Monday, October 14, 2013

Maybe This is Why the Post Office is Failing

I'm a self-confessed online shopper. If there's something I need that I can't get at the grocery store, I buy it online. For that reason, UPS and FedEx are regular visitors to my front doorstep.

Now that I work from home, that isn't as much an issue as it was when I was away from the house all day. The UPS truck is here at least two or three times a week. They leave the package, press the doorbell, and keep going. It works out perfectly for everyone.

Not so with the US Postal Service. Our lovely government workers never, ever visit my doorstep. If there's a package, they slip it into one of the larger boxes in our community mailboxes and put a key in my box. If those boxes fill up, I get a slip in my mailbox telling me I have to drive ten or fifteen minutes out of my way and wait in line to get it. That's apparently easier than the postal worker driving 40 yards or so to my house, getting out of the truck, and knocking on the door.

If a package arrives that requires a signature, I'm getting a slip. The protocol should be to drive those 40 yards, knock on my door, and get my signature, right? Wrong. Instead of driving those 40 yards, the postal worker goes back to his truck and gets one of these:

We all hate those slips, don't we? I know when I worked 8-5, I groaned every time I saw a slip like that. Because the post office isn't open during hours that are convenient to the large number of Americans working in offices Monday-Friday, it means sacrificing a Saturday morning to stand in line.

All of that is fine, but I was home twice when this slip was put in my mailbox. Twice. The second time, my husband suggested I complain, to which I said, "It won't do any good."

So I complained. After waiting in line for ten minutes and having to write my entire address out on that touchscreen, I told the woman behind the counter that I was home when the postal worker put the "Sorry we missed you" slip in the mailbox--he didn't even bother knocking. The woman gave me a look that said, "Why are you bothering me with this information?" and moved on to the next customer.

I knew that would be the response. I expected it. But the fact that I expected it told me exactly why businesses are choosing to use FedEx and UPS to ship things to online shoppers like me. Despite the fact that we now have a choice, why does the post office act like we don't?

In the end, that mentality is what will take the post office down.

How do you feel when you get one of those "Sorry we missed you" notes?


  1. Most people in my neighborhood don't have street mailboxes, but mailboxes or mailslots right by their front door. Our mail man is often seen parking at the corner and walking up and down the street, hand delivering all our mail. So I haven't had this problem. I often have a pile of things by my front door. But when I lived in Utah, we had this happen all the time.

  2. It's funny that you wrote about this because I just got one of these little slips a few days ago. It was a "final notice" one, even though I never received any slips prior to this one. Because I wasn't expecting a package and I didn't recognize the sender, I just ignored it. Let it be sent back. If it's important, they'll figure out another way to get it to me.
    I hate those slips.

  3. My postal carrier knocks on the door. I have been home a couple times when needed and the times no one is here, the carrier leaves the slip on the door, not in my mailbox.

    Sounds like either I have really good postal carriers in my neighborhood or you have really bad ones!

  4. I agree! That is why they are failing. There are better ways to have packages delivered.

  5. Ironically, just today I got a knock at my door and it was the mail woman (sounds weird when you say that out loud). She had just put advertising circulars in my box and forgot the actual may. She said that since she had seen me already go to the box that she would deliver my mail to my door.

    But I agree about the system. The USPS is not customer friendly. They need to operate like a business if they want to compete. Time for some innovative thinking by the post office.

    A Faraway View

  6. I work in an office and I have one customer that has called two times, one week right after the other, to complain they were getting mail addressed to us as "Undeliverable". So they asked what our new address was. We have not moved. Everyone else has mail sent here, no idea what their post office is doing. Somehow, somewhere, someone is lazy and/or not doing their job properly.