The Peculiar Paradox of the US Post Office

Jim Day USPS Cartoon

I never would have guessed when I bought postage online and chose to receive tracking at USPS.com that they would be so anal – this is the polar opposite of the service I receive at my local post offices. At the latter, the attitude of most of the clerks ranges from downright surly to nonchalant to inept. At one post office in particular, something is always broken – whether it is one of two Self-Service stations or the one drop box that you are supposed to use if you opted for the Self-Service stations. And the line is nearly always out the door. So I avoid using the counter at all costs and for eBay shipments, always buy postage through them.

My older sister’s birthday is on April 6 – the Big 60! So I decided to put together a little birthday package and ship it to her in Boca Raton, Fla. She just told our mom that the postal service is pretty poor down there and that her mail delivery is unreliable at best. She lives in one of those condo buildings with common balconies – kind of reminiscent of cheap motels of the 1970s. So I thought I better play it safe and opt for tracking notices for shipping and delivery. What a freakin’ mistake that was. Unlike the local post office, USPS.com is so anal that I have received a blow-by-blow account of the package’s wherabouts. I believe that I checked off this option for my sister’s email as well. And for some reason, I have received duplicates for every stage of this delivery, so I am already up to 24 emails and this bloody thing has not yet arrived at my sister’s door! I am surprised I haven’t been apprised of the mail carriers taking coffee and potty breaks.

One of the birthday items in the parcel is a gag gift that I found – a vintage Florida-themed mug that was customized with her name! Now what was the chance of finding something like that for my sister – who just moved to Florida a few months ago! I am expecting that the next notice I receive will be one from USPS.com stating that as the mail carrier approached my sister’s door and attempted delivery, she grabbed the box and threw it over the balcony, mug shattering into pieces on the way down. I cannot say I would blame her – if indeed she received the same emails I did, her appreciation for my present (which also includes a nice gift card for her favorite clothes store) would have dissipated into utter annoyance!

Heed my warning – do NOT choose shipping tracking notices if you use USPS.com (especially for the recipient), unless you enjoy being inundated by a blow-by-blow account of your parcel’s trajectory from post office to disgruntled recipient! 

Out for Delivery BOCA RATON, FL 33433 April 4, 2014 9:30 am
Sorting Complete BOCA RATON, FL 33433 April 4, 2014 9:20 am
Arrival at Post Office BOCA RATON, FL 33433 April 4, 2014 5:37 am
Depart USPS Sort Facility WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33416 April 3, 2014
Processed through USPS Sort Facility WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33416 April 3, 2014 8:56 pm
Depart USPS Sort Facility MIAMI, FL 33112 April 3, 2014
Processed through USPS Sort Facility MIAMI, FL 33112 April 2, 2014 9:34 pm
Depart USPS Sort Facility ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL 60007 April 1, 2014
Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL 60007 April 1, 2014 5:08 pm
Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility PALATINE, IL 60067 April 1, 2014 3:53 pm
Acceptance PALATINE, IL 60067 April 1, 2014 1:14 pm
Electronic Shipping Info Received   March 31, 2014

 

Mail Delivered

And guess what, the message below states that I will continue to receive these damn emails for up to 2 weeks – I certainly hope that once my sister throws this off the balcony, these emails will cease and desist.

Future activity will continue to be emailed for up to 2 weeks from the Date of Request shown above. If you need to initiate the Track & Confirm by email process again at the end of the 2 weeks, please do so at the USPS Track & Confirm web site at http://www.usps.com/shipping/trackandconfirm.htm.

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