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Suggestions, Ideas how can we help the USPS?

Over the years I have been fortunate not to have issues with my US mail but sadly this year I have had two pretty big issues. In March I sent a document certified mail; the business was notified by post card that the letter was available for pick up but when requesting the mail in person it was no where to be found.  I looked up the tracking number and wrote letters to the post masters it went through and social media may have been involved and it was eventually found. 

On Wednesday 12/2/2020 I ordered my mail like I have for almost 21 years and usually received within 3-5 days depending where we were parked. I tracked the piece number online to follow its progress and subsequently received 3 texts saying it would arrive late on 12/5, then 12/7 and then 12/8 and today I still have not received it. I love technology and appreciate the tracking service but wonder what are they tracking and how are they scanning it?  I submitted an online request today to find my mail https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/ Fingers crossed I will hear something back.

This past summer the RV park we stayed in had numerous complaints with the local post office.  Knock on wood I didn't experience  an issue there but did look into it to see what could be done.  Turns out the older rural RV Park location was assigned subcontractors which changed frequently requiring constant retraining to deliver to the park's central boxes.  For packages the larger boxes were missing keys so the delivery person didn't use them and just took them back to the post office and sent a post card saying there was a package for pickup. Then with the influx of mail in October the mail carrier usually delivering around 2pm was not arriving till after dark and no one checked on the lighting in the box area.  I submitted a request to the park management to check  on the security and lighting in the area as well as the legibility of the aged and worn box numbers on the mail carriers side.  Changes were initiated and the mail carrier was most appreciative they we were trying to help them help us and issues seemed to have diminished.

We take our mail service for granted and sadly the USPS has been operating in the red for the past 13 years? I am sure that is not good for morale and short of completely privatizing the service or going to 5 days a week so mail routes would have the same carriers each week, I don't know how it could be saved?

But in the mean time I would love to hear suggestions to help the USPS. With Escapees traveling all over the US and elsewhere, what have your found in your travels that has improved your mail delivery?

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16 minutes ago, Velos said:

...We take our mail service for granted and sadly the USPS has been operating in the red for the past 13 years? I am sure that is not good for morale and short of completely privatizing the service or going to 5 days a week so mail routes would have the same carriers each week, I don't know how it could be saved?

 

Sadly in 2006 the Congress and the President decided that the USPS should pay about $6 billion a year to cover the cost of future retirees. The last I heard there was enough money in that account to cover retirees 75 years into the future which means people who are not yet born, but will be and the work for the USPS already have their retirement paid for. By the way, no other government entity or private enterprise entity are required to do this!

The second problem with the USPS is that the Postal Board of Governors has hamstrung the Postal Rate Commission when it comes to raising or changing rates on postal products or services.

Then there is the problem of poor management as we have seen with the latest Postmaster General.

The problem with going to five day delivery is that the mail doesnt stop.  During normal times of the year the amount of mail received in a post office is two days mail, Sunday and Monday. Go to five day delivery would exacerbate that, and add the holiday season and it gets crazy.

Another problem that needs addressing in the USPS is closing of small offices.  Currently, when the USPS wants to close a small office, the customers contact their elected representatives, and not wanting to upset constituents, they wont allow the USPS to close the office, adding to the financial burden of the USPS.

As I said many times when I worked for the USPS, if it is no longer needed, just close it down, but dont kill it, then say, it died on its own.

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https://www.statista.com/statistics/320234/mail-volume-of-the-usps/

United States Postal Service - mail volume 2004-2020
Published by E. Mazareanu, Nov 16, 2020

After reaching a peak of around 213 billion units in 2006, the U.S. Postal Services (USPS) has experienced a year-on-year decline in mail volume every year since; by 2020, this number had dropped to just 129.2 billion units.

Types of deliveries

Included in the above figures are all types of mail delivered by USPS: traditional mail, marketing materials, periodicals, and the shipping of packages. The decline in total volume can be attributed to the first three of these categories, which have each generated increasingly smaller revenue figures. However, the revenue generated from shipping packages has actually increased in recent times, leading to USPS’ total revenue staying relatively stable. This has been insufficient to address the decline in total volume though, with USPS reporting net losses each year for over a decade.

Reasons for declining mail volumes

Technology is the main culprit for both the decline in traditional mail volumes, and the increase in parcel deliveries. On the one hand, a clear and increasing majority of people in the U.S. use email, reducing the need for traditional mail services. On the other hand, the share of U.S. retail sales made online has doubled in just a decade, creating greater demand for package delivery services.
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I am happy to say I received a reply from the post office regarding my missing mail, in less than 24 hours, though it hasn't been located the reason for the current delays and the amount of delay may be helpful for others who recently haven't received their mail: 

Under normal conditions, Priority Mail is delivered in 2-3 business days, however we are currently seeing significant delays in this processing time.  Our network is currently experiencing a 60-78% increase in volume depending on the area, and we are having significant issues with both mail transportation and processing due to the influx in volume, as well as staffing issues due to the spread of COVID-19 in some of our facilities. Currently, from certain areas of the country, we are seeing delays of 10 or more days for even our Priority products, which we understand is unacceptable for our customers, and we are working to eliminate these delays. As soon as we receive your item in our delivery unit, we will ensure it is promptly delivered. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office directly at the number below. 

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On 12/9/2020 at 11:11 AM, pjstough said:

 

The problem with going to five day delivery is that the mail doesnt stop.  During normal times of the year the amount of mail received in a post office is two days mail, Sunday and Monday. Go to five day delivery would exacerbate that, and add the holiday season and it gets crazy.

 

The private corporations delivering packages seem to deal with the Saturday non-delivery problem you mention in the quote above.  Makes me wonder why USPS can't deal with it as well. 

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5 minutes ago, Al F said:

The private corporations delivering packages seem to deal with the Saturday non-delivery problem you mention in the quote above.  Makes me wonder why USPS can't deal with it as well. 

I am not sure how they deal with it, but they probably do it by either adding more help, holding back parcels, or sending then to the USPS to have them deliver them under their "last mile" service.

If the USPS would do a better job of managing things, the glut on Monday wouldnt be a problem, but upper levels of management wont let postmasters and managers use enough help to get the job done in a timely manner.

The other day I was reading posts on a Rural Carrier FB page, and one carrier had over 600 items to scan in one day, back 15 years ago before I retired, if I had 20 items a day to scan was a big day.

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15 minutes ago, pjstough said:

I am not sure how they deal with it, but they probably do it by either adding more help, holding back parcels, or sending then to the USPS to have them deliver them under their "last mile" service.

There is no reason not to change to 5 day mail delivery and most of the year I can't see why it should create any problems. There are probably things that could be done but one of the first steps that are needed is to get our Congress to stop meddling in the management of the postal service. If we want them to operate in a business like manner then we need to take political influence out of the operations. 

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1 minute ago, Kirk W said:

There is no reason not to change to 5 day mail delivery and most of the year I can't see why it should create any problems. There are probably things that could be done but one of the first steps that are needed is to get our Congress to stop meddling in the management of the postal service. If we want them to operate in a business like manner then we need to take political influence out of the operations. 

👍👍

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I used the link provided to check on my missing package. The package arrived today. I'm not sure if that was cause and effect or not but I'm glad to finally have my new winter coat given that it has been winter here in Minnesota for quite some time now.

Linda

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I recently ordered a package that was shipped from Indiana.  UPS got it to Orlando, Florida (65 miles from me) in 3 days.  UPS then handed the package off to the US Postal Service for final delivery.  USPS immediately routed it to Jacksonville, FL (140 miles in the wrong direction) where it sat for 7 days.  Once the package started moving again it hop scotched all over the state until it finally reached me several days later.  Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident.

Safe Travels (or not)...

 

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We receive packages via the USPS on a pretty frequent basis. I also subscribe to the USPS text alerts and so the packages are tracked as they move and while routing is sometimes different than I would expect, I am sure that it has some reason and I really don't care about the route, as long as we get what we are expecting. In the past year, I can think of a few times when something took a day or so longer than expected, but all packages have been delivered promptly. Just my experience so others may not be as satisfactory. 

Edited by Kirk W
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I just received a package about a week late.  In tracking the package from Nebraska to Colorado it shows it went to Omaha, then to Denver, then to MO.  It stayed in MO a number of days then traveled back to Denver and finally to Western CO.  Many of my packages arrive just fine but as luck would have it I needed this one asap.  Another time I had some medication mailed from a pharmacy that landed in Denver according to the tracking.  It was never found.  USPS called to say it "disappeared" after I filled a missing package report.

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49 minutes ago, k4rs said:

I recently ordered a package that was shipped from Indiana.  UPS got it to Orlando, Florida (65 miles from me) in 3 days.  UPS then handed the package off to the US Postal Service for final delivery.  USPS immediately routed it to Jacksonville, FL (140 miles in the wrong direction) where it sat for 7 days.  Once the package started moving again it hop scotched all over the state until it finally reached me several days later.  Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident.

Safe Travels (or not)...

 

Although, it has been several years since I retired, one of the rules that the USPS implemented before I retired was that there was to be no mail left in the post office at the end of the day that should have been delivered that day, so when something is not delivered it is put in with mail to be shipped somewhere else and then has to work its way back to the correct post office.  Also, in probably many post offices and sorting centers there is a back log of mail to be sorted. Yesterday, I saw a picture of six or seven semi loads of mail waiting to be unloaded and sorted at one post office in Pennsylvania. Also, I have seen a posts by several rural carriers whose normal job is to work five days a week, but are now required to work seven days a week.

It sure would be nice if those that are in charge would make the USPS run like it should be run.

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UPDATE:  12-16-2020

My Priority Mail that I ordered on 12-2-2020 still has not arrived and I have had no text updates since 12-10-2020 and no confirmation of delivery?
Tracking History
December 10, 2020
In Transit, Arriving Late
Your package will arrive later than expected, but is still on its way. It is currently in transit to the next facility.


December 6, 2020, 2:38 am
Departed USPS Facility
HOUSTON, TX 77032 

I went to a USPS near where we are staying and they said they are not the USPS for our address and was given the location of the USPS for the address we are at and they had a specific line for mail tracking.  The clerk said the USPS has been overwhelmed between Covid19 and holiday volume and apologized but said there is no way to find my Priority Mail.  It is either in a Houston or Phoenix distribution center. 

So Priority Mail normally 3 to 5 days delivery, then 10 days is now 14 days and counting... so sad

PS I have ordered from Amazon in the past two weeks and received two packages the next day and one two days later.  What ever Amazon and FEDX are doing I wish the USPS could do also.

 

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I had to have Amazon change all shipping to me to not include USPS.  Our drive way is about 1/4 mile long and if USPS had a package the carrier would take it back to the distribution center and mark it to go to our local post office.  He would leave us a notice that we could pick up our package a few days later.  It delayed arrival and we still had to go out to get it.  Having to wait and then go to the post office for other packages finally got to me and I filed a complaint.  Now they will bring the package to the door like UPS and Fedex.

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Anytime I get something transferred to "Smart Post" it is a joke.  The initial carrier will get it to the city we are in or near and then it  goes wandering all over the country for several days.  It is sad but hilarious to see where all the package is routed.  Tracked one from the northeast to Houston to Victoria, TX, back to Houston, San Diego, Denver, finally back to Houston to Victoria and finally Port O'Conner, TX.  Only took about 10 extra days.

We use the Escapees mail and when we get our mail sent to us, never on USPS.  I use Fed-Ex Flat Rate envelope. It beats the Priority mail for just a bit more cost.  We usually get the mail in 2 to 3 days, all over the lower 48.  We are just northwest of Houston and sometimes, we have the mail, the next day.

I feel sorry for the USPS since they keep getting funding cut, needed equipment pulled and to top it off, very  poor management.

Ken

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Thank you for the suggestion.  I just thought of FED-EX for overnight service but found their rates very competitive with the USPS https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/one-rate.html

Will use them instead of Priority Mail in the future.  Thanks again for the suggestion.

Packaging

Dimensions

Shipping
price3

Examples of
shippable items

Image of a FedEx Envelope

FedEx® Envelope4

9-1/2" x 12-1/2"
Reusable Envelope:
9-1/2" x 15-1/2"

as low as $8.50

a standard clipboard
or a file

Image of a FedEx Pak

FedEx® Pak

10-1/4" x 12-3/4",
12" x 15-1/2"
Padded: 11-3/4" x 14-3/4"
Reusable Sturdy Pak: 10" x 14‑1/2"
(expands up to 1-1/2")

as low as $8.75

an adult t-shirt
or a coffee mug

Image of a FedEx Small Box

FedEx® Small Box

10-7/8" x 1-1/2" x 12-3/8"
8-3/4" x 2-5/8" x 11-1/4"

as low as $9.50

a hardback book
or five magazines

Image of a FedEx Medium Box

FedEx® Medium Box

11-1/2" x 2-3/8" x 13-1/4"
8-3/4" x 4-3/8" x 11-1/4"

as low as $12.35

a binder
or two adult t-shirts

Image of a FedEx Large Box

FedEx® Large Box

12-3/8" x 3" x 17-1/2"
8-3/4" x 7-3/4" x 11-1/4"

as low as $19.05

a board game
or a soccer ball

Image of a FedEx Extra Large Box

FedEx® Extra Large Box

11-7/8" x 10-3/4" x 11"
15-3/4" x 14-1/8" x 6"

as low as $30.85

a toaster
or two pairs of shoes

Image of a FedEx Tube

FedEx® Tube

6" x 6" x 38"

as low as $30.85

a poster
or a golf club

 
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We had a similar problem with the USPS. The problem was NOT with Escapees mail service. Our mail went on vacation for two weeks earlier this summer with stops in Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta before arriving at our destination. I can't find the tracking post that I copied from the USPS website or I would post it here. We now request the mail to be sent Fedex two day overnight to where ever we are. Costs a little more but we receive it promptly.

 

Dave

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I always get the text alerts as packages come to us from Escapees.   It use to be that each time it arrived at a new facility it would be scanned, then scanned again as it departed for the next one.    Watched one package leave Houston, go to Louisville, then to Lancaster, PA, then on to Phoenix, then down to Tucson, then back to Phoenix, finally to Mesa to be delivered.   Now they aren't showing the intermediate stop, just a text next day saying it is "in transit" until it arrives in Phoenix, then the Mesa arrival.  Of course, a lot of people have been posting their packages travels on Twitter, so I guess the USPS was getting embarrassed. 

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I have a USPS shipment coming to Tomball, TX.  It arrived at the North Houston distribution center at 10PM Dec 13.  It has been setting there since then.  One day, the tracking notice showed delivered.  Nope, not here.  Next day it was shown  as out for delivery.  Now today, it shows nothing but at the North Houston center.  The North Houston center is a total joke.  The package is literally 25 miles from where we are.  Shipment just stop for a long visit in Houston.  The Tomball, TX post office has been the subject of several local news stories about poor deliveries. 

If you complain, the USPS blames Christmas.  Nope, we get the same crappy service any time of the year.

Ken

Edited by TXiceman
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