Another chapter of the never-ending story of the U.S. Postal Service and me

Yeah, it was about time that I wrote another chapter of my upcoming book “The Never-Ending Story of the U.S. Postal Service and me”, wasn’t it?  (← Just kidding about the book deal, but I seriously have enough material to write a book. But then again, who wants to read about the failings of the Postal Service.)

You know, I love the postal service, I love the idea of the postal service, I really do. I mean, how awesome is it that you hand them a piece of paper in an envelope and they transport it half way around the world? Pretty amazing, am I right?  I’ve been a good customer. I’ve been sending tons of letters for years. I make sure they stay in business (well, not single-handedly, but you know what I mean) and I appreciate their profession. However, repeatedly, they’ve been treating me as a (both sending and receiving) customer and my mail like shit and I am really – slowly-but-surely – getting so tired of it.

I’m almost ( nah, NOT REALLY!) getting used to the fact that I receive a small percentage of my Christmas cards returned every year, a sticker on it  claiming that the card couldn’t be delivered because of a wrong address (which, in all honesty, is NEVER actually the case, because I check back with my peeps). I get it, sometimes a letter gets lost, sometimes it gets missorted or simply overlooked. I know how it goes, I worked for the postal service in college.

But, I really had more than my fair share of BAD experiences with the Postal Service (and have blogged about it before) and  I am really, really getting pissed off by their audacity lately.

I had been (more or less) patiently waiting for my Mom’s Christmas package. She had sent it of on December, 1st, but I understand that Christmas is a busy time and that it can take a bit longer for things to be delivered when there is such a huge volume of mail. I am not complaining about that.

What I am complaining about is the nerve of the Postal Service to return a package WRAPPING (not even the actual package!) with a note on it that says a) that the package couldn’t be delivered because there is “no such street” (when my address on it is, in fact, CORRECT!) and b) a note that apologizes for the package being damaged (when the actual package + contents were not even returned).

I mean, WHAT THE HELL??? Who returns just an empty wrapping? It’s like a big slap in the face and I don’t appreciate it.

If they determined that there is “no such street” in Sacramento, does that mean it made it to the Sacramento post office and they were incapable of figuring out that there is indeed a street with that name in Sacramento? Are there no people with a little bit of common sense working for USPS?

To be completely honest, I discovered that my Mom used my “old” zip code, but with our new (correct) street address. You’d think, since we didn’t move out of town (in fact, only a mile away from our old apartment), they would be able to figure this little mystery out and simply verify the zip code, instead of trashing the package (or stealing the goodies) and sending the wrapping paper all the way back to Germany!

I mean, isn’t it their duty to at least cross-check the address + zip code (a simple Google maps search will do!) before they just declare a street “nonexistent”? In fact, I googled that and it says that this is what should happen anyway. I acknowledge that this might take some time and delay a package further, but clearly, nobody has even tried here. “Unable to forward” is simply INCORRECT.

To be frank, I am beyond FURIOUS.  And I am going to the post office this weekend. I already feel sorry for the person who has to deal with me.

  1. I had my fair share of that too. But the issue was really the wrong zip code. This most likely also means it was sent to the wrong post office — and they are not responsible for that street. They really are that binary. Their systems are that strict. Check it out for yourself:

    Yes, you would think that any other mapping service is smarter — but you are dealing with the USPS here…

    1. Yeah, but really? Sending back just the wrapping paper? What happened to the package? That is not what I would call good customer service…. and they’re supposed to verify the address, if something is not quite right. I read this over and over again.

      1. Of course none of that is excusable. Absolutely not. You can complain to your local postmaster (I did that several times). Not sure if this changes things — but at least you can vent into the right direction :-))

  2. How horrible! I would definitely complain. Regardless of the wrong zip code, what happened to the actual package? Did your mom use the wrapping paper as the outside of the package? I would say that she probably shouldn’t do that anymore. I’m sure it made the package stand out and probably more likely got someone’s attention. Also, I would say that if we can plug in an address to get the right zip code on a computer, someone could surely do that as well. So sorry this happened to you.

  3. Argh, San, that REALLY sucks, and I am angry for you. We’ve been having more and more issues with USPS too over the last few years. Really, when I think of it, it seems like things have been going downhill only the last 3 or 4 years or so, or at least I can’t remember having issues before then. Two years ago, we received our Christmas package, mailed in Germany in late November, at the end of February, i.e., three whole months later! This year, some of my Christmas cards to Germany took almost a month to arrive, while others still haven’t gotten to their destination. Also, I have a feeling like we are no longer getting mail delivered to our house every day, but sometimes only every couple of days. Of course, I can’t prove that though. So, I can totally relate to your frustration. I have a feeling like the USPS folks (or computers, or sorting machines, or whatever) are shoveling their own graves, as we Germans like to say, they just don’t realize it yet.

  4. This is horrible!
    What I sometimes do when I want packages delivered for sure I write the same address as sender and receiver. That’s probably not the most legal way but than who says I can’t send myself something. Never did that cross country though.
    Happy weekend

  5. I am so sorry for you!
    Here in Canada it works good. Canada Post always delivers the whole package but it is soooo costly!!!!! You could buy nice clothes for one little package to Germany. And sometimes very slow…….I had never a package that was opened for whatever reason.
    But we had also issues with a missing street name (Package arrived in Canada and was send back to Germany. Funny the ZIP code was right and when you know the ZIP code you know the street and honestly we are the only family with that odd name on the street. Our name is not Tremblay……and the street is not long….so here the handling could be improved by Canada Post.) In Switzerland on the other hand, I had several packages opened by Swiss Post Service to check for custom reasons. They are very greedy ;)
    Fed Ex (here) for example always puts the package on the door step when you are not there and the package arrives. So if someone not trustworthy walks along the street, this someone could take it and your package is gone :(
    My parents have started to send small packages (They split it most times into more than one) and that works out very fine. Good luck for the next time.
    Maybe a letter to customer service of US Post with picture proof is more helpful?

  6. Wow that is ridiculous! I thought they would be able to redirect a package if it had the wrong postal code… sheesh. And then to return an empty package to your mom? That’s nuts.

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