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View Poll Results: What is your favorite shipping option (in the US)?
USPS Priority Mail 64 77.11%
UPS 11 13.25%
FEDEX 4 4.82%
Other (please comment) 4 4.82%
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US Members: Your favorite shipping option?
Old 12-07-2016   #1
daveleo
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US Members: Your favorite shipping option?

For the moment, I'll spare you my ravings about what prompted this thread.
I was going to ask "What's the worst possible shipping option?", but decided to put a friendly, positive spin on the question.
Which is .... based on your personal actual experiences, what is your favorite shipping option?
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Old 12-07-2016   #2
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As part of my employment I run a mail room/shipping center. In my experience USPS is the most reliable, if not the quickest. UPS follows a fairly close second. Fedex is very good at missing delivery deadlines by several days, I avoid them if at all possible.
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Old 12-07-2016   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMGB View Post
As part of my employment I run a mail room/shipping center. In my experience USPS is the most reliable, if not the quickest. UPS follows a fairly close second. Fedex is very good at missing delivery deadlines by several days, I avoid them if at all possible.
Pretty much my experience as well.
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Old 12-07-2016   #4
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USPS.

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Old 12-07-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMGB View Post
As part of my employment I run a mail room/shipping center. In my experience USPS is the most reliable, if not the quickest. UPS follows a fairly close second. Fedex is very good at missing delivery deadlines by several days, I avoid them if at all possible.
I've also found that USPS is better than the others, and Fedex ranks last.
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Old 12-07-2016   #6
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1. USPS
2. UPS
3. All other services except #4
4. Fedex
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Old 12-07-2016   #7
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I like USPS Priority Mail.

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Old 12-07-2016   #8
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I always use the postal service, they've been the most reliable and unlike UPS and FedEx, the US Postal Service has never lost or broken anything.

UPS is usually reliable though.

FedEx, however, is the worst. If I want to buy something online and the store only uses FedEx, I'll go elsewhere. The lazy *******s they have driving for them here won't even bother to knock on the door if they're in a hurry, they'll just stick one of those notices on the door, leaving me without my package and having to hope that tomorrow they'll feel like actually trying to deliver it.

One time, on the day I expected a delivery, I sat in my living room all day with the front door open, with only a screen door closed to keep bugs out. in the afternoon, I walked out to my mailbox to check the mail and I saw a FedEx notice stuck on the door frame. There's no f--king way they missed me, I was sitting in my living room all damned day reading (I was in grad school at the time). The lazy ******* just didn't feel like being bothered to do his damned job.

I did that because of the several other times when FedEx "Missed Me" when I knew I was home. The previous times, I didn't sit with the door open all day, I had other things to do around the house, but I should have heard them knock anyway. The last time was a test, and they failed. Never again, ever.
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My favorite shipping company is USPS
Old 12-07-2016   #9
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My favorite shipping company is USPS

Best price, best service, and even Amazon and UPS use them for their deliveries on Sunday. In any case, the best insurance is a good packaging. Packages always get tossed and compressed. USPS goes a great job. However, none of them is really good at paying for damages (even if insured), they always use the excuse of poor packaging.
Agree with the worst being FedEx. I used to ship lots of guitars, and only had problems with FedEx. Never with the USPS. FedEx does not bother on ringing the bell, just places the package in the front door (good thing I live in a good neighborhood).
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Old 12-07-2016   #10
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They all have pros and cons.

For light items it's hard to beat first class tracked. These items travel by priority mail, which travel on FedEx planes (betcha didn't know that.)

I've shipped items cross country, dropping off Saturday, that arrive Monday, at a cost of less than $3.

That said, if USPS loses something, their customer service is simply an outsourced call center. They are friendly and will make promises to call you back but they never do.

UPS and FedEx have top quality in-house customer service.

I have had my share of USPS and UPS deliveries where I was present all day, yet a notice was left. This is more on the individual employee than it is on the company.

FedEx ground also uses different hubs and procedures than FedEx Express. I avoid them unless the shipment isn't critical.

Experiences over 25+ years and thousands of shipments.
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Old 12-07-2016   #11
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USPS.

Now, unfortunately, we occasionally loose some USPS mail throug theft; which doesn't happen with Fedex/UPS (door step vs. mail box, sorting place - we don't know).

And some stuff can not be shipped with USPS - but that's for another forum

So I use all three depending on what is being shipped.

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Old 12-07-2016   #12
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This is interesting to read from north of the border. I always thought FedEx had a better reputation, but I see a lot less of them driving around here, where it's primarily the post office (Canada Post) or UPS. We also have Purolator, a Canadian courier company. Up here UPS has a bad rep for gouging cross border shipments with brokerage fees (if the recipient isn't aware of the difference between Standard and Express shipments). In any case, both UPS and FedEx seem to like all sorts of add-on fees for clearing shipments, whereas Canada Post is the most straightforward. Where I live, Canada Post and Purolator will probably deliver before noon. It's one of the reasons I like B&H's ground shipping option to Canada via Purolator. I'm lucky if UPS does so before 3pm. I've liked FedEx for the ability to have them hold a package at the depot for me to pick up if I won't be home. UPS seems a greater hassle in this regard. Anyway, to keep this somewhat relevant, whenever I buy gear from individuals in the US, I strongly prefer they use USPS. I've never had a problem with any of those shipments.

My last UPS cross-border experience was with Paul C Buff (AlienBees, Einstein strobes, etc.). I sent back a couple units for repair by post, but they only ship UPS (I've pleaded with them to consider alternatives). When I received the UPS waybill number from them, I called UPS to check on the details and possibly prepay taxes on the cost of the repair. They hadn't gotten everything input at that point and couldn't take payment, but confirmed some details. When I received the shipment, the driver handed me the bill for about $350 in taxes. It should have been about $15. I was floored. UPS interpreted the repair bill for two units somehow as importation of four units. I paid it to take possession (the driver suggested refusing delivery for one day to clear things up). When I called UPS, the CSR suggested the easiest way to resolve the problem was to file a claim with the Canadian government agency responsible for imports. Having in the past waited several months for a UPS refund, I took her advice (skeptically at first) and it worked out, fortunately. Others up here have accused UPS of intentionally overcharging for the collection of taxes and duties and this experience has got me wondering...

It's funny, many in Canada like to disparage mail carriers (and teachers) because of their seemingly cushy union jobs, but I sure hope Canada Post and USPS survive and continue offering a great alternative to the private courier companies.
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Old 12-07-2016   #13
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I never use USPS if I can help it because they are so slow when I drop off my package. who needs to stand in line while people moving in slow motion behind the counter.

UPS is great, Fedex - about the same for me.
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Old 12-07-2016   #14
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prepare the label in advance and put the item in the drop box; avoid the lines.

Some limitations of USPS are limited hours; with FedEx I can drop off very late in the evening and it will still go out that night.

FedEx OneRate is quite economical, if the item fits their box sizes
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Old 12-07-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcr1230 View Post
I never use USPS if I can help it because they are so slow when I drop off my package. who needs to stand in line while people moving in slow motion behind the counter.

UPS is great, Fedex - about the same for me.
Expanding on what splitimageview posted .......

Get USPS boxes & envelopes from the shelves at the PO. Just take them. No lines. Go to USPS website and print all your labels.
Drop your packages in mailbox at PO - again no line waiting.
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Old 12-07-2016   #16
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I send and receive via USPS Priority Mail all the time. They're my number one.

I request senders to use USPS Priority or UPS when given the option. They've both provided excellent service with few problems.

I avoid FedEx whenever possible.

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Old 12-07-2016   #17
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Also, there are supplies you can't get at the post office, like padded flat rate envelopes. They are free...takes a few days to arrive, order online.

Padded flat rate is a great way to ship small items cheaply, if packed correctly, it's extremely secure and can save $8-$10 over paying by weight.

And again, priority mail travels on Fedex planes. Many times items from Texas to San Francisco or Seattle drop off on Saturday and arrives Monday; Fedex or UPS would charge $50-70+ for such a shipment; about $6 via USPS padded flat rate envelope.
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Old 12-07-2016   #18
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I send stuff by USPS, 1st Class or Priority, but when it comes to long distance items shipped to me, I prefer FEDEX. Less expensive than the other two, and at least a day quicker than UPS.

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Old 12-07-2016   #19
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USPS is by far the best. I know fairly well the time the carrier will come. None of this "by the end of the day" stuff. If I miss the carrier, I just have to go to local post office the next day and pick up the package. (All the rest only have one pickup spot, in industrial areas, even in fairly large metropolitan regions.) The USPS carrier will also take my packages with the preprinted labels / postage. I don't know how many times I've gotten "delivery exception" from UPS. UPS seldom delivers to me the day they say they will deliver.
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Usps
Old 12-08-2016   #20
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Usps

I just mailed a 2.5 lb. package from Massachusetts (USA) - a Kodak Retina Reflex III w/50mm 1.9 Schneider Xenon - to Chris Sherlock at Retina Rescue in New Zealand.

He suggested I send it USPS 1st Class Mail. Should take approx. 7-10 days.
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Old 12-08-2016   #21
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It will probably take longer than that.

I sent an M4-P to NZ once, priority mail. It tracked to Chicago and then was AWOL for a couple of weeks. Called USPS, they promised to trace it and call me back in 2-3 days.

They never called back (they never do) but the next day or two tracking resumed and the camera was finally delivered.
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Old 12-08-2016   #22
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I've used Priority Mail to Bangkok many times. Deliveries were typically less than 5 business days. If there is a delay, it is usually in the receiving country's customs. Using the right codes on the customs declaration helps.
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Old 12-08-2016   #23
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Quote:
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...If there is a delay, it is usually in the receiving country's customs. Using the right codes on the customs declaration helps. ...
Yes, Chris was very specific on what to write on the Customs Declaration Form.
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Old 12-08-2016   #24
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It's no what to write. No matter what you write, the customs person won't know what it is. There is a long list of international numerical codes. Using the international code really helps. The code is important because the duty rate often varies according to the code.
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Old 12-08-2016   #25
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In the early 2000's I used to service motion picture cameras for a number of different universities, which meant shipping cameras back and forth across the US. Much to my surprise I heard nightmares stories from clients about lost camera gear and UPS or FedEx fighting tooth and nail to not pay insurance claims, whereas USPS will pay the claim if they lose your camera. Ever since, I've been shipping USPS.

I did have one bad/funny USPS experience in 1992. I was living in NYC and waiting for a USPS package. It was shipped Priority and ended up being 18 days late. When I was finally able to pick it up at the Post Office, I mentioned to the clerk that it was a Priority package and was supposed to be here weeks earlier. He said, "Hey, you got it didn't you? Stop complaining."

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Old 12-08-2016   #26
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What Christopher Crawford said, I'm in total agreement on Fed Ex. For my area UPS is my favorite.
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Old 12-08-2016   #27
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USPS seems to make the least amount of mistakes.
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Old 12-08-2016   #28
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if usps had boxing services for large items i'd never use ups and fedex.
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Old 12-08-2016   #29
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For me the best is local pick-up in NYC.

As far as carriers USPS is mixed. I am a gentrifier and my experience in Long Island City USPS has presented itself as being like a third world country, and I literally lived only one subway stop from Madhattan. Hopefully things have changed as this area has been redeveloped.

Here in East Harlem, another poor community, The USPS is not the best, and if you have to sign for a package and you have to go to the understaffed Post Office and wait in long lines that go out the door. The worst is near the first of the month because of the line for Postal Money Orders since this community is so poor people do not have credit nor checking accounts.

Back in the day, about 15-20 years ago the Post office in Williamsburg was very third world like, but not as bad as Long Island City. In LIC one basically feels like one is in another country. When I complained to the Postmaster he actually said complaining would not help, and that he did not expect the Post Office to be in business in 5 years because every year they loose money.

Have you ever lost a diamond ring that was sent via USPS registered mail? Happened to me. Was lost for about three weeks. Meanwhile I had a hysterical girlfriend.

Also had experiences in LIC where I took off of work to accept delivery, only to find the message left at my mailbox. Basically the driver did not ring the bell and just wrote the form message. I confronted the driver, who I actually felt bad for after I yelled at her.

Basically she explained that her route was so spread out, and the work load so large, that it was impossible for her to do her job. If you knew how large LIC is, it is true it is a vast area that is sparsely populated. Also the Post Office is vastly huge, but going there often there is only one clerk so the line is unbelievably long.

USPS depends where you live. If you live in a poor neighborhood expect third world service.

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Old 12-08-2016   #30
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Quote:
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............

USPS depends where you live. If you live in a poor neighborhood expect third world service.

Cal
Yes. The local office (USPS, UPS, FEDEX) and delivery man is what formulates 90% of our opinions, I think.
Our USPS guys are really good (except for the woefully understaffed counter service) with deliveries. Our UPS guys I swear are morons (at least the guys on this side of town). I have very little Fedex experience.
Two days ago, the UPS guy dropped off our packages at 8:00PM on the driveway (it's December in New England); not on the covered entrance porch, not in the enclosed breezeway - on the driveway at night an hour before icy rain was forecast. Did not ring the bell or bang on the door, in fact he never walked up to the door. At 9:30PM (I'm in my 'jamys) my phone went off "your packages were delivered". Could not find the packages (dark) until my wife looked out on the driveway.
Earlier this year UPS left a box with a lens I bought out on the open front steps in the rain. And he had to fight his way through my obstacle course of potted plants to get it there.

Well .... again, it's often the local guys who drive our opinions of the entire company.

I am an exclusively USPS Priority user.
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Old 12-08-2016   #31
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Well, for me in NH, all are good.

Up here, it's a box at the PO for USPS, not home delivery. This is the most secure; package waits at the PO.

Very surprised at the comments on FedEx. Their Express service is still fab, I count on it. Home delivery seems to be a different matter.

And, my favorite is the mail from China and Japan to here. From China, it's only a 3-4 days and the postage seems to be very reasonable for the sender. From Japan, EMS to the US is trackable, reliable, and fast, thought not really cheap.
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Old 12-08-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post

USPS depends where you live. If you live in a poor neighborhood expect third world service.

Cal
I would agree the first sentence here, but quibble with the second.
I was stunned to see that anyone felt that the USPS offered decent service, double stunned to see it listed first by most people. Not disputing anyone else's experiences, but it's certainly not like that here. I reside in one of the nation's highest income counties, and USPS service here is not just third world-ish, it is hellish, so the idea that poor neighborhoods get picked on might be due to who staffs them, not bias.

In the last 25 years, at least 90% of the packages I have received which were handled by Postal service employees have been crushed. No exaggeration, and closer to 100% than 90%.
No "Priority Mail" package into here has ever reached me in less than a week, and that speed is rare. Ten days is the norm, and three weeks is fairly common. You will never wait in line less than 20 minutes, 45 minutes for the month of December.
On the other hand, and I ship over a hundred boxes a year of various weights and sizes, from 1 pound to 50+ pounds, via Fedex, and in addition to being hyper convenient locally, I have never had a single instance of the slightest problem. That is literally thousands of shipments. Plus, if I use FedEx Ground, and take it to the actual FedEx office, it is significantly cheaper than Priority Mail, gets there faster, and it has actual along the route tracking which USPS hasnt figured out yet.
So, a lot probably depends on where you are. I'd imagine those extolling USPS and disparaging FedEx would say I was just lucky, and I'd be forced to say just the opposite.
Use what works best for you where you live, but blanket recommendations are not realistic.
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Old 12-08-2016   #33
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Quote:
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I would agree the first sentence here, but quibble with the second.
I was stunned to see that anyone felt that the USPS offered decent service, double stunned to see it listed first by most people. Not disputing anyone else's experiences, but it's certainly not like that here. I reside in one of the nation's highest income counties, and USPS service here is not just third world-ish, it is hellish, so the idea that poor neighborhoods get picked on might be due to who staffs them, not bias.

In the last 25 years, at least 90% of the packages I have received which were handled by Postal service employees have been crushed. No exaggeration, and closer to 100% than 90%.
No "Priority Mail" package into here has ever reached me in less than a week, and that speed is rare. Ten days is the norm, and three weeks is fairly common. You will never wait in line less than 20 minutes, 45 minutes for the month of December.
On the other hand, and I ship over a hundred boxes a year of various weights and sizes, from 1 pound to 50+ pounds, via Fedex, and in addition to being hyper convenient locally, I have never had a single instance of the slightest problem. That is literally thousands of shipments. Plus, if I use FedEx Ground, and take it to the actual FedEx office, it is significantly cheaper than Priority Mail, gets there faster, and it has actual along the route tracking which USPS hasnt figured out yet.
So, a lot probably depends on where you are. I'd imagine those extolling USPS and disparaging FedEx would say I was just lucky, and I'd be forced to say just the opposite.
Use what works best for you where you live, but blanket recommendations are not realistic.
Larry,

I live in Manhattan. Surely this is one of the highest income counties with a very high cost of living.

It seems pretty apparent to me that the poorer neighborhoods are not staffed well or enough. The disparity of service between rich and poor neighborhoods is rather striking here in NYC.

Sorry to hear of your difficulties.

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Old 12-08-2016   #34
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I like that UPS lets me reroute packages to my local UPS store for pickup. FedEx ground is horrible.
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Old 12-08-2016   #35
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Quote:
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Larry,

I live in Manhattan. Surely this is one of the highest income counties with a very high cost of living.

It seems pretty apparent to me that the poorer neighborhoods are not staffed well or enough. The disparity of service between rich and poor neighborhoods is rather striking here in NYC.

Sorry to hear of your difficulties.

Cal
Cal,

Here I would imagine that the disparity has more to do with rural vs. Manhattan than anything else. Or, local staff quality probably more than anything, though over time and changes of staff nothing with the USPS has ever improved here. The most poorly run enterprise in my life long experience, of any sort. Unless you live within a ten block radius of the P.O. they won't even deliver.

After I wrote that last post, another story came to mind. This time last year, actually a few days earlier, I was standing in line at the P.O. behind a man who went to the window and told staff that he had checked online and seen that his package containing Christmas gifts had arrived. The clerk checked online, and agreed that, yes, his package was "in the back" but they had "so many" packages that the stack back there then, around Dec 3rd, would not be available to pick up until "at least" January 10th. This was not a one off. I saw it more than once last year, and have already seen the same thing happen this year. They move as slow as molasses, punch the clock, and could care less.

I didn't see it myself, but a couple of years ago someone came in the night and put up a sign over the door saying "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
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Old 12-08-2016   #36
Dogman
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Best service for the last several years:
1. USPS
2. UPS
3. FedEx

Odd how time changes things. Twenty-five or thirty years ago, the order would have been totally reversed. FedEx was superb and the only carrier that could consistently deliver overnight. UPS was reliable but slower. USPS was the pits--losing stuff, breaking stuff and exhibiting the proverbial bad attitude toward customers. Today, the USPS service has improved tremendously, UPS has gotten better in speed and service and FedEx has declined.

The worst carrier ever, in my experience, was Railway Express Agency from the 1970s. Slower than the Pony Express using sick horses and packages arrived looking like they were run over by a freight train. My first good enlarger was "delivered" by Railway Express. They delivered it to a mystery office address almost a month late and they never notified me when it arrived. There was no home delivery and they had no local office so it was up to me to call long distance to see if the package had arrived. I then had to travel to another town to take delivery. When I finally found the seedy office where it had been delivered, the box was torn and partially crushed. Luckily Omega packaged their enlargers really well back then so nothing was damaged or lost. I really hated REA.
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Old 12-08-2016   #37
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USPS... has never let me down
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Old 12-09-2016   #38
Calzone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Cal,

Here I would imagine that the disparity has more to do with rural vs. Manhattan than anything else. Or, local staff quality probably more than anything, though over time and changes of staff nothing with the USPS has ever improved here. The most poorly run enterprise in my life long experience, of any sort. Unless you live within a ten block radius of the P.O. they won't even deliver.

After I wrote that last post, another story came to mind. This time last year, actually a few days earlier, I was standing in line at the P.O. behind a man who went to the window and told staff that he had checked online and seen that his package containing Christmas gifts had arrived. The clerk checked online, and agreed that, yes, his package was "in the back" but they had "so many" packages that the stack back there then, around Dec 3rd, would not be available to pick up until "at least" January 10th. This was not a one off. I saw it more than once last year, and have already seen the same thing happen this year. They move as slow as molasses, punch the clock, and could care less.

I didn't see it myself, but a couple of years ago someone came in the night and put up a sign over the door saying "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
Larry,

Thanks for your insights. I thought I had bad experiences, but you definitely win. Sounds like a cronic disaster that is worse than third world.

I now feel greatfull for the lame service I now get. LOL.

Cal
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Old 12-09-2016   #39
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As a Leica user I only use private courier, and only if they use BMW motorcycles.

(At my work USPS is by far the worst. They deliver Priority Mail a day after the agreed on delivery date, but magically have the packages marked as delivered on their online tracking. They also forge signatures of our mail room employees to claim they had been signed for on the insured packages that we get. For three months one of our employees who was on maternity leave incredibly managed to sign for packages every day in the office! They leave packages unattended in the common mail room area used by the entire building, instead of delivering them to the correct office as required)
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Old 12-09-2016   #40
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This thread is very timely, as I've just experienced the worst delivery bs ever with FedEx. I will do everything in my power to receive goods by any other carrier. Problem is, because they suck so much, they give retailers discounts to capture their business. My package was days late, they lost it, they tried but were unable to reroute it, communication was lousy, customer service on most occasions could barely speak English, much time was wasted waiting in vain for package -- and these were the positive parts. I'll not bore you with the worst.
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