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