Private vs. Government

Of course everyone is talking about health care and the impending government takeover.  the government plan is supposed to come with unicorns and rainbows I think.

Let’s look at an industry where there actually is competition between a government organization and a private enterprise.  Shipping.  My husband is far more qualified to cover this one, but I’m going to hit on it anyway.

I’m currently waiting on 2 packages to be delivered, each containing a pair of things that I love.  One is a package containing a pair of books, the other contains a pair of shoes.  The books are being shipped via the United States Postal Service.  Here is the tracking information that has been provided.

Date Time Location Event Details
July 30, 2009 11:45:00 AM Arrival Scan
July 28, 2009 12:05:00 PM Arrival Scan
July 28, 2009 12:23:03 AM Coffeyville KS US Shipment has left seller facility and is in transit

I’ve really no idea where the books arrived yesterday, but I know that it was not my house.  They left Coffeyville, KS on Tuesday, July 28th.  They are estimating delivery on Monday, August 3rd.  I live in Oklahoma.  For anyone that happens to be geographically challenged, that would be the state directly south of Kansas.  There is nothing in between besides rolling hills and cattle.

I’ve also ordered some fantastic shoes.  Yes, the ones that got away.  I set a trap and got them.  Here is the tracking information from UPS

Location Date Local Time Description
GREENSBORO ,  NC ,  US 07/31/2009 7:44 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
US 07/30/2009 2:26 P.M. BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

With a scheduled delivery date of Tuesday, August 4th.  The package left Greensboro, NC (way farther away from Oklahoma) two days after the books were shipped and is slated to arrive on my doorstep only one day later.  UPS gives me the option to have an email sent to me at each and every stop along the way so that I can track my beautiful shoes all the way to my house without any extra effort. I realize that is a little OCD of me, but I like to remain informed.

USPS also offers an email service, but their website is actually further behind than the tracking on Amazon’s interface.  Here is the message I receive if I enter my tracking number on USPS.

The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on July 29, 2009 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later

Gee thanks.  Amazon at least knows that it has already done some traveling.  But just for the sake of argument, I signed up for USPS’s email notification.  They tell me I should be receiving something about my package’s activity to date within 4 hours.  I’ve already gotten an email from UPS.

As a bonus, I don’t know that UPS has ever pissed off an employee to the point of a murderous rage in one of their offices.

What if my doctor’s office ran like USPS?  Would they even know whether or not they had the results from whatever test was just run?  How long would they wait to tell me about it?  What exactly would a disgruntled medical worker do to vent frustration and pent up rage?  How quickly would they provide me treatment?

11 thoughts on “Private vs. Government”

  1. I’ve had packages shipped via USPS that were in my hands while their tracking site still only had the “notified by shipper” notice.

  2. “I’ve had packages shipped via USPS that were in my hands while their tracking site still only had the “notified by shipper” notice.”

    Yup. That’s pretty much been my experience with snail mail. Having signed up for the email notifications on USPS, I’ve received the package and then gotten the ‘delivered’ message a couple days after the fact.

  3. I SOO feel you on this.

    I ordered a dozen mags off gunbroker. The guy shipped them last Tuesday (not this past, the one BEFORE that), USPS.

    They arrived yesterday- 9 days shipping time. I saw that same “we got shipping info but don’t know if it’s been picked up yet” message until earlier this afternoon.

    I’ve also, in the recent past, gotten notification from USPS of a package being delivered. In that case, said package had been delivered over two YEARS prior.

    Oh yeah– the mags were ordered from a bloke in Georgia. I live in South Carolina. It took 9 days for them to be carried about 300 miles. I’ve checked the mailing label and everything once receiving the package.

    Oh yeah, can’t wait for that Obamacare.

  4. I have found UPSP is not significantly slower and sometimes as fast or faster than UPS and FedEx. Additionally, UPS and Fed Ex can’t seem to find my house. We don’t have rural delivery so I have to use a PO Box. About 1/4 of the time those packages end up at a neighbor’s house. That has never happened with USPS and sometimes the companies charge less for USPS shipping as well.

    My wife is a rural mail carrier for USPS but as she left work yesterday UPS was dropping off a lot of packages for USPS to deliver for them. That isn’t unusual. That means she works late today.

    Since my wife works there, I may have a bias in that direction but my experience has been better with USPS.

  5. Amazon.com sent out 2 packages (via USPS) on the 30th. When I enter the tracking numbers for these I get:

    “There is no record of this item.”

    This was over a weekend, so that may be part of the problem. I suspect the stuff will arrive sometime this week.

    FedEx once delivered a package ($300 in computer parts) to the wrong address (many miles from my address – which was clearly marked on the box). The package sat outside while the lady of the house called FedEx 3 days in a row to get them to pick it back up. She finally put it in her car and delivered it herself. I raised hell and finally got a letter of apology from FedEx. UPS has always been good to me……

  6. Tom – Your experience doesn’t surprise me in the least, especially given your circumstances. Rural life is different altogether. What’s really fun is when I’m shipping a package that will NOT physically fit in a P. O. Box, and my customer insists that it is the only delivery method available.

  7. “What’s really fun is when I’m shipping a package that will NOT physically fit in a P. O. Box, and my customer insists that it is the only delivery method available.”

    I’m not following your comment. If it doesn’t fit in a PO Box you get a yellow slip from the post master and you go to the window instead of getting the package out of the box. And UPS and FedEx won’t deliver to a PO Box. They insist on a physical address and it hasn’t been all that long since I actually had a physical address — 911 is pretty new here. Even so, UPS and FedEx can’t get it right.

    If you refer to the mailbox at the house, the mail carrier will attempt to leave the package with a person at the house or on the porch. Otherwise, a notice in the mailbox to pick up at the post office.

  8. “I’m not following your comment. If it doesn’t fit in a PO Box you get a yellow slip from the post master and you go to the window instead of getting the package out of the box.”

    I’m not familiar with this. Apparently, I have some homework to do!

    “UPS and FedEx won’t deliver to a PO Box. They insist on a physical address…”

    That’s my point exactly. Still, I’m going to have to look more into this yellow slip deal.

  9. Michael, I got you now.

    The “yellow” slip is what the girl here uses. I don’t know what form exactly but it is just a notice to go to the window because it’s a package too big, certified mail, whatever. And it may not be specifically for that purpose, just what she uses as a notice to check with her.

    Surprised this has been an issue. Post Office is not going to turn business away just because a package is too large to fit into a box. Some days there isn’t enough room for the junk mail. Frankly, if someone is telling you they won’t accept based on size, talk with a regional post office and give them details. I think they would be interested. They have enough problems without turning business away.

  10. I think my problem is that I made an assumption that this would happen for rural delivery since it has happened with more densely populated areas in my experience. It’s a case of sometimes you don’t know what question to ask. Anyway, this is great information, and I’ll have to tuck that away in my little tool kit. I love coming up with new little tid-bits that make me more efficient at work! Thank you for your input!

  11. i am in the same boat as you. i live in miami, oklahoma and ordered from amazon. the package shipped from coffeyville, ks on the 10th and as of the 13th hasnt arrived. and again for those who dont live in the area coffeyville is about a 2 hour drive from here. i ordered something else from china. just got it today. barely had a days head start…from CHINA! they arent lazy on all packages, just the ones that dont have to travel as far.

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