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View Full Version : A rant, The US Postal Service



J. Dillon
12-05-2010, 06:12 PM
It sucks. :mad: Recently I have many negative experiences like an undelivered gift to my daughter gone missing.:mad::mad: Getting damaged torn envelopes,opened magazines. A friend had a certified check gone astray but resolved after much financial loss.

As a result I intend to make little use of it's services and come into the 21st century. All my Christmas cards will be home made ones and sent vial E mail.Y>

What's been your experiences ?

Pissed in CT

JD

S.V. Airlie
12-05-2010, 06:15 PM
I agree..Had real trouble with the local. Finally took my business to Hadlyme. The lady there is great and very helpful.

Larry P.
12-05-2010, 06:16 PM
Varied experience here. Sometimes great sometimes bad. The worst/funniest was when I was expecting some mail from Albany it never came. After six months it arrived. The back of the envelope was covered in post marks from Haiti of all places.

J. Dillon
12-05-2010, 06:18 PM
The people up front in my experience are pretty good, but is seems after that, the behind the counter activities leave much to be desired.

JD

S.V. Airlie
12-05-2010, 06:38 PM
The worst one was dealing with the Post Office Service in Md. My house was broken into one day when I sailing in Maine. The local sheriff ( I assume ) asked the PO to hold my mail as he, the sheriff, was not sure whether I had been robbed. Logical. There was an expiration date in Sept. to resume delivery on that mail but the mail was constantly sent back to the addressee. As weeks went by I never got mail on Thursday ( the temp's day ) I never got bank statements bills etc. I complained over and over to everyone. My local PO, the carrier, you name it. No help, Just a shrug. it was just my fault. This went on for a year. Finally received a letter or a phone call from a boatyard saying my mail had been returned. I asked them to send it special delivery to get the bar code. Took the bar code to the PO and gave it to them. Three days later, my usual carrier came and apologized as there had been a screw up. The expiration on the " hold" was overlooked. Started to get my mail on Thursday finally but it took 12 months.

elf
12-05-2010, 07:07 PM
Both of the POs I've used in the last 20 years have been wonderful. Of course, that's what one would expect from Woods Hole, but even in North Falmouth I have never had a problem and have had much sensible treatment.

htom
12-05-2010, 07:29 PM
It just depends. Some of the US Post Office service has been great, some has been beyond horrid. Small towns, but large enough to have their own post office, seem to have had the fewest problems, but that's a very small sample, and has as much to do with large cities having had many problems. If it's good, fine; if you or your neighbors are having problems, or the destination is having problems, consider other means for time or/and delivery critical items.

Milo Christensen
12-05-2010, 07:30 PM
The United States Postal Service is fantastic. $12.50 for 12x12x5.5 "if it fits, it ships" Priority Mail Support the Troops Box. 7 days to a remote FOB in Afghanistan.

I love the USPS, and used to make a lot, we're talking a lot of money, saving my customers money by printing and addressing automation compatible direct mail pieces. $5k for a postnet code printer connected to an old mac running cd based zip+4 addressing software, $100+/hour, hour after hour after hour. Load the printer, turn and work on another mac. Not to mention the design, the printing, the list maintenance charges. And the customers paid me for the mail list added value services from their savings on postage.

I love the way the Postal Service works with Netflix. Sit down at the computer, select a list of films, one arrives in the mail in a day or two, watch it, put it in the mailbox, another one comes in 3 or 4 days. Two movies a week for $9.99 a month all I have to do is walk to the mailbox, which I do every day anyway.

leikec
12-05-2010, 07:36 PM
I've done a lot of shipping with the post office, UPS, and FedEx. The post office isn't perfect, but I prefer it to UPS or FedEx for the type of shipping I do.

Jeff C

Gonzalo
12-05-2010, 07:45 PM
Occasional folded or slightly torn magazines and sometimes longish lines at the post office are the only problems I've ever had with USPS. To be fair, I've never had a problem with UPS or FedEx, either.

TerryLL
12-05-2010, 07:52 PM
I relied entirely on the USPS when operating a mail-order business out of Alaska. Over the course of 20-plus years and thousands of shipments, they only lost two, both insured, and they paid for both. No complaints, except the waiting in line.

John Smith
12-05-2010, 07:53 PM
I have to begin this with my experience of UPS mis-delivering a package to my home. It was not mine, and it was not addressed to me or my address. I called them several times, and the NEVER came to pick it up to redeliver it to the addressee. I found the addressee and got the package to her.

I worked for the Postal Service for 32 years. I saw the good side and the bad side of automation. The good side was that it kept the price of a stamp down, as the machines actually read and sorted mail directly into delivery sequence. Among the down sides were that some letters seemed to develop a static charge and stick to the letter in front of them, and they would go wherever that letter was addressed. We had something else that we called the "loop" Let's suppose a piece of mail was supposed to go to Millburn, NJ, but had the mistake of havng Montclair, NJ's zip code. The machines would read the zip and send the mail to Montclair.

Here is where management dropped the ball. Unless the bar code printed by the machine that had read the wrong zip code was crossed out with a heavy marker, the machine woulld re-read the bar code and the letter would return to Montclair. Management failed to communicate this with the workers, so this missent mail simply got put into the missent slot and went out with the outgoing mail that night.

Similarly, if the mail arrived with no postage, it would be marked up "Returned for Postage", but, if the bar code written by the machine wasn't crossed out, it's coming back. Much of this mail could easily spend weeks in this loop simply because the bar code was not crossed out.

It's worth noting that crossing out barcodes consumed 8 hours a day, as we received, in Montclair, close to 200,000 letters daily, and close to 10% had our zip written in error on letters bound for other cities.

Then, of course, there was another downside. There were a few pieces of mail every day that simply got torn up by the machinery.

Mail that came from businesses who ran it through postage meters frequently had two or three letters go through the meter together, so the flap on the outer one folded over the others, and it got postage, the others did not, but the three of them would go through the system as one thick letter, sometimes all the way to that letter's addressee.

The percentage of mail that was properly addressed, with proper postage, that failed to get delivered in a timely manner was truly miniscule. In transporting mail across the country, the Postal Service is not immuned to traffic jams, closed airports, or hi-jacked planes.

brad9798
12-05-2010, 07:54 PM
USPS is one of the most amazing institutions this country has EVER seen ... sorry to disagree with you, JD!

J. Dillon
12-05-2010, 08:07 PM
Well it's good to hear so many positive experiences especially the explanation given by John Smith. It could restore my faith in the system ...but I think I will wait until the coming holidays are over.|;)

BTW are they solvent ?

JD

brad9798
12-05-2010, 08:09 PM
Not so sure they are solvent ... :(

Stan D
12-05-2010, 08:13 PM
I would go one step further and say it is the best in the world. The are always an exception or two, stuff happens. And continually bad service should not be tolerated. If the local postmaster can't solve an ongoing issue, bump it over his head to the state level. But it is still the cheapest postal service in the world, and IMHO, the best.

Fitz
12-05-2010, 08:16 PM
I saw a clip recently on TV. Some scientific types rigged a few packages with equipment to record damage enroute. They sent the package via USPS, UPS, and Fedex to the west coast and back to NYC.

Results:

USPS showed least damage, followed by UPS, and then Fedex.

If you mark your package "FRAGILE", all bets are off.

Fitz.

Rich Jones
12-05-2010, 08:26 PM
My son has worked for them for the past four years. It's amazing how seriously they take the job. Even junk mail is sacred. I never would have thought it so.
But, even more modern automation is coming online this year which will cause lay-offs. He's very worried about his future. Not the greatest job in the world, but in this economy, it's still a job!

John Smith
12-05-2010, 08:27 PM
Well it's good to hear so many positive experiences especially the explanation given by John Smith. It could restore my faith in the system ...but I think I will wait until the coming holidays are over.|;)

BTW are they solvent ?

JD

I don't know quite how to respond. When Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act, it had some strange things in it. The postal service is supposed to break even; it can't make a profit. Since then it has been supported by postage, with the exception of subsidies for non profit mailers and for the blind who mail for free. I've never been quite sure what happens if they do make a profit, but I'm aware they've had shortfalls and have gone to Congress for help. The act also made the procedure, which I've long since forgotten the specifics of, for raising rates rather complex and time consuming, so that a rate increase that makes sense today, is insufficient by the time it gets approved.

During the later years of my employment, everyone expected the fax machines, and then email, would dramatically cut down volume. Reasonalbe assumptions, but wrong. Volume continued to grow. People still in a position to know tell me that volume has now dropped for a couple of years, as if the fax, email, paying bills online, etc. has finally caught up.

Truth be told, if we are honest with ourselves, we are hard pressed to think of anything that's given us better service for a more reasonable rate over the years than has the post office. Lest you think the job they do is easy, I suggest you get a map of the continental United States, mark the airports, and then figure out a system that picks up a letter anywhere and delivers it two anywhere, almost always within two days.

bobbys
12-05-2010, 08:32 PM
I live in a small town and the PO is contracted out.

The lady running it was cheating and got caught.

They hushed it up fast..

Amazing a guy gets a drunk driving ticket and his name is front page news, A person embezzles from the PO nothing gets heard about it.

Being a vacation town for the rich she sucked up to the rich folks and treated the blue collar folks with disdain.

What she did not count on was cheap rich folks figuring out a dime difference on mail packages..

A new person came in and seems to be running things well, My street is the only street with delivery everyone else has a PO box..

My grandfather was a Mailman in Clifton NJ, spent 6 years on temp during the depression to get the job, He taught me write very clear with return address and proper zip code..

What i do not understand is we put up the red flag on the mailbox to have the mailman pick up outgoing mail and they only figure it out half the time?.

Hello, the flag is up and there are letters in there..

Other then that one must remember Mailmen control information{Newman}

John Smith
12-05-2010, 08:35 PM
My son has worked for them for the past four years. It's amazing how seriously they take the job. Even junk mail is sacred. I never would have thought it so.
But, even more modern automation is coming online this year which will cause lay-offs. He's very worried about his future. Not the greatest job in the world, but in this economy, it's still a job!

Tis the season, as they say. Unless you have been there to have seen it, you cannot come close to imagining what the Christmas mail looked like. When I first worked there, we had a "peak". Usually a day abut 10 days before Christmas. More mail than we could handle. Took several days of lots of overtime to catch up. Years of "Mail early" advertising spread it out to more managable volume per day. Automation helped more than most realize. If we had to hand sort all the mail when I retired, a first class stamp would likely be $5.

To be accurate, my office, during a normal day as I approached retirement, had approximate 200,000 letters a day come in for delivery. Perhaps 10% of those did not belong in Montclair, but out of that ten percent, virtually all of them were improperly addressed, usually the zip was wrong. Very few pieces of mail that were properly addressed were misdelivered.

Nationwide, volume was billions of pieces of mail a year. Clost to 200 billion pieces, if memory serves me.

John Smith
12-05-2010, 08:37 PM
I live in a small town and the PO is contracted out.

The lady running it was cheating and got caught.

They hushed it up fast..

Amazing a guy gets a drunk driving ticket and his name is front page news, A person embezzles from the PO nothing gets heard about it.

Being a vacation town for the rich she sucked up to the rich folks and treated the blue collar folks with disdain.

What she did not count on was cheap rich folks figuring out a dime difference on mail packages..

A new person came in and seems to be running things well, My street is the only street with delivery everyone else has a PO box..

My grandfather was a Mailman in Clifton NJ, spent 6 years on temp during the depression to get the job, He taught me write very clear with return address and proper zip code..

What i do not understand is we put up the red flag on the mailbox to have the mailman pick up outgoing mail and they only figure it out half the time?.

Hello, the flag is up and there are letters in there..

Other then that one must remember Mailmen control information{Newman}

The post office is like all human endeavors, public, private, or elected. All of them have people who are dedicated, people who are incompetent, and people who are thieves.

bobbys
12-05-2010, 08:40 PM
The post office is like all human endeavors, public, private, or elected. All of them have people who are dedicated, people who are incompetent, and people who are thieves..

How come Yogi never writes me back?

brad9798
12-05-2010, 09:19 PM
When bad stuff happens, one only needs to look to their personal ZIP code Post Master ... it's all about how a branch is managed!

Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-05-2010, 09:22 PM
I get most of my stuff from the states USPS. So far so good, and that's crossing a border too. UPS is a total nightmare, but Fedex is okay... I have an account with them for items that would be a problem for the post office.

John Smith
12-06-2010, 01:16 PM
JD...

I get same treatment of damaged mail, opened envelopes, missing magazines..

I griped at postal carriers

then I personally went down to main post office, and tell them about the issues...

Only replies I've gotten outta them is... they're having some problem with sorting room..

I yelled "Bull hockey, your carrier(s) has been taking mails home, reading through them.. and the mail get delivered to wrong address.."

Then next few days I see different mail carrier each day..

Ya know, those mail sorting facilities hires temporary helps during peak holiday season..
as saying goes "Too many hands in the pot, ruin the soup!"

Over my career, back when we had outside drops where the parcel post truck would drop bundles of mail in relay boxes or on specific porches, we had a couple of carriers who put together a drop for their own porch. When they got home, they hit it in their basement. Finally got caught and fired. We has a religious zealot who through a month's shipment of Playboy magazines into the brook next door. We had a clerk caught stealing from Reverend Ike envelopes.

When, in 1969 we moved into a new building and moved the furniture from the old building, we found a dozen or so pieces of mail that had fallen into places out of eyesight; one was from, I believe, 1924.

Postal service is like every other job done by a bunch of people. Then, of course, the only people who never make any mistakes are the people who don't do anything.

During my last few years, although I was a clerk, I can say the carriers were becoming the most over worked and underpayed people I could think of. It was like management stayed up late night figuring out how to make them miserable.

If I may give an example from the other side of the counter. Somehow I got the phone call from an extremely irate customer who's sister had mailed her something Express Mail from Florida two days ago and she hadn't gotten it. If she didn't get it today, the tickets would be useless. She had some choice words for me. I asked her if she was absolutely sure her sister had mailed them, but also explained, as nicely as I possibly could, that if they were mailed when claimed, there is a refund due for the cost of the postage, but we need the proper documentation. Her sister would have a receipt showing date and time mailed, etc.....

Turned out the sister hadn't mailed them until the day OF the conert, and they got to Montclair the day after.

Another thing you cannot believe is meter dates. Many companies put "today's" date on their metered mail, then drop it in the corner mail box AFTER the post office has collected it.

paladin
12-06-2010, 03:36 PM
From the other side of the coin....a little bit.

I don't have an American Bank account, I don't write checks, and use cash or debit card with a corresponding bank. Each month I pay utilities etc with the debit card, and get $2k in cash. If I need to send someone money, it's usually cash, 40-60 dollars at a time, u.s. mail in an envelope with a couple pieces of paper around it. Two months or so ago I sent 3 people a total of $550, 12 envelopes spread over 3 weeks, 1/3rd of it disappeared en route. Other correspondence went thru untouched. The same with money orders to three different parts of the country.

cs
12-06-2010, 03:42 PM
I've not had any problems with USPS and that is how I ship all of my E-bay stuff and that is what I used to ship from overseas back home.

UPS on the other hand likes to ship illegal drugs to your house.

Chad

paladin
12-06-2010, 04:07 PM
Hey, Chad....maybe that was initiated by UPS.......