# Math Can Prove Some Amazing Things

Every company makes a bargain with you. They look like this:

Comics site:

We will provide you a comic that is hopefully funny!

McDonald’s:

We will sell you a burger that tastes exactly like you remember your last burger here tasting like!

FedEx:

And so on: there’s no magic here, this is just what you expect a company to do for you. Let’s look at FedEx’s bargain a little more closely:

is the pitch, but we know that sometimes businesses are closed, roads are difficult, etc. Not every package can be delivered, right? So let’s make that bargain more specific:

We will do our best to deliver your package!

Still a pretty good pitch, right? But we know that there’s limits: FedEx won’t try forever. So let’s bring numbers into it. And just for fun, let’s make it into a POP QUIZ: which of these do you think best captures FedEx’s value offering to you, the savvy package-having consumer?

• a) We will make three attempts to deliver your package!
• b) We will make at least one attempt to deliver your package!
• c) We will make less than one attempt to deliver your package!

In a test situation, most of us would choose a), but some might say “Aha! c) is obviously the ridiculous choice, and b) TECHNICALLY includes a), so b) is the where the smart money is.” Well, we’re all wrong. Astoundingly, their new policy is c): less than one attempt. I know, it’s crazy. I know, it seems like it’s not even possible.  But they found a way.

It’s all thanks to their new corporate policy, which is paraphrased like this: “FedEx will not to reattempt delivery if you live within 5kms of a FedEx location”. In other words, if the package is going somewhere close their home base - if the delivery is one of the EASY ones, not one that’s at the end of a fifteen-mile road to nowhere - they give up early. “We got the package most of the way,” they will say, “but now we’re tired. Look, you come here and finish our work for us. Please. Deliver it to yourself.”

Putting aside how awful this policy is to people who don’t own a car and thus might, you know, employ the services of a delivery company, this is still awful policy. With only one attempt - especially with drivers who are human and thus can be less than 100% reliable - any cut corner means packages don’t get delivered.

An example: I’m a cartoonist and I work from home, which means other delivery companies love me because I’m always there to accept packages. But last month there was construction on my street, and FedEx Delivery Dude (dude in the gender-neutral sense) decided to cheat on my package and was like, “Screw it, I’m just marking it as ‘attempted’ and moving on”. But this meant I didn’t get a notice saying “Hey where were you? Come get your package!” which meant the package sat around at FedEx for 10 days before being sent all the way back home. After I asked FedEx to look into this, two versions of what happened emerged.

My version: FedEx Delivery Dude said “Screw it” and lied, saying that I wasn’t home.

The FedEx version was a story that constantly evolved in response to what I’d say. Here’s how it started:

FedEx: “You weren’t home”.
Me: “I work from home, and I was home then.”
FedEx: “Oh. Hold on, let me check with the driver.”

next call:

FedEx: “…Okay, you WERE home, but you didn’t answer the door.”
FedEx: “Oh. Hold on, let me check with the driver again.”

next call:

FedEx: “…Okay, so you were home, but the driver knocked instead of using the doorbell [editor’s note: because the driver is an insane person? who does this], and instead of putting the notice in the mailbox right beside the door, he stuck the notice on the door. Later, it blew away.”
Me: “Had there been a knock, my dog would’ve freaked out and alerted me.”
FedEx: “Oh. Hold on, let me check with the driver one more time.”

next call:

FedEx: “…The dog was real sleepy.”

In the end, it doesn’t matter whose version is the least credible: this system is designed so that one attempt is all you get, and this is with FedEx’s own admission that things can go wrong with their notices that just blow away and disappear.

But here’s the kicker: there were actually four packages being sent to me simultaneously, each with four separate tracking numbers. Let’s imagine you have some critical piece of information that you need delivered reliably to me: what’s the most reliable way to send it? (Assume email is out for some reason.) One package could get lost, but four packages means four separate attempts, which increases our odds that at least one of them will get through! Right?

It turns out that while FedEx will gladly offer to let you pay 4x over what you otherwise would, they’ll still group your separate packages together and make just one attempt. You’re literally paying extra money for nothing. And here’s where the magic happens: because the dude came to my door only once, these four separate packages had to share, and they got just a quarter of a delivery attempt each. And in talking to the FedEx manager, he said that the number of packages sent in parallel doesn’t matter: they’ll still get grouped together.

So 1 package gets 1 attempt. 2 packages get 1/2 an attempt each. 3 packages get a 1/3 of an attempt each. This allow us to construct an equation:

The number of delivery attempts FedEx makes per package is defined as

where x is the number of packages.  This equation we can, in turn, graph:

In other words, the more packages you send at once, the shittier job FedEx does of delivering each of them, with each package getting less and less of a delivery attempt. And the limit actually approaches zero, which means that if you somehow send me infinity packages through FedEx, they will not even knock on my door. They will take the infinity dollars and run. I did honestly not intend today to use math to prove precisely how bad FedEx is at delivering packages, but, um, here we are?

Ironically, this equation also shows us that if we could somehow send fractional packages, FedEx would go ABSOLUTELY INSANE trying to deliver them. This is the “FedEx Zone of Impossibility” I noted in the graph, and it’s probably why everything is rounded up to at least one package to FedEx. Pretty sneaky!

I started by thinking that maybe this insane equation is an unintended consequence of their new “one attempt” delivery system combining poorly their desire to make things as efficient as possible. But after talking to their support and managers, I’m told it’s how things are supposed to go. Four separate packages don’t and won’t get a second delivery attempt if the first one failed. This is BY DESIGN.

I recommend you use other delivery companies in the future.

possibly unpopular opinion but:

being on tumblr honestly doesn’t do much for your independence (from men)

here you learn to objectify and worship and submit to the great beautiful celebrities on your dash

i don’t know about you but i think that can’t be good for us

not just in the “i am so done” and “you are such a life ruiner” funny sense

but in the sense that this worshipping ruins your self-esteem and independence and in effect quite possibly ruins you and thus your life

my opinion

lesliecrusher replied to your post: what what the ass are these aliens that are…

THAT TAG THO. SO ACCURATE. I feel bad ripping it apart so much because it took a huge leap and risked it all and tried to shake up the status quo and just…failed so spectacularly

yes. hahaha. i just! i admire them for trying but then i don’t know what’s happening in the show now! it reminds me of those DIY shows where someone’s like “well we were going to replace the cabinets, but we weren’t really sure what to do, so we figured, hell, we’re gonna replace the floors eventually, so let’s try to work on that instead, but then that was also more complicated so now we don’t have a kitchen and somehow half of the top story doesn’t have a floor and now our garage is missing”

and the professional guy is just like “whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat thaaaaaaaaaaaaa faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack”

at the same time at least i can find SOME things about the show that i like. i mean, i’m not entirely new to the whole ~soap opera~ thing. i watched general hospital from the time i was born until around 2008-ish when it started getting weird even by soap opera standards. and you know about my ~guilty pleasure show~ so i can’t really talk all that much. i guess i just habitually hold star trek to at least a little bit of a higher standard maybe?

I wonder if people would hate Little Things as much if a girl had sang it.

# Hi this is a (hopefully) not rude anon wondering if you could elaborate on why you don't like shipping real life people? I'm still on the edge and don't know if I think it's okay or not.

This is not rude at all. Okay, so I should start by saying that there are a bunch of famous people who have addressed the topic of shipping, which means that it does reach them. People like Carrie Fletcher, who is generally somewhat okay with people shipping her has asked her fans in specific instances to lay off. We only see a part of famous people’s lives. Ultimately, while they do suffer from a lack of privacy, they do get some. We don’t get a lot of their opinions and we don’t get a lot about their personal lives. This means we don’t know about their personal friendships and relationships that they have with other people. We don’t know the full story. Shipping people that you know in real life is different because it shows that you have an understanding about how human relationships work. I’ve said to my friends and my friends have said to me ‘oh you would look cute with that person,’ and while it causes a lot of unnecessary angst in your brain, it is based off of people who see you every day or know you really really well and know you better than a fan knows their celebrity. When we ship fictional people however, it means that we are altering their texts in our head. The real problem that I have with shipping real people is it gets to them. I don’t think that it is okay to say someone, ‘I think that you would look cute with so and so,’ because you don’t know them. It is not the same as shipping two of your friends or two fictional characters. You are telling someone else to change their life because what they’re doing isn’t, and that can generally be less helpful. There is a line between fiction and reality, the main one being that reality involves real-people feelings.

So.

I’m not really all that excited for DH, pt. 2. I mean I’m going to the midnight premiere, but it’s mostly because I feel obligated to go. I don’t really feel anything when I see the previews on TV, and I didn’t have any desire to watch the premiere in London. Considering how I felt when part 1 came out, this is really weird. (I was super psyched and I dressed up as Dobby and subsequently got really weird looks from people - it was great.)

I think it’s because for the longest time I had to suppress my excitement for the movies because I wasn’t sure if I would get to go with my friends, and now that I can I’m just totally apathetic. That being said, the movies have never meant a great deal to me; for me the whole “world” came to a close 4 years ago with the 7th book. I tend to approach the movies with a professional interest. As a fan of the books, I want to see how they will adapt them into movies, but it never really goes further than that.

So yeah. I kind of feel like I’m missing out on something. I think that’s the message I’m trying to get across here.

Sooo I read SBL and it was awesome and hilarious and Carson is such a clever, relatable, loveable douchenozzle and Chris made so many wonderful pop culture references I was laughing out loud

Here are some less popular opinions if you for some reason care about what I have to say about this amazing person’s overall amazing book

(It’s spoiler free so)

# Deep thoughts of the day

today in my anthropology class we watched an episode of this NatGeo show called “Taboo” where they basically show extreme cultural practices in various countries

usually the episodes we see are about a practice most Americans would consider unusual like child marriages or voodoo, but the episode we watched today was about plastic surgery. the first women lived in Texas and had gotten over 30 surgeries to change her looks including multiple breast implants so eventually her boobs were a size kkk (yikes in more than one way) and when she had to get them removed because of a life threatening infection she started crying because she thought she wouldn’t be beautiful without them and there were some guys in my class that were laughing at it which i can sorta understand because the idea of the whole thing seems sort of ridiculous but i also thought about how sad it was that this woman felt that way and how it seems no one can feel socially presentable without layers of makeup or plastic surgery and how regardless of their age guys can never understand the things girls feel about their looks. It’s like there’s a whole set of emotions that guys don’t really understand and half of all this insecurity is caused by guys and their disregard for self esteem issues and the other half is caused by girls who are sometimes even more brutal than guys, but they’re better at covering it up.

not to bring everything back to Liz Lemon but in that episode this season where Kaylie Hooper tricks again, Liz explains “She’s a teenage girl; she’s both vicious and vulnerable”

i don’t know

sometimes i have thoughts

here are some of them

thoughts that occurred to me today: why is ‘wanker’ an insult?

is it because wanking is disgusting or bad or something i

i dont get shipping at all like the term “i ship” i just don’t get it. why would you be like “yeah i can totally see this person and this person being together” especially as the vast majority of “ships” consist of homosexual pairings of heterosexual characters… they’re character, straight characters. i do not get it one bit and it seems like a big waste of thought processes

Let’s go crazy,crazy crazy till we see the sun
I know we only met but let’s pretend it’s love
We’ll never ever stop not for anyone
Tonight let’s get some and live while we’re young

The only possible issue I see is whether the girls were underage or not. And again this audio has not been confirmed, so.

Stop blowing it out of proportion and for godssake don’t send them ridiculous tweets about it all.

# I'm rewatching the episode so you're getting more of my thoughts

Stephen Dillane is such a good Stannis, omg. I’m officially won over despite the hair situation. I wish they had kept that scene as a prologue, though, it feels really odd stuck in the middle of the episode and I felt like opening the entire season with Joffrey’s name day was really abrupt and weird. If they had devoted way more time to establishing the Dragonstone folks with an intro akin to the White Walkers scene at the beginning of last season I think it would have gone over better.