A UPS truck delivering packages

UPS Driver Appreciation (Sep 15-21 or everyday?)

For some of us, this dream wouldn’t be possible without delivery people. Therefore, Driver Appreciation Week is something I think is very important. I was planning to write this post much later, but a conversation with our delivery guy this week inspired me to really think about how we show appreciation to those who provide us with services and what we can do to say thank you. Each time our UPS guy brings a package I attempt to leave some small treat (even if only a drink) and he recently reminded me that I don’t need to do that.

Driver Appreciation Week (or daily appreciation): Is it REALLY necessary?

While I know that there are no restrictions requiring it, I absolutely believe it’s necessary (at least for me and particularly in this moment). So in this post I’m going to discuss why we should show appreciation for those who deliver our packages, what this has to do with sailing, and the best ways to show that appreciation.

While delivery people can work for FedEx, UPS, the United Postal Service, or any number of other companies depending on your location/country, I’m going to refer to UPS…because that’s our most common delivery company and also the inspiration for the post.

There are good delivery people and great delivery people (and the occasional nightmare delivery people). Maybe your driver is especially conscientious (leaves your packages out of sight if you’re not home or puts them in bags when it’s raining). Maybe they’re particularly polite (always greeting with a smile or willing to listen to the insane plans that inspired the box they’re handing over). Maybe they’re just too cute for words (shallow perhaps, but with a trope of delivery guy calendars at least some of you have to be ranking drivers based on this…right?). Or maybe your “ideal skills” list is a little more unusual and you love them because they’re the only person in the area that speaks your native language.

If you’re really lucky they check all the boxes on your “delivery driver of my dreams” list, or if you’re having a rough delivery patch maybe they don’t mark off any of the boxes. It all combines to create a unique love/hate scale where we rank our drivers from 1-100.

Where they fall on this scale can help decide the level of appreciation you show, but they definitely deserve something for the impacts they have on our lives and that’s why Truck Driver Appreciation Week was created.

What (and When) is Driver Appreciation Week

Thank you banner

Truck Driver Appreciation Week is September 15-21 in 2024 and typically starts in the middle of the month of September in any given year. It was started in 1988 by the American Trucking Association to highlight the importance of truck drivers in the style of life lived each day in the US (but I think this applies no matter where you live if you’re lucky enough to have delivery drivers).

For a little bit of history on our example of UPS, the company was founded in 1907 and employs around 500,000 individuals. A whopping 330,000 of those are drivers. On average each driver travels around 125 miles per day, with rural drivers reporting upwards of 200 miles. Step counters mentioned in various UPS driver forums indicate that they walk anywhere between 3 and 8 miles depending on the type of route (rural vs urban), all to deliver around 225 packages a day. That’s a LOT of packages each week!

What does this have to do with sailing?

So what does this have to do with sailing? Well if you’ve already started this journey, even at a planning level, you’ll know that there are a TON of packages involved (unless you live right next to the best Marine supply, bookstores, and department stores, and are paying top dollar for everything).

There’s educational materials like books about sailing and travel guides. There’s resources for the boat, be it things like sails and charts that are basic necessities for sailing, or depth finders and other technological tools. For some of us, there are even basic life necessities like specific clothing or housewares that we don’t need in our land life but would like to have for the boat.

Stack of Amazon packages on a door step.
Photo from Drew Stephens at Flickr. While this isn’t our delivery we’ve easily had 3-4 times that in a single delivery!

If you’re reading this blog you probably know that at the time of this reading we’re still in the seminal phase of this adventure and we already have packages delivered almost daily (thank you Amazon Prime free shipping). Not only is this vital to the dream of sailing (let’s face it, I wouldn’t be doing this without UPS), but it’s not even a real fact of life for some sailors.

If you’re in the sailing groups you’ve inevitably heard about trouble getting some vital equipment in a remote location, places where you need to hire and pay a “private agent” to pick up the item. Even within the United States, we’ve lived in locations, like the Big Island of Hawaii, where regular delivery wasn’t a thing. Instead we needed to order everything to be delivered at the Post Office and pick it up there (even if it was UPS or FedEx). So having someone who comes trudging up our driveway regardless of the weather is a blessing!

But don’t they already get paid?

But don’t they get paid to do this? Yes, and that was our delivery guys argument! That said, as I’ve shown it’s a LOT of work and as with anything else in our life we should show appreciation for those that make our goals easier to achieve. No, it doesn’t have to be a “tip” like the poor underpaid servers in your favorite restaurant, but it does need to be something.

This is where they level of service they provide and your resources come into play. If they’re not the best delivery person, or your resources are really strapped, a minimum of a polite greeting or thank you should be used. I’ll be honest that this is the level most of the delivery people we have fall at just because of poor service. As they climb up that scale, or as your access to resources increase, the level of appreciation shown should also increase.

For me, with our current driver, this means many things. First, it means a drink every day that he comes (if you don’t know them leave a selection of soda and water to choose from and eventually you’ll be able to predict what they might like). In addition to the Diet Coke I leave him, I also try to add some sort of treat (again based on what they might like). This can be anything from a single serve bag of chips, some trail mix, or a snack cake.

Most of the ideas below are not expensive items, but maybe you need to modify this and leave something only on days there are a lot of packages or the weather is extreme (with a focus on budget sailing, I realize that many reading this will don’t have the resources for even inexpensive thank you gifts on a regular basis). That’s up to you! I personally try to leave drinks every time, snacks whenever I remember, and also do something for Christmas.

Starbucks gift card

Most of the ideas below are not expensive items, but maybe you need to modify this and leave something only on days there are a lot of packages or the weather is extreme (with a focus on budget sailing, I realize that many reading this will don’t have the resources for even inexpensive thank you gifts on a regular basis). That’s up to you! I personally try to leave drinks every time, snacks whenever I remember, and also do something for Christmas.

If you have limitations on what you can do, Truck Driver Appreciation Week or Christmas are great times to do something…ANYTHING…to show appreciation. Below are some suggestions. Really though, what you do is completely up to you. And, as I said, if these aren’t options for you, figure out what you might be able to or want to do and go with it.

What can I do to show my appreciation?

    Some ideas I’ve used:

    • Individual serve chips
    • Soda and/or water
    • Candy bars
    • Snack cakes
    • Muffins
    • Trail Mix
    • Gift card (local restaurants, grocery stores, or coffee shops are all popular choices)
    • Homemade baked goods (swapped out last year for store bought because I was sick, again, flexibility is key)
    Diet coke and trail mix as a small thank you for the delivery guy

    A few ideas I found on the internet:

    • Warm items in the winter (scarfs, hats, etc)
    • Thick comfy socks
    • Drink Bottles
    • Fruit baskets
    A scarf to keep them warm

    A few ideas from our younger crew (aka the “stowaways”). Note: You might want to take these suggestions with a grain of salt. I’m not 100% sure these will go over well with drivers and they might even elicit and raised eyebrow (I’ll count on any drivers who see this to chime in for us 😉 ):

    • High fives
    • Hugs
    • Drawings
    • A take away picnic lunch
    • An invitation to go sailing with the family (since they are the ones delivering all the supplies)

    So, pretty much anything you think might make them smile or make their lives easier

    I honestly wish I could do more for the amazing drivers we occasionally get blessed with, like our current driver (who definitely tics all the boxes on my own personal “great driver” list…which is a pretty long list). I honestly feel like he probably deserves more…and at this rate, with packages coming several times a week, he deserves to have us upgrade to something MUCH more than the treats we leave now. Truck Driver Appreciation Week isn’t enough. For drivers, especially one like this, every day should be Truck Driver Appreciation Day; even if he did recently suggest I was crazy (and that was based only on the Great Loop portion of our sailing plans, the only part I mentioned in that conversation)…because let’s face it, he’s not wrong!

    What about you?

    So what about you? What do you love about your delivery driver? What suggestions do you have for ways to show appreciation?

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *