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Thread: What's up with USPS?

  1. #26

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Years ago and just for fun to see what would happen I would send postcards to friends with purposefully vague addresses -- something like: To: Bill, blue house on corner of Sycamore and Third, Sylvania, Ohio, no zip..................well, guess what? Yep, they all got there just fine with a stamp. Pretty amazing service, if you ask me!

    The thinking is, obviously, as long as it gets to the town and the mail carrier for that street, the carrier knows his customers......

    OTOH, I've had things returned sent to work addresses, such as Suzy Jones, McMillan Corp, 46th floor, etc, because it got to the building just fine, but the mail room within the building was lame.......and couldn't figure it out -- got sent back -- not the end of the world. Resend to home address after a couple emails....

  2. #27
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    I find they routinely screw up but in these cases, if they came through my neck of the woods and I would not be surprised if they did we had some awful weather up here and south. Sioux Falls had three F3 tornadoes and all the carriers that had transfers through here are delayed and if any switched to ground shipping there are even more issues since flooding is so bad I 90 has sections that are completely closed with no date to be reopened currently, that means a lot of detours and reroutings.
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  3. #28
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    When I was 10 in '56, we took a 3-week family driving vacation to visit the grandfather that I mentioned in Denver. At the time, many diners had free postcards by their cash registers, I presume in anticipation of selling stamps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    ... just for fun to see what would happen I would send postcards to friends with ...
    ... stamps that I drew on, mostly with "art" that you might see Mad mag. Yup, almost ALL were delivered!

    (Okay, I'll hold off on cutesy personal stories for a while!)
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  5. #29
    plectrist
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    The problem seems to be the "hand offs" from another shipper. I always ask who the shipper is. If it's UPS i'll give my street address. If it's USPS (my preferred) i give them my PO Box. If they say FedEx Ground i'll ask for another shipper or cancel the order. The worst is when it leaves there on FedEx ... they phart around with it for a few days and lateral it to a Post Office local to them and then it wanders through the system. No laterals has meant no problem for me. Laterals from UPS to USPS are no fun either ... they're just not as bad.
    Ryk
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  7. #30
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    For today's tracking update, still no arrival of either package at any depot. I am heartened to hear all the positive stories about the USPS success rates, but in this instance, they are zero for two as far as being anywhere near on time or even on the tracking of these packages. And the two have nothing in common except being sent to the same address. Not exactly filling me with confidence. Still, I expect a positive outcome in the end. Ever the optimist!
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  8. #31
    plectrist
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    You're right about USPS's tracking feature, it's abominable.
    Ryk
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  9. #32
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Never had a problem with USPS. Their tracking system works well with international parcels. I prefer them to anyone else because of price and reliability.
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  10. #33
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    My old roommate in the Marines is a Post Master now. He tells me their biggest customer is, UPS. Crazy isn't it.
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  11. #34

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Recent problem with UPS after a sale on the Cafe -- a Carpenter jack, small box, low value -- just got lost in UPS's system. Major hassle with UPS web forms and getting correct claim number. Keep your paper documentation when you ship until item is received, have a retail comparison able to show them if it is lost, jump on it quickly if tracking record looks wrong. Mine took three days to get from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, and basically when I knew it was lost.

    The Cafe member buyer was great about it, I refunded him before the check from UPS showed up -- paper check, in the mail, instead of a credit on the card I had used -- and that really made it less of a hassle.
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  12. #35
    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Our main problem with the USPS has been on the local level, when the regular carrier has the day off or is on vacation and one of her substitutes is working the route. Our regular carrier is great - she deserves a medal for helping us find our packages. The substitutes are all in a hurry and/or dyslexic. Often it seems they will not even look at the name on the item, but only the house number. Or the house number, but not the street name.

    Sometimes our mail goes to one of many different streets in our neighborhood that has a house that shares our number. Other times, it seems as though the substitute carrier sees an Amazon package, and right away "assumes" it's for a house down our street from us, where there lives an Amazon addict, and nobody speaks English, and where unfortunately, the second and third digits of our house numbers are the same, but reversed. Occasionally when our regular carrier locates a missing package, it has been delivered to that house and opened, and simply set aside, until she grills them about it on our behalf. She tells us that last Christmastime, that house had a pile of packages delivered in one day that was so large it almost reached the street. Yikes, I cannot even imagine....

    A few items have never been recovered, and for this reason Amazon a few times has borne the unfortunate brunt of having to replace items, even though I'm almost positive it wasn't their fault. One time I notified an eBay seller that I hadn't gotten my item, even though the tracking said it had been delivered. That seller issued me a refund in good faith. Three weeks later, an embarrassed neighbor one street over (whom we know), who shares our house number and who had been out of town, showed up at our door with the package. I immediately notifed the eBay seller and repaid him for my item, and he was shocked that I was honest. Go figure.

    But never have I had an instrument involved in these mixups, thank goodness!

    The most unusual story of all was a couple years ago, when we didn't get our electric bill delivered. My husband noticed its absence, and paid it online. But a few days later, we got an envelope in the mail, hand addressed with no return address. Inside was a photocopy of our electric bill, with an anonymous note scribbled under it. It was long, and I'll leave out the details, but the gist was "I received your electric bill by mistake. Someone wonderfully blessed me recently, so I am paying it forward by paying your bill. Now. please pay it forward by giving a blessing to someone else!" We never did figure out who that was from.

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  14. #36

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Our neighbor is an Amazon addict -- daily deliveries -- which is their business, (and we wonder why main street in small town America is dead...) but, anyway, they are delivered by UPS and my little dog Molly doesn't like the tone of the brown UPS truck's muffler.........she goes crazy barking, runs downstairs and outside to the fence and gets on her hind legs and barks until he leaves......

    "Musically" speaking Molly has trained me and my wife's ears to also detect the "note" of the UPS truck muffler.............so when Molly goes on her rant, my wife just looks over and says, "UPS truck."

    It doesn't happen with USPS or FedEx trucks........I wonder what kind of mufflers they use???????

  15. #37
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Our local USPS provides wonderful and reliable service, and they are generally pretty nice folks. I actually look forward to going in the PO when need arises. Mail carrier used to be a much better job than it is these days though. Longer hours and lower wages now.
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  16. #38
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    I shipped instruments with USPS for fifteen+ years without a single issue, and then earlier this year they lost an instrument and broke another. I'm now using FedEx for stringed instruments. The tracking has also gone way downhill--I ship several packages a week internationally (some electronic instruments that I build), and the timestamps on the tracking are often wrong and very confusing to my customers. International shipments are taking longer too-- Priority Mail International used to be around ten days anywhere in the world, and now many are taking up to month.

  17. #39

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyPickin View Post
    I've had pretty good luck with USPS and prefer them for instruments. Anything that comes to me via UPS looks like it has been dropped off a cliff.
    I used to work in shipping and receiving. Part of my job was checking in the UPS deliveries. Our docks were sunken so the floors of the trailers were floor height. I watched a UPS driver literally stand at the bottom of the dock and throw packages 20 feet over to the receiving desk. Some of these packages were labeled "Fragile" "Optical Product Enclosed". They were safety glasses.

    We wrote a formal complaint but it didn't do much good. If he thought no one was looking he still tossed items.
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  18. #40

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Guessing that Dorian may have had something to do with it. Non-priority mail being diverted. USPS has a section on their website for service alerts related to weather and other disasters. I do know that ground packages ending or beginning their travels in rural areas are held until they have a full truck to go to a primary hub. I never ship on a Friday because my packages will sit in a truck trailer until Sunday night or Monday morning. The local office has outright told me that.

  19. #41

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

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  21. #42
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Hello and thanks for all the replies. This has been an interesting read and informative, too. This story ends well. The two packages arrived together, yesterday. Both were in perfect condition. I think Thistle's explanation (post 40) fits. We are in a rural area. No PO in our township, the one that services us is in the local boro and is actually a sub-PO of one in the next small town. Everything goes from a terminal in Philly to a terminal in NJ, to the PO in the next town before coming out here. Perhaps somewhere along the way, they were waiting for a truck to fill up. Who knows? But I think Thistle may be onto something here.

    As for all the positive comments about the local letter carriers, I couldn't agree more heartily. It is in some ways, an awful job, yet day in and day out, they get it done. Well, mostly. Some days they just don't get to my street. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Oh well, we can live with that.

    @ Ryk, (post 31), Agreed. The tracking system was e problem here, not the deliveries. If the packages hadn't been to predicted to arrive when they were (in one case, a week before the actual delivery), I would not have been anxious about their arrival. And if the tracker had shown them checked in along the way, there would have been some sense of relief. One of the two packages in particular, never actually showed up on the radar screen after it left Kansas until it arrived very late in NJ.

    At Bratsche (post 40), also agreed. You have good stories. My best one is the registered envelope carrying a truck title that went missing for a week. Both PO's were looking for it. We got a call one evening from our letter carrier who got our phone number from a mutual friend (how they made that connection remains a mystery, but everybody knows everything in these rural areas and small towns) telling us that she had the flu and the letter was in her mail truck. As soon as she was well, she would deliver it. Imagine?!

    @ Jeff (post 36), I am glad you have had good success with the PO. As I said, our local carriers have been great. Our local UPS drivers likewise, in fact one is a woman from another fruit farm out my way that I watched grow up. Her family's farm and mine often cooperated over the years on things like fruit storage, trucking our produce, etc. We get great service from UPS. FedEx is a mixed bag. Seems they have several nearly independent divisions. Their new Ground Division driver is so bad, I don't even want him on the farm. I have stopped ordering from companies who will only ship FedEx Ground. Not too worried, though, he is bound to be fired soon. He really is that bad.

    So, I have the mandolin, which I will comment on elsewhere. I have the tuners, which are unbelievably nice and will be installed the first minute I get. Now, I really need to be in the orchard, so off I go.

    Thanks and best wishes,

    Bob
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  23. #43
    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    For what it’s worth, I believe that USPS does an admirable job under some adverse conditions. I don’t have numbers but I would venture to say that the volume of mail that is now handled by USPS is severely less than what it was 10 years ago and even more drastically less than what it was 20 years ago. Email, electronic bill paying, PayPal and similar services, websites that have done away with paper catalogs, and other electronic means of communication have cut the volume of physical mail. Add to that competition from UPS, FedEx, and other carriers, plus Amazon vertically integrating their own shipping business.

    With such a decrease in physical mail handled by USPS, there has to be a substantial decrease in the amount of income for the USPS. If I recall correctly, the USPS is a self-sufficient enterprise; it is not funded by tax dollars. So with a reduced income, they’re being forced to operate with a reduced work force. Per the table that’s provided in the below link, in 1997, the USPS had 797,000 employees; in 2018, they had 497,000. The USPS is probably having to minimize some of their operations or at least economize on the way it provides its services.

    https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/po...since-1926.pdf

    Anyway, we’re expecting USPS to have excellent service for our packages. I don’t know what the rate of lost/delayed/damaged packages is, but if we look at percentages against total volume, I’d expect it to be rather low. Nonetheless, it seems from many accounts that the USPS continues to do a pretty good job because it’s the preferred way of shipping for so many folks. As for me, I've had a couple of stressful moments with USPS, but overall I think they do a terrific job.

  24. #44
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Try not to go postal... but we do have a dysfunctional "acting" government at this moment and its many branches are suffocating for lack of permanent staff. Beyond that, all I can say is that ya' better mail now for holiday greetings!

  25. #45

    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    The wages have plummeted at the USPS for two decades and new delivery people are not that far above minimum wage ($15 here) and sorting is really hard in the time allowed. You get what you pay for. To be fair UPS and FedEx deliver our packages to other houses much more often.

    Glad your story ended well. I stayed home because an instrument was to be delivered from England and needed a signature. When I went out at 11AM there was the attempt to deliver notice, don't know how he got up my gravel driveway without my hearing him. So I'm cussing them a bit today and will have to go to the post office tomorrow.

    I'm pretty pumped. Started on tin whistle and they are holding my 19th century flageolet.
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  27. #46
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    It could be USPS incompetence, but given the absolutely abysmal and wholly unprecedented weather, it's entirely possible that it's that. We had to cancel three trips to Florida to pick up our new Airstream, ending up delayed by over 6 weeks, because of hurricane after tropical storm after tropical storm … and then nearly had to cancel again. I imagine that the weather in the SE and Midwest and NW has scrambled anything involving air and road transit.
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  29. #47
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    Garsh, USPS is my favorite carrier! UPS tosses my boxes, and FedEx takes one look at the stairs leading up to my house and drives off, marking my packages as "undeliverable".

  30. #48
    Registered User stevo58's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's up with USPS?

    My personal USPS story - ordered a mandolin from Kentucky, for delivery in Switzerland. Was shipped USPS. Clerk mistook Switzerland for Swaziland and it sat there for two months, phone calls ignored, until someone decided to look at the address instead of the bar code. Amazingly enough, it arrived (eventually) undamaged.

    DHL works great in Germany (the ‘D’ of DHL) but there is no handoff involved.

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