Just Griping

True story: On Monday I sent a payment for something in a regular-size envelope from a post office in southern Westchester County, New York — about three miles north of the Bronx — to an address on Long Island. And I wanted to be sure it arrived in a timely manner. So I sent it priority mail with delivery confirmation so I could track its progress on the USPS website.

According to the USPS website, the envelope was sent to a processing facility in Puerto Rico. I am informed it left Puerto Rico on Wednesday and is on route to the destination in Long Island. Timely sort of went out the window already. Sigh.

Update: The envelope was delivered this morning.

17 thoughts on “Just Griping

  1. Most of the time the PO works pretty well for me, but I had a similar problem a couple months ago. I ordered a book thru Amazon from a third party. After enough time went by, I checked the book’s progress in transit using the USPS tracking number the seller gave me & discovered that it had bounced around the country twice, getting within a 100 miles of its destination twice. It eventually made landfall, undamaged. I expected the barcode or my address label to be somehow mangled, but both seemed OK. And so something is screwy with the PO’s sorting system. At least you can peer into this system if you have a tracking number.

  2. Dear lord. Too bad your payment didn’t cash itself while in P.R., and pick you up a bottle of rum as a souvenir. Since it was going to arrive late anyway….

    I find that my Amazon purchases– both direct and third party– often arrive at my door before the USPS tracking system even gets wind of it.

  3. maha,
    Just be thankful it only went to PR. It could have been outsourced to Malaysia, Fiji, or China, where they could siphon off 3 cents off of every letter to help pay off our debt.

  4. I am not much of a mailer, but when I send things to Richmond from northern Virginia, it usually gets there the next day. I send it regular post with a tracker.
    If I mail it by mid afternoon it is usually in their mail box the next day.

  5. The Bronx is like Puerto Rico…

    Priority mail and tracking is just a gimmick for the post office to milk additional profits from their customers by selling illusions. It’s the same deal as paying a higher price for “Paint Thinner” than mineral spirits, or offering the choice between economy or deluxe dentures, or selling “Cockroach killer” instead of borax. The whole idea is to make people think they’re getting something more than what they are getting.

  6. I sent something priority mail and it did not get to where it was headed when promised. I went back and complained; and, the PO refunded the full amount I paid. Other than that, I find the US Postal Service is one of the best bargains in town.

  7. I pay in person when I can (Sears, electricity, newspaper, Time-Warner) and online when there is not a local office. USPS gets used for birthday cards.

  8. Swami, my uncle used to make watches for the long-dead Elgin Watch Company. They made the same watch but priced a bunch at $10, a bunch at $25, and a bunch at $50 so the stores would have a range of watch “quality” for their customers. This is a time-honored practice.

  9. Dave S and Swami, Toyota does the same thing with auto parts. The same part priced according to what car you are putting it in and what their demographic study says you would be willing to pay for it.

    I worked my way through college as a watchmaker many years ago. I was unaware of Elgin selling the same watch in several different faux “grades”. That’s interesting. Old timers told me that they made minor and unnecessary changes in parts and required watchmakers to purchase them in lots rather than individually. this drove the price of repair up and led people to suggest Waltham or Illinois instead. I guess such things come back to bite them sooner or later.

    I am generally pretty happy with the USPS, but we seem to be in a time when innovation has taken on a value apart from the benefit it returns. This gives rise to some absurdities, like a letter making a 3,000 mile loop before it is delivered or your pizza order being routed through someone in India. The codger in me begins to fret about the “technological singularlty.” I may be overreacting.

  10. Yes the postal service like most of the goverment doesn’t very well ever since the afrosocialistdespot took over, somehow this must be his fault. When will “we” get “our” country back!

  11. This is just another example of how overwhelming a competitor the Federal Government can be, and why it’s absolutely, completely, and totally unfair to have a public option, because once the Feds get involved in providing health insurance the private companies would be out-competed and dry up and die in a nano-second. 😉

  12. The postal service apparently decided several years ago that it would be more cost effective to end stamp cancellation and sorting in the individual offices in towns and to ship every piece of mail to one central processing facility. Remember how there are to drop slots, one for your local zip code and one for all others? Well now they drop into the same bin.

    Here in rural Vermont an envelope that I want sent 10 miles to the next town, is now sent by truck on a 175 mile round trip to White River Junction to have it’s stamp cancelled and sorted to come back to the town next door. Even more bizarre is that my letter to my neighbor a mile away would also be driven 175 miles instead of the one.

    And somehow the Postal Service thinks they save money doing this?

  13. Though it’s certainly suboptimal under some circumstances, I suspect that the bulk of mail isn’t local and for that this centralized setup makes sense. You lose out in the limited cases, but overall it’s more efficient for your average piece of mail.

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