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Topic: Locked Package Drop Boxes

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Subject: Locked Package Drop Boxes
Date Posted: 4/5/2009 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 63
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This afternoon, I tried to send a package at the post office, which was too big to fit in the blue mailbox.  (I had a big order with 6 books, and I had to use a pretty big box.)  This post office has a package drop-off chute inside the post office, but it was locked.  The chute locks when the cart that catches the packages gets full - it triggers a locking mechanism that prevents the box from opening.  This used to be a rare occurence that only happened on holiday weekends, but now, it's nearly always full by Sunday afternoon, and sometimes during the week it gets full by 8 or 9 pm.  It's really annoying, because it means I have to go back to the post office when it's open, even though I have pre-printed postage.

Does this happen in other areas?  Where i used to live, this never happened, but in suburban Atlanta, nearly every post office had a postage machine and a package drop-off.  So you didn't have so much competition for each one.  Here, only a few post offices have them - this is the only one within 10 miles of my house (in surburban Philly).  I thought it was because the other post offices were old and they couldn't put in package drops, but my local post office just moved to a new location, and to my surprise, they didn't put in a package drop-off.  They said there "wasn't enough demand" but that seems odd when the post office 6 miles away has so many packages in the drop-off that it fills up every weekend and many weekdays.

It almost seems like the post office is trying to discourage people from using the drop-off - I saw 4 other people who came in when I was there and had to go away because they couldn't drop off their packages.  But whenever I tell someone at the post office, they say "there's no demand for a bigger one".  Why?


Last Edited on: 4/5/09 10:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/6/2009 1:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 534
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Probably because there is no demand for a bigger one.   Write a letter addressed to the postmaster of the station; document the number of times this has happened to you.  Print up a notice asking others to do the same, everytime you experience this, tape a copy of that notice to the drop-off so that everyone else trying to drop something else is prompted to do the same thing.

Date Posted: 4/6/2009 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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It happens every so often at my P.O.'s APC drop - I feel sorry for folks mailing packages evenings/weekends, that are too big for the regular (blue) box outside, who discover this after they've bought (affixed) the postage!

Date Posted: 4/6/2009 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,220
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My PO said that the boxes don't lock, that packages below the bin stack up too high and cause it to not open. Usually when it doesn't open I stick my head through the door and say "the package drop box is jammed" and I can hear them moving packages and testing until it swings free again.

When the boxes get full for both package and letters people just stack them in the lobby here.

Date Posted: 4/7/2009 12:02 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I don't think our drop box locks.  But I like Bret's idea of leaving a sign-up notice so the PO has an idea of how many customers were inconvienced.  I would also consider complaining to somebody regional in the postal service...over your local postmaster's head, sometimes that also gets results.  It's inexcusable to not have basic drop box access.

Yesh, thought my PO was backward with zero automated postage options in the lobby (afterhours).

Last Edited on: 4/7/09 12:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Full drop boxes
Date Posted: 4/7/2009 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,445
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I never had that situation exactly. but I did have a thick hardbound book that wouldn't fit in in  drive up drop box...it Almost fit!  I had to go to another  blue box that had a larger opening.....AND I had to get out of the car and walk over to it....sort of a walk up, not drive up!

Date Posted: 4/7/2009 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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At least you have a drive-up Sue, that's another service my PO doesn't offer.  Fortunately the clerks are VERY nice and knowledgable so I never have those inaccurate mailing issues!

Edited b/c I suck at spellilng

Last Edited on: 4/7/09 1:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/11/2009 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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None of my local Post offices have a drive up blue box or an APC machine.  The lack of a drive up blue box is what prompted me to stop using the printed postage. I used to use it regularly before we moved. The PO there had 2 blue boxes with their own drive up lane. Now I figure if I have to go in to hand them the box then I might as well just buy the postage there and save myself the printed postage fee. It only makes sense to me as a convenience and not credit insurance.  So now I just go once a week.  I'll let requests sit if I've just gone to the PO.