A Couple of USPS Oddities

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    Default A Couple of USPS Oddities

    I've generally been a defender of the USPS, especially their extremely reliable delivery service for packages not susceptible to damage. But, I've come across a few inexplicable issues lately.

    1) First class postage - Unless I'm missing something - and I've looked hard a couple of different times - it seems one can no longer purchase first class postage on packages through the USPS website. It's either well-hidden or simply not there, and if it's not there it seems unethical not to offer it for sale online. You can buy it online from third party sellers, but why put an obstacle in the way of purchasing it through USPS, other than the obvious reason, that you then either have to pay for priority mail or face the often long lines at the post office or use a third party seller.

    2) Routing of mail - I've noticed a couple of times before that my packages have been routed strangely - like going from Chicago to Minneapolis via Warrenville/Pittsburgh (500 miles to the east to reach a destination 500 miles to the northwest, for those unfamiliar with U.S. geography). I think I read recently that USPS closed some distribution centers to try to save money, so I figured this might be the result. But a couple of weeks ago I shipped a package to a Chicago address a couple of miles from my post office, and THAT went through Warrenville - effectively turning a 2-mile trip into a 1000-mile trip. Certainly with the technology available today that cannot be the way a local delivery is supposed to work - I hope.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    First class is still there but when you enter the package size and weight, it will remove the options that are not available for it. FC is for packages up to 16oz and of a certain max size. Don't know if that's what's happening for you but I did purchase FC through ebay recently for a small package. I bought FC today at the PO for another one of about 2oz. FC is the best secret at USPS because its 3-day for small change compared to Priority at $7.00 +/-. Frequently it will be one or two-day for closer destinations.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    I can't speak regarding the routing of the package...

    But I agree for the First Class Mail: you still can buy it from the USPS website, but the website is not friendly with options of the First Class.

    I use to buy stuff from US (to Europe) and the seller prefer to use the "small boxes" (provided by USPS). That's fair because many people don't have time to find a padded envelope and pack up the stuff (which goes into the envelope). Shipping into a rigid cardboard box... requires less time.

    From USPS, you can buy the box only... or you have options for buying a flat rate shipping to ship everything you can fit into the box you choose (the cardboard box is included).

    With the First Class... you need to provide size and weight.

    I agree with @1saxman: the First Class Mail is a kind of secret.. even for non domestic shipping: the First Class Mail is completely tracked even for shipping overseas (and strangely, in the last year, for direct experience doesn't take more time than the Priority Mail... to get delivered).

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    I've seen #2 with some of the mail being sent and when I asked about it at my local branch they said they have closed several sorting facilities for financial reasons as you mentioned. They used to do some sorting here in Longmont CO but now almost everything goes to Denver to be sorted so sending something to someplace close by but not in town means it goes through Denver. It doesn't seem very efficient and it likely adds a day or sometimes two on to the time it takes for something to be delivered but I suspect they've spent time figuring this all out to maximize the savings.

    The thing that bothered me more was that USPS from what I can understand has no really functional way to insure something against loss as opposed to damage. I realize from their standpoint far more stuff ends up damaged than simply disappearing altogether lost but when you are sending items like mouthpieces this isn't very reassuring. I recently traded a bunch of bari mouthpieces with another form member just for play testing and when I asked about insuring them against loss (as opposed to damage) the payout was limited to some relatively small maximum. Their policy seems to be based upon you having a receipt for the item as well as pictures showing it's condition when packed. This is not very practical to begin with even for items that are just damaged and useless for those that are lost. You can insure stuff for big $$$ against damage but if they loose the thing out right they aren't going to give you that payout.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    First class only shows up for cost estimates on the USPS site. You can't buy first class postage directly there and it has been this way for many years if not always.

    As to the routing problems I have seen massive ones. I had a package routed to Mexico from Boston by way of Greenland and South Korea if the tracking info is to be believed. Talk about a nerve wracking order, fortunately it got where it was going. Another to England got there but went to Thailand first, from one land to another.

    But I ship frequently and problem free with them and have done so for many years.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by Rackety Sax View Post

    1) First class postage - Unless I'm missing something - and I've looked hard a couple of different times - it seems one can no longer purchase first class postage on packages through the USPS website. It's either well-hidden or simply not there, and if it's not there it seems unethical not to offer it for sale online. You can buy it online from third party sellers, but why put an obstacle in the way of purchasing it through USPS, other than the obvious reason, that you then either have to pay for priority mail or face the often long lines at the post office or use a third party seller.
    Quote Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
    First class is still there but when you enter the package size and weight, it will remove the options that are not available for it. FC is for packages up to 16oz and of a certain max size.
    I think he actually means standard/ground shipping. In which case, yes that is correct...it has been that way for awhile now, certainly close to a year. I do recall a few years ago one COULD actually buy Standard shipping online for something the size of an instrument package.

    Now, one cannot buy standard ground labels/postage via the usps website for something the size of a packed instrument any longer. Only options that appear for online purchase are Priority or Express.

    This is clearly intentional - a way to make people pay more for the convenience of using an online ship label. It is a bit scummy, actually. (although I too am generally a staunch defender of USPS- but less so lately....).

    Only way to do that (buy standard shipping for a sizable parcel) is at the post office (either counter clerk or self-serve kiosk)...which is a pain in the butt actually, yes.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    I don't mean standard, I mean first class shipping for parcels weighing under a pound or whatever the limit is. It used to be available for online purchase on the USPS website, but no longer.

    I would surmise that an international package going to Europe through Thailand is an error, whereas my package going down the street via Pittsburgh is evidently the intended routing these days. I'm surprised that Chicago doesn't rate a sorting center.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    First class packages cannot exceed 14 oz otherwise priority is required (or parcel pony express)

    I sent an express package to a vendor in the UK this spring from Oreogon. First it went to Tokyo, then it traveled to Moscow.

    Aparently Brexit is making it hard to locate the UK.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by Rackety Sax View Post
    I don't mean standard, I mean first class shipping for parcels weighing under a pound or whatever the limit is. It used to be available for online purchase on the USPS website, but no longer.
    Ah...I never ship small things.....
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
    I sent an express package to a vendor in the UK this spring from Oreogon. First it went to Tokyo, then it traveled to Moscow.

    Aparently Brexit is making it hard to locate the UK.
    Odd, I sent Bopity a priorty package last month, went straight to UK, got there really quickly too....
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    I think they were having an off day with mine. Generally they take a proper route and I also rarely lose anything in the mail.

    It would have been more entertaining had the package not contained a couple of grand in mouthpieces.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
    I think they were having an off day with mine. Generally they take a proper route and I also rarely lose anything in the mail.

    It would have been more entertaining had the package not contained a couple of grand in mouthpieces.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    USPS is my preferred method of shipping. But they've had their off days. Not too long ago I bought a mouthpiece from Oregon. It was Priority Mail and I followed the tracking as it bounced back and forth in Portland among three post offices day after day. Arriving for shipment at one office. Departing for destination. Arriving for shipment at another Portland office. Departing for destination ad infinitum. On the fourth day I contacted the USPS consumer affairs dept and showed them the "looping". The mouthpiece arrived the next day.

    The seller was very helpful also and reported the problem on his end too.

    Still nothing compared to UPS or DHL packages that I've found on the hood of my car in the driveway or thrown underneath bushes by my front door during a thunderstorm; finally discovered after two days completely soaked and falling apart.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    I have a P.O. box; if you can induce shippers to ship by Post Office, your package will be waiting there for you, rather than hoping the UPS or Fedex driver doesn't leave a package with several thousand dollars of contents on your front porch for anyone to pick up and walk away with.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
    I have a P.O. box; if you can induce shippers to ship by Post Office, your package will be waiting there for you, rather than hoping the UPS or Fedex driver doesn't leave a package with several thousand dollars of contents on your front porch for anyone to pick up and walk away with.
    Or you could have the seller require a signature.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Last summer I bought a mpc, I think it was from from Rackety in Chicago --my memory is not great-- to be mailed to me in Putnam county, N.Y. 60 miles north of NYC. This was a ground mail delivery by truck and the damn thing took well over a week to arrive. I used to get stuff from him back 8 years ago in 4 days from Chitown to Barcelona. So the crisis and the internet must have had an effect.

    For some reason they sent it back and forth between two towns in Pennsylvania twice and then westward to Ohio then down to Maryland then up to N.J. and finally to Beacon N.Y from where it took another two days to be delivered to me all of 30 miles south of there. I was watching this insane journey on their tracking page and got so flummoxed I called to inquire a number of times. The answer was always the same b.s. excuse and I really got p.o.'d (pissed off not post officed). Yelling doesn't get you anywhere but it sure did feel good to let it all out.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    Last summer a package I bought a mpc, I think it was from from Rackety in Chicago --my memory is not great-- to be mailed to me in Putnam county, N.Y. 60 miles north of NYC. This was a ground mail delivery by truck and the damn thing took well over a week to arrive. I used to get stuff from him back 8 years ago in 4 days from Chitown to Barcelona. So the crisis and the internet must have had an effect.

    For some reason they sent it back and forth between two towns in Pennsylvania twice and then westward to Ohio then down to Maryland then up to N.J. and finally to Beacon N.Y from where it took another two days to be delivered to me all of 30 miles south of there. I was watching this insane journey on their tracking page and got so flumoxed I called to inquire a number of times. The answer was always the same b.s. excuse and I really got p.o.'d (pissed off not post officed). Yelling doesn't get you anywhere but it sure did feel good to let it all out.
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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    You can gaze out the window, get mad and get madder
    Throw your hands in the air, say what does it matter?
    But it don't do no good to get angry so help me, I know


    John Prine - "Bruised Orange"
    That is one of my favorite songs of his. I especially like the video of it where he drives around his home town in his 1950 Dodge pointing out the church and train tracks where the incident sung about actually happened. The guy is a brilliant song writer and I love his singing too. A really wonderful person with a whole lot to say about life. And also I had a 1950 Dodge for a couple of years. Mine was a 4 door and bigger and heavier than his, and let me tell you it was built like a brick shiithouse. You caught your finger in one of those doors you needed it sewed back on. I backed into a VW beetle at about 5 mph when it came up suddenly behind me from a blind curve on our country lane and I destroyed the whole front of the bug. There was a slight bit of its paint on my chromed steel bumper. LOL . The car had Hydromatic Drive, the so-called slushbox transmission, which was the semi-automatic system of that time. Mine didn't have the black metal visor over the windshield that his has but I did have the original wide white wall tires because the car only had 13,000 miles when I got it in 1970. It had been inherited by one of my buddies from his grandmother who lived in a small town in Wisconsin and in fact really only drove it to go shopping and to church once a week each. She also kept it in a heated garage, so the car was impeccable. But being only 20 years old it was not considered a "Classic Car" and not worth very much. I paid only $350 for it and sold it 2 years later for $400. It kills me to think what that car would be worth today but Ces't la vie say the old folks cause you just never can tell.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    This past year I sent a mouthpiece to St. Augustine, FL for a reface (or so I thought). The USPS tracking page went dormant for 6 days after showing that it left Warrendale Pa. The next city should have been St. Augustine, or maybe Jacksonville, but no...it was Barrigada Guam. They only missed by about 8000 miles. The package was apparently opened in Guam for inspection, and resealed. It arrived in St. Augustine after 12 days, with the resealing coming loose, but no damage to the contents.

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    Default Re: A Couple of USPS Oddities

    Quote Originally Posted by mijderf View Post
    This past year I sent a mouthpiece to St. Augustine, FL for a reface (or so I thought). The USPS tracking page went dormant for 6 days after showing that it left Warrendale Pa. The next city should have been St. Augustine, or maybe Jacksonville, but no...it was Barrigada Guam. They only missed by about 8000 miles. The package was apparently opened in Guam for inspection, and resealed. It arrived in St. Augustine after 12 days, with the resealing coming loose, but no damage to the contents.
    Bwaaaaa Haaaaa Haaaaaa. With aim like that it's a good thing they aren't running the Navy or they be sending ships meant to go up to North Korea down towards Australia. Oh.....wait a sec.......hmmmmm......it seems like they are running the Navy.
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

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