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Topic: Requesting USPS Pick-Ups -- Anyone do that?

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Subject: Requesting USPS Pick-Ups -- Anyone do that?
Date Posted: 9/3/2014 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
Posts: 3,789
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I mail quite a few packages each week, as I sell online.  For instance, yesterday I mailed out two Ebay packages and one Amazon package (all lightweight stuff, two swimsuits  & one lipstick).  Today I mailed out an Ebay package (nightgown, in a padded Priority Mail envelope), a small package for the RAOK forum here, and about 6 letter sized envelopes, to pay some bills.  I seem to have 2-3 packages each day to send, depending on the orders that have come in.  Most are lightweight/First Class, though we did buy a larger mailbox so I can even fit in Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes in it (which I mostly use to send care packages to my son, in the Marine Corps).  It's been SO great, not having to go to the post office to mail out packages!  

Anyway, my DH heard the mail guy coming and went out to meet him and get our mail.   The mailman said "I hope your wife goes out of business" and my DH was rather taken aback; thinks he was kind of joking, but he's not the friendliest mailman, so thinks there was some seriousness to his comment.  Is it not his job to deliver AND pick up the mail in our boxes?  Or, should I be requesting separate pick-ups for packages?  Seems like I'd be adding to the workload by requesting a separate mail person to come to my house for pickups, and I'm assuming I'd either have to be home to answer the door or just leave them on my porch, which I'd prefer not to do.   Would rather continue on putting them in my box for pickup.  

Has anyone requested package pick-ups?  Is it picked up by a different mail carrier than the one who delivers the mail?  What would you do?

Date Posted: 9/3/2014 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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No sure of the details, but maybe you could call the local postmaster and ask about the best way to do this. There are PBS members that request package pick up, IIRC at least one package must be a specific rate class (priority?).

From other conversations, your local PO gets at least some of their funding based on the number of mail pieces mailed with your return zip code.



Last Edited on: 9/3/14 11:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/4/2014 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2014
Posts: 63
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I'm assuming it is the same carrier. I havent done package with usps only ups and it is the same carrier. I would just ignore the guy and figure he was either joking or not and either way its his job. Maybe on days you happen to have other errands take the packages into the post office and days your not out, just give them to him.

Date Posted: 9/4/2014 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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You can call for pick up IF you have priority mail.

Right or wrong, my post office says the mail carrier is required to deliver mail but not required to pick up mail.

My carrier does not pick up packages unless it is priority and arrangements have been made for it to be picked up.  

Date Posted: 9/4/2014 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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We've seen that information posted here previously, that package pick-up is optional for carriers.  But most will do so.  IIRC there may be other criteria, such as a rural route (or not).



Last Edited on: 9/4/14 7:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/4/2014 9:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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With a rural route, they are paid a little differently, and they get credit (i.e. paid) if you do a pickup request, but they don't get any credit if you don't. You have to have at least one Priority or Express Mail package to schedule a pickup. It will be the same carrier and you can continue to leave them in the mailbox, but if you do the official package pickup request, the carrier gets paid for the pickup.

Date Posted: 9/4/2014 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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I schedule pickups when I have a lot of heavy boxes. And sometimes it is a LOT of HEAVY boxes (a B Box full of poly mailers is riiiight at that 20lb limit). We don't have any mail trucks on our island, so when I have a big pickup, they make a special trip just for me.

You can specify where you are going to leave the packages, so if you want to leave them in your mailbox you still can, you just leave a note about it when you schedule the pickup. They have you specify the number of package and an estimate of the overall weight. You can leave more than you scheduled for, but not less or they get in trouble. 

Date Posted: 9/4/2014 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
Posts: 3,789
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Thanks for the info., everyone.  I never heard that picking up the mail is optional, though!  (Why else do all driveway mailboxes come with a red flag, unless to signal there's mail to be picked up!)   I will be more aware of what I put in the box, though 9 out of 10 of my packages are less than 13 oz. and get sent out by First Class mail.  So, will either schedule a pick up for the few heavy flat rate Priority Mail boxes I mail, or will drop them off at the post office myself.

Date Posted: 9/4/2014 10:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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They have to pick up first class letters and I assume flats, they are not required to pick up parcels. There's no need for your carrier to get grumpy, he should have just left a note explaining that he doesn't get paid extra unless you schedule. 

Date Posted: 9/10/2014 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 7,848
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Wow... I could understand that if your mail carrier had a walking route. Picking up extra small packages could be harder for them to carry around. But when all they're doing is grabbing the outgoing mail from your box and tossing it into the bin on their mail truck, I really don't see the problem. My area must have different policies regarding pick-ups. I mail books from my mailbox all the time. I had seven of them going out today. My mail carriers always just drop them into their truck's outgoing mail bin, deposit my mail into the mailbox, and then drive on. No complaints. I've paid the postage. The only time I would either call for pick-up or take a postage pre-paid package to the P.O. is if it wouldn't fit into the mailbox. 

Date Posted: 9/11/2014 12:17 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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I don't recall all the details, but the type of route may be a factor (walking, urban, rural, etc).

Date Posted: 9/14/2014 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2009
Posts: 28
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The type of route is a factor. The majority of people don't realize that. Even I didn't realize it until I started working in a rural area and learned the rules were different than the urban area I had previously been in. As Brandy said, if it's a rural route the carrier wants that pick up request because it increases their pay. They get paid by mail volume and distance traveled for their route. (There's more to the formula, but that's the 2 key factors.)  All our routes here are rural and because we only have the one post office (accessibility) the carriers are required to service (drop off to and pick up from) every mailbox. But the area I was previously in was all city routes and there were numerous post offices around. Those carriers got paid by the hour. If they didn't have any mail to drop off they weren't required to stop at the box.  Most would if the flag was up though. And if by some rare chance they didn't have any mail for any of the boxes on a street then they weren't even required to travel along that street. This rule is determined by accessibility to a post office.

As for what the carrier said, maybe he was just joking.  But I know many carriers complain that the normal mail volume they deal with throughout the year is not accurately reflected during the 1 or 2 weeks when mail count is done. This 1 or 2 weeks of mail count is what sets their pay and it is usually done during a traditionally slow mail time (away from any holidays that typically increase the mail volume).  One case last year - one of our carriers has a carrier pick up every day from someone with an online business. They mail out 10-20 packages a day on average, more around the holidays. By pure coincidence that customer went on vacation during the time mail count was done and so the carrier did not have that volume to help calculate her pay. So in her mind she had to pick up all those packages during the year for free. They don't like it when their volume is more than what they are being paid for.

Package pickups are normally done by the same carrier that brings your mail. The only time we have someone different go out is during the holidays when mail volume is very heavy and it's either to help the regular carrier get back to the office before the trucks leave or if they don't have enough room in their vehicle for the pickup. By requesting a pickup you are creating a document that the carrier has to scan and if they didn't pick up the packages for some reason they have to explain that on the form. So there is a documented record of the pickup or (if the case may be) failure to pickup.



Last Edited on: 9/14/14 12:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/14/2014 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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I'm on a rural route. If I schedule a pickup for 10 packages, but end up with 12 (because I print a few more labels in the morning) does my carrier only get credit for the 10 I scheduled? FWIW, I use SCAN forms. 

Also, when is the week they get "counted' for their pickups? Or is it different everywhere? I normally just take my packages in to the PO since I have a PO Box and have to go there anyway, but when I schedule pickups it's when I have a lot of heavy stuff. This week my pickups were 220lbs, 170lbs, 120lbs, etc. If I knew when the week was, I would make sure to only do scheduled pickups :) 

Leo A. - ,
Date Posted: 9/20/2014 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2006
Posts: 13
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Okay...I think i'm extremely lucky.

I'm on a city walking route.   I actually had my mail carrier ring my doorbell one day to let me know that he thought my packages, which I left in my mailbox, might be overweight.  As soon as he realized that I knew about the 13 ounce rule and that I'd weighed my books before I'd put them in the mailbox, , he was like "ok, not a problem..."

Maybe it helps that he's only got two more houses to deliver to until he's back to where he's park s his truck.   But regardless, he's getting cookies for Christmas...lol

Date Posted: 9/21/2014 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2009
Posts: 28
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Becca - If you're using the scan forms and the correct number is shown on the form then they get credit for that. On their form that it generates each morning it has the number to pick up and there's a question for them to answer that asks if the number matches the number of packages. If not, then how many did they pick up.

The week the count is done varies. Right now in my office we are doing a count, but it is just for 1 carrier. They had to do it for him because there were enough changes to his route that could change his pay. Many times it is done in February.

Also, Becca - the weights you have listed for your pickups are too heavy for the post office. 70lbs per package is the weight limit to mail thru the post office. Were those numbers single packages or multiple packages totaling those amounts?



Last Edited on: 9/21/14 12:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Pick up requests
Date Posted: 9/23/2014 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2008
Posts: 12
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I was just met by our mail man and was informed of the pick up request form from the PO. If it is generally the size of a first class letter (DVD is ok) and even a medium thick paperback that can be covered with 2 sheets of paper, that is ok too. BUT if it looks like a package, wrapped in brown paper, ie, and label pasted on, then that needs to be on a pick up request. This insures he gets credit for the volume of mail he picks up and also generates a receipt for you. You can still leave it in the bo. Hope this helps?

Jp

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Michelle - Thanks for letting me know about the SCAN forms! As far as the weight, when you schedule a pickup, it asks you to estimate the total weight of all of the packages, that is what I was referring to :) I'll have pickups of 20-40 packages at a time when I am doing pre-sales for shipping supplies, and a B Box stuffed full of poly mailers is right at that 20lb mark! 

Subject: ME TOO!
Date Posted: 10/25/2014 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2013
Posts: 11
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I have a fairly new (to me) post man who is VERY grumpy and aggressive. I live in a single family home in a city neighborhood and he seems to have the option to walk or drive his truck at his preference. Like all of you, I weigh all my books that go out, and anything over 13oz gets taken to the PO. He gets mega ticked when I ship a book, dvd or cd, which is maybe 1 every 10 days or so, and tells me I HAVE to schedule a pick-up (which won't work for PBS postage, as I understand it). 

He delivers books (way more than I ship), what's his problem with taking them too? He's already at my mailbox. He's not obligated to carry them, he has his truck right there. Is there some sort of PO regulation I can reference next time he screams at me? (Yes, screams, he's very aggressive, and hand to God, I've been nothing but sweet to him.) I don't like the tension and drama of just sending mail when it seems I'm following the rules. =(

(I should add that I've been mailing books from home for well over 5 years and have never had a problem with my former carriers - not even a whiff of a problem - which is why I'm particularly baffled. Even if this new carrier is correct, there's a professional way to handle things, and there's the way he went about it.) 



Last Edited on: 10/25/14 6:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/25/2014 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Amanda, you should file a complaint about him online. I am sure his boss would like to know he is a grumpy jerk. 

Date Posted: 10/26/2014 2:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2013
Posts: 11
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I actually have, Becca. Again, I was scrupulously nice about how I worded it. They said they would talk to him about customer service, but he was grumping at my hubby again just yesterday about me mailing a 4oz CD. frown

 

Would kinda like to leave him a nice but firm personal letter with a reference to the Postal Delivery Regulations that applies, if there is such a thing. I have been searching USPS.com but haven't found anything useful for me, or supportive of his claims either.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 10/26/2014 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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I don't think you're going to find the regulations on this. It's my understanding that your mail carrier doesn't have to pick up packages mailed from your home unless you're on a rural route or you've scheduled a pickup. You can't schedule a pickup for First Class and Media Mail, so that doesn't help much. 

Your best bet is to find the closest blue box and mail from there. Hopefully your town is not like mine, which has removed all the blue boxes between me and the post office. 

Date Posted: 10/28/2014 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,399
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Our previous carrier left a box in the truck for folks to drop in outgoing mail.  As long as weather was nice enough to have that window down.  I miss that carrier. Thought it was a great compromise.

Date Posted: 10/30/2014 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
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This thread has been eye opening. I've never had a problem with a mail carrier picking up my packages. Ever. I mail the vast majority of my PBS packages from my office, and the letter carriers are awesome about it.

Date Posted: 10/30/2014 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 537
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Amanda, I hope you continue to follow up with your post office - following the regs about not having to pick up packages is one thing, but screaming at you is unacceptable, no matter what it's about.

As an objective observer, I think it's dumb that carriers don't have to pick up mail unless they choose to - huge boxes without a request, maybe, but how is something the size of a paperback book any harder to deal with than a letter? Most customers aren't going to understand the ins and outs of how postal workers get paid for their time, and they shouldn't have to.

As bills/letters continue to go online rather than snail mail, the bulk of what the USPS will be handling is packages, and they need to step up to that reality or they're going to disgruntle the few happy customers they have left.



Last Edited on: 10/30/14 3:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/30/2014 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2013
Posts: 11
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Totally agree, Laura! My only concern is that you can't be anonymous when leaving feedback, and I don't want to "poke the bear". It's a tricky situation when you have to continue to work with someone and they know where you live. frown Part of me hopes he grumps at my hubby again, he'll regret that and fast. *sigh*

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