Original Poster LEM,
"Ah, top of the new page! Nice! Taking this opportunity to re-post the primer for those who don't like flipping a couple of pages back:
FedEx SmartPost primer for newcomers, and a reminder for the rest of Wooters (v. 1.5.3)
1. Before the tracking information shows up: Sometimes Woot is not e-mailing the tracking numbers until a few days after the packages are shipped. You can try and get the number by reference, by going to https://www.fedex.com/AltRefTracking?cntry_code=us and entering these three things: Your Woot order number goes to reference numbers box, select United States in destination country drop down, and Your Zip Code in a respective box. It's important to get all three pieces. Keep refreshing it, and if you're lucky, the tracking number will pop-up before the official e-mail comes. It doesn't ALWAYS work, but there's a good chance. Note, that if you've made multiple orders from Woot, you can enter several order numbers into the reference box, one per line.
1.1 If your weight shows as 1lb, it is most likely a placeholder, which will be replaced by more accurate weight once the package actually starts moving (or reaches a sorting station - see below). The dimensions will probably show as NA/NA/NA on those placeholder packages. Some people have reported packages showing as 1lb all the way until delivery, but turned out to be anything but, though there's always a slight chance that your package actually is a 1 pounder. So you never know.
1.2 To make it even more frustrating - the actual fact that you can track by reference, but if it shows as a 1lb with status Shipment information sent to FedEx does not yet mean the package actually shipped or even exists. All it means - a label which will eventually be attached to your package has been printed. It may be a few days before your beloved box will actually hit the road. Patience is the key here!
1.3 So how do we know for sure that BоC's are out? Keep looking through this thread, and you may spot a post by threepiecewoot or on rare occasion another staff member, stating that all packages are shipped. Sometimes it will take FedEx a while before they show up or update, but once it's said here on the forum, you can be sure that they are out! Also keep an eye on other staff members posts announcing possible shipping delays or otherwise!
1.4 Some wooters report being able to track, but not me! Am I screwed? No, you are not. The tracking numbers don't get into the system all at once. The track by reference starts working when FedEx receives your package info from Woot. They send them in batches, and if someone has a reference hit, does not mean everyone gets it at the same time. Sometimes it's days between batches are sent, and sometimes electronic info on some or all packages is not sent at all, which means not trackable by reference until it arrives (even if trackable by actual tracking number received from Woot). The actual tracking information (if you have tracking e-mail sent to you or it shows up on your order page) gets updated as the package is actually scanned at FedEx location. Provided that Woot ships them by truckload, it may not be instant at all, nor they will appear all at once. Sometimes it's not 'til the next day when you see it live, even if there are others that got scanned early in the game. Remember, if threepiecewoot said that all packages are out - they are. It may take some time for them to go live, a day or two between first reported trackable package until the last one shows up in a system is not unusual...
2. To get the dimensions you need to create My FedEx account (no charge, and you don't have to give them cc number if you don't want to): http://my.fedex.com/ and make sure to switch to new or advanced version. Enter your tracking number, and the dimensions will pop...
2.1 Another way to get dimensions: If you have problems with My FedEx site, or just to make things easier - you can also download a very convenient FedEx Desktop application. It uses the same log-in credentials as your My FedEx account (you'd still need to have one), and tracks the same packages right from your desktop, without the browser.
3. Don't get too excited. For the first few days most people will probably have some sort of cubed dimensions. This is because in the beginning the dimensions are not real. They are guesstimated by FedEx based on weight (which may or may not be accurate). Here's the famous formula for you to check:
SIDE = ( 330 * WEIGHT ) ^ (1/3)
(side in inches, weight in lbs)
If it matches your dimensions to a few tenths of an inch - you know they are not real. That's for smaller packages. Those over 15lbs would always have the "dimensions" of a 15lbs package (or was it 16)... Again not real...
4. Once your package passed the first sorting station - the updated weight and real dimensions may show up. Usually that's the first or second stop it makes after Dallas. In my case (North-East) in either Martinsburg, WV or at Kansas City, KS (I am yet to understand the logic SmartPost uses in sending the packages one route or the other), for many others it's New Berlin, WI or another major SmartPost hub. In some cases actual weighting/measuring may not take place even at the SECOND hub... or ever...
5. USPS Handoff: Once the package is reported to have passed a city near you - start tracking it on http://www.usps.com/, because that's who's delivering it to your door, and once the package is handed over by FedEx, they will have more up to date information. Do make sure that you track by actual tracking number (it will show up if you got a hit with reference tracking), because USPS does not track by reference. A thing to note - when handed over to USPS, FedEx always says a standard "allow 2-3 for business days for delivery". This is a standard message, and if your USPS facility is efficient enough, you may get it delivered as soon as the day of handoff (if it happened early enough).
5.1. USPS is not delivering for a few days after supposed handoff. Compliments go to the budget cuts and staff shortage at your local post office, as per a post by snaped, who claims to know the situation first hand: the pallets of SmartPost packages are handled at the lowest priority, after all other mail has been processed. So if your post office is a bit short on staff or overwhelmed with other mail (holiday seasons especially) it may well sit unsorted for a few days, after which their status is raised to priority and they finally get sorted and delivered. In my personal experience, I've seen them delivered the same day or as much as a full week late (that happened with non-woot package I was expecting around Christmas).
Good luck to all waiting for their hauls, and let the Woot Gods bless you with some amazing crаps!"
LEM- Thank you once again for such a wonderful write up on how to track our c r a p