I've only read up to post 140 so far, so I won't comment on the true topic, but I really need to comment on the secondary topic - FedEx. If it doesn't interest you how FedEx works, skip this post, and go to the next.
I worked for FedEx as a driver for a long time, so I feel I'm the closest to an 'expert' on this subject.
East Coast pickups (latest time a driver can pick something up for next day delivery) is 7pm. An item can leave your office at 7pm, and be delivered via FedEx's most expensive service by 8am the next morning, anywhere in the US. It's called First Overnight. The driver goes to the main FedEx airport location at 5am to get those packages, and delivers starting around 6am. Used most frequently for early AM real estate closings, court cases, and similar.
These packages (or the second one at least) was shipped using the second most expensive service - Priority Overnight. Guaranteed delivery by 10:30am the following morning. Any other packages for delivery (later) that day to the same recipient can be delivered at this time, but it is not required.
After that comes Standard Overnight - next day by 3pm.
From there, it's multiple day deliver times, all guaranteed by 3pm on the date specified.
For a shipper like Dell, or their contracted warehouse, rates are drastically reduced. There was a mention about the cost of the shipment, and how the poster couldn't believe it would be shipped with this service. You know that $15 Priority Overnight letter? A shipper like Dell probably pays about $6 for it. An 8lb box, sent PO (priority overnight) by Dell probably costs $10-$20. FedEx and UPS have sales departments that cut the published rates for high volume shippers. It fills the planes, and reduces per piece expenses for FedEx/UPS. The bigger the shipping commitment, the deeper the discount. Not to mention Dell has been a FedEx customer since they (Dell) started IIRC.
"Having the driver watch me open it" - Not going to happen. The drivers are micro-managed as to how many stops (deliveries) they make per hour. Everything the driver does is time-stamped to some degree. Not to mention, the 5 short minutes it takes for you to open everything is enough time to make 1-2 deliveries. It kills their performance numbers, which reduces their next raise. Even if the driver was nice enough to wait, he wouldn't have signed anything for the recipient. Against policy, and he'd also get reprimanded for wasting time. Not to mention that this was a delivery to a residence, and not a business that the driver may have a relationship with.
"Refuse the package" - Can only be done before you (recipient) has signed for or accepted the package. If you signed for it, it's yours.
"Inspect it before you accept delivery" - Can't be done. A driver will not let you open the package before you have signed for it, so you can't inspect and then refuse. If you could do that, it would be even easier to pull off scams - "I never accepted delivery, so how could I have put bricks in the box", etc.
Call tags. Once a package has been delivered, it has to be put back into the system somehow. This involves a customer (original shipper usually) requesting the package be picked up. This allows for the heart of all businesses to keep beating - payment for services. If no call tag is issued, the carrier will end up with a box that they aren't guaranteed to receive payment for delivering/returning.
Someone mentioned that all the packages are weighed. No, they aren't. Here's how it works. Your driver picks up the package. It says 8 lbs. To the driver, it feels like 10 lbs. (and yes, you get really good at weight estimation). He has 2 choices, do a weight change on his tracker (the scanner he carries), which will correct your weight, and also ding you $10 as a penalty, or just take it at 8 lbs. 99% of the time, if the weight indicated is within reason, he'll just take it at the weight you put down. If it's grossly overweight, he'll probably do the scan.
From there, it goes into his truck until he gets back to his local station, where 'package handlers' (part-time employees that load and unload trucks) unload the package onto a basic conveyor belt, which brings it to the can that gets loaded on the tractor trailer (aka CTV) that will bring it to the airport. When it arrives at the first airport, the entire can is weighed. Average weight (IIRC) was about 4-5000 lbs. That can in it's entirety goes onto the plane, bound for Memphis, Oakland, Ca., or a smaller regional hub (closer ones are via truck). From there, the cans are unloaded onto a huge conveyor system that scans each package to determine it's final destination. Only. Fromm there, it goes back into a can, back onto a plane, into a CTV, onto the conveyor at the local station, pulled off the conveyor by the driver, and placed into his truck until he gets to the delivery address. It does not get weighed at any point. FedEx depends on their drivers to ensure reasonable weight values are what are being billed. So, under normal circumstances, there are two times a package has the chance of getting reassessed for it's weight - by the pick up driver, and the delivery driver. Yes, there are scales at every single FedEx facility, but they aren't being used for every package.
A side note about weight - you know those FedEx letters? Max weight is 1 lb. for them. We had a company stuffing them with anywhere between 3 and 10 lbs of documents (title company). One morning during the route sort of the Letters, I noticed that they all said 1 lb. I let it slide that day. The next day, and for about 20 days thereafter (however many days it was until they got their next bill), I reweighed every single package of theirs. I ended up adjust weights on about 600 packages (if they were less than 3 lbs I still let it slide). The station manager got call from Memphis, wanting to know why they had a customer with over $5000 in weight penalties. When all was said and done, I got a Bravo Zulu (FedEx's way of saying 'well done'), and $500 gift card from one of those corporate gift catalogs. The shipper went out and bought a scale.
If any of you want to see some amazing stuff, go to Memphis, and take a tour of the FedEx facility. Go in the middle of the night, that's when everything is happening there. It'll blow you away.
Now back to our program already in progress.