US Postal service - International...



  • I usually never order anything from the US. But in this case I made an exception.



    I orded something online on the 9th. This was shipped on the 10th. But... with the US Postal service. Now, the status has been, for days:



    Processed through USPS Sort Facility, February 13, 2012, 7:23 pm, LOS ANGELES, CA 90009

    Processed through USPS Sort Facility, February 11, 2012, 12:50 am, PROVO, UT 84605

    Dispatched to Sort Facility, February 10, 2012, 6:27 pm, CEDAR CITY, UT 84720



    Ok, so my package is still in Los Angeles? That's a long way from Europe people, fly it this way please!



    So I wondered, can I inquire about my package. And, that's where the WTFs start. There is no direct "send a message" option, you need to choose between shitloads of options. (Including one that says "I did not receive mail because there was a dog") and finally, after wading trough that, I'm forced to enter... a US zip code. So no dice. Not to mention I needed to enter a lot of information about the package that I could not know without having send it myself.



    I orded from China (Hong Kong) with DHL at the same time. This was shipped 2 days ago, I just got the package, in 2 days. Guess I'll be picking the DHL option next time.



  • It's possible that the USPS passed it on to another iternational or European carrier and they are not providing status back to the USPS tracking system. The last update USPS has is just before it left their control.



  •  @BlueKnot said:

    It's possible that the USPS passed it on to another iternational or European carrier and they are not providing status back to the USPS tracking system. The last update USPS has is just before it left their control.

    Yes, but David said that it shows as having arrived in LA, but not having been given to someone else.  The lack of feedback from non-US carriers back to the USPS is normal (and happens in both directions between e.g. the UK and France), but you'd think they could at least update the status to "Handed over to some foreigners we don't know anything about (nor care, they're probably just a bunch of rag heads anyway)".

    Oh, and don't forget I'm one of those foreigners, but I'm not a rag head.



  •  It could also just not be getting its tracking data updated.  I've had thing delivered while still allegedly at the origin facility.



  • If it's any consolation... IIRC the last several times my stuff went USPS the tracker showed a black hole between the first "Left Sort Facility" and "Arrived Sort Facility/ Out for Delivery" - and that was all-domestic. So they're not picking on just you.  

    DHL started out as a courier/overnight outfit so they probably still default to "overnight". So, yea, faster than USPS.

     Recall reading that DHL provided sevice to Mt. Everest base camp... which, while it makes you say "WTF", isn't really a WTF, it's kinda cool.



  • @BlueKnot said:

    It's possible that the USPS passed it on to another iternational or European carrier and they are not providing status back to the USPS tracking system. The last update USPS has is just before it left their control.
    This is probably true, however, even for packages sent entirely within the U.S. the Postal Service does a piss poor job of tracking.  Last week, I received a package on Thursday afternoon.  Their tracking information hadn't been updated since early Tuesday and still showed the package as being in another city many hundreds of miles away.



  • DHL is cool. Hong Kong to NL in 30 hours. It only shows up as in Amsterdam on the tracking now, but the actual package is in a different city, MY city to be exact! a quick call to support allows me to pick it up, and it already shows as "Awaiting collection by recipient as requested" on the tracking page.

    But what WTFed me at the USPS site, is the lack of any way to contact them if you are not based in the US. And even if you are in the US they'll try to drive you insane before you get a chance to contact them.



  • @Daid said:

    Processed through USPS Sort Facility, February 13, 2012, 7:23 pm, LOS ANGELES, CA [b]90009[/b]
     

    ...

    @Daid said:

    I'm forced to enter... a US zip code.

    Yes?



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @Daid said:

    Processed through USPS Sort Facility, February 13, 2012, 7:23 pm, LOS ANGELES, CA 90009
     

    ...

    @Daid said:

    I'm forced to enter... a US zip code.

    Yes?

    Genius!


  • I'm going to let you in on a little secret known to all Americans: USPS sucks. Seriously, I always prefer FedEx, unless it's something so cheap I just don't care if I receive it or not.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    unless it's something so cheap I just don't care if I receive it or not.
     

    That is like the worst compliment you can give to any service. "It doesn't really matter, so that's why I came to you."



  • @Sutherlands said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    @Daid said:

    Processed through USPS Sort Facility, February 13, 2012, 7:23 pm, LOS ANGELES, CA 90009
     

    ...

    @Daid said:

    I'm forced to enter... a US zip code.

    Yes?

    Genius!

    Canadians have been using 90210 as a zip code entry for about 20 years now. I often wonder if companies take into account the '90210 effect' when evaluating and acting upon survey results, especially for consumer items. Ie, the results of a razor-related survey prompt Gilette to increase their razor shipments by 30% to Beverly Hills.



  • @Daid said:

    And even if you are in the US they'll try to drive you insane before you get a chance to contact them.
     


    No, you just call or make a trip to your post office and they'll help you as much as they can.

     

    But in general, once a package leaves the US there is no way to track it.  When I ship a package to another country, the USPS does not even offer delivery confirmation.



  • @dhromed said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    unless it's something so cheap I just don't care if I receive it or not.
     

    That is like the worst compliment you can give to any service. "It doesn't really matter, so that's why I came to you."

    Sounds like your sex life.



  • @Nexzus said:

    Canadians have been using 90210 as a zip code entry for about 20 years now.
     

    This only partially accounts for the extreme WTFery I've experienced whenever I deal with Canada Post.



  • @Daid said:

    I usually never order anything from the US. But in this case I made an exception.

    Thank you for your patronage, please come again!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I'm going to let you in on a little secret known to all Americans: USPS sucks. Seriously, I always prefer FedEx, unless it's something so cheap I just don't care if I receive it or not.

    Nah, it just sucks for packages. For regular first-class mail, it's excellent.

    There's a reason FedEx and UPS both grew-up in the US, though.

    BTW, UPS is from Seattle. You're welcome, rest of the world.



  • @Nexzus said:

    Ie, the results of a razor-related survey prompt Gilette to increase their razor shipments by 30% to Beverly Hills.
    I'm pretty sure the volume that they ship is based on sales data, not survey data.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    For regular first-class mail, it's excellent.

    You mean spam? 99% of what I get in the mail is junk. And I never mail anyth--

    OOOOOH, Netflix.. Shit, I actually do care about the USPS going under. I hate it when that happens.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @dhromed said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    unless it's something so cheap I just don't care if I receive it or not.
     

    That is like the worst compliment you can give to any service. "It doesn't really matter, so that's why I came to you."

    Sounds like your sex life.

    You don't seem to mind, though.




  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    For regular first-class mail, it's excellent.
    You mean spam? 99% of what I get in the mail is junk. And I never mail anyth--

    OOOOOH, Netflix.. Shit, I actually do care about the USPS going under. I hate it when that happens.

    Filed under: <FONT color=#698d73>Okay‚ how about this: we bail out USPS but from now on they are only permitted to deliver Netflix envelopes.</FONT>

    On a serious note, the only way to make them not fail is to allow them to actually charge what it costs to deliver mail, instead of being limited to raising rates only like a cent a year or whatever. 



  • @blakeyrat said:

    BTW, UPS is from Seattle. You're welcome, rest of the world.

    So let's see..

    Good things from Seattle:

    • UPS
    • Microsoft
    • Starbucks
    • Nirvana


    Bad things from Seattle:

    • Frasier


    So, yeah, Seattle still blows.



  • Frasier's from L.A.



  • @Sutherlands said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    For regular first-class mail, it's excellent.
    You mean spam? 99% of what I get in the mail is junk. And I never mail anyth--

    OOOOOH, Netflix.. Shit, I actually do care about the USPS going under. I hate it when that happens.

    Filed under: <font color="#698d73">Okay‚ how about this: we bail out USPS but from now on they are only permitted to deliver Netflix envelopes.</font>

    On a serious note, the only way to make them not fail is to allow them to actually charge what it costs to deliver mail, instead of being limited to raising rates only like a cent a year or whatever. 

    I thought the problem was more the employee unions than the price of stamps.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Frasier's from L.A.
     

    Alas, [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frasier_Crane#Biography"]he was born in Seattle[/url].

    In my defense, I only checked because I thought he just MOVED to Seattle.

    This is turning out to be a really long day.

     



  • Frasier is a product of LA. The fact that the TV show and the fake character are set in a fake-Seattle says nothing about real-Seattle.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Frasier is a product of LA. The fact that the TV show and the fake character are set in a fake-Seattle says nothing about real-Seattle.

    Of course it does. Why do you think they picked Seattle to be home to such a loathsome character? Because Seattle is evil.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    BTW, UPS is from Seattle. You're welcome, rest of the world.

    So let's see..

    Good things from Seattle:

    • UPS
    • Microsoft
    • Starbucks
    • Nirvana


    Bad things from Seattle:

    • Frasier



    So, yeah, Seattle still blows.

     

    More good things from Seattle:

    • The Kingsmen
    • Jimi Hendrix
    • Heart
    • Sir Mix-a-Lot
    • Adam West
    • Ivar's Salmon House

    More bad things from Seattle:

    • Kenny G
    • Jeff Probst

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    More good things from Seattle:

    • The Kingsmen
    • Jimi Hendrix
    • Heart
    • Sir Mix-a-Lot
    • Adam West
    • Ivar's Salmon House

    I know of Hendrix, Mix-a-Lot and West. The rest are a mystery.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @da Doctah said:

    More good things from Seattle:

    • The Kingsmen
    • Jimi Hendrix
    • Heart
    • Sir Mix-a-Lot
    • Adam West
    • Ivar's Salmon House

    I know of Hendrix, Mix-a-Lot and West. The rest are a mystery.

     

    Kingsmen: "Louie Louie"

    Heart: "Crazy On You", "Magic Man", "Barracuda", "These Dreams"

    Ivar's: for some things you actually have to go to Seattle.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    I'm going to let you in on a little secret known to all Americans: USPS sucks. Seriously, I always prefer FedEx, unless it's something so cheap I just don't care if I receive it or not.

    Nah, it just sucks for packages. For regular first-class mail, it's excellent.

    There's a reason FedEx and UPS both grew-up in the US, though.

    BTW, UPS is from Seattle. You're welcome, rest of the world.

    Thank you, UPS, for requiring complaining to corporate so that I can pick up the package I had sent to an address that wasn't on my driver's license, that I may add, you failed to even try to deliver.

    USPS's actual transit may be poor, but they actually deliver my ordered packages where I want them to go without a second thought. They even added my name to the list on the shared mailbox.



  • My experience with the USPS is that it's perfectly fine in most respects but they are completely clueless and incompetent when it comes to providing tracking information.



  • @da Doctah said:

    More good things from Seattle:

    • The Kingsmen
    • Jimi Hendrix
    • Heart
    • Sir Mix-a-Lot
    • Adam West
    • Ivar's Salmon House
    For a second there I was thinking of John West.



  • @Sutherlands said:

    On a serious note, the only way to make them not fail is to FORCE them to actually charge what it costs to deliver ALL MAIL and stop delivering junk mail at a loss.
     

    Adjusted That For You.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Sutherlands said:

    On a serious note, the only way to make them not fail is to FORCE them to actually charge what it costs to deliver ALL MAIL and stop delivering junk mail at a loss.
     

    Adjusted That For You.

    Wait, what? I thought junk mail was were they made most of their money.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    @Sutherlands said:

    On a serious note, the only way to make them not fail is to FORCE them to actually charge what it costs to deliver ALL MAIL and stop delivering junk mail at a loss.
     

    Adjusted That For You.

    Wait, what? I thought junk mail was were they made most of their money.

    I'm not sure where the actual breakpoint is.  Junk mail generally falls in the category of 'pre-sorted bulk mail'.  This means they get a bale of stuff for, say, 90210, and they can just throw the whole thing on the plane to California, and they get a bale of stuff for, say, 02114, and it all goes to Boston.  They don't have to worry about the individual pieces, and that saves them a ton.

    However, the amount less they charge per envelope is staggering, and the percentage of mail that's sent like this is staggering.  Raising the standard postage by 3 cents doesn't really do much for the USPS if it only raises the bulk rate by a cent, and I'm not sure it always does even that.

    Personally, I don't really care if the USPS is making or losing money on spam.  I don't want that crap, so I'd prefer if it cost the spammers more to send it.  They should be happy to pay that anyway, because there's no way UPS, DHL, FedEx, or, for that matter, any delivery service whose rates aren't controlled by the government will be giving them the kinds of discounts they're getting.  Getting a little less of a discount shouldn't be that big of a problem if it lets them keep the (lesser) discount long-term.  But the spammers aren't in the business of understanding stuff like that, which is why they keep sending crap to people with a policy of not buying anything from any organization that spams them, and why they send catalogs to people who only ever buy things on line for years on end, and why they send catalogs to people who only ever bought things from the company one time, and then returned everything.



  • @Nexzus said:

    Canadians have been using 90210 as a zip code entry for about 20 years now.

    Has anyone ever tried 00101? That is apparently the ZIP code for Canada, according to this page. That said, I've used 90210 more than once too.



  • @Zemm said:

    Has anyone ever tried 00101? That is apparently the ZIP code for Canada, according to this page. That said, I've used 90210 more than once too.
     

    According to this more authoritative page, that's not a valid ZIP code. 90210 is.



  • I have a package coming into the UK which has just done exactly the same thing.

    Turns out it WAS in the UK for the past two weeks but was stuck at customs and they didn't bother updating the tracking info.

     

    Another
    fun thing I found out was that USPS use Parcelforce once the package
    enters the UK. Those twunts just charged me GBP 13.50 on top of the customs
    charge... for having to charge me for the customs charge. Jesus Christ,
    they don't even try any more to make up reasons for gouging you.



  • @Cursorkeys said:

    Jesus Christ,
    they don't even try any more to make up reasons for gouging you.

    I think that was pretty cheap if you were importing a box of cougars on hallucinogens. I wouldn't touch that for twice as much.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @Zemm said:

    Has anyone ever tried 00101? That is apparently the ZIP code for Canada, according to this page. That said, I've used 90210 more than once too.
     

    According to this more authoritative page, that's not a valid ZIP code. 90210 is.

     

    That's what I was wondering: how many of those "ask for ZIP" actually check it past "contains 5 digits".

    According to Wikipedia all of 001xx are for "destinations outside the US" - so there wouldn't be any "cities" defined for any of those ZIP codes.

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Wait, what? I thought junk mail was were they made most of their money.
    That's what they've always claimed, but it doesn't take a PhD in math to figure out that they are full of shit.  The postage rate for junk mail can be as low as 13 cents per piece, which is less than one-third the rate for First Class mail. The problem is, most of the costs involved with mail are the same regardless of the type of mail.   For example,  a truck full of junk mail uses the same amount of fuel as a truck full of first class mail and a mail carrier gets paid the same wages regardless of whether he is delivering 13 cent junk mail or 44 cent first class mail.

    There's an old joke ...."we lose money on every sale but make up for it with volume".   Sadly, the Postal Service doesn't get the joke.   For decades they have delivered junk mail at a loss and tried to cover up the loses with revenue from First Class mail.   It never actually worked but they came close.   But now that the volume of First Class mail has dropped sharpley, the flaw in their business plan has become quite obvious.

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    That's what they've always claimed, but it doesn't take a PhD in math to figure out that they are full of shit.  The postage rate for junk mail can be as low as 13 cents per piece, which is less than one-third the rate for First Class mail. The problem is, most of the costs involved with mail are the same regardless of the type of mail.   For example,  a truck full of junk mail uses the same amount of fuel as a truck full of first class mail and a mail carrier gets paid the same wages regardless of whether he is delivering 13 cent junk mail or 44 cent first class mail.
    You're assuming that junk mail costs the same to deliver - it doesn't, because the collection and sorting costs are lower - and that there is only one piece of junk mail per address with no overlap with regular mail. It costs the same (pretty much) to deliver multiple letters to one address as to deliver a single letter.

    Do you not have second-class post in the US, anyway?



  • @fterfi secure said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    That's what they've always claimed, but it doesn't take a PhD in math to figure out that they are full of shit.  The postage rate for junk mail can be as low as 13 cents per piece, which is less than one-third the rate for First Class mail. The problem is, most of the costs involved with mail are the same regardless of the type of mail.   For example,  a truck full of junk mail uses the same amount of fuel as a truck full of first class mail and a mail carrier gets paid the same wages regardless of whether he is delivering 13 cent junk mail or 44 cent first class mail.
    You're assuming that junk mail costs the same to deliver - it doesn't, because the collection and sorting costs are lower - and that there is only one piece of junk mail per address with no overlap with regular mail. It costs the same (pretty much) to deliver multiple letters to one address as to deliver a single letter.

    Do you not have second-class post in the US, anyway?

    This^^

    If you're going to visit every address anyway, it doesn't cost much more to add in 10 pieces of junk mail to the 1 piece of first-class mail, and it makes you quite a bit more money.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @BlueKnot said:

    It's possible that the USPS passed it on to another iternational or European carrier and they are not providing status back to the USPS tracking system. The last update USPS has is just before it left their control.
    This is probably true, however, even for packages sent entirely within the U.S. the Postal Service does a piss poor job of tracking.  Last week, I received a package on Thursday afternoon.  Their tracking information hadn't been updated since early Tuesday and still showed the package as being in another city many hundreds of miles away.

    I often order from the US (I'm in Canada) and I just ignore the USPS 'tracking'. I wait until it has been handed over to Canada Post (much better tracking) or just wait for it to arrive. I've never had an issue with items shipped by USPS.

    UPS on the other hand.. geez. Aside from their absurd brokerage fees on their 'cheap' shipping (often making it more expensive than their high end shipping which is quicker and includes the brokerage) they do a poor job at getting me my item without the box looking like they were having some fun playing 'kick the box' in the sorting room. They have also left sign for packages in the rain outside the door of the house without having gotten a signature. Don't even get me started on trying to pick up packages from them..

    I use anyone but UPS.

    For some reason the Americans I've spoken to about shipping are not fond of the USPS. I don't know if that's marketing, or if local service is shit, but as a Canadian USPS has been rock solid and is the most competitively priced.



  • @dubbreak said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    @BlueKnot said:

    It's possible that the USPS passed it on to another iternational or European carrier and they are not providing status back to the USPS tracking system. The last update USPS has is just before it left their control.
    This is probably true, however, even for packages sent entirely within the U.S. the Postal Service does a piss poor job of tracking.  Last week, I received a package on Thursday afternoon.  Their tracking information hadn't been updated since early Tuesday and still showed the package as being in another city many hundreds of miles away.

    I often order from the US (I'm in Canada) and I just ignore the USPS 'tracking'. I wait until it has been handed over to Canada Post (much better tracking) or just wait for it to arrive. I've never had an issue with items shipped by USPS. UPS on the other hand.. geez. Aside from their absurd brokerage fees on their 'cheap' shipping (often making it more expensive than their high end shipping which is quicker and includes the brokerage) they do a poor job at getting me my item without the box looking like they were having some fun playing 'kick the box' in the sorting room. They have also left sign for packages in the rain outside the door of the house without having gotten a signature. Don't even get me started on trying to pick up packages from them.. I use anyone but UPS. For some reason the Americans I've spoken to about shipping are not fond of the USPS. I don't know if that's marketing, or if local service is shit, but as a Canadian USPS has been rock solid and is the most competitively priced.
    I don't have anything against USPS.  I do try to avoid the UPS, but only because their prices are usually not competitive with FedEx.



  • @dubbreak said:

    They have also left sign for packages in the rain outside the door of the house without having gotten a signature.

    Signatures are optional in UPS, if the package is below a certain value/weight cut-off. If you want to sign for it so badly, ask the shipper to require one.

    Personally, I think "not requiring signatures" is UPS' best feature. I work for a living; I'm not home at 3:00 PM on weekdays. Although I usually work around the situation by having stuff delivered to work anyway.



  • @fterfi secure said:

    You're assuming that junk mail costs the same to deliver - it doesn't, because the collection and sorting costs are lower - and that there is only one piece of junk mail per address with no overlap with regular mail. It costs the same (pretty much) to deliver multiple letters to one address as to deliver a single letter.
    This assumes either that I'm also receiving regular mail or that I receive enough junk mail at one time to make up for it. Usually I receive 2 pieces of junk mail per day. Maybe it'd be profitable if they delivered it in bulk one day a week, but not when it arrives every day the USPS is open.
    Do you not have second-class post in the US, anyway?
    We do, called "Standard" (vs. "First-Class"), but it is only available for presorted junk mail, and aside from sorting is processed the same way as regular mail, so it's pretty much just an arbitrary price bracket.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @dubbreak said:
    They have also left sign-for packages in the rain outside the door of the house without having gotten a signature.
    Signatures are optional in UPS, if the package is below a certain value/weight cut-off. If you want to sign for it so badly, ask the shipper to require one.

    Personally, I think "not requiring signatures" is UPS' best feature. I work for a living; I'm not home at 3:00 PM on weekdays. Although I usually work around the situation by having stuff delivered to work anyway.

    HTFY/FTFH


  • @TwelveBaud said:

    This assumes either that I'm also receiving regular mail or that I receive enough junk mail at one time to make up for it.
    Unless you live out in some rural area (and then you'd probably be forced to have a PO box, I don't know), the mail-carrier is driving your route anyway.


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