Trackation of Deliveration

I ordered some jeans online last week, and just attempted to track the package, in order to figure out when they’ll be here, and hence, when the single pair of jeans that I currently own that I like — and thus the single pair of jeans that I wear, and thus the single pair of jeans that is developing holes at the corners of the rear pockets that are this far away from becoming obscene — can be relegated to grunge status, and proper non-gluteal-exposure threatening jeans can be rotated in in their place.

The package was sent “USPS Parcel Direct,” which is a new one on me, in no small part because the link in my notification email finally resolved to a URL, but with a USPS logo up top. So I’m perplexed already.

But nowhere near as perplexed as I was at discovering that my jeans have spent the last four days in two different “sortation” centers. Why sortation? The gerund wasn’t good enough? Too focused on the action of sorting rather than the result of that process? There’s something troubling to me in this, not least because previous packages have moved very quickly through various sorting centers, but sortation is apparently a days-long process, and I need my jeans yesterday.


  1. Oh, come on. You know I’m all about the inventive use of vocabulisms, but I don’t appreciate them quite so much in locations and organizations that are supposed to be focused on efficiency. If I were marketing odor-preventing antibacterial insoles, I’d probably not go with the destinkerator line.

    I will continue to hold that there’s something weird about a “sortation center,” something that connects it to the kinds of anonymous processes like decontamination that have to be done but that you probably don’t want to know too much about. The kinds of things that it’s best to speak about in the passive voice. “Sorting,” on the other hand, implies work, which implies people doing that work. Just ask Oedipa.

  2. No, no, I wasn’t giving you shit — just poking you a little. “Sortation” sounds like something that happens at Bergen-Belzen. (Not that there haven’t been a few pairs of jeans I’ve wanted to incinerate.)

    Have I killed off that conversation yet?

    [And I love the term “destinkerator.” I’ve been using it ever since you uttered it.]

  3. Mostly, I was poking back. I didn’t think you were really giving me shit, any more than I was giving you shit last weekend about your faux Latin. Which is to say, shit-giving in an ongoing spirit of camaraderie with poking.

    That said, yes, I think Bergen-Belzen officially suggests an end to pretty much any conversation.


  4. :O

    I’ve also written a blog entry wondering about the weird use of “sortation” instead of “sorting.”

    Clearly, this can only mean one thing: I really am smart, and one day will become a tenured professor.

  5. It”s destiny, E. Destiny.

    (Incidentally, anybody know why all of a sudden Firefox wants to invoke the “find” command whenever I attempt to type an apostrophe?)

  6. Nope, even destiny can’t overcome my boneheadedness. I received an e-mail from the editor of a journal I had submitted to with the following note:

    You provided me with an incorrect e-mail address (), but I checked online with the xxxx directory and discovered that a “d” appears in the address.

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