So the USPS 3 day priority mail is a BEST EFFORT ESTIMATE?

What the ever loving hell? Shipped a package down to North Carolina last Wednesday. Package cleared RI postal within 3 hours of acceptance and went into Raleigh. Raleigh tossed it to Greensboro, NC at 10:13AM on Friday. And then the package SAT in Greensboro until this morning.

The postal service in the south ain’t shit. Up here as I said – From acceptance to outbound was 3 hours. Down there it sits for 3 days. This jibes with a study I participated in several years ago. It was a mail accuracy study and at the end the results were shared with all participants. The northeast and west coast handled mail like nobodies business. The south sucked even then and it hasn’t gotten any better.

So I call USPS about this 5 to 6 day 3 day package. That’s when I found out it’s a best effort to meet three days. But it’s pretty clear the package sat in Greensboro, NC from Friday morning until this morning. What the fuck?

Wherein USPS Screws the Pooch

So we tried to get a package down to North Carolina in time for Mother’s day. Sent it out via USPS on Wednesday. Now following the track the problem isn’t with the local USPS, here’s how it went:

May 6, 2015 , 8:40 pm

Departed USPS Facility

May 6, 2015 , 6:55 pm

Arrived at USPS Origin Facility

May 6, 2015 , 5:40 pm

Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility


Now the package was handed to a postman and went into the local post office at 5:40PM. By 6:55PM it was at the main Sectional Sort facility and then departed at 8;40PM

It apparently spent two days getting to Raleigh, North Carolina, finally arriving in at 2:54AM. And then out the door but to Greensboro at 4:18AM. It arrived in Greensboro on the 8th at 10:13AM. And that’s the last status update USPS has for the package.

They say it will be delivered today which is FOUR days, not the THREE promised. But as yet the package hasn’t arrived.

They do say that Christmas and Mother’s Day are the two busiest times for USPS. But really – it shouldn’t fall down like this.

The incompetence of UPS

So my package that they couldn’t deliver. They set it up so I have to pick it up between the 9th and 15th. But I told them that was unacceptable. They set it up anyhow.

So I talked to the vendor – they’re pretty much hamstrung by UPS but they shipped me a new pair of Stablicers via SurePost. This is the one where UPS hands off to the postal service. In other words another parasitic layer in the shipment process.

But the thing is the postal service delivers. UPS does not.

Where USPS can’t find a PO Box that exists

So I’ve been trying to send a piece of mail to a PO Box in Cranston, RI. Shouldn’t be too difficult. My zip is 02909, the PO Box is in 02910. By pure numerical order it’s right next door.

But get this – the destination post office REJECTED it saying Addressee Unknown. Uh – the PO Box was CLEARLY printed on the envelope. But the routing is weird – it went 02909 –> 02904 –> 02907 –> 02910. That’s some pretty inefficient routing guys! But better note the top few lines – Shrewsbury, MA! that must be the mail piece coming back to me.

I think the problem is the 02907 facility – it sorts mail for 02905, 02907 and 02910. I think they’re mistakenly marking it in some way as non-existent even though according to USPS web site the PO Box exists in 02910. Submitting complaints online gets my LOCAL post office calling me explaining all this. There is obviously a problem in the sort chain though.

And the only reason I have the tracking is the last one I sent using regisered/return receipt requested. So I get full track on it.

Come on USPS – my next tactic is to send a parcel with track. That should be interesting to see if there’s any difference in their sorting – in fact I know there will be. But if it gets to the PO Box I just start sending Priority flat packs from now on.

But all of this sort of exposes something I hadn’t really thought about. The modern post office is just slightly a cluster fuck.

January 25, 2014 , 11:08 am

Processed through USPS Sort Facility


January 24, 2014

Depart USPS Sort Facility


January 24, 2014 , 4:25 pm

Processed through USPS Sort Facility


January 23, 2014 , 10:42 am

Addressee Unknown


January 21, 2014 , 8:53 am

Out for Delivery


January 21, 2014 , 8:43 am

Sorting Complete


January 21, 2014 , 8:07 am

Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility


January 21, 2014 , 8:02 am

Arrival at Unit


January 19, 2014

Depart USPS Sort Facility


January 18, 2014 , 10:50 pm

Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility


January 18, 2014 , 11:14 am



UPS and Fedex don’t know logistics

At least not logistics planning.
But the United States Postal Service is the real deal. I’ll explain why.

I ordered a bunch of toys and stuff for Keyron’s mom on Amazon. Because I haven’t signed up for Amazon Prime I chose USPS shipping. All items were ordered/shipped between December 14th and December 19th. All packages arrived WELL before Christmas eve. Even the package shipped on the 19th got there on the 24th. No problems. And I love USPS – you can buy the postage online plus they even GIVE you the shipping boxes and in addition you can schedule pickup. That’s a service, one you wouldn’t get from UPS or Fedex unless you’ve a good sized business.

So give the Postal Service a boost – whenever you have to have something shipped to you or you’re shipping, use the Postal Service.

For packages, you can’t beat the United States Postal Service

So every month or so we send a care package down to the Mother In Law. Usually it’s coffee beans and a personal care product.

Two Christmases ago we got her a nice new stainless steel coffee pot and a coffee grinder. We have now created a monster.

Now we had been scaring up boxes, going to the post office, paying $16 to ship, etc. But I realized, you can order shipping supplies like boxes from USPS and they deliver them to you.

Great – now I head over to the USPS web site, click on Ship a Package and from there it’s simply pack the box, tape it up and affix the label your print on your own printer. Then you just bring it to the post office and drop it off. Pretty simple.

But even better – you can schedule a pickup. So this time out I did so. The post man just picked it up about fifteen minutes ago. And there’s no fee for the pickup.

So the boxes are free, the pickup is free, but the best part? Because I used a Medium shipping box and 3 day service what normally goes for $16+ was $11.30 and that also includes free tracking.

A lot of people don’t know about the extent of USPS services. I watched a neighbor one time loading a bunch of Priority Mail packages in his car. I mentioned that USPS does pickup. Needless to say now they pick his up all the time too.

USPS needs to do a better job promoting the service because it’s a very convenient and valuable service that they provide, particularly for parcel post.

Even USPS Drops the Ball Sometimes

I had ordered an external handset for my phone. Trying to type on the computer and lean on the phone is an exercise in contortion. And I don’t like using a speakerphone in a noisy environment.

It was ordered and shipped on the 26th of July. Ten days ago.

I checked the status and saw this:

       Undeliverable as Addressed

Looking up postal rules if there’s anything munged on the address, particularly the Zip code it goes back to sender.

Now normally when I get packages they go through the 02904 Sectional Sort Facility and to my post office at 02909. This time it routed to 02903 which is downtown Providence and the annex office there. Weird.

I checked with the vendor – they shipped to the correct address.

So this was a USPS fuck up. I know exactly why it happened.

If you look at your telephone note the order of numbers:

1  2  3

4  5  6

7  8  9

 *  0 #

And a calculator or computer is:

7  8  9

4  5  6

1  2 3



You see where I’m going, someone fat fingered the zip code and sent my package on an odyssey through the U.S. Postal system. Last update was on the 3rd so I’ll check later today and see what happened to the package.