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Tag Archives: Postal Service

There’s Something Odd Going On Here.

12 Sep

September 12, 2017

For many, many years, my building had the mail delivered by one regular postman. Other than his regular summer vacations, he was always here at about 1:oo. At some point his route changed and he started coming at 4:00, but whichever time he was supposed to be here, he was here.

He was really good and dependable. Packages were brought to our door and we knew him, and he knew us, by name and friendly greetings. Eventually he retired and of course for years now our mail service has sucked. He was probably the only good mailman in Brooklyn.

Everyone loves 1950’s clip art!

I’ve detailed before how packages get stolen in my building, letters don’t arrive, and the postal carrier shows up anywhere from noon to six pm. (But I will give him credit. Most of the mail ends up in the correct boxes, at least half of the time.)

But lately the mail has been showing up at close to 8 pm. This can’t be a regular route. What postal worker is out delivering mail at that hour?

And it gets odder. I’ve seen the mailman twice. Both times he was delivering the mail with an “assistant,” an older woman that has to be his wife. She doesn’t wear a uniform and takes mail out of a school knapsack.

Also, I get a service from the USPS. They email me pictures of my mail that is scheduled to be delivered that day. For a while it was spot on, now the letters in the email arrive about three days later. If at all.

So am I right in assuming that much of my mail is sitting in that guy’s living room, along with piles of other people’s mail that my carrier may never get to because he has fallen so far behind?

 

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United Parcel Service: Going Halfway Is OK By Us

10 Mar

March 10, 2014

mail innovations logo

The United Parcel Service (UPS) has a brilliant new delivery plan that is guaranteed to save them a fortune. It is ridiculously simple. They take your package and do not deliver it. Genius! They call it Mail Innovations and despite the name, it is not innovative. What other service does that? Why, the United States Post Office, that’s who!

And that’s the problem.

I ordered a book from Barnes and Noble on February 20th. As a member, I get free 1-3 day shipping. Great! So far, so good. This was a Thursday and on Friday the 21st I was informed by email that UPS had picked up my package and the estimated delivery was Monday, February 24th. When it did not arrive on Tuesday I followed the link they sent me and tracked it. Or to be more accurate, I tried to track it. The trail led to a dead end.

On Friday the 21st, the UPS not only picked up but delivered my book… to a US Post Office sorting facility in Staten Island, and not, as you would expect, my home in Brooklyn.  It turns out that UPS has a shipping service called Mail Innovations in which they pick up your package, zoom it across country, and deliver it not to you, but to your local post office, and they make the final delivery.

Sound stupid, right? I live in a large apartment building and UPS trucks stop here at a set time every day, sometimes twice a day. We are actually part of the UPS’ regular route.

And also, you may have realized that my local post office is not in Staten Island, another borough on the other side of Gravesend Bay, across the Verrazano Bridge, and most definitely not 8 blocks away.

Mail Innovations is an unholy alliance. UPS has generally been reliable, and the post office has been as dependable as your average election year promise. I always have trouble getting deliveries from them and usually go to the post office to complain. No good can come of Mail Innovations.

So when the book did not arrive on Tuesday I knew I had to go to the post office. I tracked the package on the post office site and they had the package arriving in Staten Island and, for the next three days, nothing. No movement. And on Wednesday, still no movement. This was four days of limbo, and so far I had been waiting five days for my guaranteed 1-3 day shipping. (I did not count Sunday.)

Average US Post Office facility.

Average US Post Office facility.

I went to the post office with a printout of the tracking, such as it was, and what did I learn? Nothing. They looked all over the post office and it was not there. They then sent me to the automated machine to track it and it spit out the same information- nothing for three days. This was, I must tell you, the same information they found when they looked it up themselves.  They then told me to call an 800 number and I could get more information.

No I could not. The 800 number was automated and even less help then the post office tools. I then wrote a complaint on the website, sent an email to my local post office to complain, and lo and behold, the next day all kinds of shipping info became available. None of it good. After it finally left Staten Island, it arrived in Brooklyn, bounced around three different zip codes and two sorting facilities, and twice was in a nearby (but not my zip code) post office before bouncing away to the edges of the borough.

And then, on Saturday, March 1st, over a week after it left UPS and was handed over to the post office, my guaranteed 1-3 day delivery package was delivered to me.

Mail Innovations, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. And as usual, the US Post Office is the weakest link.

Thanks a lot UPS.

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