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UPS strike: Tales of a missing wedding veil, rust-removing soap

August 5, 1997

Tales of the UPS strike:

Marci Hrdlicka of Lincoln, Neb., spent hours looking for the perfect veil for her Aug. 16 wedding and finally found one 50 miles away in Omaha.

But the netting wasn’t quite right, so the store said it would have one made in California.

``It’s sitting in a UPS warehouse somewhere between California and here,″ the bride-to-be said Tuesday. ``I’m pretty frantic. It’s an awful feeling.″

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The strike is holding up the laundry in Barnsdall, Okla., where the 1,300 residents are awaiting shipment of a special soap they have ordered so they can wash out the stains caused by rusty water pipes.

Town officials have been trying to figure out what’s wrong with the pipes, and in the meantime were giving people Red B-Gone soap to remove the rust stains.

They had run out of soap and had just ordered more when the strike occurred.

``If it can just get somewhere where they can unload it, I’ll go out there in my truck and pick it up myself,″ said Mayor B.J. Dildine.

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At Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, Fla., customers demanded their surfboards and T-shirts.

``I’m running into a lot of angry customers,″ said mail-order manager Cindy Kelley. ``We went ahead and shipped through UPS last week because we thought from the talk last week that the strike wouldn’t happen. Looks like we made a mistake.″

Plus, the store’s been snubbed by other delivery services that won’t take new customers unless they sign a yearlong contract.

``It’s blackmail,″ she said.

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Couples eagerly awaiting lingerie and sex toys might have to take a cold shower.

PHE Inc. of Hillsborough, N.C., which runs the Adam & Eve mail order catalog, is trying to figure out how to ship its 35,000 weekly orders.

``Americans are understanding,″ said PHE President Philip Harvey. ``They’re going to have to cool off.″

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A Racine, Wis., bakery hoped its Danish kringle would get some good exposure on QVC, the cable shopping channel. It did. The bakery received 1,200 orders _ none of which can be shipped out.

Racine Danish Kringles had planned to use UPS to deliver the foot-long flaky cake with creamy icing that comes in 28 flavors.

``Here’s a chance for a small- to medium-sized company to get national exposure with QVC,″ said Mike Heyer, owner of the bakery. ``It was one of the quickest sellouts they had. Now it’s all in limbo.″

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The people at ACT Inc., the Iowa City, Iowa, administrator of the college entrance exam, may be more tense these days than the students who will take the test.

Now is when the 50 to 600 packages a day of ACT test booklets and answer sheets are sent out to 5,000 testing centers nationwide for the Sept. 27 exam.

``We’ll get it there, but it’s just going to be a hassle,″ said ACT spokesman Kelley Hayden.

The company also wants to send state education departments and the news media a report on the test scores from the Class of 1997. That’s been held up too.

``We are a little tense at the moment,″ Hayden said.

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In Atlanta, workers at Emory University Hospital’s supply warehouse had to give the replacement UPS drivers a few pointers when they showed up for a pickup.

``The drivers are a bit less competent,″ said Vickie Humphrey, who oversees the warehouse. ``We had to show them how to use their own computer.″

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Striking workers in Des Moines, Iowa, maintained a mobile picket line, following UPS trucks through the city in vans and pickups. At every stop, the workers jumped out and picketed.

``I don’t see how it (the strike) can go on very long,″ said Dallas Zander, a striking UPS driver. ``We’re a service, not a product.″

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