Friday, January 15, 2021

USPS is failing me

Right after Christmas, I ordered a couple of items with Christmas money. And I'm still waiting for them to arrive. 

Both were sent United [sic] States Postal Service. Both have tracking numbers, but...

One apparently disappeared into the USPS system immediately after leaving the Denver distribution center, and the other has been criss-crossing the country, coast to coast, ever since it shipped. It got as close as Dallas twice, but then passed me by and ended up on the other side of the country again. Seriously, it doesn't stop going one direction until it bounces off the coastline, when it just changes direction like a very slow game of Pong. (Update: 1-15-2021-- It is back in Dallas again. Third time now. Where will it go next?)

Neither case seems to be the seller's fault in any way. 

In fact, one (Wazoo Survival Gear- not a paid link) was nice enough to ship out a replacement after I gave them a head's up that their package seems to have disappeared somewhere between Denver and here. I wasn't expecting them to do that, I just wanted to let them know there might be a problem. (Update: 1-15-2021-- The original shipment arrived today, and I immediately emailed to let them know and offer to pay for the replacement if it's too late to cancel it.)

So I don't blame the sellers. I blame the USPS.

Yes, I understand "Covid blah blah blah...". Delays, unprecedented volume, etc. But this isn't a delay, it is incompetence. Stuff is staying in the system far longer than necessary, taking up more of their employees' limited time. No real business could be this incompetent and stay in business. 

The local USPS employees are nice and helpful, but the USPS as a system is everything wrong with a big (semi)government bureaucracy. No real accountability being one big problem.

The holsters I have reviewed come from Slovakia and arrive faster, but they are shipped by a non-government business. And I got something else that was shipped through FedEx and it got here in 2 days. What a difference being a real business makes.

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  1. I have had similar problems with receiving recent orders during the end of year/ holiday season but mine were attributed to the irresponsibility of private entities and non-government delivery systems. Of course the now universal excuse is “covid” but given that the deleterious consequences of that are primarily due to government over reactions, not specifically from the illness itself, I suppose I can’t really lay the blame on the virus. Just symptomatic of a general societal collapse perhaps? Because it seems that this temporal bottleneck in delivery efficiency is predictably seasonal: and in spite of that, never seems to be successfully adjusted to, I intend to implement a complete hiatus on any orders after November 30th until January 15th in the future to try and escape the frustration and disappointment that appears inevitable during this time.

    1. This is the first year I've noticed a delay of more than a couple of days. This time, things that were supposed to arrive on January 4 have either shown up on the 15th or not at all (yet).

  2. I get a lot of stuff by mail (I hate physical shopping and avoid it when possible), and USPS seems to have gone completely haywire in early December. I've had packages that should have taken 2-3 days ("Priority Mail") take more than a week (I'm awaiting one at 9 days as of today).

    Based on the timing, I do have one hypothesis:

    Perhaps USPS used up its budget for overtime on the "OMG, what if mail ballots run late" thing, then a bigger than usual "online holiday shopping" season hit (because more people wanted to avoid physical stores due to COVID fear), and things just fell apart and still aren't back together.

    And the funny thing is, the big go-to excuse for the postal monopoly on "first class mail" -- that the private sector couldn't profitably deliver to "remote" rural addresses -- is pretty much completely shot now. Not only DO UPS, FedEx, Amazon et al. deliver out in the sticks, but probably 95% of the crap that shows up in my mailbox is junk mail.

    FedEx is happy to deliver the stuff that requires signature (legal papers and such), most of the rest could be done by email or phone, and if print magazines survive I expect a private delivery mechanism would jump into any market gap created by the USPS disappearing.

    1. Almost everything has always taken at least a day longer than USPS's target date to get to me. Off the beaten path and all that. So, for most things, it's usually 4 to 5 days for anything I expect to get from anywhere. I'm used to it. You'd think they would have adjusted their estimates over the years, though.

      But this is getting ridiculous.

      My dad blames the mail in ballot thing. I suspect it may be more that they can get away with doing a poor job now by blaming Covid, so they do.