And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

Beef Of The Week #371: Madonna v FedEx

By | Published on Friday 8 September 2017


The internet has given us many things. Grumpy Cat, for example. And your cousin’s racist views twice a day. But possibly the greatest thing the internet has given us is the ability to know celebrities also get exasperated by the customer services departments of major companies.

Famous people, it turns out, are just like us. Just with more money and cooler friends. But when you drill it right down, they have all the same issues as we do. And they too get annoyed and tweet about it when things don’t go their way. Who can forget the time that Lily Allen lost her rag with BT? Or when Calvin Harris called out Ryanair. And, of course, that classic tweetstorm when Chaka Khan waited in all day for a gas engineer and missed her bingo.

This week it was the turn of Madonna to turn to Twitter in exasperation at the failure of FedEx to do its one job of delivering parcels. Specifically a parcel addressed to her.

We’re all having parcels delivered left right and centre these days, of course. That’s another thing the internet gave our generation – the ability to feel like we invented mail order. Who can be bothered going to the shops anymore when you can order it all online from the safety of your own home? Shops! With their overheads and tax bills proportional to their actual revenues.

Packages are arriving at our doors every day of the week, delivering not only goods but also a feeling of importance that simply going out and getting stuff for yourself doesn’t provide. The other day I had one of those metal things you put over your kitchen sink plughole to stop bits of food going down it delivered. I had to pay ¬£80 to have the drain outside unblocked, so I thought it was probably time. It arrived and my heart leapt in the air. It was so exciting! I felt so alive!

The frequency of these deliveries and the increased efficiency of the system means that when something goes wrong it’s all the more pronounced. No system is perfect, and occasional hiccups are inevitable, but any problem nonetheless feels like a personal attack on our wellbeing.

And so it was that Madonna this week tweeted¬†a stern-faced selfie, captioning it: “When you’ve been arguing with FedEx all week that you really are Madonna and they still won’t release your package”.

“#bitchplease”, she added.

I’m not sure how Madonna’s package came to be held up in the first place. I guess she wasn’t in when it arrived. Maybe she’d only popped out for a few minutes to get some milk, which would be annoying. And it must need a signature, otherwise she could have just asked them to leave the parcel in her shed or behind her bins.

Anyway, for reasons unexplained, FedEx was now disputing that Madonna really was Madonna and therefore withholding her consignment of oven cleaner, or whatever.

If the actual Madonna has no form of ID that can convince FedEx that she is the actual Madonna, then you might argue that the company’s security systems are overly rigorous. A gas bill and her driver’s licence should have done it, really. Unless she wanted the package delivered somewhere other than where all her utilities are registered I suppose.

Don’t think that all was lost though. All was not lost.

“Hi, this is Julie”, came a tweet from the FedEx customer services Twitter account. “I would like to help”.

“Please DM your delivery address, tracking and phone numbers”, added Julie.

Good. Julie will fix this. And she could do it all simply by having access to a load of basic personal information that Madonna must surely have already handed over during previous communications. Hmm. Come to think of it, how are we to know this is really Julie? How can we be certain that FedEx actually employs anyone called Julie? Sure, she tweeted from an official FedEx account, but what does that really mean? Madonna had been complaining out of her actual, verified face for an entire week to no avail.

If I was Madonna, I’d want FedEx to FedEx round some ID for Julie before going any further. Although, given the current situation, that may just end up with Julie’s ID permanently lost in the system, placing everyone involved in a state of eternal limbo.

No, I think the only thing for it would be for Madonna to get back on the phone to FedEx, safe from potential internet hackers and trolls. She may or may not get it all sorted out and have her parcel delivered in the end. That’s not what’s really important now, though. What’s really important is that next time you’re stuck on hold to some customer services call centre, you can imagine Madonna doing the same. “I already explained this to your colleague”, you can imagine her sighing. “Is this going to take much longer?” Thank you, internet.