I’ve written about the USPS before, and how slow and unreliable it can be. I want to give you an idea of how terrible their service can be with hard, indisputable evidence (see screen shots enclosed below).
A package was mailed to us from a vendor on 11/14/2007. It came from Capitol Heights, Maryland, and shipped to my city, which is North Bethesda, Maryland. [For those unaware of this, North Bethesda is not officially a city (yet); it's a borough between Bethesda and Rockville. The Post Office treats it as Rockville but anything addressed to North Bethesda will get there just fine.] It arrived on 11/27/2007, approximately 13 days after it left Capitol Heights.
Here’s the kicker: not only are Capitol Heights and North Bethesda in the SAME state, but they’re only 25 miles apart. According to Google Maps, and taking the long way around DC by going on the Beltway (I-495), it’s approximately 25 miles from Capitol Heights to my place.
How in the world could it have taken them 13 days to deliver it? I don’t know how, but there it is. If you want to talk about incompetent service, I think this would be a good example. If they’d have walked the package to my place, it would have been faster. But no, they have fleets of cars, and automated systems, and all sorts of things to speed things up, and somehow they not only manage to miss deadlines for Priority Mail and lose packages on top of that, but they bungle up a 25-mile delivery so badly that it takes them 13 days to get the package to me.
Here’s the proof. The package was supposedly processed on 11/20/07 at their Capitol Heights facility.
It arrived at my place on 11/27/07.
But they received the electronic shipping notice sometime on the 14th, according to the Additional Details page. That means they received the package itself either on that same date, or shortly afterwards. Whether the vendor took their time to get the package to the post office, or whether it sat at the post office between 11/14/07 and 11/20/07 is irrelevant to me. Even if I give the USPS the benefit of the doubt and say they started working on the package on 11/20/07, that’s still 7 days to transport it 25 miles. It’s still unacceptable.
Any way you look at it, the USPS is a mess. If it takes them this long to process and transport what’s essentially a local package, I suppose I should be happy it “only” takes them 7 days to get a letter from me to my parents down in Florida. That could be called an improvement on their local delivery service.
To top it all off, they want to keep increasing the price of first-class postage and other services. I’d like to know what we’re getting in return, other than copious amounts of junk mail.