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FedEx Error Blamed For Loss of ’04 Rings

By Eun J. Lee


The Class of 2004 held its ring delivery event at the Museum of Science Sunday night, but hundreds of sophomores are still without their Brass Rats because of a shipping error.

Ring Committee member Douglas J. Quattrochi ’04 said FedEx lost one of three boxes containing class rings that were delivered to Boston on Sunday. This box contained all of the class rings belonging to sophomores with surnames starting with the letters “P” through “Z,” and ring accessories for all students.

The box of missing rings was lost while being delivered to representatives of the manufacturer, Jostens Inc., at a Boston hotel. An unknown “Pat McLaughlin” signed for the box, according to FedEx records.

Rings to be remade if not found

Since it was discovered that the box was missing, the company has searched its courier trucks and airline store houses with no success.

“If the rings are not found by this Wednesday, Jostens will rush through the production of new sets of rings for the individuals whose rings got lost,” Quattrochi said. These rings should be finished within two weeks, if necessary. Jostens will rush the new rings, or the rings contained in the lost box if it is found, via FedEx to each individual.

“We [members of the Ring Committee] would prefer if the rings were delivered in person by Jostens representatives because of security concerns for delivery of the valuable parcels,” Quattrochi said.

RingComm member Tina Shih ’04 said that FedEx is taking full responsibility for this mistake, but Jostens is also accepting responsibility for the incident. The new rings will be remade at no additional cost to students. “I also encourage those students whose rings were lost to write to Jostens and request compensation for the error on their part,” Shih said.

RingComm faces harsh criticism

Since Sunday night, Ring Committee members have been hit with a barrage of anger and criticism from class members who did not receive their rings. “I am personally not happy about the situation, and I know it’s hard for others to be understanding about it,” Shih said. “We do care, but the situation really is out of our hands.”

“It seems like everyone at MIT is going to blame the committee for this situation because we don’t have anyone else to blame,” said Ruth M. Perlmutter ’04, who is still waiting to receive her class ring. “It was frustrating because we were all looking forward to getting our rings, and now half the class has to hang out and wait for them while the other half already has their rings.”

Quattrochi sent out an e-mail to the Class of 2004 mailing list last night addressing the situation. In his e-mail, he included the appropriate phone numbers and organizations to call to make complaints. “My ring is in this shipment, too, so I’m hoping like you that this works out, and quickly,” he wrote in the e-mail.

“I’m actually not as disappointed as I thought I would be,” said Jessica L. Wargo ’04, who has yet to receive her class ring. “It seemed like a waste of time going all the way out there to come home empty handed, and I know there were a lot of angry people afterwards.”

The incident has prompted some students to question choices made by RingComm.

“Why did we switch back to Jostens? The last few classes before us bought their rings from ArtCarved,” Perlmutter said. “Maybe next year’s class should get back to the ring company that was more responsible.”

Museum of Science good choice

Unlike previous years, this year’s ring delivery was not held on a cruise, and casual dress was acceptable. Shih said approximately 600 people showed up to the Museum of Science to get their rings.

“I thought it was a really good idea to have the event at the Museum of Science because it went well with the Ring Committee’s theme,” Perlmutter said.

“We chose the Museum of Science because of its proximity to the MIT campus, which allowed greater flexibility for attendance,” Shih said.

The Ring Committee spent approximately $2,500 on the event, most of which went toward the catered dinner. Although the food was free, attendees had to pay for non-alcoholic drinks. Free Omnimax and Lightning Show tickets were given out to members of the class. The main exhibit hall where the food and rings were located cleared out about an hour and a half into the event.

“I think it was poorly executed. Omni tickets ran out pretty early, and the lightning show was broken,” Perlmutter said. “People were waiting in lines for hours only to find out they were in the wrong lines. I think people would’ve been happier with a simpler delivery that was better executed.”

Ring’s legacy remains unclear

Despite the unexpected events which have barred many from getting their rings, Shih hopes that in the long run members of the Class of 2004 remember the many accomplishments of RingComm rather than this one incident.

Approximately 85 percent of the 2004 class ordered Brass Rats, and most of these were ordered in the week following the Ring Premiere in March.

“We’re excited about the ring itself and that people liked the design,” Shih said. “We’re hoping everyone who has their rings will cherish them for the rest of their lives.”

“I think they did a really good job designing the ring and organizing the Ring Premiere. It all just ended on a sour note, even though it wasn’t Ring Committee’s fault,” Perlmutter said.

Another accomplishment of the Ring Committee was the production of the brochure which accompanied the class ring and explains the ring’s history and special features.

“I’m really proud of the brochure because it’s just the ring by itself without any prices or promotions,” Shih said. “We’ve done lots of special things this year like the brochure, and we hope that these are the things that people remember in the long run.”