Friday, March 06, 2015

Dear Post Office: It's Not Me, It's You ...


I wasn't going to write this post. And then, this morning, I received an email from the USPS and spied that it was "signed" thusly:

"Your friends at the United States Postal Service"

Oh. Well. Let me rethink my plan.

OK, "friends," we need to talk.

First off, let me reiterate that I really, really, really want you to succeed. I think all the bullshit that Congress is putting you through is just that: bullshit. If you could break up with Congress, I'd totally support you. We could curl up on the couch together, each with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and I'd reassure you that Congress is being an asshole and that you deserve better.

But, as is often the case in relationships, both parties could stand to do better, be better. And as your "friend," let me tell you what I see that you could improve.

Simply put, you need to keep your promises. You need to provide the service I pay for. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Here's what happened:

On Wednesday, February 25, I shipped a package. I chose Priority (Ostensibly) 2-Day because I wanted the package to arrive on Friday, February 27. The timing of the arrival of the package was key.

In an effort to demonstrate improvement, you started including tracking on all such packages. Good on you.

So, when I got home, I went to the site, keyed in the tracking number, and clicked the radio button for future email alerts. I received an email that the package was accepted at the post office. Yup, I was there. Good. And then I received another email that the package departed the post office. OK. Good.

And then I received nothing.

For two days.

I thought perhaps there was some technological glitch. Perhaps the computer wasn't generating emails? So I went to the site and pasted the tracking number and there was no new information.

So I searched for the number for my local post office. I like the people who work there. I figured they'd be helpful.

Instead, I discovered that I now have to call a 1-800 number. Ah, yes, because nothing says "customer service" like "call a number and speak to a person who will have no idea about your problem."

But I called. And, of course, a computer answered. And I spoke my (very lengthy) tracking number and the computer told me what I already knew, which wasn't what I wanted to hear. So I pressed "0" to speak to someone.

I won't relay all that I went through on that phone call, but suffice it to say that it involved yelling into my phone. To a computer.

Because I was never allowed to speak to a person. Nothing I did or said – or yelled – would connect me to a person.

That, my "friend," was really maddening.

The night of the 27th, I received an email that my package had arrived at the next facility in the process. Which isn't terribly far from my house. Suffice it to say, if I had driven the package to that facility myself, it wouldn't have taken two days. It might have taken an hour.

When I shipped the package on the 25th, the clerk at the post office handed me my receipt and pointed out that there was a survey I could fill out online.

Guess who filled out the survey?

But I presumed that my survey rant would fall on deaf ears, so to speak, so I also went online and filled out a complaint.

On the morning of the 28th (aka the day after the package should have already been delivered), I received an email that the package had left the facility at which it had arrived the day before.

It was ultimately delivered just before 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2.

That morning, I had received an email from "eCustomerCare National" informing me that I had not included my tracking number, and could I please provide that.

Whoops, yes, my oversight. I replied immediately with the tracking number and thanked "whomever" for their assistance.

Two days later, on March 4, I received this:

An email had been sent requesting the tracking information so that it could be pulled up in the system. We have not heard back with any of that information, so we are not able to look the package up at this time. Any questions please let us know.

I forwarded my reply from March 2 and mentioned that the package had been delivered that day.

And then I received today's "Your feedback about the United States Postal Service is requested" email.

"Your feedback is very important to us as we strive to improve your customer experience."

Uh huh.

So I filled out the survey – you did not fare well, post office – and I thought I'd let that be the end of it, until I saw the "Your friends ..." bit, and then I decided to write this.

Also, it gave me an excuse to mock up the graphic at the top of this post.

So, to sum up: I paid nearly $30 to ship a package Priority 2-Day. I shipped that package on a Wednesday. The expected delivery date was Friday. And it showed up late in the day the following Monday, which is about when it would have showed up if I had paid for First Class postage instead.

I wasn't expecting miracles, post office. I was simply expecting to receive the service for which I paid.

The weather wasn't a factor. We did get a bit of snow that Wednesday, but nothing that should have ground operations to a halt.

Like I wrote, I really, really, really want you to succeed, post office.

But this is not the first time this has happened.

In fact, when packages I ship show up on time, those are the exceptions, not the rule.

I deserve better. We all deserve better.

Next time, I'll try UPS.

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