I’m Giving My Shirt Back to UPS

In exchange for a cheque for roughly twice the shirt’s value and a letter of apology, I’m giving UPS their shirt back. Legally speaking, I’m pretty sure the shirt qualifies as stolen property, as the company does own it.

I’m sure that some of you will be dismayed that I’m not, you know, trying to stick it to The Man and all that. But you’ve got to pick your battles and I don’t really bear UPS any ill will. They’ve obviously screwed up–they should keep a better handle on company property. However, they’ve dealt with me professionally and we’ve agreed on an equitable resolution. They didn’t throw lawyers at me–the guy just called me up and we reached an agreement.

It’s a pity, because I did dig my shirt. Like star-crossed lovers, my shirt and I’s love for each other burned too brightly. For never was a story of more woe…


  1. You should have asked them if you could get (or buy) a shirt from them without the UPS logo on it.

  2. Actually, it seems like both you and the company were pretty cool about the whole deal. It’s good to see that (although UPS is well known for being a fairly decent company, overall). Glad to see that negotiation preceded – and eliminated the need for – hostilities.

  3. I am very impressed that there is an interested in reclaimation. It is pretty impressive to see their level of brand protection. You did the right thing, my boy.

  4. I know it probabaly won’t ease the pain of loss, but just in case you might want to investigate getting a tactical cop shirt. I purchased one after reading Kevin Kelly’s review (located here: http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/000358.php) and I purchased another shortly thereafter.

    They’ve got all sorts of built in features you might appreciate, and they’re really built to last.

    Hope it helps-

  5. Dear Respectable Young Man,

    As the founder of FedEx, I’d like to commend you on returning UPS’ vile property back to them. You’ve done the right thing. (You know I heard they pee themselves and sell the pants to broke college students.)

    I would like to reward your good sense with 500 lycra/plastic codpieces, each branded proudly with the noble-yet-stylish FedEx logo. Wear them with pride, preferrably all at once, to maximize your pleasure and heroism.

    The codpieces will arrive via DHL in 9-10 business years.


    President Gerald Ford

  6. Hmm…I’ve got a UPS shirt around somewhere too – the long-sleeved kind. Never thought about it being a liability…glad this all worked out easily.

  7. Things are a lot more fun when people are ornery and inconsiderate.

    The story of one guy being reasonable is really far less interesting than a picturesque fight of the little guy against a huge corporation over the very clothes on his back.

    But still, it was probably the nice thing to do 🙂

  8. a very heartwarming story

    BUT, i am confused by the phrase “my shirt and I’s love for each other”

    that’s some mighty strange grammar

  9. Brownmail! What a concept: now we can all troll thrift shops, buy up errant UPS shirts and resell them back to UPS at a tidy profit!

  10. Sam: I didn’t get the sense that that was something they could do for me.

    Den: I remember that from Cool Tools, and will try and seek out a Canadian vendor.

    Professor VonFedexinstein: I look forward to my cod pieces.

    Sammy: Strange grammar, indeed. I struggled with a better way to say that. I should have gone with “the love that my shirt and I had for one another”.

  11. My friend Sarah had a New Haven police jacket that was decommissioned (all appropriate legal marks removed) that she’d purchased at a store on Cape Cod. I was with her once when a policeman hassled her. Really, he was upset about it. He looked at it carefully, though, and even checked out the name inside, and he knew the guy had retired at some point. It wasn’t illegal, but he was pretty clear he thought it was a bad idea. It was a great pea jacket–this incredibly heavy wool. I think she stopped wearing it, but I can’t recall the resolution. You really don’t need officers mad at you, especially on such a small campus as Yale.

  12. i wonder if there’s any chance of getting them to send you a sewing pattern for the size shirt you returned to them.
    that way it wouldn’t be an official ups shirt, but you could make it out of similar fabric and have essentially the same one.

    that would be nice.

  13. I am going to ask this once, seriously. Since I started keeping track, 6 out of 8 UPS packages I have received have arrived with injuries that could only have been received via the now infamous “UPS STOMP.”

    1 out of 17 FedEx packages has arrived with a small dent in its corner.

    0 out of 5 DHL/Airborne Express packages have arrived damaged.


  14. You’d think the internet would be common enough by now that people wouldn’t leave comments for businesses on personal websites that only reference the businesses, and don’t actually have anything to do with the business.

  15. You know what you’ve done now, don’t you? Every geek on the continet will be scrounging through thier local thrift store looking for hostage shirts holding them ransom. Who knows, maybe some UPS employees will return from thier route report shirt abductions – and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT! All the fame the blogosphere got for breaking the Dan Rather/CBS story will be lost – BECAUSE OF YOU!

  16. Just to clarify for everyone. I’m familiar with UPS’s policy on uniforms. The shirt is, in fact, company property. All UPS uniforms are assigned to each driver. The security reason is that delivery people such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL employees are typically given a greater level of access to customer premises. It’s a way of protecting the customer, protecting their brand, and keeping them from having to buy more shirts (yes, I’m not going to attempt to say it’s COMPLETELY noble ).

  17. Also of note: EVERYONE who works for UPS is issued at least one shirt/jacket/pants/hat. Yes, even if you work in an office. During December, office workers are called to the field to help deliver packages during “peak time”. Some of those shirts accidentally get sold on eBay, or to thrift shops.

  18. UPS, DHL, FedEx, all are better than USPS… I got a package from the US Post that looked like it’d been run over with a lawnmower, and they gripped at ME for not having “proper packaging”. So, I need 12 inches of foam on all sides of any package I send with those guys? I wonder how delicately it’d be treated if i stamped “Warning, old sweaty dynamite” on the package…

  19. in high school i worked for an air cargo contractor with ups. i routinely observed conveyor line sorters and plane unloaders tossing packages with reckless abandon. not to excuse it, but sometimes the flow of packages is so great that the only way some people find they can keep up is by relaying small boxes by throwing them down the line. the planes do have to take off exactly on schedule. once, though, a few of my less enlightened co-workers were playing soccer with a box of live maine lobsters.

  20. how ’bout:

    “my shirt’s and my love for each other”


    “my and my shirt’s love for each other”


    “the mutual love my shirt and I share”

    there are so many possibilities!

    ain’t engerlish grand?

  21. I spent two years working the unload shift at UPS, and have good and bad stories to tell. My favorite was when someone sent a package through with “Please Kick Carefully” written on all side.

    We treated that package like it had our mother’s crystal in it.

  22. wow, never new about the UPS issue. i had a whole UPS winter outfit in the 90’s that i got from a buddy who worked there. you say they should have bar-codes – what about RFIDs.

    well done.

  23. I do love my ill-gotten [insert famous video rental store] staff shirt.

    It’s like one of those faux-gas station shirts, with a name-tag saying “Jethro” or something. But, you know, not lame like that.

  24. Got to be impressed at how cool UPS were over this. In a world where giant corporations routinely treaten to sue individuals in the hope of scaring them into jumping through hoops, it’s nice to know that at least one company still understands the power of a polite request.

  25. I shipped a $2100 USD Uninteruptible Power Supply with UPS. They smashed it – and it weighed about 80 pounds, so as you can imagine it wasn’t cheap to ship.

    Seven months and endless phone calls later (not to mention the THREE separate package inspections and their insistence that I had never insured it despite my signed insurance documents) they are going to give me the $2000 of insurance.

    I wish you’d duplicated their shirt and handed them out free to every terrorist in the world.

  26. I met a guy on match.com once, and he came to my apartment to pick me up for a date…he showed up in his UPS uniform! Maybe he was hoping the “men in uniform” thing would work for him, but I never went out with him again.

  27. I have a whole bunch of these shirts what is the going rate? Do you have this guy’s number, with the economy as it is I need the cash!

  28. I just started working for UPS and before receiving my ill-fitting uniform I was warned that legal action will be taken if I try to sell any piece of it and if I lose a piece of it it comes right out of my paycheck. I doubt the uniform pieces out there for sale are from the UPS employees but rather from the company that cleans and supplies them.

    They are serious about getting their stuff back, but if you are going to buy one of their uniform pieces I suggest the pullover jacket it is very warm.

  29. I just listed two large lots of UPS supervisor shirts on eBay. They were removed …with threats of violating eBay policy and federal laws. Sheeewww! I worked there 14 years and didn’t know I couldn’t sell something I bought from them.
    Security issues? Who would want to impersonate a supervisor? LOL!

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