Addicted to novelty since 2001

In Praise of My UPS Shirt

I have a penchant for short-sleeved shirts that had a former life in industry. My first purchase was a green shirt with a patch that read ‘Janice’ over the right side of my chest. Given that I’m male, I enjoyed the irony. I enjoyed the irony more because I bought it in Dublin, where Janice is not a popular name, and people are kind of homophobic. While I had no illusions about its attractiveness, it was comfortable and handy for wearing while working from home.

Since then, I’ve bought a few more. My most recent, and favourite selection, was a UPS shirt I found at a vintage clothing store called ‘The Patch’ (no website, I’m afraid) in Victoria. Again, it’s not the most attractive or stylish shirt in the world. It is, however, exceptionally well-designed for its purpose–clothing UPS drivers. It reminded me of a great book on design, and how pleasant well-designed things are to use.

After the jump, I’ve created an annotated image of me in the aforementioned shirt, espousing its many fine design features.

28 Responses to “In Praise of My UPS Shirt”

  1. gill

    Is that package for me?

    According to this some gullible types might take you for a terrorist.

    I recall reading or seeing something about UPS uniforms being innovative in their design, whenever it was that they came to be (I couldn’t manage to google that information, as the first dozen hits were all about the aforementioned UPS-Ebay hoax). I wish I could remember what exactly was so impressive about them…

  2. Christopher Davis

    Note that UPS trucks are custom designs, too (and are reportedly forcefully scrapped at the end of their life, rather than sold used). I suspect the trucks also have subtle design elements that make them more effective tools (reliability/usability/etc).

  3. eas

    The founder of UPS (casey something) was a relentless efficiency expert in the classic sense. The company even perscribed how drivers were to enter and exit their trucks in order to reduce wear and tear on the truck.

  4. Greg

    I’ve worked for UPS in the past as an unloader (hard work, great pay) and I can tell you that one thing UPS kicks ass at is efficiency, ergonomics and safety. From recommending a specific type of shoe to encouraging talk among coworkers (it can make the repetitive tasks go by quicker), UPS really does look out for its employees.

  5. Mr. Nosuch

    A friend of mine also had picked up a UPS uniform. He shared a great tale of riding the Chicago metro with a friend, while carrying a package of his full of clothing.

    As they stood there in the somewhat crowded train, the friend asked him somewhat loudly “What’s in the box?”

    He replied “Don’t know. Should I open it?”

    THe friend replied “Sure.”

    So he began to tear into the package, as all eyes around him were horrified at the sight of what seemed to be a UPS man tearing into someone’s package.

    Of course, no UPS man would deliver a package by metro, but the uniform itself is a powerful signal to most people.

  6. alexis

    I dated a guy whose mother worked for Canada Post. I had a great Canada post hoodie that was super soft and extgremely well designed.

  7. Gustav

    I was talking to our UPS guy and it appears some guys bought UPS uniforms on Ebay and went to a jewelry shop in downtown San Francisco. They knocked on the side door and the clerk asked where’s our regular guy? They said he’s out sick and the clerk opened the door and the guys promptly robbed the place.

  8. Jim

    Fed-X Steel-toed sneakers are highly
    prized on the secondary market, not
    for their costume party value, but
    for pure utility.

  9. ian

    did you know that it takes 5-7 years from initial hire to becoming a UPS driver?

    they’re awesome shirts though, too bad they’re not easier to come by…

  10. badgerbag

    Ah, spring: when the UPS drivers wear those shorts and fetching little brown socks…

  11. Paul

    I work for UPS, so all these boinboing posts are driving me crazy lately.

    1) Technically it’s against company policy for an employee to eBay their browns. This time last year I heard some stuff around the facility that corporate was trying to track down people who were eBaying their uniforms.

    2) UPS package cars are either retired from road service and used as ground support equipment at air facilities, or are scrapped. They’re not resold to the public. Part of brand-imaging.

    3) Package car drivers are to exit their car on their left foot. And it’s not for efficiency, it’s because someone somewhere down the line thought that people would notice that and it’s to present a uniformity across the company.

    4) Package car drivers have to check their rear-video, both mirrors and their guages every twelve seconds.

    5) You can slide into driving sooner than 5 years. But you would be equivalent to a substitute teacher and then you would get the absolute worst assignments.

    6) It’ll take 6 more years to fully phase out the old logo.

    7) That’s 6 things about UPS you probably could have lived your whole lives without knowing.

  12. Gustav

    8) If you work in a jewelry store and a guy in a UPS uniform drives up in a Plymouth, don’t open the side door.

  13. O'DonnellWeb

    UPS called, they want their shirt back

    This guy posted a picture of himself wearing the UPS shirt he purchased at a 2nd hand store. Imagine his…

  14. Right This Way...The Fodor's Blog

    Brown Does Shirts Right

    Blogger Darren Barefoot recently visited a thrift store. One of his purchases, a UPS driver’s shirt, turned out to have all sorts of well-conceived design elements — a built-in stay in the collar, for instance, and a special section in…

  15. jennifer

    i really need a UPS shirt for halloween! where can i find one? or at least a UPS patch to recreate the look of it??

  16. khalid

    can i have more pictures of UPS uniforme,please

  17. Michael

    Do you still have that shirt?
    I have been trying to find the manufacturer
    of the shirt.
    Can you help me?


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