Epic USPS Saga, yet incomplete

I have most often been very supportive of the USPS having a pretty good batting average. Especially considering how many actual packages they have to deliver…

But right now, I have 3 ‘incoming’ packages that they seem to have ‘ZERO’ ideas where they specifically are???

One tracking number says, ‘ Made attempt to deliver. But did not have access to the property’.
… Very interesting considering I have lived at the SAME address since 1989. And I have no gate and no dog… and my wife is retired and she could hear a pin drop. Even if nobody dropped a pin🙄.

And anytime anybody even gets near the front porch. My 2 Siamese cats run to the front door(every time). And the tracker has been saying that for a few days now. They can’t deliver the package but will try again. But they don’t know where the package is? (How is that even possible?)

Package 2 is also Priority from back east. Tracker said delivery for July 2nd by 8pm. At 10:17pm the tracking update said, ‘Could not deliver’. Said will deliver on July 3rd by 7:45pm. At 9:31 the update said, ‘could not deliver’. Will deliver on July 5th(Sunday?:thinking:). On Saturday night the update said will attempt to deliver on July 6th by 7:45pm. <<< Didn’t happen. Update said will deliver on July 7th by 8:pm. We apologize that your package may arrive late in the day. <<< Well, it didn’t arrive again at all. Now the tracker simply says, As of July 4th, we are waiting for the Delivery scan.
…They do not know the precise location of the package?

The 3rd package is the PEACH OF THE LITTER.
My friend Palli sent me a package from Iceland. He shipped on April 27th. The package arrived in Customs on May 4th. It sat in Customs until June 5th. It left Customs and ended up in Chicago distribution center on 16th. It made its way all the way to Los Angeles California on June 20th.(30 miles from my house. On June 24th the package was misdirected and ended up in New Jersey Distribution center(3000 miles from my house).

Even though the New Jersey arrival scan said June 24th. On July 1st the tracker once again said the package arrived on July first in New Jersey(again). And… it arrived in New Jersey yet again on July 2nd🙀. They must be driving around the block?

The package has now left New Jersey and updates only say the item is ‘moving within the system’. < << They can’t tell where it is until somebody scans it?

So, right at the moment, my confidence in the USPS system is close to the bottom of the ladder.

The end…

PS… Well, almost the end>>>

This is my thought> COVID-19 has had consequences for the Postal service. Just like everything else is sorta screwed up.
The Supervisor at me local, main Post Office told me that before the Pandemic, they had 100 employees to deliver 1000 packages a week(plus, obviously a few tons of paper mail, etc.).

By the middle of this nightmare virus. Because soooooo many people are getting stuff mailed now. The Post Office in San Pedro is down to approx. 66 people to deliver 16,000 packages a week. Ok, I get that part.

But having more packages and less people to deliver them. Should affect the ‘Speed’ of the deliveries. But I don’t think it should affect the ‘Accuracy’ of their deliveries.

Now… if the 1/3rd of the workforce just happen to be the ‘smart ones’ than it is understandable that the dumb ones that are left, would be falling down on the job.

But I doubt that.

So, I should not have 3 packages lost in the system at the very same time. Even if the stuff is moving much slower. It still should be accurately moving through the system. Just slower.

If I am William Tell. And I am standing across the road and shooting apples off peoples’ heads.
And there are people behind me handing me the arrows one at a time(packages). And they wanted to start handing me arrows ‘faster’. I am only going to shoot the arrows as fast as I can ‘accurately’.

The extra burden should primarily affect my speed… But is should not affect getting the arrows(packages) to the Bullseye.

They are telling me the understaffing is causing their carriers to fail delivering the packages to their proper destinations.

I don’t buy into that convoluted logic.


My carrier sometimes uses “made attempt to deliver…” when it’s too much trouble for them to bother. I have to go to my post office and pick it up or it will show up the next day.

They also never leave a notice in my mailbox. I just had a package from Singapore be returned to sender because of this laziness. Packages from Singapore are untrackable within the USPS system and an “attempt “ was made I never knew about. It then sat at the post office for a month before being sent back to sender. Very frustrating!


Yikes. These are just painful to read. I’ve had a few rough ones myself, especially in recent months, so I feel you. Anymore, I struggle to grasp the free pass that people generally seem to give USPS - “Oh, they handle so much mail and the vast majority of it arrives just fine.” The bottom line is that we pay for a service that USPS doesn’t do well. Am I trashing mail carriers specifically? Not necessarily - I think they are often overwhelmed and end up slapping bogus updates in tracking when they run out of time or whatever. But the system itself seems pretty messed up and I’m done with the “aw shucks, they try so hard” refrain.


So not USPS, but someone from UPS once told me (while I was calling about a package that showed as delivered but was MIA) that a lot of their tracking updates are created automatically and aren’t always in line with where the package actually is…sounded fishy but I don’t doubt it based on my own experiences and those above


Maybe, but scanned it at a center means it’s scanned in. I think UPS either gives you fairly accurate information, or you can tell when the package is stuck in transit. But what your friend said is still interesting.

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It varies by area. USPS is the only carrier with a perfect record where I live now, at my last place FedEx was the most reliable.


Man that really sucks. How frustrating. I especially dislike the one where they keep saying they tried to deliver it but clearly haven’t…and then they can’t even tell you where the package is when you ask. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Hope things get sorted out for you Doc.


So… the package from Pennsylvania finally made it, tonight.

6 days later than the stated delivery date.

I was right in my driveway, amazingly. The carrier walked right past me. Up the 15 steps to my elevated lot…

And just ‘Tossed’ the package at my porch.

Didn’t say a word… didn’t ring the bell. Maybe he didn’t even know how overdue it was? I dunno?

But where he threw it, if I would not have seen him. I might not even have noticed it for another day or two, when I change the hummingbird feeder.

A lot of Class… All Low, sadly.

Package 1 also showed up much earlier in the day.

Now… just the package from Iceland that was mailed on April 27th.

The Saga continues.

Still trying to figure out how it was 30 miles from my house. And then departed Los Angeles and ended up in New Jersey, about 3000 miles away. It took them at least 8 whole days to realize it had a California zip code. And now it has been ‘traveling within the usps System for going on a whole week.

Fact is stranger than fiction…

OMG! Say it ain’t so.

The package status says the package is once again in Los Angeles!

I must be sleepwalking.

I hope I wake up happy.



Glad two out of three packages have arrived! Hope the third makes it there safely.


I think maybe they need to run it through one of their L.A. distribution centers for a second time before they can ship it across the country again so that eventually at some unknown date, they can ship it back to L.A. then inform you that they tried to deliver it but really didn’t.

But honestly…I hope it’s there for you tomorrow! What a long ■■■ wait.


I always get a chuckle out of these types of posts…

Your package is 1 needle in a haystack of roughly 200,000,000 variously shaped objects being delivered PER DAY.

As a former USPS IT employee directly involved in the delivery logistics, it’s obvious to me how the population at large doesn’t actually comprehend exactly how many physical objects the USPS has to move in a day or how that’s even accomplished – it’s very, very complicated.

The USPS is made up of 3 basic ingredients: people, equipment, automation/computers – all of which are subject to mistakes and breakdowns. (And that’s completely ignoring REGULATION which is a whole other rabbit hole.)

Trucks get full, commercial planes get grounded, vehicles break down, machines break down, people get sick, union rules kick in, human error, mechanical error, computer error, all sorts of “acts of God”, weather, ineptitude/maliciousness, coronaviruses, ongoing civil protests, and a zillion other points of failure completely not within USPS control. Any hiccup SLOWS DOWN the process.

The fact you can essentially slap a poorly hand-written address and a few bucks in postage on a coconut and have it delivered from Honolulu to New York potentially in a couple days is a hallmark of human achievement. Yet most eveyone is too focused on “But… where’s MY package?!?” to care. I get it.

Some fun facts: USPS is roughly the third largest employer in the US (600,000+ employees, 40% minorities/disabled, and 7 unions) and have the largest delivery network in the world (handling 48% of the world’s mail, adding 4,000+ new addresses PER DAY). And despite this, it’s accomplished without any tax dollars (#1 misconception) since 1971, BUT they still have to get permission from Congress to see if they’re allowed to raise their prices by even 1 penny on a stamp – not exactly a fair environment to run a business in. Food for thought: did you ever wonder why USPS doesn’t have their own fleet of planes but UPS, FedEx, and now Amazon(!!) do? Hint: It rhymes with Lobbyists.


I’ve had a couple like this. One was a custom Hildy Currier that Luke made for me, it would get to my town, then they’d turn around and ship it back to Luke’s post office, once it got there it would turn around and come back. Did this for a couple months, just ping pong’d back and forth for two months, numerous calls to USPS did nothing. Luke and I thought it was pretty humorous, he kept offering to build another and ship it, but we just let it go. Eventually it was delivered. Even the days that it showed it was 1 mile from my house they would not let me stop by and pick it up, said it had to be delivered by a delivery person.

Second was a couple bags of coffee from Hawaii. Went from Kona, HI to Los Angeles, then to Chicago (I’m about 60 miles NW of Chicago), then to Boston, then NYC, back to Boston, then somewhere in FL, then to Atlanta, back to MA, then to Chicago where it sat for a few days then finally to me. My only guess was everyone wanted to smell the box of coffee :rofl:

Sometimes weird things happen at USPS.


I think you’re discounting the human element here. Even the most competent employee will make mistakes, especially when overworked and fatigued. Packages get mis-sorted, or left on a counter, or put into the wrong cage at the USPS distribution facilities, etc. Even if the process was fully automated, you’d still encounter some of these hiccups; much more so with a human staff that’s now even more short-handed due to COVID and handling crazy volumes because more and more Americans are shopping via e-commerce.

That said, that doesn’t really help give any comfort to your situation, and it’s still a crappy customer experience. I tend to be a defender of USPS but I’ve definitely been screwed over by them before both as the recipient and as the shipper, so I get it. I’m hoping that maybe it’s a process breakdown at a particular spot—maybe your local distribution center, which is where my breakdowns seem to usually occur—and it’ll get sorted out soon. Either way, fingers crossed for you.

I’m so glad you said that. I think people forget that USPS isn’t a business, it’s a federal service. As such, it’s mandated to serve communities regardless of accessibility at specific prices that they don’t control. UPS, FedEx, Lasership, DHL, Amazon etc don’t have that mandate and as such, you see the same delivery service offered by USPS for $4 offered by FedEx or UPS for like $15. And that’s with these private services still having similar issues AND being able to say “no we don’t deliver there” if a particular office or route isn’t profitable for them.

Now take into account that most businesses I order from use USPS when they can because it’s cheaper, and I regularly get packages from Amazon or UPS through USPS? It’s a miracle that USPS manages to run IMO.

Even before COVID, USPS was having a funding issue because of their inability to control their prices and Congress’s unwillingness to grant them additional funding. I can only imagine how taxed that system is now. And tbh, I would not expect FedEx or UPS to weather this kind of additional strain much better. Far from it.

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This, plus the very broad coverage range, is why I use USPS as my only option when I ship stuff. Only had a single package get lost and it was local, like one town over. I think it was from someone stealing mail.


I worked at a UPS (not USPS) distribution center as a package handler for a while in college, let’s say 12 or so years ago.

This is 100% true, as least for the distribution center I worked at. Semi trailers had one barcode that was associated with every package in the truck. Once it was scanned everything associated with that barcode showed as “arrived”. The package was not scanned again until it was delivered. All the “out for delivery” malarkey was what the computer system expected to be true, but there was no verification. Between the arrival scan and delivery every single package was read by eyeball and sorted from memory by at least five different people (deliver from here or go to another distribution center, which sector of delivery town, which zip code group, which group of package cars, which individual package car). If any one of them put it on the wrong belt there was a good chance it wasn’t getting to the destination that day.

I was impressed every single day with myself and my fellow co-workers ability to remember literally thousands of addresses.

So remember that bit about one barcode per truck? That strategy is used at a more granular level inside the trailers as well. If you’re sorting packages one every two or three seconds it’s pretty easy to make a mistake and get it in the wrong bunch. The catch is that the system expects the package to end up in one place, and since individual packages aren’t actually scanned very often, your box can get pretty far afield before it’s noticed.


When I’ve talked with USPS to resolve issues, it seems like the actually do have more physical scans (like, when it says it’s arrived at a distribution center or at your local post office or was taken out for delivery, those seem to actually be linked to scans) but you’re right that there are automated status “updates” like “Arriving On Time” etc that are generated basically to try and assuage customer anxiety. But that said, I’ve noticed that even those physical scans can be very inconsistent and vary by locality so sometimes even those physical scans aren’t the most helpful (I.e. when they don’t exist lol or when someone mis-scans a box).

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I’ve had the same thing happen to me…

Package was supposed to come in 4 days from when it started shipping. Okay, that won’t be to bad. It goes from Michigan, to Tennessee, to Little Rock, to pine bluff. Then comes to the town post office next to me. What I think is happening is it sat there while the shipping wasn’t updating… then they decided to take it back to Little Rock and then pine bluff. And keep in mind even if the package wouldn’t have went back to Little Rock it still would’ve been overdue. So I wait 3 days from when it came to local post office, and it went back to that office, and then to my towns office. I got my package eventually, but took 2 weeks to get here when it was supposed to be here in 4 days. I don’t like usps at all, I bought from a store that ships with ups, and they actually delivered the package the day it was supposed to come. Every time I order from usps it’s always late so I don’t like them either.

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When I bought my Magnum from @dizzo it went from wherever he lives straight to Alaska and a stayed there for a few days to carve the powder up and then it took a leisurely flight to Texas and finally ended up in California. I got it a couple of days later. Good times.


Any updates Doc, sure hope your final package got to you man!