Paul Ziobro has written a wonderful story in the Wall Street Journal about a game of tag that is taking place between UPS and FedEx drivers.
While FedEx Corp. and UPS fight for customers and global supremacy in the delivery sector, a friendlier battle is being waged on streets across the U.S. FedEx and UPS drivers have taken to using sticky door labels, typically for notifying homeowners and businesses of a delivery attempt, in a quest to tag their rivals with their colors.
It isn’t clear when the tradition started, but it has caught on during the coronavirus pandemic to lighten a dark time and break up the monotony of an increasingly taxing job. Drivers share photos of their conquests on social media.
Participants say it’s all in good fun. In fact, while the companies remain fierce rivals and executives swear they would never take a job with their chief competitor, drivers from the opposing teams often maintain a cordial relationship. The bond is a function of crisscrossing the same busy streets, often hitting the same stops, while alone in their trucks. Sometimes they ask each other for directions or reminders of codes to enter a lot. It isn’t unheard of for drivers in rural areas to trade packages to save time.
FedEx and UPS higher-ups were mostly unaware of the friendly game played in parts of the country. But neither seems to have qualms about using company property for unintended purposes.
“During this global pandemic we could all use a smile,” a UPS spokesman said. “A friendly game of tag is one way of remembering to smile while our people continue to bring others the things they need to live their lives and run their businesses.”
A FedEx spokeswoman said: “Our team members are proud to deliver for our customers. Sometimes, they are known to literally stick it to the competition.”
In addition to the UPS-FedEx rivalry, Amazon and the US Postal Service vehicles have also been targeted..
This sounds like a wonderful way to add some joy to a job, a job that I am sure has gotten quite stressful over the past few months. I was happy to read that the executives are OK with the tagging and recognize the value in such an activity.
I might have to ask our FedEx and UPS drivers if they have participated in these shenanigans, and if not, maybe encourage them to do so.
I’d love to see more of this sort of friendly competition. Here are some classic rivalries just ripe for some pranking:
- Coke vs Pepsi
- Uber vs Lyft (although you might be tagging your own car…)
- McDonald’s vs Burger King
- and of course, the granddaddy of all rivalries
- Villanova vs Harvard…
*image from Transport Topics