy to find the right type of memory sticks, and their prices aren't atrocious (about half of what Dell charges, at any rate). Shipping would be about $15, but it would arrive via FedEx, so presumably quickly.

The adapter arrived first. It took about a week -- only three days in transit from Texas -- and was brought to the door by the Purolator guy with zero shipping or duty charges.

It took eight days for FedEx to "priority" ship the memory from Idaho. Aside from the shipping charge, I also had to fork over $20 duty while my parcel languished at the border for five of those days. From the tracking site, I also see that it spent its first day in Whitehorse aboard the delivery truck, before being unloaded at 5:05pm back at the depot (Miller time!). It was finally delivered at 11:06 the next morning. (In fairness to FedEx, I believe Air North handles ground delivery hereabouts, with apparently the same sense of urgency as Tom Hanks's Russians in Cast Away.)

I was in no rush to receive the memory. And FedEx can't be blamed for customs holdups either: Crucial seemingly lacks Dell's border agents for handling the crossing in lickety-split fashion. However, the overall impression I'm left with is that FedEx truly does operate on Yukon Time (a local expression and tourism campaign slogan, defined as somewhere between late and never), so I'd go with one of the others when ordering vital supplies from Outside: Atlantic lobster, video game consoles, kidneys, etc.