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Topic: Where are they?

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Subject: Where are they?
Date Posted: 3/20/2010 1:40 AM ET
Member Since: 11/4/2009
Posts: 47
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Where do all the lost books go? I have been very lucky and so far haven't lost a book or had a lost book sent to me, yet. However, I see from the forums that it happens all the time! So, anyone have any ideas? Where does lost mail go in the end?

How come the post office NEVER loses bills!!! :) LOL!!!

I know this is sometimes a serious issue and I don't mean to play that down. But, it can be a concern why the PO loses so much mail.  Does it just get delivered to the wrong place or what?



Last Edited on: 3/20/10 1:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2010 2:06 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,981
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"Lost" mail could be misdelieverd mail, damaged mail, mail that got misorted, fell out of a truck/bag, stolen, etc. 

Most of this mail type of mail (if it can't be delievered correctly) goes to the centers like the Atlanta Mail Recovery Center where auctions are held for "the sale of unclaimed, damaged, and claim-paid merchandise" (according to usps.com).

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Also there are members who mark the books mailed but never mailed them but the PBS system declares them lost in the mail. It would be interesting to know the percentage of books that are actually lost vs. those that are never mailed.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 8:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,600
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I agree, D.G....it is a good question. As a long-term member who has mailed out over 1500 books and received almost as many, I find the lost book situation to be almost a non-issue, it happens so rarely. I've had a total of 7 books go lost that I mailed over almost 5 years and 1500 books--a couple of those even had DC and were scanned at waypoints but never showed up and never had a delivery scan. So it does happen that books truly do go lost. I had one MIA for 7 months and then show up, packaging prisline, metered mail sticker showing it was mailed just when the sender said it was. There is a black hole for books out there somewhere, and that one managed to escape.

Of the 20 or so books I've had lost on the way TO me, a vast majority were sent by people who, I noticed later, have accounts that are suspended or closed....I suspect possibly those were never mailed. You can get away with pretending to mail books for a short time, but not for long, methinks.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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I'm more amazed that so many books actually get where they are going. I think it's amazing more aren't lost. That being said, I've only had one or two go lost on their way to me. I got the envelope on one--the book wasn't in it. I do think it's more a case of books not being mailed than them actually going lost.

I was amazed when one time I received a book that had been in a fire enroute--I still have no idea how the post office could figure out it went to me. There was barely any of the book left--the sender and I could never figure out where the fire occurred--maybe in a post office facility or maybe it was in a bin that somehow caught on fire.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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In three years I've had only 2 books go lost on their way to me.  One of the books I know for certain was mailed as it was coming from CA and the DC events showed it disappeared in Atlanta.  The second book just went lost today, but I am wondering if it was actually mailed.  The sender did use DC, but other than showing it was purchased, the DC was never scanned.  I know this happens, that the DC doesn't get scanned until delivery sometimes, so maybe it truly is lost, but it makes me wonder.  As for outgoing, I have yet to have a book go lost, but I'm starting worry about one I mailed back in Feb.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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I know, Cheryl. I suspect a majority of books declared 'lost' by PBS are actually never mailed. Like you, only had a handful of books I've sent have gotten lost (always around the Holidays) and no books sent to me have gotten lost.

The lost rate in your case is about 0.5% (pretty good!) and in my case is a bit higher (around 2%) and we've been mailing books for a few years now. So even if we think the lost rate for USPS Media Mail is 30% (which is very high if you compare it to our individual experience but we'll go with the assumption that they treat MM 'rougher' and/or people don't tape them properly so it's bound to open the package, etc. which may not be true), that would mean that around 70% of the lost books are actually never mailed or received but never marked received.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've only had 2 enroute to me go lost and one that I sent go lost out of over 1,000 books. 

Also you can't go by the forums as the members who use the forums are very small percentage. And people don't come on to post about the good transactions and every book that arrives on time.  They primarily come on to vent or discuss problem transactions. 

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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"I was amazed when one time I received a book that had been in a fire enroute--I still have no idea how the post office could figure out it went to me. There was barely any of the book left--the sender and I could never figure out where the fire occurred--maybe in a post office facility or maybe it was in a bin that somehow caught on fire."

We recently had a wreck on the interstate near where I live and it involved a semi-truck that was carrying mail...there was a fire involved...so, I am sure some of that mail was damaged. Perhaps your book was in that truck.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Of course Mary, the transactions disussed in the forums are oddballs & problems, and there's oodles of good swaps for every bad swap.

Me too.  Comparing books I've ordered vs. books I know I've mailed, noticing a definate percentage disparity for lost books.  I've mailed approx 600 but only 1 went lost (later returned), but 5 lost of over 400 sent to me (one reported as stolen enroute to PO but already noted as mailed).  My math skills aren't the best, but isn't that like 400% more books lost on their way to me?

ETA - Thomas, unless otherwise mis-directed lost books go to Lost & Found...aka Atlanta Mail Recovery Center (mentioned by Alisa)



Last Edited on: 3/20/10 3:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
M.E. (ryenke) -
Date Posted: 3/21/2010 1:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
Posts: 625
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Where are they?  I'm completely convinced that in an alternate dimension there is a party. 

Our USPS lost books, and our single socks last seen in the washer/drier are the overwhelming party goers.  Some lost keys, instruction booklets, and pairs of household scissors commonly hang out there too.  My eyeglasses pop in and out for fun, but luckily they have thus far always returned to this dimension.

:)