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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 29, 2008 3:25 PM. The previous post in this blog was Nobody's watching. The next post in this blog is New look. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

"Priority" mail: Nine days

Remember our trip to the Post Office at the start of the snow craziness on the Saturday before Christmas? Among the postage we paid was $11.50 to send a small package to New Jersey via "priority" mail -- two to three business days, supposedly. It got there today -- five business days, and nine calendar days, later.

Now, of course, some of the delay can be blamed on Portland's bad weather. Given all the disruption at our airport around the time I mailed the package, it probably didn't leave town on time. But the crazy part is, as of last Wednesday, the 24th, it was sitting in a postal facility in Warrendale, Pennsylvania -- somewhere around Pittsburgh. It took three more working days to get from there to northern New Jersey, where the recipient lives across the street from the post office.

Next year, and all future years: UPS.

Comments (25)

I'll never use UPS again. Ever.

My Christmas packages have been sitting at the UPS facility since the 19th. All they will tell me is it will definitely be delivered "today". And then at 9pm every night they change the delivery date to the next day. I also just spoke to someone who is having a problem with Fed Ex...their packages have been in Portland for 18 days and have yet to be delivered!

A couple of years ago I sent some medical information "priority" across the country. It took eight days to deliver and then they delivered to the right company, but wrong address. I asked about a refund and almost got laughed at.

In three days I could have driven it across personally. Getting it fixed since it was late costs a lot of time that I didn't have.

What a scam!

I've got packages sitting somewhere in the UPS, FedEx, and USPS systems. Some have been in Portland since 12/20, but still don't show they are going to be delivered today. I think they all dropped the ball during the "Arctic Blast".

On the other hand on the 24th I did see a FedEx truck stopped on a main street and the driver trudging down a snow filled side street to make a delivery. But, I assume that was a priority or overnight package.

Next year, and all future years: UPS.

Did b!x ever get the Dr. Horrible dvds UPS has been holding on Swan Island for the last week?

UPS? You must be crazy. Most of our Christmas shopping was done on Amazon (we have Prime 2nd day is free and overnight is $3.99). All packages were shipped between 12/12 and 12/19. All were overnight or second day and none have arrived. All made it to Portland on or before 12/22 or 12/23 and no I don't expect any of them for a couple of days.

All are still scheduled for delivery on 12/22 or 12/23 but for 2008 or 2009?

At least it only cost me a few $$$ and not full overnight or second day freight.

What a joke.

Mark

Add me to the list of olks NOT loving UPS. I had a rather important UPS package sent out to me on the 18th, supposedly to arrive on the 22nd. It got to Hermiston on the 24th. It reached Portland on the 28th. I assumed it would get to me today, but no, still not here. And several other packages ordered through Amazon and being carried by UPS have been at a warehouse in Portland since the 24th. Meanwhile, an item I ordered from REI on the 24th arrived to me via the United States Postal Service today.

I'll stick with the Post Office. They missed delivering our mail only one day during the storm. UPS, however, has been holding a package for us for more than a week, while their site says something about delays because of "inclement weather." It was a Christmas gift for our daughter, who was here for the holiday but has now returned to San Diego. Will UPS forward the package to her there? Of course not. And, by the way, their delivery "guarantee" doesn't count either.

Never again with UPS if I have an alternative.

Most of the late arrivals via any mentioned above can be blamed on CoP and Thinks-He's Mayor Sam Adams. No money he claims for plowing but he has $12.5 Million to give to Vestas if they want it.

It does sound as if they're all about the same. Gift card, anyone? Electronic funds transfer, maybe?

Nothing says "I love you" like an EFT.

Seriously.

My best USPS event was a Priority Mail package sent from Stayton, Oregon to West Linn, Oregon a couple years ago--it took 10 business days, 14 calendar days. The box could have sprouted legs & walked to West Linn in that time...

USPS, but if ya gotta go with one of the others - Fed Ex, not UPS.

Every single one of them drives me crazy.

USPS can't be bothered to bring packages to your door if you live in an apartment. It goes straight to the office and they put a slip in your box. If I lived in a house, they'd have to come to my door - why can't they do the same for me? After all, the sender paid just as much. This means a big delay for people who work 8-5, as the office is closed by the time they get home.

FedEx leaves packages on my door step. In an apartment complex. This has included pay checks (some over $3,000), MS Office Pro, and Adobe Creative Suite 4 - Master Collection. None of which should have ever been left sitting in front of my door.

UPS takes forever to deliver. I ordered Christmas gifts from Toys R Us on the 23rd because what we needed wasn't available in the stores (but was available online). It has been sitting in Illinois for two days now and shows it won't be delivered until the 5th.

But I can say one thing - when the Gresham Post Office couldn't deliver mail (because it had none to deliver because of the snow/ice), both FedEx and UPS made deliveries to my apartment.

A few weeks ago, I had a package to ship to a customer that needed it within 3 days. So I went to the UPS website to print a shipping label, and was quoted approx. $20 for 2nd day air to Baltimore. By the time I went to check out, it had gone up to over $100. I called UPS and was told that the $100+ quote was the right one, and they had no idea why or how it was originally $20. The package wasn't very large, and weighed about 3 pounds.

I'm also expecting a package from UPS, but the tracking information hasn't been available at all sinc it was shipped.

No more UPS for me. I'll stick with USPS and FedEx.

I think that some of it was unavoidable....although it seemed to be hit and miss with the different companies.

Packages I sent Priority Mail- USPS on 12/15 arrived in Northern California in 3 days.
My brother USPS'd a Priority Mail box from Northern California to me on 12/19, and I just got it today, 12/29. Today was also my first mail delivery in over a week.

I have to give Kudos to the FedEx guy and the UPS guy, though. Both of them trudged up my snow and ice filled, verrrrry long driveway more than once to deliver packages, including on Christmas Eve. They had to park their trucks down on the road, and hike through the 12" or more of snow. They get big THANKS from me for that.

best of luck with ups instead of usps - had multiple packages delayed with ups this year. i actually found fedex to be the most 'concerned' about my packages even making a sunday delivery! nonetheless bashing big gubment always sounds funny when you're typing it.

This packages issue seems like a whole lot of whining, a consequence of our ridiculously high expectations despite a period of ultra high mail/package volume and nasty weather everywhere across the northern tier of the US.

In defense of USPS, it still amazes me that for 42 cents, I can drop a letter in the mail in Portland one day, and the next day it's in Salem with the addressee.

sa, it's not whining; it's justified irritation with the "we don't care" attitude being exhibited by UPS. We have a package sitting at a UPS facility somewhere in Portland. It has been there since before the storm (originally scheduled for delivery on December 23), not only is UPS refusing to speculate on when they might get around to delivering it, they rudely informed on the phone that I couldn't come to their facility and pick it up because they don't know if they have access to it. So basically, they have no freakin' clue where the package is, and I'm not confident I will ever see it. If they seemed even slightly concerned, I would be more forgiving.

I agree, it is not whining. UPS has been rude and uninterested in finding our packages. We have paid for a service and that service has not been given. We understand the weather was an issue, but they made no attempt to work on the weekend to get to the backlog of packages. I've heard that it's not only Christmas gifts, but payroll for some companies is also sitting in UPS warehouses.

Yea, I see after our package sitting in Illinois, it finally left almost 3 days to the minute (arrived at 6:16 a.m., left at 6:15 a.m. 3 days later) that it arrived.

The thing that's really driving me crazy is a package a friend sent from Singapore. We got the card in the box that it was at the post office. Go to the post office and they can't find it.

Check out browncafe.com a bunch of UPS employees, griping out their jobs and patting themselves on the back. Now they are upset because customers are on "their" forum asking for help. Interesting.

Apparently Omaha Steaks were sent to me for delivery on the 19th, then Omaha Steaks send another order for delivery on Dec. 24.

I guess UPS ate them.

Anything sent by USPS media mail from Portland - even to an address across the street - will first go to Federal Way, WA and then back to Portland.

The postal service has gone to great lengths to try and speed the sorting process - to the point where carriers now have to case and sort packages and mail that can't be read by equipment, but are not allowed to case the machinery sorted mail or the standard endorsed circulars that the PO calls "advos" and "our bread and butter" and the public fondly calls "junk mail." This means that carriers must tote the cased mail in one hand, the machined mail in another and packages and advos in a satchel or a third or fourth hand. Note that there is no longer a spare hand to use to safely navigate stairs, etc. But PO management says "safety first!" and the PTF in a 3-month provisional period is put in an impossible position of trying to juggle the various groups of mail AND try to use the railing when descending stairs to a customers box in the west hills.

All this "streamling" in the sorting center and the station is negated by delivery in older areas where any and all kinds of mail delivery boxes, slots, ceramic frogs, locked security gates, ice box hatches etc. are grandfathered in. In the west hills and other older areas the carrier cannot count on driving a completely mounted (driven) route and slipping mail into a box without getting out of the vehicle except to gather mail in a drop box. Newer homes and most apartments are faster to deliver to, but even in good weather on heavy mail days it can be a challenge.

Even so, when I worked as a carrier everyone was expected to come in regardless of the weather and the station chained up the LLVs and vans to hit the hills. If you finished your route early you could be expected to pick up pieces of slower carriers' routes.

One other problem - there are a lot of old carriers in Portland nearing retirement. Many are walking wounded.

IMO the worst time of the year to deliver in downtown Portland is tax season. At some businesses almost every first class letter is "accountable", meaning that it must be scanned every step of the way.

Someone should write a book about the workings and the culture of the USPS. It's an alternate universe.

"Priority Mail" took 15 days from December 18, 2008 to January 2, 2009 to deliver a package from NJ to Las Vegas. I could've written the book and walked it there myself.

I, too, will never use UPS again, and will seek to avoid online retailers who use it. Ordered a gift from Texas on the 17th that was picked up by UPS that day for delivery to me on the 23rd. Just in time for Christmas, I was thinking. Didn't get it then, not on the 24th, not on the 26th, and not until the afternoon of Jan. 2. Like Jack's, this one was sitting in town for about five days...and I live just up the street from the UPS Swan Island receiving center! Crap.


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