Going Postal – Why the Pony Express is still faster than the U.S Post Office in the West

Chico-HaywardThis has nothing to do with climate or the usual WUWT fare, though it does shine a light on government inefficiency, so I thought I’d share this for entertainment purposes.

Last Monday, about 1PM on March 10th, I ordered an item on Ebay; an AC to DC power supply brick for a laptop. It was nothing special, weighed under 2 pounds, but I needed it quickly, and so I took advantage of Ebay’s feature where it will list items that are closest to you to choose where to order from.

Being in Chico, CA I chose a vendor in Haward, CA just 178 miles away according to Google Maps with a drive time of just under three hours. See map at right.

Normally by Fed Ex Ground or UPS I get parts from the Bay Area the very next day. Imagine my surprise when tracking the package on USPS.gov. Here is the chronology:

============================================================

  1. Acceptance Mar-10-14, 17:52 PM, NEWARK, CA 94560
  2. Dispatched to Sort Facility Mar-10-14, 17:55 PM, NEWARK, CA 94560
  3. Depart USPS Sort Facility Mar-10-14, 00:00 AM, OAKLAND, CA 94615
  4. Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility Mar-10-14, 20:06 PM, OAKLAND, CA 94615
  5. Depart USPS Sort Facility Mar-12-14, 00:00 AM, WEST SACRAMENTO, CA 95799
  6. Processed through USPS Sort Facility Mar-12-14, 14:31 PM, WEST SACRAMENTO, CA 95799
  7. Processed through USPS Sort Facility Mar-13-14, 18:43 PM, WEST SACRAMENTO, CA 95799
  8. Arrival at Post Office Mar-14-14, 04:34 AM, CHICO, CA 95926
  9. Sorting Complete Mar-14-14, 09:39 AM, CHICO, CA 95926
  10. Out for Delivery Mar-14-14, 09:49 AM, CHICO, CA 95926
  11. Delivered Mar-14-14, 12:43 PM, CHICO, CA 95973

============================================================

Almost any mode of transportation would have been faster than the United States Postal Service.

Driving: 2 hours, 52 minutes

Train: 3 hours, 7 minutes (Amtrak train plus bus from Oakland to Chico)

Pony Express: 2.37 days or  56.88 hours (Assuming they covered at an average speed of 12 12 miles per hour (20.1 km/h), including all stops, per this book. with a typical rider doing 75 miles in one day)

Riding a bicycle: 17.8 hours (assuming I could average 10 miles per hour)

USPS: 3 days, 18 hours, 51 minutes, or 90 hours 51 minutes. That gives an average speed for 178 miles of: 1.9592 mph. Even walking would have been faster.

Based on my experience with years of ordering parts from the Bay Area, both FedEx and UPS standard ground service would have had the package in my hands on Tuesday by Noon, a duration of ~18 hours.

No wonder the U.S. Postal Service is going broke with that sort of inefficiency and performance.

About these ads

126 thoughts on “Going Postal – Why the Pony Express is still faster than the U.S Post Office in the West

  1. If it wasn’t for global warming…..it probably could have got there much faster, for a cheaper price, and would have worked better too. Donch know. ;-)

  2. Hah! Makes Canada Post look GOOD! Um, for those of us up here, ebay have included Pitney Bowes in the loop, which seems to add another 10-30 dollars to the cost, another week or so to delivery elapsed times, while totally obscuring the meaning of any IF any, tracking info. Stuff from the UK and China gets here faster.

  3. The US postal service is just a reflection of the EPA, another incompetent organisation, except much more dangerous.

    The USA postal service is not vindictive and only seeks to slow down the economy, while the EPA is vindictive in its efforts seeks to destroy it for totally spurious reasons.

  4. The additional heat and the restricted breathing because of increase in trace CO2, is obviously slowing down the post office workers, whilst the sceptical ponies are exploiting the situation for their own advantage. They should be jailed!

  5. At least the parcel did arrive.
    Back in the 1970’s a family member and his wife and kids were doing a stint with the UN refugee settlement system in the back blocks of Tanzania.
    My mother sent an Australian calendar to him.
    It never arrived somewhat to my family member’s disgust although a remarkably similar Australian calendar appeared around that time in the local Post Master’s office.
    I suspect it hasn’t got much better in their postal delivery service since.

  6. You have to keep an eye on those Canada Post guys. I had a slightly thick envelope of papers to send to my accountant, and Canada Post wanted to charge me a parcel rate! I think it was because the envelope was oversized at 11.5 x 14.5. Getting in my car and delivering the envelope myself was a much cheaper option.

  7. Another thing working against USPS is its wage scale … where in the private sector would you find a mail sorter being paid $50K ?

    At the rate things are going w/ USPS, they’ll soon just be delivering hard-copy spam.

  8. I think the slowest is campus mail…22 h to go to the next building over.

    The usps handles snail mail, advertising mail, and pkgs; fedex and ups are packages, and don’t have anything at the price of a 1st class stamp. And you should see what they have been driving over this winter in the midwest; my mail box is now about 4 ft from the “edge” of the road.

    But looks like something weird happened in the W SAC depo …there almost 2 days, half of the total time?… maybe they needed to use your power supply…?

  9. I don’t know why, but have to admit they are getting really bad.
    My mail is now delivered about 8:30 PM by a mailman with a headlamp.

  10. Your analysis does well to put things in perspective.

    Walking is likely between 2.5 to 3 mph.

    Now about the Pony Express … that’s so old, obsolete … and slow?

  11. If there was a climate problem that’s the kind of “efficiency” that claims it can solve it.

  12. Speaking of the government, sort of. On Climate Depot Sec of State John Kerry is quoted as saying, “if skeptics are wrong and nothing is done, life on the earth can literally end”. He has abandon all science and now raves on like a mad man. That explains a lot about our county’s foreign policies.

  13. Incidentally about a month ago I wanted to find out the origins of ”going postal” and came across this.

    Going postal, in American English slang, means becoming extremely and uncontrollably angry, often to the point of violence, and usually in a workplace environment.

    The expression derives from a series of incidents from 1983 onward in which United States Postal Service (USPS) workers shot and killed managers, fellow workers, and members of the police or general public in acts of mass murder. Between 1986 and 1997, more than 40 people were gunned down by spree killers in at least 20 incidents of workplace rage.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_postal

  14. Yet UPS can deliver a package from Amazon within 2 days. I would have no problem abolishing the USPS and letting UPS, FedEx, and any competitors take up the slack.

  15. Check this one out. I ordered some thumb picks on Mar. 1 from Musicians Friend, and I still haven’t got them. It seems that they have been across the the US and back.
    PackageID: MI0020142244630
    Sequence Number: 031150304140450509
    Zip Code: 93555
    Weight (lbs.): 0.7500
    Projected Delivery Date: Mar 8 2014

    Delivery Confirmation Information
    Delivery Confirmation Number: 9274890000668622446304
    Date/Time Event Name Location
    15 Mar 2014 09:50 Package processed by Post Office BELL GARDENS, CA
    15 Mar 2014 06:31 Package processed by Post Office BELL GARDENS, CA
    11 Mar 2014 09:04 Package processed by Post Office JERSEY CITY, NJ
    10 Mar 2014 07:32 Package processed by Post Office SPRINGFIELD, MA
    05 Mar 2014 17:38 Shipment Info Received by Post Office PHOENIX, AZ
    Date Description Location
    Mar 5 2014 Package transferred to Post Office LOS ANGELES, CA
    Mar 5 2014 Ready for post office entry Fontana, CA
    Mar 5 2014 Package received by dest MI facility Fontana, CA
    Mar 4 2014 Package transferred to dest MI facility Kansas City, MO
    Mar 3 2014 Package processed by UPS MI Kansas City, MO
    Mar 3 2014 Package received for processing Kansas City, MO

  16. I have queued for hours in US Post Offices at times, but had no idea they were hopeless back stage too. In Australia anything posted in Sydney is delivered in Perth (3,500 km.) the next day. I thought that this was normal.

  17. I just received a microwavable bowl via USPS broken. I complained and the replacement arrived broken too. I told the seller to send it by UPS. He said he would–so I’m hoping it’ll be third time lucky.

    Incidentally, in the interim I’ve been using my own ceramic liners in place of the broken inner bowl. (It’s a three-piece item.) It’s a wonderful way to consume soup and stew casually–away from a table–because of its innovative thumb-hook holder and its insulated outer shell. Here’s a link to its Amazon page:

  18. I had a bumper sticker that I’ve given to my mailman that says, “Back off–I’m a US Postal Worker”.

  19. I regularly receive orders and send packages via USPS to a location 125 miles away and each transaction occurs overnight. I’ll ship their order on Monday, they get it Tuesday and send payment, which I receive Wednesday. We’ve done this many times.
    Costs via UPS and FedEx are not only much higher, but UPS no longer delivers next day in state. Worse, FedEx is a different breed altogether. Someone had better be right there when the shipment arrives,or you get a note that the driver will return, tomorrow. I made the mistake of walking around to the sided of their building to an open overhead door and a bunch of drivers after no one came to the customer counter up front, for many long minutes. I had the deliver- tomorrow tag, but the FedEx employees jumped all over my case and threatened me with trespassing for being in that area. Screw FedEx. They’ve missed a lot of my business over the years because of that incident. I will not buy from vendors who ship exclusively FedEx.

  20. I think the best mail office is probably Germany. International to Spain, Portugal or RSA requires insurance or they lose it. International to Italy is different and requires insurance to jump the queue, a huge pile comprising many tons of mail handled on a Last In First Out basis. South America is haphazard, North America is a game of chance. I think the USA comes down to one button press when it enters the system, if they get it right it is delivered in reasonable time, if they get it wrong it can go wildly astray. They rarely lose anything but it can be dismally slow, I thought they had lost a consignment of electric motors sent to me in England but it eventually arrived via the British Virgin Islands, real Willis territory. Posting to the USA is more expensive than most other places on the planet.

  21. Living in a small town in Oregon, I have to add a day on top of that for USPS. But Netflix frequently delivers a disc overnight.

  22. Since this post is not really about AGW, I thought I make a comment about AGW not related to this post. AGW reminds me of a quote:

    “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”― Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

    I suspect we are full on into the “racket” phase.

  23. I’ve ordered parts several times from a well-known electronics seller in US (stereo, hifi, that sort of thing) and while US residents get free postage if they spend USD98 or more, foreign customers must spend USD50 as a minimum, and then recoil in horror when they go to the cart and see the shipping cost. Depending on what one buys (hifi speaker drivers can be heavy) the freight can be more that the item cost. My very first order didn’t contain and speaker drivers, it was tape and glue and odds and sods. The seller put a relatively small order in a large box and filled the rest with paper, the freight cost was about the same at the order cost- and it took over 3 weeks to arrive. Subsequent orders were no faster, and I kept getting tracking numbers which told me “my” parcel had been delivered already to St Louis or whatever- so USPS reissues tracking numbers while they’re still “fresh”.

    The Oz postal service is light-years ahead of USPS.

  24. Wasn’t it President O who said (when telling us why the US Government should “fix” healthcare);

    “UPS and Fed Ex are doing fine, it’s the Post Office that is always having problems”.

    I recently placed an order (last Monday Evening about 9 pm Eastern) with free 2-3 day shipping for a ~30 lb shelf setup. UPS had it from the warehouse in CA it to my door (near Lake Ontario / Rochester NY) Thursday afternoon. It would have been here Wednesday, but we had 20 inches of Global Warming all over the roads and they “shut em-down”.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  25. If you think it’s bad now, wait til the UN runs it. Adolf Obama is turning the internet over to them now. Postal service can’t be far behind.

  26. If I recall correctly, FedEx couldn’t deliver on many of their promises for Christmas either.
    Must have modeled the rate of incoming orders wrong :)

  27. I too have had packages from LA take more than a week to get to Redding which is an hour north of Chico by USPS. Unacceptable. On the other hand, the USPS service here in Redding is the best I’ve ever experienced. For example, I called my doctor about 4:00 pm to have them mail me a lab request form. I received it in the mail the next morning. That is typical. Even Netflix takes no more than a day or two. I don’t know what happens when other sorting facilities get involved that takes so long. Of course, since the Redding Post Office is so efficient it is on the Feds list to be closed down and local mail will be hauled from Redding to Sacramento and back to Redding. True imbeciles running this country. From the White House on down.

  28. I forgot to add: I recently shipped a pkg. via USPS which weighed 52+ lbs, in a medium- sized Priority Mail flat- rate box provided by USPS. It arrived next day at destination, for the price of $12.35. UPS rate would have been $23.76 and delivered within 5 days, which they have been known to take 3-4 days for 125 miles.
    USPS- $12.35 delivered tomorrow, or UPS- $23.76 delivered next week some time…
    USPS gives me boxes for free.

  29. Last year the UPS guy pulled into my driveway and forgot to put his truck in park and when he hopped out the truck took out my almost brand new double garage doors. It was the fight of the century to get the bill paid (finally did) and the UPS swine were like blood sucking vampires trying to get us to pay twice for the delivery since the flustered driver screwed up the visa delivery transaction and never got a receipt. USPS are a better bet at my household!

  30. stewart pid says:
    March 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    “the UPS swine were like blood sucking vampires trying to get us to pay twice”
    _________________________
    Try getting UPS to pay for shipping damage. They pay employees to deny claims, no matter what.
    Everybody that ships anything has horror stories about UPS paying up.

  31. I ordered dozens of presents through Amazon and other places for Christmas. Everything shipped by UPS or FedEx came as scheduled (God Bless Amazon Prime!). One package was sent USPS. It was delivered to the wrong place. I E Mailed Amazon and they replaced it in two days…by FedEx.

  32. Anthony, within California Ontrac make USPS and FedEx look bad.

    I recently ordered a replacement power supply for a desktop from NewEgg. I wasn’t in a huge hurry so I selected the slowest (and free) shipping option. It was shipped from Industry, CA (in So Cal) that same day and was delivered to my home in the SF Bay Area at 8:50am the next morning.

    Installed and working by 10:00am.

  33. I have sworn off ever using the USPS for package delivery after a similar and very disappointing experience. The folks at the USPS can demonstrate a low level of concern for getting packages delivered promptly.

    My son, who lives in Tokyo, took his family to a ski area near Avon, Colorado for the Christmas holidays. I sent their Christmas presents from Hawaii to that ski area, using the street address that the ski area had given him for receiving packages. I used the USPS to send the package because we would all be in the USA and the USPS would guarantee that the package would arrive by Christmas. The presents were children’s books, worth less than $50, but I paid for Express Mail First Class rate to get them there on time.

    In about a week, the package did arrive at the Avon Post Office the day before Christmas Eve. However, the USPS did not deliver it, because at the Avon Post Office they do not deliver to street addresses, only Post Office Boxes. The ski area folks had given my son their street address because packages are usually sent to them via FedEx or UPS, who only deliver to street address. Foolish me for using the USPS.

    The package remained at the Avon Post Office for two weeks. During those two weeks, they never notified the ski resort that the package was there, and ultimately sent it back to Hawaii instead. Two months later, the package finally came back to me, far worse for wear after traveling at least 6,000 miles. I vowed to never use the USPS again, but FedEx wants over $150 to send the three repackaged books on to Japan. And all because the Avon Post Office would not deliver the package or even notify the resort that the package was there.

  34. This reminds me of the time a company I worked for sent submarine parts to a customer and they got an Andy Warhol painting instead. Guess who got the submarine parts. It was in all the papers at the time, but because it happened before the Internet, I can’t find any reference on the internet.

  35. Up here in the frozen north, UPS is the US’s revenge for us burning the White House ca1812. While generally get good service from USPS, the routing is bizarre. Purchases I make on Ebay from the Buffalo area (an hour from my place) go to the USPS int’l service center in NYC, thence to Montreal where they usually barcode several times for a week, then they come to Mississauga, Stoney Creek, Hamilton and finally to my place, where the mailman leaves a card telling me I can pick it up the next day at my local postal outlet in a drug store. Canada Post is telling me that soon I may have walk a block to get the card as they want stop door to door service.

    The Ebay/Pitney Bowes “Global Shipping Scam” has its origins I believe in the Cdn tax authorities offering rebates for shippers collecting taxes at source (up to 15%, I believe). I am telling American vendors that participating in that scam is driving business out of North America. I now shop Australia, the Pacific rim and Asia. Even the euro is trading more favourably against the Cdn dollar than the greenback. An Indian vendor got a piece of photo equipment to me in 2 1/2 days via their regular use of DHL, which I can clear and settle on line directly from the waybill. The vendor shipped the item shipping included… B&H Photo in NYC has added Purolator to their international shipping (ironically owned by Canada Post), on a precleared basis with only $8 shipping. Everybody else was at least 25+ without the taxes at import. Cost me less with combined shipping and taxes and was on my doorstep (by ground), in two days. CanPost took 3 days to get a package crosstown with a “missort” in the middle which added another overnight wait. With the US/Can exchange at a 15% premium currently, even the euro looks good, and Aus$ are par or below.

  36. Stuff from the UK and China gets here faster.
    ————
    the beauty of international registered parcel post. with the tracking number you can see the delays. international orders arrive in canada within a couple of days. then sit in the post office for weeks before they are delivered.

  37. My experience has agreed more with Alan Robertson than Anthony. All of the delivery services can occasionally mess up. UPS has been very good at delivering my Amazon orders. The local UPS store also has much more attractive personnel. But USPS has been no slower or more unreliable in my experience, and is generally a lot cheaper. I haven’t used Fed-Ex very much lately, especially now that .PDF documents can be signed and E-mailed.

  38. Alan Robertson says:
    March 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Try getting UPS to pay for shipping damage. They pay employees to deny claims, no matter what.
    Everybody that ships anything has horror stories about UPS paying up.

    ===================================

    In most cases, you aren’t the customer. The seller is their customer. Your recourse is with the seller.

  39. I had a software business for 10 years and sent thousands of packages all over the USA. My experience with the US Post Office was very good, as it was with UPS. I know it’s easy to complain about the post office when standing in line and many of the clerks move like they’re 90 years old. But overall I find it hard to complain about their service. I know I can mail my Netflix movies and they arrive the next day, pretty much guaranteed.

  40. UPS charges obscene brokerage fees for parcels to Canada. There are outstanding class action lawsuits against them here. Their closest office is 150 miles away from me and it is impossible to arrange a delivery from them. They are expensive and not very good at their job. On the other hand, I have never had a bad experience with USPS but the best mail service of all is from Chinese state mail. I buy electronic components from China, cut out the middleman, and shipping is free to nearly free. Delivery is always about 10 days, but very reliable and the price can’t be beat. Go commie entrepreneurs!

  41. I’ve always wanted to be in on the Business Plan Meeting that financed Federal Express.

    “You mean to tell us that the quickest way of
    sending packages from any Point A to any Point B
    is through Memphis?!?

  42. I was rather amazed a while ago to discover the bright yellow trucks with DHL on them I have been seeing all over the place were actually the German post office parcel delivery. It seemed rather strange to me, that they could deliver from overseas quicker than Australia Post could move a parcel across the country. (Australia post by the way no longer deliver, you have to go to a mail centre to pick up your parcel) I suspect if UPS was delivering to somewhere outside the USA they might just be more efficient.

  43. Human nature is human nature and there is very little incentive for the USPS to do things differently.
    Priority mail is still much cheaper than UPS though. I live in Sonora which is about the same distance to the Bay Area. If I send a package before 11:00 am. 2nd day mail, it will arrive overnight.
    I’m for privatization of the mail, though.

  44. Did not need to read the full story. Private enterprise will always win this battle.
    If the pony express would have done the job quicker, imagine that in England,
    a carrier pigeon beat an E-mail sent from one person to another in that country.

    The answer is that the government of England so weighs down the system in the
    U.K., that a WWI communications technology was faster than an otherwise
    technologically advanced nation.

  45. garymount says:
    March 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm
    “This reminds me of the time a company I worked for sent submarine parts to a customer and they got an Andy Warhol painting instead. Guess who got the submarine parts.”

    Hope the Warhol was watertight.

  46. I live in Seattle. I recently bought online a Harley in Texas. The shipper routed it through Pennsylvania. It’s been nearly a month and it’s still in Pennsylvania. Beat that for anti-performance.

  47. Jon Reinertsen says:
    March 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm
    “I was rather amazed a while ago to discover the bright yellow trucks with DHL on them I have been seeing all over the place were actually the German post office parcel delivery.”

    They’ve been privatized a while ago, and competing companies deliver mail as well in Germany. They’re actually a publically traded company now.

  48. Alan Robertson says:
    March 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I made the mistake of walking around to the sided of their building to an open overhead door and a bunch of drivers after no one came to the customer counter up front, for many long minutes.

    ==========================================

    I did it a couple of times at the UPS depot in my county. No one up front, so I went around back. No one hassled me, though. They were pretty helpful, in fact.

    The thing that got me was that I was there to pick up Dell computers that the driver couldn’t leave at my house – signature required. Fine. They found my packages and gave them to me. While I stood there waiting, I saw men unloading trucks. Throwing packages out of one truck into the back of another. 20 feet in the air. BAM!

    Some boxes were labeled “Dell.”

    My computers and peripherals were fine. But I have always wondered if they sailed across the depot. I thought about references to making sausage.

  49. @ nicholas tesdorf @ Jon Reinertsen:
    Australia Post here in Townsville NQ still deliver parcels by contractor if they don’t manage to lose them along the way. I have two registered parcels lost in the past year. Contractor lady does her best and is looking for another job. I have had parcels arrive from Miami (15126km) faster than from Brisbane (1356km) and at about a quarter of the price. AP performance seems to vary. Here it is dismal. On the other hand, Startrack Express, wholly owned by AP, frequently get large items up here from Sydney (2068km) to their depot 6km away in 2 days. “Large” as in a 13hp engine etc.

  50. Anthony you didn’t say what USPS service the vendor selected and paid for. Did the vendor promise USPS express or overnight? Yours looks like “Flat-Rate Priority”. It was mailed after 5PM Monday and was “expected” to be delivered Thursday (your tracking). It arrived Friday just after noon. Half a day late? One day late? Not that bad. I use USPS very frequently and more usually they are exactly on time, or a day early.

  51. Seeing as we are all just playing here………?

    An order sent by pony express, to a location that needed to locate the item (by pony express ?), then carry it back by pony express.

    When would the warranty even start ?

  52. “dp says:
    March 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I live in Seattle. I recently bought online a Harley in Texas. The shipper routed it through Pennsylvania. It’s been nearly a month and it’s still in Pennsylvania. Beat that for anti-performance.”

    _______

    No Harley ever made it cross country…. :)

    /jk, sort of..:)

  53. James Loux says:

    I have sworn off ever using the USPS for package delivery after a similar and very disappointing experience. The folks at the USPS can demonstrate a low level of concern for getting packages delivered promptly at all.

    There. That’s my correction. I had a fairly valuable item sent to me via USPS. It disappeared en route. When I tried to find out what happened, since a signature chain of custody was required, a supervisor told me off the record that because the Postal Service was unionized, they would have to catch the thief red-handed. Otherwise, they would just say, “That’s not my signature. Prove it is.”

    Now I use private carriers. Never had a problem with them.

  54. Mike T

    Oz Post is a far cry from USPS, USPS actually do things much better BUT geographically they have a far more complex job. Oz Post, really only have to deal with a few highly concentrated population areas, out of what is really only 5 hubs, whereas the USPS has a vastly greater network, because they have 10 times the population spread far more evenly over the land surface that Australia. Logistically AP’s mail delivery is a doddle.

    Canada Post is similar to AP, but their problem is that Canada’s terrain is difficult and they have problems with tricky weather. However they also have a much easier job than Oz Post, since they have a delivery standard of 3 days intercapital, where Oz Post has a 2 Day intercapital delivery standard. Canada’s standards allow them to Hold a Mail Item at both ends for a day, which lets them batch better. In theory Canada could deliver every other day and still meet it’s delivery standards.

    International mail gets held up incoming in most nations due to security screening, since the anthrax attacks on the US government a few years ago international mail in many countries is 100 % screened for “substances” and volatiles – these delays are due to customs, not the Postal Service

    • Bob, when I did get functioning tracking for my orders from the US, most of the time was taken up in the US, not in Oz. Once the goods arrived in Oz it was 2-3 days to my door, and I don’t live in a major (or minor, for that matter) city. In the last place I lived in there was a contractor who delivered to the door, at my present location we get a card, it’s not safe to leave parcels at the door anyway due to thieving by the “locals”.

  55. In reply to Jon Reinertsen:

    Australia Post do deliver parcels – I order vast amounts from eBay, Amazon, various places overseas. I get deliveries through Australia Post, DHL, Toll, FexEx, etc etc. I have no complaints about any of them. They all deliver direct to my door. Australia Post tracking service is fantastic: I get an email in the morning telling me that the parcel is on-board with the driver. Australia Post express ensures next day delivery, letters are normally next day (occasionally it can take 2 days to get something to say Sydney – 1500 km away).

    All mail services go through sort facilities, and parcels can be a bit slower. (4 days does seem a bit extreme though). A comparison with a direct door-to-door is also a touch unfair.

    Finally, all postal services have problems with parcel delivery, especially if there is nobody to receive it. This causes high costs with repeat delivery attempts, and tends to fill your local post office with parcels. Online buying has changed the face of parcel delivery and no courier / postal / delivery service is handling it especially well. Read the business press for the occasional articles.

  56. Wally,
    Express post often bypasses sort facilities, that how they manage next day delivery. It’s a higher cost process but then you pay more

  57. Dropped 4 envelopes containing bills and checks into the big mail box out in front of a closed P.O. on a Sunday afternoon. All 4 somehow never made it from the front of the building into their delivery system. Chase waived their $25 late fee. American Express wouldn’t waive their $35 late fee (on a $28 charge), which I paid, then cancelled the card.

    Its been almost a year and the original checks are still MIA.

  58. “It’s been nearly a month and it’s still in Pennsylvania. Beat that for anti-performance.”

    I bought a pistol on duh net from a dealer in Florida. He shipped it to my local FFL dealer (as legally required) via USPS. Tracking data showed it arrived at the local PO on Friday. They delivered it to the dealer on the following Wednesday. I know 5 days isn’t a month, but the PO is a block from the gun dealer.

  59. Once upon a time there was a rail carrier, I think called REI? RFE? Their reputation wasn’t all that great, but for things heavier than what UPS wanted to carry, that was the way a lot of things went (there were more trains back then too).

    A friend of mine wanted to build a Heathkit color television, the holy grail kit of the best electronics kit company. It had to be shipped by REI, and Bill wanted some idea of what the shipping charge would be so he called the Pittsburgh office.

    “Can you tell me approximately what the shipping cost is for an 80 pound package from western Michigan?” Bill asked.

    “Umm, what city?”

    “Benton Harbor.”

    “Will it be boxed or on a pallet?” the rep probably didn’t ask, but I know there was some exchange.

    That stumped Bill. “I’m not sure. It’s a television kit.”

    “Oh, a Heathkit color TV?”

    “Yep.”

    “That’s $23.” Or something like that. Pretty reasonable for the day. It had never occurred to Bill it was such a common shipment that people wouldn’t need to compute the price.

    A while after Bill sent the order (by USPS), he came home to a note that said REI had attempted delivery, but needed to deliver it to a person. The deal was to call the office with a delivery date and after three attempts they’d send it back.

    Bill did that early the next day and the rep went to check for box and driver. The driver had left already, and the rep couldn’t find the box to tag it. It shouldn’t be on the truck without that authorization, because that would count as the second attempt. The rep said he’d talk to the driver at the end of the day and suggested Bill call back earlier the next day before the driver left.

    Bill figured he ought to stay home just in case and sure enough, the TV arrived around 10. The driver commented his nephew had built a stereo receiver and was quite excited about getting the package. So the driver decided to take a chance that Bill would be at home in hopes of getting the TV and it all worked out.

  60. Dropped an “Expedited Delivery” (2nd day delivery) small package off at my local USPS office slot on Saturday last week. Got there today (Saturday) – one week later. – to the Houston area

    Ordered parts and tools and “exotic” drill bits from our company’s warehouse in Pittsburgh on late Thursday afternoon, about 4:00 pm. They gathered the order, got the billing and processing complete, all of the box crated up to Fedex. We received it in Louisiana Friday morning at the work site in deep Acadia territory before 10:00 AM.

  61. 1803. Lewis and Clark have meetings i n Washington DC on the east coast in Virginia to plan their expedition to the west coast.
    1804-05-6 Expedition across (by rowing, horseback, boat, and canoe) across American continent.
    1806 Lewis and Clark return to Washington to present their report to President Jefferson.

    Now, why do paleontologists think it would take thousands of years to settle America, South ASMrica or anywhere else (Africa to Australia for example) by foot?

  62. One of the problems with the USPS is that it is run as a private business but is controlled by the government. The USPS is broke not because of inefficiency but because the government requires them to make a $5 billion payment to cover pensions and medical for retirees. Rate increases must be approved by the government and are based not only on need but on political fallout. Another problem is due to union rules. It is difficult to fire a postal employee for inefficient work habits. So those people get tricked into being promoted to low level management so they can then be fired. In the mean time those inefficient people are supervising operations in their own inefficient ways. My personal experience as a postal worker (5 years worth) was with the fellow who taught me the ropes when I was hired. He overstuffed PO boxes using the logic if they get that much mail they should rent a larger box. He told me you can always stuff another letter in there no matter what happens to it. When he was promoted into management the first thing he did was put up a notice that anyone caught over stuffing PO boxes would be written up. That’s the kind of stuff that makes you just want to shoot people.

  63. I am not a big fan of USPS and I would have been frustrated with this experience, but private corporations are equally inefficient. I have had numerous problems with UPS, where the shipping route is equally ridiculous, or a package gets to the sort facility at 6am Friday morning and doesn’t get delivered till 7pm Monday night because UPS doesn’t work on Saturday. My most recent experience with UPS was a package that required a signature. Fortunately I heard the truck stop in front of the house so I was able to answer the door within seconds of the knock, but the driver was already bent over printing out the “We missed you” door tag.

  64. I worked for a time for FEDEX at a station just out side the DC beltway. Small packages or envelopes that were being shipped to DC would usually just be sent to their hub in Tennessee to be shipped back to the DC station. Larger/heavier packages would get driven to the station.

  65. “USPS: 3 days, 18 hours, 51 minutes, or 90 hours 51 minutes. That gives an average speed for 178 miles of: 1.9592 mph. Even walking would have been faster.”

    I ordered a small item from an Amazon third party seller on March 1st. It was shipped on March 4th, arriving at the USPS facility in Santa Clarita on the 4th at an unspecified time. It arrived at the USPS Federal Way, WA facility on March 5, 2014, 8:19 pm. It left that facility, about 100 miles south of my place, on March 6th at an unspecified time.

    I still haven’t received it. So I’ve got you beat, 100 miles in 9 days and counting.

  66. Paul Coppin says:
    March 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    No Harley ever made it cross country…. :)

    /jk, sort of..:)

    I’ve actually had a Harley like that :)

  67. It’s about 3700 mi. LA/NY. At 1.9592mph, that would have taken 1888.5 hrs, or 78 days, 16 hrs, 30 min. 2½ months, and a few days.

  68. I prefer postal services, Itella, in Finland over international couriers like UPS, DHL and Fedex because the former government option is faster and more convenient. I can pick my Itella packets from automates or staff of a local small store near me in the evening but UPSs insists of delivering to my home during office hours and expects that someone is waiting for the delivery.

    Overnight deliveries of letters have been a norm for decades. Small packages are delivered as letters. Larger packages take more time if you don’t pay for the express option which can be as fast as 3 hours in Helsinki area.

  69. Stephen Rasey says:
    March 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve always wanted to be in on the Business Plan Meeting that financed Federal Express.

    “You mean to tell us that the quickest way of
    sending packages from any Point A to any Point B
    is through Memphis?!?“

    It’s more interesting than that. The genisis was a paper the founder wrote while an undergrad at Yale. In an interview, he supposedly said he probably got his “usual C”. I wish any of my average ideas did so well.

  70. My lecturer in medieval church history told us that in the high middle ages (say, 1100 onward), property disputes involving church lands in rural England would be heard in Rome. The turnaround was unbelievably fast by our modern standards of govt. postal and curial processing. He had come across cases referred to Rome from some up-country monasteries in which the decision arrived back in about 4 weeks!

  71. Sorry, but no sympathy. :) Evidently, even now you feel you have done something damn smart by chosing a ‘local’ supplier or else you wouldn’t have made this a ‘news item’ – where the truth of the matter is that you have done something rather dumb.

    If you were right, then by that token, it would have been even better, if the supplier was your next door neighbour. But that is not the case. You need a postal hub for distribution nearby. That’s how things get on the way quickly.

    If you live in a remote village, it is no good that your vendor resides next door (as long as you use the postal service!!), because he will have a slow and lengthy route to the depot, and the same thing for delivery. It might be quicker to order it from New York, if the Ebay shop is down the street from the local postal hub there…

    Nobody’s fault but your own…

  72. In the UK you can get a price for delivery of a parcel, print off the address and barcode for said parcel, off the internet, and get it collected for next day delivery and it is still cheaper and quicker than Royal Mail.

    Yep, private enterprise is a brilliant thing.

  73. Commenting from UK. I’d be interested in knowing if there is any price differential between UPS and Fed Ex?

  74. How about south of France to the UK in six weeks. Not sure what happened enroute, but the package ended up with dozens of stamps and stickers on it…..!

  75. And from this one incident we should then generalize to the entire organization? Oh what the hell, why stop there, let’s go whole hog and generalize to the entire federal government! That would be, in a word, moronic. It seems that those with “conservative philosophical” leanings have a hard time understanding the concept of “Public interest.” Which is something that the corporate world categorically cannot pursue as its reason for being. Funny how several small towns in Wyoming, a state regarded as having perhaps the most conservative population of all 50 states, as they began to experience the legion of deleterious effects of fracking reached out to…wait for it…yes the EPA! Because even Wyomingites can figure out that when it comes to the public good of protecting the environment and ameliorating the raping & pillaging conducted by the corporate interests it is indeed the EPA who has as its raison d’etre the Public’s Interest in matters pertaining to the environment (drinkable water, breathable air, arable land).

  76. You will never find a business that is both efficient and subsidised. If you have one you don’t need the other.

    • Please tell me the name of the business that is in business for the “Public Interest”? You may not agree that it is in the “Public Interest” to subsidize mail service so that those who happen to live in rural areas not serviced by private carriers (for the obvious reason that it is not profitable) may also have mail service. But many will argue that it benefits not only those who directly receive the services but also the wider community as well because a thriving economy supported by reliable mail service in rural communities means less dependence on government aid programs. But if you think its better to go strictly private in mail service and leave millions without it, fine, go ahead and make your case.

  77. I was entertained by watching the progress of Apple purchases.
    A few years ago I bought my MacBook, it was built in Western China.
    FedEx flew it from there to Anchorage, where it languished a bit, presumably waiting for a customs official to stamp a piece of paper, then to Seattle, on to Portland and then to me.

    Overall, it was no slower than items I have had delivered by FedEx from within the US.

    Then, at the end of last year I bought an iPad. I watched it fly from the same unpronounceable place in Western China to Beijing, then on to Korea, then to Anchorage, then to Memphis, then to Seattle, Portland, Salem (Oregon) and finally to me.

    I know that the traveling salesman problem is a hard one, but this one just takes someone with a barely functional brain and a map 30 seconds to see that something is decidedly wrong.

  78. UPS isn’t much better than USPS. Twice I’ve had packages listed as “out for delivery” but didn’t get them. When I called UPS I was told “the driver forgot it”.

  79. Union Shop
    Your package was handled by no less than eleven people. You should be proud and happy that your patronage is supporting them and their families.

  80. If I understand my postmaster correctly, all mail is now funneled through mail “hubs” where the mail is sorted, processed and sent back out for delivery. I live two miles from a state line, so I do a lot of business in the adjoining state, since goods and services are closer to me there than if I do business in the state where I live. If I need to pay someone in that nearby, over the state line town, I mail a letter from my house and it goes to my in-state hub which is 150 miles away. From there it is sent to the adjoining state hub which is 265 miles away and then goes to the town where I obtained the goods and services, which is 125 miles from the adjoining state hub. That poor little letter goes 530 miles before it is placed in the mailbox of the recipient, who lives less than 20 miles from me. It takes me 20 minutes to drive there, but a letter can take up to 4 days. If it is not snowing. Or Christmas. Or whatever.

  81. re: ralphcramdo says March 16, 2014 at 8:32 am
    UPS isn’t much better than USPS. Twice I’ve had packages listed as “out for delivery” but didn’t get them. When I called UPS I was told “the driver forgot it”.

    And to think those guys are pretty tightly ‘tethered’ to a GPS-driven two-way data device complete with ‘location’ indicator/direction capability … goes to show that the ‘weak link’ may still be the MIL (Man In the Loop) …

    United Parcel Service, Inc. : UPS Deploys Next High-Tech Mobile Computer to Drivers

    http://www.4-traders.com/UNITED-PARCEL-SERVICE-IN-14758/news/United-Parcel-Service-Inc–UPS-Deploys-Next-High-Tech-Mobile-Computer-to-Drivers-14116188/

    UPS drivers go digital with hand-held computers

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/22/business/la-fi-ups-drivers-digital-20121222

    The Evolution of the UPS Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD)

    http://pressroom.ups.com/Fact+Sheets/The+Evolution+of+the+UPS+Delivery+Information+Acquisition+Device+(DIAD)

    .

  82. We first ‘went postal’ during the Nixon era. The U.S. ‘Postal’ Service, a crony capitalist ‘enterprise’, supplanted the government-run U.S. Post Office.

    The Free-Marketeers of the time forgot an important detail from Econ 101: The reason that businesses are more efficient than government is competition.

    When Big Goobermint grants an exclusive monopoly to a private company, that’s the worst of all possible worlds. Nobody is responsible for anything. Whenever there’s a big snafu, the regulators point their fingers at the corporate executives, and the corporate execs point their fingers at the regulators. It’s a classic Mutt and Jeff routine.

    Privatization has its place, but ‘going postal’ is the wrong way to do it.

  83. re: cott roney says March 16, 2014 at 6:44 am
    … But if you think its better to go strictly private in mail service and leave millions without it, fine, go ahead and make your case.

    Gee, like so many other ‘services’ provided by transport/trucking companies for grocery and fuel delivery (to local grocery stores and gas stations), it would see to be ‘a natural’ to pick up this function as well … were it not for the ‘piles’ of non-essential adverts that clog my mail box each week ..

    I already buy *stamps* at my local Kroger at *any one* of the checkout lines .. no need to even visit the customer service desk (or local PO which had a long line when I tried earlier that same day)!

    Didn’t ‘general stores’ in the past also act as local postal handlers in a not-so-distant past? They didn’t handle as many advert circulars though … need I go on about ‘local’ entrepreneurship in the way of local or even rural paper delivery … seems to me Amazon (and a few other retailers of product) might be interested in this ‘issue’ as well …

    .

  84. “The USPS is broke not because of inefficiency but because the government requires them to make a $5 billion payment to cover pensions and medical for retirees.”

    Last I looked, those supposedly ‘bankrupting’ pension and medical payments only accounted for a third of USPS’ annual losses. They’re broke because letter mail is dying, they usually offer poor service compared to the competition, and they’re heavily unionised so workers are expensive, Which is probably why the US government want them to fund future benefits before they go bust.

  85. re: ShrNfr says March 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm
    Mr. Watts, you certainly seem to be living a sorted existence.

    Things did seem to get sordid out in this USPS experience …

    .

  86. Pay check mailed Feb 14. Check arrived March 14. Travel distance: Six kilometers. USPS strikes again. But it got here at least. :)

  87. Ric Werme says:
    March 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Once upon a time there was a rail carrier, I think called REI? RFE?

    Originally Railroad Express. Us oldies remember–it used to be commonly known.

  88. I have a friend who worked for the USPS for awhile. He finally left because of the constant hassle by the uinion heavies. He couldn’t work slow enought to satisfy them, and would routinely finish his “daily” route in a couple of hours.

  89. Yes we are spoiled here in Australia for postal services. Under 1kg is overnight delivery from Perth to Townsville. 4900klms by road or 8 hours by air. Road transport is typically 5 days from most carriers.

  90. Ric Werme says March 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm
    Once upon a time there was a rail carrier, I think called REI? RFE?

    Rogerknights says March 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm
    Originally Railroad Express. Us oldies remember–it used to be commonly known.

    REA maybe?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_Express_Agency

    The Railway Express Agency (REA) was a national monopoly set up by the United States federal government in 1917. Rail express services provided small package and parcel transportation using the extant railroad infrastructure much as UPS functions today using the road system. The United States government was concerned about the rapid, safe movement of parcels, money, and goods during World War I and REA was its solution to this problem. REA ceased operations in 1975 …

    .

  91. I fail to see what a single incident has to do with the performance of the USPS. Isn’t this like those who claim a single weather event proves climate change?

    FYI – I’ve been receiving and paying bills through the USPS for more than 30 years and cannot recall a single missed bill or undelivered payment. To me, that’s pretty damn good. Does my story disprove your story?

  92. A1SteakSaucy,

    I’ve noticed several “single incidents” in the article and thread.

    You’ve been fortunate. I sincerely hope your good luck holds.

  93. Don’t know whether this is true, but still a good story:
    The internal mail delivery in a New York office was so poor that to ensure that a document would travel from one floor to the other reliably, folks would let FedEx do the job. It was more “efficient” to send something to Memphis and back overnight than to rely on the incompetents in the company’s internal mail department.

  94. The modern post office make me chuckle when I remember working on some local history projects in college and way back when, there was a morning post delivery and an afternoon delivery.

  95. When my son was serving in Iraq I was thankfull for the USPS and their flat rate package deal. I would go to the Post Office, grab a bunch of their boxes, fill one up and then ship it off, sometimes two or more per week. I think the limit was twenty pounds and I don’t recall the cost but it seemed cheap. It typically took ten days from rural Indiana to the COB he was at somewhere north of Baghdad. I’m sure the military did the heavy lifting of the logistics after the USPS dropped it off with the Army. Still, as a worried parent, it was a morale boost on both ends and it scored some points for the USPS wih me.
    I wish the political idiots would get out of the way and let the USPS operate in manner that makes business sense and quit using it as a political tool.

  96. @scott roney

    “You may not agree that it is in the “Public Interest” to subsidize mail service so that those who happen to live in rural areas not serviced by private carriers (for the obvious reason that it is not profitable) may also have mail service.”

    In Wisconsin, there are rural communities that don’t get home delivery from USPS (only PO box service) but do get home delivery from UPS. My mothers parents lived in such a community.

    The contention that USPS provides better service than the private carries may be true for some rural communities, but it is far from universally true.

  97. A few years ago, I ordered a 2012 calendar from a bookseller in New York (I live between Baltimore and DC–for those not familiar with our geography, the New York sender was 400 miles northeast of us, 600 km). It was sent by USPS. Within one day, it arrived at a post office in New Jersey, about 200 miles northeast of me. It then proceeded down to Jacksonville, Florida (700 miles south of us, the other side from NJ), arriving there a week later. Then it came back up my way, to a sorting center in Capitol Heights MD, 15 miles from me. From there you’d expect it to arrive at my doorstep the next day, right? Wrong! Next it went to Sandston Virginia, a hundred miles further from us, in the opposite direction.

    It did eventually arrive, and fortunately before 2013.

  98. Californians avoid high taxes by buying from out of state. Use the money saved to rush the shipping. Even slow shipping might come faster, as you and I have found.

    Price of shipping at USPS just went up again.

  99. Jim sez: “it would see to be ‘a natural’ to pick up this function as well … were it not for the ‘piles’ of non-essential adverts that clog my mail box each week…”

    Rural areas are not profitable for package delivery for the obvious reason that there is not enough business concentrated in a geographical area to make it profitable. Long routes for a single package don’t pay the cost of delivery. This is why in many locations across the country the private delivery services depend on the USPS to make the final delivery! People on this blog are probably not aware of that because right-wingers don’t like the idea that privatization is not ALWAYS the answer. And as far as all that junk mail clogging your box, it actually helps economically because it’s more revenue.

  100. Not that long ago (late eighties to early nineties) I lived on a remote western Pacific island (an Australian External Territory) and much of the mail came on the ship (sometimes it got wet :)). That was “Surface Mail”, which is pretty much defunct now as bulky stuff goes by air on a freight plane, apart from mail to remote islands with tiny aerodromes. Airmail came by air, obviously, and had priority as the airline was a “Royal Mail Carrier”. That airline went bust, and the new one was not a “Royal Mail Carrier” so they’d only carry mail if it could fit on the plane (passengers and their luggage having higher priority, obviously). The next highest priority was Air Freight, which was prohibitively expensive. At times, the backlog of airmail got so big that it was loaded on the ship, so it was not unusual for 4 or 5 months to elapse! This was even more recently as I went back twice, once in the early naughties and again in middle naughties. The mail service, while frustrating, was far better in the eighties, but of course by the naughties there were other avenues for mail (email, fax machine at home etc). Talking of letters doing the rounds, I had one airmail letter that went through two Melanesian island groups before finally landing at my island (much closer to Australia, where the letter had originated). It was covered in rubber stamp imprints. I suspect I still have the envelope somewhere.

  101. Why complaining about the parcel delivery?
    I once ordered a dish washer online just 10 one week before we went into our holidays. So I made a bankwire (online) Friday evening to accelerate the delivery. Following Tuesday I call the to ask when the washer will be shipped. The company told me that the money did not show up on their account yet.
    I was in there books finally on Wednesday and thy shipped the dish washer. I took no 24 hours and the dish washer was delivered to my front door. To sum it up: bankwire 5 days, delivery (distance 400 miles) of a 2ft x 2ft x 3ft parcel with about 110 pounds: 20 hours, isn’t this sick?

  102. OK, somebody has got to stand up for the logistics business. There is some shoddy practice out there but…

    How much are you going to pay your self while you walk 178 miles? The USPS ain’t just carry your stuff and how much was the postage now?

  103. I think you are missing on the Pony Express time of: 2.37 days or 56.88 hours. Looks like you based it on 75 miles per day, but that is only the riders time. Different riders continued with the package. From the little book you referenced. Page – 40 bottom

    “This point, one hundred and eighty-five miles out of Sacramento had been reached in fifteen hours and twenty minutes, ins spite of the Sierra Divide where the snow drifts were thirty deep and where the Company had to keep a drove of pack mules moving in order to keep the passageway clear.”

    Please adjust the time for the Express, but remember they only carried letters and not packages.

  104. This is what happens when I order from CA:
    March 17, 2014 , 9:08 am Out for Delivery BAINBRIDGE, GA 39817
    March 17, 2014 , 8:58 am Sorting Complete BAINBRIDGE, GA 39817
    March 17, 2014 , 8:44 am Arrival at Post Office BAINBRIDGE, GA 39817
    March 17, 2014 Depart USPS Sort Facility JACKSONVILLE, FL 32099
    March 16, 2014 , 9:52 pm Processed through USPS Sort Facility JACKSONVILLE, FL 32099
    March 16, 2014 Depart USPS Sort Facility SAN JOSE, CA 95101
    March 16, 2014 Electronic Shipping Info Received
    March 15, 2014 , 10:07 pm Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility SAN JOSE, CA 95101
    March 15, 2014 , 8:52 pm Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility FREMONT, CA 94539
    Order from South FL and it will take a week or more to go 500 miles

  105. re: scott roney says March 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm
    … Rural areas are not profitable for package delivery for the obvious reason that …

    Somehow, I don’t think the entirety, or meaning of my post made the grade with scott; maybe I just don’t ‘write well’ … Now, in striking contradiction to what he writes above UPS (and I assume FEDEX) *do* deliver ‘packages’ (you did write ‘packages’ above – no, scott?) to ‘rural’ areas. Maybe you were instead thinking ‘regular, daily mail delivery’ vs ‘packages’ at the fixed cost of a first-class mail ‘stamp’, but, that is not what you wrote …

    scott roney seems to be thinking ‘well within the box’ on this, reading/repeating the well-known mantra or orthodoxy of the ‘mail business’ (thanks for the little bit ‘o history and reasoning, scott, but, necessary only to perhaps those totally unawares and under the age of, say, 12?) Stay in that ‘box’ scott; the world outside it can be scary for a ‘99% percenter’ … you *do* know, scott, that the FSA (Free Stuff Army) gets direct deposit of their EBT card funds nowadays? There isn’t the ‘dependence’ on the mails like there once was (vis-a-vis ‘waiting for the welfare check to come in’).

    .

    • The brevity of the post and my time available to devote to this rather tedious matter somewhat necessitated the generalization of delivery to “rural” posts. So good job you busted me! I will stand by my assertion that there are indeed many areas all of which are found in the larger demographic colloquially known as “rural” that are in fact not profitable and not serviced by the private carriers. BTW, I am not enamored of government for government sake. If private enterprise can provide the service, by all means it is usually the more economically efficient means. I still stand by my assertion that there are many things that their are indeed many things that fall under the broad category of “the public interest” that only a public institution is able to provide. I suggest you read some of the reporting on what Duke Energy has done to the state of North Carolina and its extensive polluting with toxic coal ash. Do you enjoy potable water? Do you need it? Do you enjoy clean rivers and lakes to recreate in/on? Their are literally millions of people who highly value those things and it is in fact in the public’s interest for the state of NC to have an effective EPA to monitor the activities of private enterprise who are not interested in spending the economic resources necessary to protect “the environment” The oil industry is another easy example to cite. Your non-sequitur / ad-hominem has no nexus with the discussion. So I’ll return the ball to your court and say that only a moron firmly ensconced in the bubble would repeat the Faux News mythology of SNAP recipients dining on lobster and seafood. The national average monthly SNAP benefit is $133.00 – horrors! Those lazy lay-abouts are the recipients of our hard-earned money confiscated by a profligate and bloated federal bureaucracy to a bunch of dead beat moms to damned lazy to get a job and earn that lobster-fest on their own like we do! lol C’mon Please Jim up your game a bit will you, because repeating Fox Noise sound bites are the first and most significant sign of a failed mind. BTW moron, rates of SNAP usage correlates with the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate correlates with the “normal” business cycle. The last downturn in the business cycle AKA the recession officially started in (yeah I’m going to say it) in December 2007 after six years of a Republican administration. Only a Faux News watching fool would believe the SNAP mythology purveyed by conservatives. Yawn………

  106. Ah yes, good old fashioned “post office bashing.” I find this sort of thing amusing. The only, and I do mean ONLY department that directly, every day “serves” the US citizen, and it is almost always the subject of abject bashing. “They lost $5 billion dollars last year. Their benefits are too good.” And of course, we always get the bashing on slow service.

    Two thoughts. Tell me, how much money did DHS make for the government last year? You say they cost the government $100 billion or so? Yet you expect the post office to show a profit or break even. You get what you pay for, accept in the case of government services, that is. You hate to pay the post office for anything but you don’t mind getting slipped a feel at the airport or irradiated to further improve your health.

    Finally, I can guess your package was shipped economy ground, right? Too bad they didn’t use a similarly priced service of the post office and used priority. It gets there in the same time it does by UPS, but costs a little less. But of course, most companies will use parcel post knowing that you “expect the post office to be slow anyway.” Bash away, though, and maybe someday you will be lucky enough to not have the service available at all.

  107. re: scott roney says March 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Lets look at, and compare, a few different utilities/services you and I depend on each day.

    1) Electricity – generated and delivered (all exc for a few areas) by ‘private’ (non-govt) business (and/or industry).

    2) Food – grown by ‘private’ business, transported by ‘private’ carriers, sold by ‘private’ business.

    3) gasoline, diesel (motor vehicle fuel) – exploration, refinement, transportation, sales by private business

    4) Mail – oh no, only GOVERNMENT may supply this!

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    A little history for scott, who may or may not be a native ‘merican, per wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Free_Delivery

    Rural Free Delivery (RFD) – a service which began in the United States in the late 19th century, to deliver mail directly to rural farm families.

    Prior to RFD, individuals living in more remote homesteads had to pick up mail themselves at sometimes distant post offices or pay private carriers for delivery. The proposal to offer free rural delivery was not universally embraced. Private carriers and local shopkeepers feared a loss of business. The postal service began experiments with Rural Free Delivery as early as 1890.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Shazamm!
    .

  108. Tom O says March 17, 2014 at 11:21 am
    Ah yes, good old fashioned “post office bashing. …

    AS IF you know the intent and mindset of every poster posting here; good show, Tom!

    .

  109. 1. USPS employees do not work for the U.S. Government.
    2. If you had PAID for pony express shipment, it would have cost you a months salary!

  110. Nah. Before they separated the “USPS” from the government, the promise – mostly filled – was next day mail to anywhere in the continental USA. And that was when sorting was done by hand mostly (if not completely). All the modernizations haven’t done a thing for getting mail to its target, and especially the privatization.

    We didn’t NEED tracking back then, because things got there so much better,

    Postal rates didn’t go up like they have since then, either.

    In addition, when I was a young kid, in the early 1950s, mail was delivered twice a day within cities. A First Class envelope cost about 2 cents then. Mail posted in the morning mail would be delivered in the afternoon mail.

    The service given by the then-government-run U.S. Post Office was much better than the later USPS. The service has been in decline since they privatized it.

  111. The curse of two hubs. Chico is just far enough away from Hayward that the package needed to touch two hubs.

  112. I wouldn’t depend on UPS either – a letter for Saturday delivery got left in the sorting hub, then went on a mop-up flight across the continent and by truck and boat to destination rather than by airline. UPS is not swift and does not hustle to catch up.

  113. My dad used to comment when we lived in Santa Cruz, that the local Post Office had to send all the mail over the hill to get sorted, including mail destined for the our town.

Comments are closed.