Tag: ups

Why UPS and Fedex are kicking the USPS’ ass

We received a notice from our mail carrier last month, on January 18. They “made an attempt to deliver a package.” I question the attempt, since I was home all day due to the weather, and by the time the mail was delivered, I had cleared the walk and driveway – but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and pretend they actually made an effort instead of just driving by with the package in the truck.

The notice gave me two options – I could go down to the local post office and pick it up after the 19th, or request redelivery. Since the post office in question is not open when I can usually get there, and is horribly slow and understaffed, I went online to request redelivery. Their site says “For same day service, online requests must be submitted by 2AM CST Monday – Saturday.” Fine, so I put in my request on the 18th, request redelivery on the 19th, and all should be well, I should get my package on the 19th.

Had that been the case, you wouldn’t be reading this.

I get home on the 19th, check the front steps where I requested the package be left. No package, although UPS left some. I go check the USPS website and find an update has been made to my request. It’s at the local post office and will be redelivered on the 20th.

Obviously, it wasn’t.

I wait a few days, and finally, on the 25th, I can get down to the local post office and pick it up – I figure by now, it’s got to be back there since it’s been a week since the first attempt. I talk to their counter person, who tells me its not there and its not his fault. Odd that this is practically the first thing he says. He says that the people who the USPS contracted out to run their redelivery system have no idea how the post office actually works. “Maybe the package is out on the truck today,” he offers. Turns out that my local post office doesn’t have carriers, so when they receive a redelivery request, they have to send the package back to the main postal center downtown to have it reinserted into the mail stream.

January 31. Still no package nor any further updates, no new slips… nothing. The walk has been clear most days. I decide to call the USPS and find out what’s going on. They have a voice response system. It’s horribly slow – not sure if it’s always that slow, or if it’s just a today thing. I do finally get an actual person after repeating operator over and over. And to their credit, the gentleman I spoke with was very nice. Useless, as they don’t have any information about the package. But at least he was nice. He said they showed it would have gone to a different station – the one downtown. So either they gave me the wrong form or gave him the wrong information. I call the number for the station he gave me. It went to one postal employee’s voicemail. I left a detailed message with the slip number and my phone number. I honestly don’ expect a response.

Finally, February 2. THe package arrives. No call back from the person whose number I called, which is about par for what I would expect.

TL;DR: From the evidence I’ve seen, they made an attempt to deliver on the 18th and then let it sit for over 2 weeks until I finally starting tracking it myself. UPS or FedEx would have been here every day until it got delivered and told me what was going on. I can’t imagine that next time I need to ship something, I’ll consider the Post Office at all.

Not Going Postal

The other day I had to ship a package – stuff my mother-in-law left here from her visit. We had it all boxed up and ready to go, so I took it with me to run some errands. At first, I thought I’d just go to the post office – but when I walked in, I changed my mind. Instead, I went to the UPS Store which was somewhat out of the way for the day’s itinerary.

First thing was that the post office wasn’t clear on whether I could just use the box I had or would I have to buy a new box? I know from previous experience, what would happen if I had to buy a new box – back to the end of the line. I also noticed there wasn’t any tape out there, although they had some to sell. So again, not sure if they would help me out or make me buy a roll. (I’ve had experiences both ways, so it was a bit of a crapshoot). Third was just the general look of the Post Office – it looked like no one actually cared. Industrial grey walls, superficially organized but not really once you actually went into depth, and employees who didn’t really seem to care. I know that not every post office is like this, but this one was on that day.

So I went off to the less convenient UPS store. Walked in, gave my unsealed box to the guy, he took the address information and gave me a price. Done. I didn’t have to worry about boxing it up, supplies, or anything. They just took care of it. Needless to say, I’m not planning to bother with trying the Post Office next time I have to send something out.

When I got home, I went to the USPS website. Turns out that it would have cost me a buck more to ship it with them.

This isn’t meant as a criticism of the Post Office specifically. Honestly, it didn’t matter to me which way I sent it – it’s all about what is going to require the least effort for me. In that light, the message is probably this:

Don’t make it harder for me to want to give your business money.

It’s no surprise to me that the post office is considering dropping a day of delivery and raising rates. Their roots are government based, and it shows – there’s no effort to be customer-service oriented. At least not that day at that location.