Sunday, June 12, 2011

USPS: Mistakes? We Got 'Em. We Don't Care.

by Leann

This past Monday, my husband and I had our anniversary. One of those big, big, can you believe it? number of years married. But because of his recent surgery, we couldn't go out and celebrate. No cards, no party, no real anything going on. We did receive a giant size floral arrangement from our kids. Beautiful, really.

My daughter, however, said to be looking for an express mail envelope. With the loss of my beloved cat and the lack of family around to help us celebrate, I was pretty glum. But I looked forward to getting whatever my daughter had sent us. However we checked the mailbox starting Saturday June 4th, even Sunday June 5th, and nothing was there. But the big day was Monday, the 6th. And guess what? No envelope. Nothing. I didn't want to say anything to my daughter. Since it hadn't arrived, maybe it got hung up in NYC. After all, I'd sent my son-in-law's birthday card there two and a half weeks ago and he still hadn't received it.

But when I went to put outgoing mail in our box on Wednesday morning, June 8th, there was the express mail envelope. All by itself. No other mail. Inside was her handwritten note. I will treasure it forever, the tribute to our marriage was so beautifully said. But half of the tears I shed were for how late this had arrived. For $18, that envelope came in the same amount of time as if she'd just put a regular stamp on the envelope.

I think the lost birthday card to my son-in-law, the fact that several times I've put mail in the box only to have them toss delivered mail on top and not take the outgoing mail added to this latest screw up finally got to me. First I fired off an email online to USPS and then I called our local post office. I got the Post Mistress on the line. That's when the excuses began, but she did say she would look in to it.

She called back later to say that the express mail had been scanned on June 4th. Was delivered. No it wasn't, I told her. Then she told me that when the carrier delivered our mail on Monday morning (day of our anniversary) the express mail envelope was in our box. No it wasn't. Because when I got our mail, it wasn't there. And it wasn't there Tuesday either. It suddenly appeared Wednesday morning. See, somehow, she said, it ended up back at the post office and the carrier then delivered it (supposedly again). Her words were something to the effect that this was so bizarre, it had to be true. Huh? That's your excuse? That, of course, was also laced with implications that we missed this important piece of mail somehow. (Really, it was our fault.)

I am still boiling about this. Whatever happened to, "Someone on our end screwed up. We're sorry?" I actually might have understood if those words had been said--and they offered to refund my daughter's wasted $18. But no. Guess that's not the way the world works these days. Blame someone else, make up a story, lead with excuses and cite rules. That's how it goes. It makes me angry, sad and disappointed. The best part is that I DO have that note from my daughter, it wasn't completely lost like my son-in-law's birthday card.

How about you? Has the post office let you down lately? I'd love to hear about it! :-)

25 comments:

Bella said...

Oh that's so sad Leann, especially with everything your family has been through lately.

Our post within Canada is pretty good, but our postal workers are about to go on strike, so I'm envisioning there will be lots of delays of my mail (especially bookish packages).

Min said...

I went around and around with my letter carrier last fall when she refused to deliver our mail because she couldn't get the key to work in our front door (in our neighbourhood, most mailboxes are in a foyer between the two front doors of the building). But we worked it out and now she and I are actually friendly with each other. The substitute carrier for her, though hates to deliver packages. So we all pray that any packages we're expecting arrive on a day that our regular person is working so we don't have to go pick them up. Most people here don't have cars, so going to pick up a package is an ordeal involving renting a car (especially if it's a larger package) or trying to get it redelivered (which involves navigating the phone system).

The big story around the Philly area a few months ago was when a South Jersey letter carrier got fired when she put a small boy in her truck because a pit bull was chasing him. Now, letting anyone in a postal truck is against regs (for understandable liability reasons). But was she supposed to stand by and let the boy get mauled?

RosieJo said...

I often get mail going to a similar address. The only way I can get the PO's attention is to write (in ink) on the outside of the envelope "This is not my mail. Who has my mail?". Then I put it in the outside box at the PO. I usually get a not-so-nice phone call telling me not to write on the envelopes in ink. At least I have their attention.

Kristin A. said...

What a total bummer about the late arrival of your anniversary letter, but a very sweet gesture on the part of your daughter for taking time to write such a lovely note, and to also to do her best to ensure the prompt delivery. The most frustrating thing is probably that no one is owning up to the mistake, apologizing or like you said, offering a refund. A simple "I am so sorry we messed up" is HUGE and it is a shame the Post Mistress did not offer that.

I have had very few issues with the postal service. One torn letter years ago and several instances of receiving neighbor's mail in my previous condo or them receiving mine. After one particular day where my neighbor received my mail on a day where it included a number of financial statements, I did finally complain. It is easy to take their service for granted and for all the times my mail came on time and in great shape or what I sent was delivered on time and in great shape, I am grateful. Their track record (for me) has been awesome given that we get mail about 300 days a year! For the time being, I won't bad mouth them. The day I spend $18 to speed up delivery, but a $0.44 stamp gets there just as fast...I will complain without hesitation!

Happy Belated Anniversary to you and your hubby!

Booklady said...

For almost the entire month of December, we kept getting someone else's mail. We very nicely walked across the street and took the mail to the right address. Whomever got our mail was not so nice. This was our first December at this house and the neighbors all told us not to bother complaining. The post office wouldn't do anything about it, except maybe make it worse.

The other frustrating thing is that when you go into the post office it takes two to three times as long as it should take because they are so busy trying to sell you stamps, wrapping and passports. I hate going to the post office. No wonder they are worried that private businesses like UPS and FedEx are going to take all their business.

booksNyarn said...

That is so sad, and excuses without apologies are never a good response.

I have been pretty lucky with mail in my area, although I still get tripped up with my daughter's magazines. Some places insist that my name is on the address, even though she is on the mailbox, because she is under 18. But it isn't everywhere, which just makes it even more confusing.

Happy Belated Anniversary!

cyn209 said...

i recently experienced a late arrival of a package (books, in fact!!).....according to the tracking, it sat in Poughkeepsie's PO for over 2 weeks before it was finally delivered to me in NYC!!! i had ordered several times from this one online bookstore, so i knew it was the them.....in fact, the owner said that in this particular case, he gave the package to his mailperson, instead of going to the PO himself to send it out......i think it sat in this mailperson's truck the whole time until it was discovered 2 weeks later!!!!

Happy Belated Anniversary to you & your husband!!!! ManyMany more BlessedYears to you both!!!!!

Leann Sweeney said...

For years I never had a problem with home delivery, but of late, things have not been good. I know what the sub deliverer is on because we get nothing but junk. Now, GOING to the post office is something I hate more than almost anything. Small spaces, poor setup (double doors in the wrong place)and usually one or two people working and that's it. They have parallel parking (which was really unnecessary) so it is difficult to see when you are pulling out. I could go on, but there are so many things wrong on so many levels. But you know, a smile and a "sorry you had to wait so long" goes a long way in helping people tolerate complete inconvenience and inefficiency.
Leann, still mad at those people!!! :-)

Barbara said...

When we first moved here 17 years ago, we had the original male chauvinist pig for a carrier. He picked on the women on the route; never the men. My husband had stayed in Conn. to finish a job so I was here to contend with him by myself and he gave me fits about the height of our mailbox - even though it was the same one the previous owners had used for 20 years!

Now thankfully we have a great woman mail carrier who is a lovely person and delivers the mail properly.

Sarita said...

Oh that really stinks!

Kay said...

Gee, Leann, if I didn't know better I'd swear you live in Lubbock! Our mail service is equally poor where we live. We have a "mail room" with locked boxes at the front of our gated apartment property. I regularly take my neighbor her bank statement, credit card statements, investment info., etc. She sometimes gets our mail & brings it to us, but mostly it ends up elsewhere and unfortunately whomever those neighbors are, they don't bring it to us. We've lost very important papers, gifts, I've had books go missing, & once an entire Amazon shipment that they had to replace. Complaints do nothing & our property manager says bluntly that our primary carrier is "blind as a bat" and that it is "normal" for mail to get put in the wrong boxes. I'm sorry, that's not "normal" especially with the prices we all pay. I've called to complain, gone in person, does no good. I get a lot of packages (books) and I'm certain they get tired of leaving the packages in the apartment office. Often they are so jammed in our small lock box that I can barely get them out. So, all that to say, I feel your pain and am equally frustrated with the poor service we receive from the USPS.

Linda McDonald said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your husband. I'm glad that you eventually did get the package from your daughter and that it wasn't lost forever.

I've actually had some good luck lately with the post office. I've had a few packages arrive in the mail recently in a very timely manner. I guess it is just the luck of the draw.

Leann Sweeney said...

My problem seems small compared to what you have to deal with Kay. Wow. If the USPS has no competition for regular mail--and they don't--I think that creates complacency and a "what are you going to do about it anyway?" attitude. That's still not right, though. The online USPS emailed me back and gave me the same story they'd heard from the local post office. Doesn't make any difference who you talk to. We just got very unlucky on a day that was already pretty tough to handle.

Debra said...

Every summer we stop delivery before our vacation. Every year they don't resume delivery unless I call and speak to the manager. We get a lot of magazines and other mail and I think they just don't want to bother. One year the carrier said "I didn't know you wanted us to bring your mail" Huh?! If I have to go get it, then it isn't Postal Service anymore, it's Debra Service. I try to speak pleasantly because otherwise they take even longer to resume service and we don't want to pay our bills late.

Gayle Carline said...

First of all, this is why I've gone to mostly online bill paying. I've had too many bills go MIA. Our postal carrier is mostly okay, except she also hates to carry packages to our door, and recently left a NastyGram in our mailbox, telling us to stop parking in front of the box so she could get to it. I understand this, except it's not US parking in front of the mailboxes. It's practically every other neighbor on our street.

I once had a bad UPS experience - we have a nice little porch to leave packages, but this doofus left a package on the brick wall BEHIND some bushes, in the WINTER, where it had been thoroughly soaked and ruined by the time I found it. I emailed UPS and they called me, apologized, made things right with Amazon, sent me a new copy of the book and told me they would have a word with that driver. That's customer service.

Vickie said...

When I mail a package, I only go to my favorite treasure shop/post office so that I can talk to Georgia, my favorite mailperson. Her place is like the post offices in England, a shop and a place to mail schtuff. I have never lost anything mailed out since I've started going to her and I get the joy of finding treasures. The shop is swell, I've never lost a package, Georgia is a pip...it's all good.

Mail delivery is pretty good when our regular guy is on, kinda iffy...

Griperang/Angela said...

I have had a bad experience here in FL with the po. I had a lot of mail that was outgoing as I am a cardmaker and we do card swaps. I was sending out a batch and the lady was arguing with me - part of my mail ended up on the floor behind her counter. I got a supervisor involved and was told I was right. I asked her to check on the mail on the floor and was told it was all picked up. I truly do not belive it was picked up as one lady never recived her stuff. The superviser now gives me dirty looks when I go in there and I won't even go in the line with the rude lady. I now try to use the automated machine as much as possible. They want us to use the postal service more but they don't know how to provide customer service

KeLLy aNN said...

We are THE Luckiest Neighborhood! Our mail lady totally Rocks..
She'll even go so far as to look out for certain mail {like christmassy stuff and if you give her who it's from like an extra duty check, she'll look and see if it's there and make a special trip to bring it to you}. That's why we actually petitioned to have her back when they switched her route.

Leann Sweeney said...

Kelly Ann, you love your carrier because mail involves PEOPLE and their lives. It's not just bills and junk mail. It's the special things--like what my daughter sent to me. You are very lucky you have one of those people who understands this!

signlady217 said...

We've gotten someone else's mail a number of times that lives 4 or 5 streets over from us, same number (I think) but different street name and not even close to being similar sound or spelling of the street name or our last names. Weird.

Most of the time we don't have too much trouble, though, thank goodness.

Jody said...

So sorry to read your blog & all the notes about bad mail service. We're lucky. We have a wonderful mailman who knows almost everyone to whom he he delivers. He was invited to our neighborhood picnic a couple of weeks ago because he's considered part of the neighborhood family. On rare occasions, we get our next door neighbor's mail mixed in with ours, but most of the time it all go swimmingly. I've been impressed with how quickly some mail travels.
Our previous, now retired, mailman was even better!

Aurian said...

I regularly get mail not addressed to me, but at my address. I try to visit my neighbours to find out who it is for, but don't always succeed. There used to be a little supermarket on the corner where they knew everybody, which was easier.
I buy a lot of books at the Bookdepository, and they ship within a few days. It then takes almost a month! to reach my home. I tried to find out where the fault was, and complained, but never did get an explanation. 10 books shipped on the same day arrived within three weeks. That is not normal, now is it? I did get everything in the end, but it just took way too long.

Danielle said...

We get mail for the people who live on the next street. We have the same house numbers. Who ever is sorting the mail is not paying attention. It is terribly sad when the neighbor calls our house looking for their pension checks to make sure it wasn't delivered here by mistake because USPS is so unreliable. Or when the same elderly couple was bringing over large packages filled with baby shower gifts.

Anonymous said...

Well, I haven't had any screw ups lately. However, I do have a couple stories from a while ago.

First of all, I have learned that 99% of the time, mail to and from Texas--not gonna happen. One time, I had a rather rude phone call from someone asking me why she hadn't gotten a thank you from me after she sent me an autographed photo of a singer I liked. I mean this woman was FUMING. I told her I never got it.

Next, I had ordered lipstick from a company in NY. Four weeks later, I still hadn't gotten it. I finally asked others who ordered from the company how long it took to get their order. They said 4 days. So I called the company about it. The person was very nice and said she'd look into it. So she called and said UPS was looking for the package. The next phone call, she told me that UPS said apparently UPS lost the package, and she'd try to find another lipstick to send me. She called back and told me that she contacted all their warehouses and found ONE left that she would send me. This problem took several phone calls to straighten it all out. It got to the point where we were on a first name basis. So after the last phone call, literally within 5 mins. of us hanging up, the doorbell rang. I don't know how I knew, but I just KNEW it was the UPS person. Lo and behold, there was my package that looked like it had gone through WW III. So I called the woman back and said "Hi, Gillion. It's Traci." No need to say Traci who at that point. Then I said "You'll never guess what just came." LOL! That poor girl!

Me said...

I never get my mail. My free starbucks drink coupons- never seen them; my brothers save the date for his wedding- never saw it; the actual wedding invitation- never saw that one either. And they wonder why their going out of business. At first I was upset about possibly losing USPS, but now all I have to say is GOOD RIDDANCE! They are absolutely useless now.