ups searced my knife delivery, right in front of me!!


Oct 21, 1998
wow, i am still stunned and recovering. i had made a knife trade yesterday and was at the local ups office (ups owned, not an authorized agent) sending out my end of the bargain. the gal behind the counter weighed my package and then proceded to open it right before my eyes!! no explaination, no nothing. my mouth dropped and i could not say a word. the gal cut open the box from the bottom and pulled out all of the contents, packaging material and the factory box the knife was in. she then quickly placed it all back inside the delivery box and re-taped it and sent it on its way. it did not fully hit me until i was on my way home what had just happened. i wasn't in prison, i hadn't been arrested, i wasn't dreaming, i was still in america(i think), i wasn't at the airport or in a federal building and my package was searched!! i was so stunned (did i mention i was stunned) i did not even have the frame of mind to pick up the knife and leave immediately. anyway the ups employee did not actually open the box the knife was in and appeared to be checking my packing job but still!!!! wow, i am still stunned, any one else been strip searched by ups?...dmc
I had twenty or so knives in a box that I was mailing through the USPS, and they didn't check anything. I didn't even have it sealed, so I asked them to tape it up for me. I think if you tape it enough times to give it the appearance of being a pain in the ass to open and check, then they will not bother. But I am sorry to hear that they did this to you since I hate recciving boxes that have been opened and re-sealed.
She was NOT checking your packing job! Having dealt with with U.P.S. on a business level for a number of years I can tell you that the only time they ever checked anyone's packing was when they were telling you that they would not honor insurance on the package they had damaged. That seems to have changed, I've heard a couple people telling how they had to open their package for UPS. They just started a policy of not shipping handguns and this could have something to do with the new searching routine. While it's true you weren't in a airport or Federal building, UPS is a private business and thus they can make up their own rules. Still, having them not explain this to you and just opening your package without giving you the choice to open it or take your business eleswhere does seem like a tackless invasion. I'm sure they'd explain their tactics as a necessary security
practice but the way UPS has chosen to introduce this new practice is just plain rude and poor business. I'm sure they've written it into the fine print somewhere in their policies to grant them the right to do this but as a customer you have the right to let them know that you find it offensive. I'd suggest you let them know by sending an email explaining that you won't be using them any longer, at least until they take the time to figure out a way to practice their "safety policies" without insulting their customers. Seems the very least they can do is let their customers know about this new policy.
If you were using UPS, you shouldn't be in shock. They are a private company. Somewhere, no doubt in small print in the posted service agreement on a wall nearby, they have retained the power to inspect any container they ship for any reason. Since UPS has restrictions against shipping flammables, explosives, pressurized containers, and other such things in the normal service, they have the right to inspect. The weight of your pacakage may have triggered the search or it may have been routine.

There have been cases in the law of drugs having been exposed through container breakage while in the private carrier's possession. In the one I have read, FedEx didn't tape the package closed and deliver it, they called the DEA to come look at it and then shipped it to an arrest scene--no search warrant required.

The USPS is a quasi governmental actor, but they too probably have similar powers to UPS. With that anti-terrorism legislation going into effect, you cannot place a one-pound+ package in the mails unless you have taken it to a post office first. Ones left in blue collection boxes will be returned to sender.

If you are really worried about people knowing what you send, ask for a copy of the rules governing their shipping policies and then do nothing that will trigger their suspicions.

The world is simply a different place than the one in which we all falsely believed that our mail was sacrosanct.
wow, i think she really had balls to do that, if her intention was to see what you had in the box. maybe you're right, maybe she was just checking the packing job. was it rattling, was it packed snug and sound. cause if it was, then why open it? something should be said because she may be one of these bubble-gum kids who thinks that since they're holding your package that means they own it. anyway, she'll probably do it again to the wrong person. i had a mallcop stop me when i was leaving a college job at the shoe store i worked in at the time at a small mall here in Pa. he chose to single me out because i had a large bookbag style bag that i kept school papers, books, etc. in. i would work on this stuff during break and lunches. so i guess he had seen me around before. i didn't fit what he would say was a profile. i wasn't a rowdy kid running around the mall; was dressed in a dressshirt and tie; and was working right up the hall from his station. didn't matter. he said he wouldn't let me leave that night without looking in my bag. well, i said i would let my manager (i was asst. mgr.) standing right there look in it, but not this kid. didn't matter. the problem was: i was also meeting my girlfriend at the time; she was standing right on the other side of the open door. and of course, i had condoms in the bag!! hoping for some further developments in our relationship. so i was NOT going to have this guard go through my bag in front of her! yeah, i'm kinda bashful like that, or at least i was..i made a big stink and was ready to just shove past him and make him escalate it, but the job was easy and i liked it there, so i caved and let him. the next day i showed up at the Century security bldg and talked to a Spvsr. asked him to show me documentation that this guard had searched everybody leaving with any kind of bag that night, cause otherwise i was going to go after him and the Co. for discrimination and also illegal search and seizure (the guard did grab my arm and said he would hold me there until the police came if i didn't give him my bag); as well as detaining me without due cause and without an officer of the law being present and all kinds of other stuff i threw out there that my friend told me to say! it was kinda fun watching how quick he got on the phone and called this kid at home. the next day i had a written apology from guard and he had to apologize in front of my Mgr. (this was my mgr's idea, he didn't think i should have been "humiliated" although i think he secretly got a giggle out of the whole thing). i don't like anybody poking around in my stuff and don't hesitate to tell them now.
My understanding is that it was the USPS, not the unfortunately similarly named UPS, that would no handle handguns. The only time I've received one by mail it came UPS from S&W. If UPS doesn't want to handle handguns, you'd think S&W's shipments would be the first place to look.

IMHO, write a simple, calm, factual letter to UPS corporate protesting this action. I don't care if they have got it in some bit of fine print somewhere that they reserve the right to search packages, this is not something that should be done arbitrarily and without reason, nor should it be done in the rather blatent and unexplained way in which it was done. The fine print may make it legal, but it doesn't make it good practice.

You are the customer. If something UPS did upset you, then UPS has a problem and UPS needs to reconsider that action.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
UPS has a sign in plain view in my town that says that it is now UPS' protocol to open each and every package sent through their service. I guess I've never paid attention to the packages that I get from them, but I never send through them so it isn't a concern. UPS is a private company, as oppsed to the government run postal service, so they have every right to check packages they are sending.

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In writing to UPS, you might want to mention that the clerk who opened your package and then taped it back up violated the original packing. If the package arrived in this condition, with the sender's seal obviously violated, and sans contents UPS would have no recourse.

In fact, if the package arrived with the knife, but with the seal obviously violated, you could falsely say, "That package was supposed to contain the knife and $10,000 in diamonds! Obviously, one of your employees opend the package, removed the diamonds, and reclosed the package." Again, since the package had obviously been violated, UPS would have no possible defense.

By destroying the seal, the UPS clerk did two things: First, he created an opportunity for any UPS employee along the way to open the package up, remove the contents, and reseal it without creating any further disturbance. (In fact, if this was to happen you would say, "I saw the receiving clerk open the box, examine the contents, and re-close the box. I think I saw him put the contents back, but maybe he was faster than I am." The obvious answer would be that the receiving clerk stole the contents. The clerk should not put himself in this position.) And, second, created an opportunity for you to fraudulently claim a loss with clear supporting evidence.

The USPS can open a package if they have a reason to. If, for example, a drug dog points out the package or the contents are obviously leaking.

While some legal fine-print may allow UPS this priviledge, here in the US we have an expectation of privacy in "mail". UPS should be very careful how they excercise this priviledge. The may have the legal right to do so, but they have still violated the customer's trust by doing so. That should not be done without good reason.

The simple fact that you've pointed it out here has brought it to the attention of some three-thousand people.

In considering this post in light of the fact that UPS recently found a package addressed to me that they have lost for about a week (apparently, the tightest ship in the shipping business sprang a bit of a leak), it occured to me that it would be insane for UPS to make a policy of having their receiving clerks open every package. It would be an open invitation to employee theft. The receiving clerks wouldn't do the actual stealing. They'd make a little mark on the box, maybe deliberately wrinkle the tape in a specific way, if the box contained something good. The handlers down the line would watch for that mark and set those packages aside. It's just to obvious an opportunity.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
UPS, I don't even want to get started. Check out my UPS HORROR STORY post on the general forum.

Drac Noroc

A mind is like a
parachute, it only functions when open.

AKTI # BA00013

basically ups sucks. if given my choice i always ask for usps or fedex. ups tracking system? what a joke! i once had a package sitting on my porch while i was on the ups website that said the package was in new jersey 900 miles away.
During the last week, UPS has shown the location of my missing package as "in transit". Ok.

Fed Ex can literally (by phone, not on the web site), give you the lat/log of your package. I once took the dog on a quick walk thinking the Fed Ex man wouldn't be round for at least an hour. Well, apparently it was a light day or the Fex Ex man was in a hurry, because he'd come early. He left a note saying he'd try again tomorrow. Well, I really needed that package. So, I called the 800 number and asked if there was any way they could deliver it yet today or perhaps I could go somewhere and pick it up. The person on the phone said, "Please hold". A few moments later, I was told, "I've just spoken to your driver. He'll be back your way in about twenty minutes." He appeared exactly twenty minutes later with my package. Now that's what I call a tight ship.

BTW, I've taken the liberty of invited UPS to reply to this thread. We'll see what happens. I hope nobody minds. I just hate trashing someone behind their back.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
If nothing else, the lady in question was very rude! I work for the Post Office in the UK. It would be a criminal offence for a member of staff to open a package, punishable by imprisonment! Packages may only be opened at one special depot in the UK and this is usually only done if an item is being returned and no senders address is visible,( Obvious exceptions occur regarding police and customs and excise ). If I were you I would take my business elsewhere! If a company is not happy with a package they can refuse to send it and/or call the police! They cannot justify taking that role on for themselves!

P.S. On childish note, you could take a nice fresh dog turd, wrap it up and take it back to that same ups office...

[This message has been edited by mjjbecker (edited 16 September 1999).]

[This message has been edited by mjjbecker (edited 16 September 1999).]
This looks to me like a good reason for finding a local, reputable cutlery dealer if you have one in your neck of the woods. I do not like using any of the package services if I can find a way to avoid it.
I had a friend who worked for one of the big three (no, I will not say which one, so don't ask. I have no need to be dragged into court for slander), and he told me they do steal sometimes, oddly enough, the method often used was just the way Gollnick described.
I'm sure it is not widespread, but it is out there. Good help is hard to find these days, and even harder to keep.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

[This message has been edited by misque (edited 16 September 1999).]
UPS the closest UPS-owned mailing center, they have a huge signe that says something to the effect that ALL packages must be opened at the counter...Now, If I use a third party UPS drop-off, UPS will still open the package...The tracking on their website is a joke...Lastly, the average package handler is a strung-out college student making 8 bucks an hour, in 4 hour shifts, usually between 11-6 am...Figure in te school stress, the job stress, the lack of sleep, etc, and then guess how well your package is going to be treated...Oh, BTW, the distribution manager's review/salary/bonus is based on the number of packages his center can process, not on delivery times, accuracy, etc...

In the shipping form you fill out at UPS, there is a line you are supposed to fill out regarding the contents of the package. Write in "Cutlery" instead of knife, knives, etc. You are still telling the truth, but using a word that won't raise eyebrows. No sense asking for trouble from people that don't understand.
It would be a criminal offence for most US Postal Service employees to open a package except in case of emergency. When foul play is suspect, a sworn postal inspector is called in to do the dirty work.

I just can't believe that UPS would instigate such a policy. It's such an obvious opportunity for employee theft. The whole "security" of any such operation is based on the fact that most packages don't contain anything worth risking your job over. But, if you allow, indeed require, the employees to open every package, then you've destroyed that. Knives are popular theft items. How can anyone ship a knife, or any other valuable, via UPS under these circumstances?

List your knife as a 'tool'-an entirely true statement-and it is unlikely that your package will be opened. It sounds too boring for them to bother.