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Topic: Priority Mail Supplies Coming... One... Package... At... A... TIme

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Subject: Priority Mail Supplies Coming... One... Package... At... A... TIme
Date Posted: 2/8/2013 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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Anybody else ever see this happen:

I ordered some Priority Mail supplies from the USPS website. I ordered four different sizes of packages and a roll of Priority Mail labels. Over the course of the next three weeks or so, I received five separate packages - all from the same distribution center in Indiana - all shipped on different days, all delivered individually and on different days. No wonder they're hurting financially! Forget about the billions they're being forced to put towards future retirement, it's crap like this. My mail carrier ended up having to waste his time making five separate trips to my house, (we don't qualify for home delivery; our community has a strip of those roadside boxes). Each of those five packages went through the USPS system separately. And, since they had a tracking number & bar code, each one was handled & scanned by a USPS employee at every point in its travel here from Indianapolis. Five times. The reason I had to order them at all, instead of just grabbing a few at a time as I needed them at the post office, is that three of the five items - padded Priority Flat Rate Envelopes, Priority Mail Stickers and Priority DVD mailers - are not available in any quantity from any USPS branch local to me. Which, coincidentally, is supposedly a cost-saving measure on the part of USPS... Really?



Last Edited on: 2/8/13 7:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/8/2013 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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So five times the packaging, and five times the handling for items ordered at the same time and shipped from the same warehouse?  I'm understanding this correctly?

Date Posted: 2/8/2013 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Even if you don't understand it, This is actually cheaper to do it this way. Each thing you ordered is already prepackaged. so instead of having an "order filler" collect each component , set your order aside if one of them is backordered and then repackage the entire order into one shipment which would be a pain with all the different size boxes, it is broken up into 5 orders. that way if one component is out, the others still go out, and no one has to keep track of each  order and make sure everything ships. 

 

Most of the time, the only "handling" packages receive is at shipment and delivery, packages travel though the plants without ever touching human hands. There are scanners above the conveyer belts that automatically scan the packages as they go by.

 

"are not available in any quantity from any USPS branch "

 

Yes, you will find that everywhere. If you are shipping Quantities, they want you to use an online service, not the window. They want the window open for casual customers, for the elderly buying a book of stamps, for the ones buying money orders. They don't want the window tied up for long times by businesses (and ebayers etc)  doing their shipping. 

Date Posted: 2/8/2013 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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BRANDY: It's only cheaper at the warehouse. Everything you say is well and good - until the packages leave the warehouse. Each one is handled separately all the way through the system. I actually met the carrier at the door when the last package arrived. Even though we're friends, he still had a snarky comment about my having ordered these things separately and why didn't I order them all at once. Also, I don't buy that everything except the Priority Mail Stickers couldn't have been shrink-wrapped as one parcel, or sealed in a Tyvak-pack and sent out as one parcel.

"Yes, you will find that everywhere. If you are shipping Quantities..."

I guess what I should have said is the three out of the five items - are not available at all from any USPS branch local to me.



Last Edited on: 2/8/13 10:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/8/2013 10:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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"So five times the packaging, and five times the handling for items ordered at the same time and shipped from the same warehouse?  I'm understanding this correctly?"

Yup... That's it in a nutshell. And, while Brandy has a point about a large automated warehouse, beyond that, I cannot fathom how it's less expensive to send those items separately.



Last Edited on: 2/8/13 10:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/9/2013 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 599
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I order packaging material from USPS.com often and that's how they always do it. 

Date Posted: 2/9/2013 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 696
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I am sorry they didn't ship your free stuff the way you would have preferred.

Date Posted: 2/9/2013 8:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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First off, Diane, it's not "free"; the cost of the packaging is built into the price of shipping via Priority Mail. Second, the point of my post was not to complain (or to elicit sarcastic comments), but to see if others were having similar experiences. I was hoping that someone else (like Brandy L.) would be able to identify aspects of the system that I had not considered. On a systemic basis, we all pay for any ineffificency in the USPS. On a more personal level, one of the last things I want is for my mail carrier to be annoyed at having to make five separate trips to my house.

Date Posted: 2/9/2013 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I merely though Ed was expressing a bit of irony, that an organization which seems to have perpetual financial woes operates a supply system that appears inefficient and redundant.  Then there were some interesting points made that this particular system may not be as inefficient as it appears...we were merely discussing the merits.

But, I will say...as a comparison.  Amazon (a highly successful for-profit company) uses an entirely different approach, and combines shipments wherever possible.

Subject: My Priority Mail supplies shipment arrived in one package
Date Posted: 2/11/2013 7:09 AM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2009
Posts: 916
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Funny story.  Yes my order arrived in one "package".  I had asked the secretary to order several different sizes of Priority boxes for me (such as a dozen of size X, dozen of Y, and dozen of Z, etc).  I have no idea what she input but a week or so later the carrier is asking me where he should deliver all the supplies and I'm like just bring them to me.  Problem is she ordered a whole PALLET full of various boxes and the delivery unit wants them out cause they are taking up too much room and the carrier can't figure out how to get them all over to me in the fewest trips, and I have no room for a pallet of boxes plus I never wanted that many.  She was a dingy secretary - that was just one example of "stuff" that occurred under her watch - I think when she duplicated such with a Kleenex order I told her to have the excess returned as we'd never go through that much tissue.

Date Posted: 2/15/2013 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2012
Posts: 3
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Amazon has a vested interest in shipping your products in as few packages as possible -- they have to PAY for shipping.  The Postal Supplies we order directly from the post office get sent basically space available on routes that the Post Office already uses daily.  I'm not surprised at all that an order of 5 items was shipped in 5 separate 'shipments' and that your local mail carrier had to visit your door 5 times over the course of 3 weeks...after all, he visits your house (or at least your mailbox) 6 times a week currently.  What's an extra 5 trips to your door over that 3-week span?!

I personally am grateful for the free priority mail boxes and free delivery.  I remember the good ole' days of having to scrounge boxes to ship things in.  Now, if the post office would just add tape, bubble-wrap, and peanuts to their free offerings, I'd be all set...lol!

Date Posted: 2/15/2013 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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"...Now, if the post office would just add tape, bubble-wrap, and peanuts to their free offerings, I'd be all set..."  LOL Mark.  I frequently see customers arrive at my local PO with open containers not ready to ship (or even handfuls of stuff not packaged at all).  They come to the counter like the staff is going to pack it all up for them...wrong!  They point out the tape and boxes and tell customers they can pay for them at the counter...after their packages are ready to ship.  If you want somebody else to provide and pack your container, then add peanuts, close, and address it for you...you'll have to go to a full service shipper and pay for it!

Date Posted: 2/15/2013 11:36 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,757
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I ordered some of those priority boxes once.  The first shipment came with about 40 boxes.  Then a tractor trailer, no lie, came to my house with pallets, yes pallets, full of the other supplies.  I had no idea I had ordered so many!  Luckily Hubby was a Postmaster of a small office so he called around to the other small offices to see if they would take some and before you knew it, they were gone in about a week.

The price of priority is still less than UPS and I do not believe you get any free supplies as well as door pickup in some cases.  I think they should charge for the boxes and maybe some folks would stop trying to use them for other classes of mail.

Date Posted: 2/16/2013 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Ed, it might well be that in your case, it cost more to mail the separate packages, since the carrier had to make special trips for each package. But it is quite possible that Brandy is right, and that in general it is cheaper for the post office to mail separate packages. Pick up the item, slap on a label, ready to go.

And yes, Amazon would do it in one package when possible—I would think that this is partly (though certainly not entirely) because they need to worry more about customer satisfaction than the post office does.

It disturbs me, though, to hear that two of the 180 viewers of this thread have received, by mistake, full pallets of boxes/supplies. And one in a tractor trailer, no less! How often does the post office send those out to people who then use them for their own purposes? That seems like a shame, and it makes me wonder there ought to be more controls on that sort of thing.