Going Postal.

One of our staff members here had a somewhat important and somewhat time critical document they needed to send to another state.

They chose the United States Postal Services “Priority Mail” service which advertises delivery in “2 – 3 Days”

Priority Mail
1-3 Business Days1 & Flat Rate Pricing2

Priority Mail® service includes tracking and delivery in 1-3 business days1. Check delivery time estimates on the Priority Mail Delivery Map. Priority Mail Flat Rate® lets you ship packages up to 70 lbs to any state at the same price. Ship from Post Office™ locations or from your home or business with Click-N-Ship® service. Prices start at $7.70.

The expected delivery date on the receipt shows the package being delivered on June 1, 2021.

May 27th was the Friday before Memorial Day, and so the delivery date was 5 days out, but because of the weekend and the holiday and the weekend, the Tuesday following Memorial Day was fine.

The envelope was mailed on May 27 early in the morning and tracking shows that it left the local post office that afternoon.

On May 29th, the package made it to the Network Distribution Center for the region.

From there, the package sat for eight (8) days in the Distribution Center. For those keeping score, that is more than twice the “2-3 day delivery” that is advertised and nearly twice the expected delivery time of 5 days.

On June 6, the package moved along to the USPS Facility for distribution to local post offices who would then deliver the package.

To this day, that is where the package is sitting. It hasn’t moved.

In that today is June 17th, that means that the package has sat in the USPS Facility for eleven days, which is almost 3 times the promised delivery times. That facility is less than five miles from the post office it needs to get to be delivered.

All in all, the estimated time of 2-3 days for delivery has stretched out to 22 days. That’s over 3 weeks for “Priority Mail.”

Talking with the USPS is a waste of time. They establish what is called a “case number” to find out where a package is and will call or send an email with the result.

Our staffer has had three cases on this one item and all three have resulted in the USPS saying “we know where the package is… will be delivered when it gets delivered.”

In two of the cases, the person responding to the staffer’s case said they “have over 300 cases just like his.” That number went down to 286 five days later.

Gee, that made the staffer feel better as the worker told them “we have packages that have not been delivered in a month.”

The person said they had to call everyone of those cases and tell them where their package was. We can’t imagine how long it takes to respond to 300 cases individually, but we sure as heck know that it is more time than it takes to hop in a truck, drive 5 miles to the USPS Facility, pick up the load of packages, bring them back 5 miles and then delivery them.

Other excuses were “we worked through COVID.”

Well, so did a lot of people and businesses. The difference being that those who are not government employees worked hard to meet customer expectations and the promises that the companies had made. The USPS cannot say that.

“We’ve been busy,” was another excuse.

The staffer accepts the idea that the USPS has been busy. The point? Private companies such as grocery stores have been busy and you don’t see them blaming the work load for such gross incompetence.

When the staffer asked about a refund, they were told that the estimated date of delivery was just that – an estimate. It was not guaranteed and therefore no refund could be issued.

Unfortunately, while this fact is not advertised when one ships a Priority Mail package, a footnote on the USPS web site says:

In most cases, the expected delivery date printed on your receipt or provided at checkout will reflect a delivery time of 1, 2, or 3 business days and is based on origin, destination, and drop-off time. The expected delivery data does not come with a money-back guarantee.

Must be nice to advertise a service, accept money to provide that service, not provide the service and then say “thanks for the extra money!”

The staffer acknowledges that a delay of a few days would have been disappointing, but not catastrophic. They would have accepted a delay of a few days, but a delay of THREE WEEKS?

Instead of “2-3 day delivery,” should the advertising now say “2-3 weeks?”

At least that would be accurate and people could make up their own mind.

While the USPS has been slowly declining over the years, the same day that the staffer mailed their package, the USPS announced rate hikes:

The United States Postal Service will increase prices on first-class mail as well as some other classes of postage, according to an announcement Friday afternoon.

First-class postage will increase to 58 cents from 55 cents effective Aug. 29, 2021, as USPS says it is working to stabilize finances amid declining mail volume and slower delivery.

USPS is adopting a winning strategy of “charge more for less services.”

WASHINGTON -The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Tuesday outlined a proposed 10-year strategic plan that would slow current first-class delivery standards and raise some prices to stem $160 billion in forecasted red ink over the next decade.

The plan would revise existing one-to-three-day service standards for first-class mail letters to one to five days. USPS said 61% of current first-class mail volume would stay at its current standard.

Fear not, however, instead of actually delivering the mail, the USPS will be spending money on other things:

The plan invests $4 billion to refurbish retail outlets, consolidates some city postal locations and seeks to move more first-class mail by trucks rather than air. USPS does not own its own airplanes.
USPS plans to cut costs by consolidating city postal locations and moving more first-class mail by trucks rather than air.

USPS also said it could commit to an all-electric delivery fleet by 2035 with assistance from Congress — and vows to spend $11 billion on vehicles over the next decade. Earlier this month, USPS said it could electrify its fleet to the “maximum extent” operationally feasible if it received $8 billion in government assistance.

In February, USPS picked Oshkosh Defense for a multibillion-dollar contract to make up to 165,000 delivery vehicles, rejecting an all-electric bid by Workhorse Group

Better facilities, prettier stores, new vehicles and none of it matters to the primary focus of the USPS which is to deliver mail.

If there is an example of government incompetence and lack of caring by workers for customers, it is the USPS.

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