Big Benzart #5
There are plenty of horror stories out there about all of the shipping companies, so a lot of folks tend to think of FedEx, UPS, DHL and all the others as being generally equal in reliability. And truly, it’s possible that any one of the shipping companies could have been the player in this crappy tale, but it happens to be FedEx this time. This doesn’t excuse the extraordinary awfulness of what happened to Benzart.
Ben “Benzart” Davis is not only a fantastic tiki carver, he’s a bit of a legend — he’s been carving for decades now and was responsible for the fantastic tikis that used to populate the Tropicana in Vegas. Benzart now lives in Florida and after working on heavily detailed small pieces, has returned to creating large masterpieces. Benzart pieces are highly coveted, and widely revered.
The tiki to the left is Big Benzart #5, and was shipped via FedEx to its new owner in Maryland. It disappeared from the FedEx system on February 16, when it “Departed the FedEx location” and never appeared anywhere else. Calls to FedEx were uncooperative, initially telling Ben “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” and ultimately telling him that the tiki had been completely “destroyed,” had been discarded and it was now a claims issue.
Okay, now look at this thing. It’s a big ol’ solid piece of wood. Really big, like man-size. What, short of a raging inferno of a fire, could damage it so badly that it would justify completely tossing it? FedEx refused to give Ben any confirmation of what had occured, no details, no pictures of the damaged goods, only telling him it had been discarded. The whole thing smelled rather fishy.
Benzart puts a lot of time, care and love into his tikis, and he simply would not take this as an answer. He wanted to have the remains of his tiki. He wanted to know what had become of it. You don’t just toss a tiki. Everybody knows that. It’s bad juju.
Ben insisted on speaking to a human being at the local office that last saw the tiki. He again was given the runaround, told that he couldn’t talk to the local office, told again that the package was damaged and destroyed, and upon insisting to see the remains, was transferred through three more people. Finally he was sent to a person at the local office, a woman named Peggy, who upon hearing the description of the item, said “It’s RIGHT HERE”… the tiki had not been destroyed at all. On the contrary, the FedEx label had been partially damaged.
So not only was FedEx unable to connect a package having lost its delivery information with a person trying to find out what happened to a package at that exact same day & location, they flagged Benzart’s package as having been destroyed and discarded, without actually having any idea at all what happened to it. Especially given that the FedEx system knows the dimensions, size and of each package, it should have been able to connect the two, given the unusual the size of this package. With Ben being told his package had been trashed, how on earth did they plan on connecting the package with its proper owner? Weight
So Benzart and the tiki’s new owner have a happy ending, but it is absolutely ludicrous that it was incumbent on him to be so ridiculously tenacious and persistent in the face of FedEx asshattery.