USPS is Weird

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by OverTheTop, May 21, 2019.

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  1. May 21, 2019 #1

    OverTheTop

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    Ordered some rocketry stuff from the USA (to Australia). Tracking has it go from the San Francisco to LA, but via Melbourne Australia (where I live), then back to Australia again, but via New Zealand this time. It is having a real "Cook's tour". Bizarre.

    May 19, 2019, 5:06 pm Processed Through Facility AUSTRALIA

    May 19, 2019, 12:59 pm Departed MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

    May 19, 2019, 6:40 am Departed AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

    May 17, 2019, 10:30 pm Departed LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES

    May 17, 2019, 3:49 pm Arrived LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES

    May 16, 2019, 10:39 am Departed MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

    May 14, 2019, 9:50 pm Departed SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES

    May 14, 2019, 8:17 pm Arrived LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES

    May 14, 2019, 8:58 am Departed SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES

    May 14, 2019, 5:45 am Arrived SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES

    May 13, 2019, 9:44 pm Processed Through Regional Facility SAN FRANCISCO CA INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

    May 13, 2019, 9:43 pm Arrived at Regional Facility SAN FRANCISCO CA INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

    May 13, 2019, 7:35 pm Arrived at USPS Regional Facility SAN FRANCISCO CA INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

    May 12, 2019 In Transit to Next Facility

    May 8, 2019, 5:23 am Departed USPS Regional Facility DENVER CO DISTRIBUTION CENTER

    May 7, 2019, 11:49 pm Arrived at USPS Regional Facility DENVER CO DISTRIBUTION CENTER
     
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  2. May 21, 2019 #2

    KC3KNM

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    I used to repair tube amps and had a job for a customer a few days before I was leaving for vacation. I ordered some replacement tubes and had them sent priority, since they were coming from the next state over and I had about a week. I remember watching the tracking as they went from Missouri to Kansas (where I was), back to Missouri, down to Florida, back up to Michigan and then finally back to Kansas. Got the package 4 hours before my flight left, so luckily it all worked out.

    How this happens, I'm not totally sure. I'd assume that there was a mistake somewhere where they load the package on the wrong truck and that starts a chain of trying to get it headed back the right direction. Assuming you're not in a rush, it's kind of fun to watch.:D
     
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  3. May 21, 2019 #3

    DaveW6DPS

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    I ordered a GPS enabled device a while ago, and learned some things about the USPS Tracking. According to their tracking it went from Tulsa Oklahoma to St. Louis Missouri (pretty much the opposite direction), and then came west via Denver Colorado, and Las, Vegas Nevada.

    Even more interesting is that the GPS device shows that it went from Tulsa to St. Louis via Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. Another long route compared to the straight shot it could have gone. This route was approximately twice as long as putting on a truck heading west on a straight shot on the highway that directly connects Tulsa and my home town.

    actual 2452 miles.JPG
    direct 1324 miles.JPG
     
  4. May 21, 2019 #4

    Curtis Enlow

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    Transportation logistics can be very strange. Sometimes 'tracking' is more representative of the logistics computer centers or authority that it was assigned to rather than the actual physical route it takes. And, as a one-time professional driver, even maps can be misleading as to which route is actually the most sensible - that curvy route that doesn't make sense might deliver 500 packages three times a week, while the straight-line route might only deliver 50 packages once a week.

    And, yeah, some times things get put on the wrong trucks, but when that happens it seems to get caught fairly quickly these days, instead of a bin that gets re-sorted once a week.

    But, I have to say, compared to the Seventies and Eighties (and earlier) when you mailed in an order form for mail order and at the bottom it said, "Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery" we've got it pretty sweet :) I remember eagerly rushing to check the mail every day for a month or more before getting my package. Remember the RCA Record Club?
     
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  5. May 21, 2019 #5

    prfesser

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    USPS routing is like most airlines: "Ya can't get there from here, ya gotta go somewheres else first."
     
  6. May 21, 2019 #6

    OverTheTop

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    Yes, but I thought SFO to LAX via Melbourne Australia was a bit excessive though!
     
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  7. May 22, 2019 #7

    dhbarr

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    I just had a tube go Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma.
     
  8. May 22, 2019 #8

    David Schwantz

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    Hey, don't feel bad. I ordered from Madcow in CA and my stuff is in PA right now???? And I live in MN.
     
  9. May 22, 2019 #9

    OverTheTop

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    My package turned up and was delivered today. Got there in the end, although carbon emissions were up a little ;).
     
  10. May 22, 2019 #10

    David Schwantz

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    Nope, no carbon emissions from USPS, they have all gone to pedal power!
     
  11. May 22, 2019 #11

    OverTheTop

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    Does that work over the Pacific? ;)
     
  12. May 22, 2019 #12

    David Schwantz

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    I guess it would have to be flipper power for that one:)
     
  13. May 22, 2019 #13

    amiliv

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    TL;DR Logistics is extremely complex; if any of us were put to operate logistics company (like any parcel carrier such as USPS, FedEx, UPS) with our simple ideas how to "optimize" them, it'd go bankrupt in less than a year.

    As Curtis said above, tracking may or may not show actual route; and packages sometimes get lost or sorted into the wrong "bucket". Mistakes happen.

    The "straight line" is not the "optimal route" from carrier's perspective. This is not unique to USPS. All carriers (FedEx, UPS, etc) operate that way. They are not delivering (and optimizing for) that one single package for you. They are delivering millions of packages to millions of people. Carriers operate through big hubs. Amazon (and other big online retailers) don't build their warehouses in a random city, they build them literally across the street from pre-existing large hubs of major carriers. When they load stuff on a big truck, that truck is not stopping along the route. It goes straight to the next hub, gets unloaded, and smaller regional trucks are loaded and sent your way. Again, all carriers work that way. It can double the mileage, but it's much cheaper, much more efficient, and you end up moving more package faster on average. That's why guaranteed overnight and 2-day services are much more expensive, because the faster a package needs to be delivered, the more "straight" line it needs to take, and it gets much more expensive for carrier to deliver it to you.

    As for postal international shipments. Once package leaves the borders of one country, it's handed over to postal service of next country. So if it got sent back to the US from Australia, it's Australia's postal service that sent it back for whatever reason (either mistake on their end, or something went wrong in customs). USPS had nothing to do with it; because they don't operate in Australia. Once it got back to the US, USPS rerouted it back and it may have been faster to route it via New Zealand on that particular day or from that particular location in the US.
     
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  14. May 22, 2019 #14

    boatgeek

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    There's something funny about the initial sequence (besides the obvious):

    It arrives in LA at 8:17 pm, then departs from SF at 9:50 the same evening. I suspect there's something goofy about the tracking, and it didn't actually take 3 trips across the Pacific.
     
  15. May 22, 2019 #15

    Zeus-cat

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    A few years ago my wife was supposed to fly from Dayton to let's say Boston (I don't remember the cities). She had to fly to Philadelphia first and then make a connection to Boston. Then her plans changed and she needed to go to Philadelphia. So the government travel office (she was a DoD civilian) cancelled all the tickets and sent her to Pittsburgh and then on to Philadelphia. She was not a happy camper!
     
  16. May 22, 2019 #16

    OverTheTop

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    This is what I assume has happened. Wrong bucket.
     
  17. May 22, 2019 #17

    amiliv

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    That's how ticket pricing works, demand pricing. People will pay more for non stop flight. So connecting flights are often cheaper. Government is supposed to be frugal, so they booked her on cheaper flight.

    Occasionally, the system screws up and you can find ticket from A to B to C cheaper than direct flight from A to B. Airlines hate it when people take advantage of that, and may threaten to cancel your return ticket.
     
  18. May 22, 2019 #18

    Nytrunner

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    It could always be worse!
    upload_2019-5-22_16-17-5.png

    [​IMG]
     
  19. May 22, 2019 #19

    crossfire

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    In the 26 years of running Top Flight Recovery USPS only lost one package and that was shipped to Canada. The rest of the world was no problem.
     
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  20. May 22, 2019 #20

    amiliv

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    IMO, the experience people have with any individual carrier (USPS, FedEx, UPS, to name the few) mostly has to do with:

    1) How close to carrier's major distribution hub the sender and recipient are.
    2) Your last-mile delivery dude.

    For me, my local USPS postman is awesome. UPS dudes are right there too. FedEx a somewhat less than perfect. Amazon is absolutely terrible (thought they got slightly improved recently). For somebody else living someplace else, the experiences with any of those four may be totally different. Because their last-mile delivery dude is not the same dude as my last-mile delivery dude.
     

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