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Just wanted to give people a heads up. The USPS starting to do really underhanded things.

I don't understand any mail service not knocking on the door, but I can let that pass.

I cannot let pass the fact that despite signature conformation (I really wish I had screen caped the tracking page) a package was left outside on my porch in the rain. The signature conformation sticker no where to be found.

When I went to check the tracking it no longer said signature conformation. I believe the shipper when she says it WAS on there, because I saw it online before the change.

I was lucking she wrapped the petticoat (for my wedding dress) in plastic or it would have been ruined.

I've also had them shove a signature conformation inside the mailbox once, and it got bent up...but that's a different story.

It may just be the USPS in my area, but I thought I'd give out a warning.

Wrap EVERYTHING you send in plastic, and keep an eye on the tracking to make sure it stays signature conformation if that is how it is sent.

I've cross posted this to the Fursuit community, however I figured other artist would want to know this as well.

Sorry if this doesn't belong here.
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( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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rizzy_rau
Jan. 31st, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
I'm rather anal when it comes to mailing stuff out. I tend to make sure any box or envelope i ship out is taped down well enough that nothing can open the box or envelop or bubble mailer. I use to put tracking numbers on everything, but just recently the post office has been getting bitchy of only "priority" can get tracking numbers. I can't always afford sending things out priority, when in the past i've been able to just spare an extra .70 and call it good. Though the older guy who told me "priority only" doesn't work there and have had no problem since then.

I'm still missing some things from around before x-mas i know got shipped out from people, and am hoping they didn't get lost. But as i said i tend to be anal over mail and make sure i have contact with people i ship to, or people i'm expecting from (without getting on the annoying side) to make sure things get to were they are going.

But lately even with tracking numbers, i notice that it will stay on the "Accepted at (local) post office" and never update. Called in and they were like oh no that item is on its way blah blah, and then it was updated a day later that it was delivered, with no real update from being accepted here to being delivered.
onesteptwo
Feb. 2nd, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
I had that happen. I sent an iPod in the post with a tracking number. I got all of "Received at Saint John post office"... nothing .... nothing ... nothing. "Hey, I got the package." Next day, there was the confirmation it was delivered. :/
acinom19
Jan. 31st, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
I had a package, clearly marked fragile, THROWN at my door. It was a glass lantern and obviously broken after that. They wouldn't give me any compensation unless I gave it to them either and it was special even if it was broken so I wanted to keep it.
They are really getting shady lately.
antoj
Jan. 31st, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
I work for USPS, and, all I can say is that a lot of this really varies to your carrier. :\ It really sucks sometimes but I know personally I do all I can on my end, its just unfortunate that no one else does.

I just recommend packaging things the best you can considering what might happen to it.
captpackrat
Jan. 31st, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
Unless you have insured your package, the US Postal Service really doesn't care whether your package arrives intact or not. If you didn't insure it, it's not their responsibility. Many is the time I've received artwork that was mailed in the flimsiest of paper envelopes, and many is the piece of artwork so mailed that was folded in half, creased, or torn. This does not have to happen. One can safely package artwork in a very simple, quick, inexpensive, and nearly indestructible manner.

The USPS will give you many different kinds of supplies, if you mail things using Priority Mail. Since the customer is usually the one paying the postage, there's no reason not to use Priority Mail. Just go to https://www.usps.com/shipping/supplies.htm and you can order all the shipping supplies you require.

To ship artwork safely, you will want to order items EP-14F (Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope) and O-1092 (Priority Mail Box, 12.125" x 13.375" x 2.75"). With this, you can ship artwork up to 9x12. USPS will even deliver these items to your house or business for FREE!

Just place your artwork in the envelope and seal it. Then place the envelope in the box, stuff lightly with newspaper (just enough to keep the envelope from bouncing around), and seal. Then just label it and ship! As long as it's less than 1 pound total, it still costs the same to use the box as it does to use a plain envelope! The box will be nearly impossible to fold or crease, and even if they do damage the box, since it's bigger than the envelope inside, the contents should remain safe.
kadaria
Feb. 1st, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)
Not to discount your experience but I think that you can get this kind of treatment from any mail carrier.
In my hometown USPS was the most reliable but Fed-Ex totally sucked. Not only did they say that they had delivered $500 worth of research materials ("Left on porch") to my house but after 8 hours of playing with the phone tree and finally getting in touch with the driver did I find out that they were dropped off several miles up the road and that my neighbors had moved them into their house when they received them. Everyone was nice to me and I got my stuff back but it pushed my research behind by a week.

But yeah, also adding in that if you are going to ship something important, you need to do most of the leg work and include it in your base costs. When I worked for an equestrian store I used to ship saddles, GPA helmets, boots, and home-ware stuff that cost in the thousands and I packed stuff like you wouldn't believe. Everything was sealed against water, stuffed with recycled newspaper/peanuts, and boxes taped up so much that customers commented on it. Everything was insured and sent with delivery confirmation. I know that the mail carrier shouldn't have left your things out in the rain or shoved them in the box but you have to be smart when packing. It's not preferred but I like to send prints in mailing tubes because it prevents stuff from getting bent.
slyminera
Feb. 1st, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Bleh, don't even get me started on USPS.
First of all, our local deliverer smokes in the job, so every package or letter we get from them reeks of cigarette smoke (which sucks more since I'm slightly allergic). They leave packages on the front steps even when there's snow on the ground, thus a lot of stuff my family and I order offline ends up getting wet some way or another.
My grandma recently got a letter from her sister through USPS and it arrived with half of it missing/ripped off. We're not sure which end screwed up, Minnesota (our end) or South Carolina (her sister's end) or somewhere in between, but needless to say she wasn't too happy.

Try calling up your local branch and complaining. Couldn't hurt.
phantomfoux
Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
I had a PSone memory card stolen via USPS.
the package still got to me. with a small slit in the top and just the plastic it was wrapped in inside. So yeah.. Not so happy with them lately myself.
bluefantasyz
Feb. 3rd, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
I ALWAYS put my pictures into plastic sleeves. A pack of ten can be bought from the dollar store for $1. Tape up the top and you're set. Customers have told me how well it works. =3

Another good idea: offer your customers the option of photo mailers, which are sturdy and handled better than plain manilla envelopes. And there's always priority mail. And insurance. Also it's good to make it known you can't be held responsible for what the USPS does once it's out of your hands.

I would also recommend complaining to your local branch. I had comics that clearly read "DO NOT BEND" come in actually CREASED and FOLDED and pretty much ruined from a collector's standpoint. One complaint to the delivery office fixed the problem.

As for the USPS, yeah, wtf. Today we got a Tractor Supply ad in the mail that should have had a $10 gift card on it, but without the card and a "recieved in damaged condition" stamp on it. I call BS.
wolfiegoatjerk
Feb. 9th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
I work for the post office, Signature Confirmation is a complete waste of money, don't even bother. Usually anything that requires a signature, WE (the carriers) have to sign for ourselves, but for some reason signature confirmation stuff, they don't give a shit about. It comes with all the other packages.

What probably happened is the carrier brought it out and didn't realize it was "Signature confirmation" until he/she got to your house. Then when it asked for a signature after being scanned, they realized they didn't have any extra forms so they just ripped it off and delivered it. (instead of bringing it back and redelivering the next day) Carriers are all angry and the Post office is going bankrupt, so this is not surprising at all. Especially in the rain.

If you want to send something and get it signed for, use "Certified mail" or "registered". Or just plain delivery confirmation.
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