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Subject: "Let's hear it for the Post Office!" Previous topic | Next topic
mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 01-May-13 02:16 PM
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"Let's hear it for the Post Office!"


Tacoma, US
          

I've sold a few items recently through Nikonians, and have shipped all of them via USPS Priority Mail from Tacoma, WA.

I mailed a package last Friday to Indianapolis, it was delivered on Monday.

I mailed another package on Saturday to New Orleans, it was delivered on Monday.

I mailed another package on Tuesday late afternoon, it was delivered this morning in Massachusetts, less than 40 hours coast-to-coast.

All at lower cost than UPS 5 business day, which with weekends would have added 5 days to each of those shipments.

Even the tracking has been pretty up-to-date.

This is an unheralded service that I suggest you use.

I hope they don't eliminate Saturday delivery (which is even more expensive via UPS but no extra charge via USPS).

I hope I didn't just jinx this!

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!
Cavy2 Silver Member
01st May 2013
1
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mklass Platinum Member
01st May 2013
4
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esantos Moderator
01st May 2013
2
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polarpics Gold Member
01st May 2013
3
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mklass Platinum Member
01st May 2013
5
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dm1dave Administrator
03rd May 2013
10
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HBB Moderator
02nd May 2013
6
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mklass Platinum Member
02nd May 2013
7
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2pixels_short Gold Member
03rd May 2013
8
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ScottChapin Moderator
03rd May 2013
9
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anabasis Silver Member
05th May 2013
11
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aroysdon Silver Member
05th May 2013
12
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WPD Gold Member
09th May 2013
16
Reply message Glass Insurance?
nrothschild Silver Member
06th May 2013
13
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mklass Platinum Member
06th May 2013
14
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nrothschild Silver Member
06th May 2013
15
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Ned_L Moderator
10th May 2013
18
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Ned_L Moderator
10th May 2013
17
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mklass Platinum Member
10th May 2013
19
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Ned_L Moderator
10th May 2013
20
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ScottChapin Moderator
10th May 2013
21
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Nikon32250 Silver Member
11th May 2013
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13th May 2013
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17th May 2013
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17th May 2013
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17th May 2013
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18th May 2013
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Cavy2 Silver Member Awarded for her continuing willingness to keep on learning and to share her knowledge with others in the Nikonians spirit Nikonian since 02nd Aug 2006Wed 01-May-13 02:33 PM
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#1. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Newtown, US
          

Are you sure the Indianapolis package was received? I didn't get your gift of the D3s?

http://kathycavallaro.smugmug.com/

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 01-May-13 03:48 PM
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#4. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 1


Tacoma, US
          

>Are you sure the Indianapolis package was received? I didn't
>get your gift of the D3s?

Kathy,

I sent that one Railway Express.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Wed 01-May-13 02:41 PM
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#2. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 01-May-13 02:41 PM by esantos

McAllen, US
          

I have to agree Mick. I've used the Postal Service often over the years and their delivery has been fast, reliable, and economical. I love their flat rate service plus you get free boxes!

UPS processes their packages using gorillas from the local zoo. They always trash my shipments. Well okay, not always but often enough.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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polarpics Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Jan 2013Wed 01-May-13 02:51 PM
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#3. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 2


Ontario, CA
          

Living in Canada I've learned the hard way to avoid UPS. They charge ludicrous amounts of money for rubber stamping customs documents. Whenever possible I specify USPS for shipping and have for years.

Bill

Cold weather photography makes a VR lens your best friend. Think violent shivering.


Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 01-May-13 03:55 PM
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#5. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Tacoma, US
          

I know the big online retailers have deals with UPS (usually), but they don't even offer competitive pricing or shipping time via USPS.

B&H, for instance, charges a lot more for USPS Priority mail and say it will take longer. For instance, a packaged shipped today from B&H would be $5.75 via UPS ground and arrive a week from today. If I ask them to ship it Priority Mail it would be $6.20 and take 7 to 10 business days, or up to actual 2 weeks. Not to pick on B&H, all the online retailers are the same. I guess the PO needs to market to them better.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Fri 03-May-13 02:44 AM
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#10. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 5


Lowden, US
          

I have also noticed that some of these big retailers will wait longer to ship when using USPS. If you choose UPS or FEDX it leaves the warehouse in a day or less if you choose USPS it stays in the warehouse for a couple of days.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
"My most important photographic investment, after the camera"

My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberThu 02-May-13 09:29 PM
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#6. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Phoenix, US
          

Mick:

I think Pony Express is still running out here in the Territory.

Have you considered using it?

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Thu 02-May-13 09:34 PM
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#7. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 6


Tacoma, US
          

>Mick:
>
>I think Pony Express is still running out here in the
>Territory.
>
>Have you considered using it?
>
No, but I put something in a a package steamer to get it opened the other day. Turned out it was a packet steamer and I haven't see my stuff since! Perhaps Kathy got it.
>
> Photography is
>a journey with no conceivable destination.



Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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2pixels_short Gold Member Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 16th Oct 2003Fri 03-May-13 12:04 AM
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#8. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Anchorage, US
          

Shipping to and from Alaska, my favorite subject to rant upon.

When I was doing a lot of selling on eBay of computer items (before the revision of USPS Priority Mail rates), I could ship the same package anywhere within the USPS system for the same low rate and have items shipped to me at identical rates. The record was a package from Anchorage to a city in Puerto Rico in 72 hours.

Shippers will tell you that you can't get "ground" rates on UPS and FedEX to Alaska but that is not true. Both companies have a package sorting facility here in Anchorage and will ship via the "ground" rate. What they don't tell you is that the package will ship on the same aircraft as the express, next day, and two day packages. They hold the package at the sort facility for the number of days they estimate it would take them to haul them up the Alaska Highway via truck. These same shippers will not use USPS because their system is not set up for the convenience of the customer.

Shippers who claim a flat price to ship to the "Continental US" and then refuse to honor that rate to Alaska even though Alaska IS part of the "Continental US". They seem to believe that sorry excuse for a map that Rand McNally publishes that shows Alaska some where off the shore of California. I had to have this conversation with the National Geographic online store of all places.

People who list in the buy and sell forum who say they ship to the "Continental US" but not to Alaska. If you mean the Contiguous US or Contiguous US then say so.

One of the best bargains in shipping currently is the USPS Priority Flat Rate box. As they say, if it fits, it ships. Up to 70 pounds. I have no problem with priority flat rate insured mail.

We ain't at the end of the world, but we can see it from here.

Mike in Alaska


Visit Fortymile Photo

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 03-May-13 12:44 AM
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#9. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Powder Springs, US
          

Knock on wood so you don't put the maloik on this. I always say that the UPS motto is "no package delivered before it's time". I see my packages held for one to two days at way points just so it doesn't get here earlier than promised.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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anabasis Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Sep 2003Sun 05-May-13 01:55 PM
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#11. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Edwardsville, US
          

I haven't had your results from the USPS.

I live in NE PA. UPS/FEDEX delivery from B&H et al in NY is a 1 day delivery time. USPS is at least 2-3 days.

In 2005, when I lived in Dallas, TX; I bought a lens which was shipped from California via Priority Mail. 4 days later the tracking information said that delivery was missed and that it was at the local post office. I spoke with my mail carrier who said that he didn't even try to deliver it because he never got it. When I went to the post office they couldn't find it, and couldn't tell me where it was in their system. 3 WEEKS after the package was sent, a cardboard box that looked like it had been used as a soccer ball was finally delivered. Fortunately the lens survived but the delivery was well past the project date I wanted to use it for.

YMMV of course, but I much prefer UPS/FedEx, even if it's a bit more expensive. I reserve USPS for when I send letters, mail my film to the lab, and send in my taxes via registered mail.

JCA

Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37977699@N00/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit

  

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aroysdon Silver Member Nikonian since 14th Aug 2010Sun 05-May-13 11:01 PM
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#12. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 11


Smithville, US
          

I use the USPS for all of the items I ship and have never had any problems with them. The shipping is usually about half of what UPS or Fedex charge for their services.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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WPD Gold Member Nikonian since 01st Feb 2010Thu 09-May-13 12:47 AM
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#16. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 11


Naples,, US
          

I agree with you JCA. Sent a priority package to Elkton Md April 10th. USPS says it was delivered on April 13th the adressee was at the mail box that day waiting. No carrier showed that day. To this day the package is marked delivered but the carrier nor the Supervisor nor the Post Master know where it was delivered. It was a hard delivery last house on one road no side streets 4.5 mile long. Last week sent a box fed ex to the same address it was delivered the day promised. Funny this I sent a package via fed ex from a vendor to the same address it was taken by Fed Ex to the local PO (Elkton) it leftat 905am at 10:05 marked undeliverable Receipient business closed. It is not a business nor was it supposed to be signed for. Two packages one delivered by Fed Ex and the Local PO is now two missing packages. Oh BTW the first package was a Saturday delivery I would guess the carrier was rushing to get off by noon and not doing their job . You should hear all the excuses from the Local Post Office as to why it was delivered SOMEWHERE !!! by SOMEONE ??? You have to LOL

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-May-13 03:38 PM
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#13. "Glass Insurance?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I like USPS myself.

Here is an interesting issue. In a telescope forum I follow we have had discussions over the years about shipping insurance exclusions for glass. If you ship fine crystal and insure it, it may not be covered, but the exclusion is buried in fine print no one reads. If the glass is broken, you just get your cost of insurance money back, not the insured value.

I have not researched this myself, but the gist of the discussion was that both UPS and Fed Ex have glass exclusions, but USPS does not. This might not be a practical issue with a well packed 50/1.8 lens, but something like a 600/4 could be problematic, if the information was correct.

I'm curious if anyone has gone through all that fine print for UPS/Fed Ex and especially if anyone has had a large heavy and expensive lens come in with broken optics that was either covered or not covered.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 06-May-13 10:07 PM
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#14. "RE: Glass Insurance?"
In response to Reply # 13


Tacoma, US
          

UPS's insurance does not cover breakage, unless you pay for a UPS store to pack it. Otherwise, the insurance only covers them losing the package altogether.

I am not real sure about FedEx or USPS, but I think the USPS insurance also only covers them losing the package, not damaging it.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-May-13 11:05 PM
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#15. "RE: Glass Insurance?"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

This from the USPS insurance claim form:

2. If you are in possession of a mailing with damaged or missing contents (except an item from Canada), complete this form and present it and
the damaged item(s), container, wrapping, packaging and any other contents received to a Post Office immediately. They will assist you in
completing the claim.


They also mention "damage" on the web page briefly describing insurance and other services.

I don't see where they have a link to the fine print, and there must be fine print .

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberFri 10-May-13 12:39 PM
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#18. "RE: Glass Insurance?"
In response to Reply # 14


Philadelphia, US
          

That is not my experience and that is contrary to the UPS tariff which goes into detail about UPS's responsibility for damages to the shipped item, or lack thereof, due to shipping conditions and what's shipped.

I've had UPS pay off claims for damage. The package met the International Safe Transit Association (“ISTA”) Procedure 3A standard, as UPS requires, however, and it was safely packed with bubble wrap and peanuts.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberFri 10-May-13 12:28 PM
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#17. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Philadelphia, US
          

I have a contrarian point of view to many.

For specific reasons I dislike USPS for packages generally, and ship and receive via UPS and Fedex, and how found their service excellent with an exception, FedEx Ground or Home Delivery. I refuse, completely refuse to ship or have someone ship to me via FedEx Ground or FedEx home delivery.

First, I have found that when it comes to damaging the contents of shipments, generally, the party at fault has been the shipper, with in adequate packaging, though I have had attempts from all these services, USPS, FedEx and UPS to deliver packages which were damaged by fork lifts, run over by a truck or other vehicle, dropped from a height which squashed the package, etc. Neither of these package deliver services has been immuned to that. I have not found that any of these services damage packages any more than any of the others, and it's been extremely rare than any of the services has damaged any of my in or out shipments.

As to paying off claims when the package was damaged, I've found that getting paid by the USPS is the most difficult, by far, and the most time consuming. They take forever. That said, they have always paid off when I've used them. I would say that UPS is far and away the most persnickety when it comes to the quality of packaging they demand. My experience has been that they are also the most demanding of all the shipping companies as to the quality of the packaging they demand from all shippers. I ship everything using UPS standards of shipping. It has definitely saved some shipments from being damaged. UPS gets around claims by saying the package didn't meet their standards. Many think UPS is claiming a lack of "double packing," but in reality, it's usually the cardboard didn't meet their test weight conditions.

As per UPS requirements the boxes I use to ship have been tested and certified passing International Safe Transit Association (“ISTA”) Procedure 3A. It costs me about $0.05 per box extra to buy them with that certification. I only ship packages at 70KG (150#) or less so that standard is all I need to pass.

As to shipments of "glass," UPS does take them and the insurance you buy for the package does cover that. I've had them pay off on a lens I shipped that they destroyed. The driver dropped the box when delivering it, and it fell in front of a car driving by and was squashed.

There are items that UPS and FedEx won't pay off on, and in fact they prohibit shipping those items. It's clearly listed in their tariff.

As to delivery times, Next Day Air by USPS is dependable, but Priority Mail is not. Sometimes it's amazingly great, most of the time OK, and the rest of the time, it takes forever to get the item.

UPS almost always delivers within the time frame they state on Ground, and Air. (One thing about UPS, even if the package moves more quickly than expected through their system, it's never delivered early, which is crazy, but it's their way.) It's extremely rare when they miss. FedEX Air is the same. FedEx Ground or Home delivery is hit or miss, and mostly miss.

As to pricing, I get a discount at both UPS and FedEx and find the pricing satisfactory. I don't find USPS cheaper for the various service levels.

All things above having been stated about insurance and damage:

Why don't I like USPS? I never know when they will deliver during the day. If I'm not home they will often just throw the item in my gated front "yard" (a brick patio area with an 8 foot high brick wall and solid gate keeping it private. I've had badly packaged items break when hitting the brick. If they don't deliver it, because they need a signature, I can never pick it up later the same day. At the post office where I pick up packages, the line always goes out the wazoo and it always seems to takes a minimum of 30 minutes to pick it up. They don't automatically try to redeliver parcels.

Why don't I like FedEx Ground or Home Delivery? I never know when they will deliver during the day. I can't pick up my package later that day. Their pickup location is 21 miles from my home and office. They are a pain in the neck to pick up anything and it always takes at least 30 minutes if not longer.

Why I do like UPS and FedEx Air? I always know when they are going to deliver. UPS is between 5:15pm and 6:30pm. I've arranged being on the end of the line as I'm generally in, or someone is at that point. FedEx Air delivers between 2:00pm and 3:00pm. While I would prefer later, they're done by 3:15pm, but I know when I have packages coming and can normally have someone in to take them. If I miss the package, I can pick it up the same day. When at pickup, which for both is within 5 miles of my home and office, it normally takes no more than 15 minutes to get them. If I can't pick a package up, they will try to deliver it 2 more times automatically.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Fri 10-May-13 12:59 PM
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#19. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 17


Tacoma, US
          

Interesting how experiences differ. I have had 1 USPS package that took an extra long time to be delivered, out of about 25 that all arrived in the advertised time or less.

I've had FedEx packages that all arrived on schedule, but they are expensive.

UPS has been the most inconsistent, even on next day and 2 day packages. And the price for 2 or 3 day compared to USPS Priority Mail is much higher.

I pack everything that I ship well enough that I have not had any damage issues. Although I am sure if the driver dropped a package in front of a car that ran over it, my packaging would not be good enough.

So, another example of to each their own. Use the tool that gets the job done for you.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberFri 10-May-13 02:06 PM
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#20. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 19


Philadelphia, US
          

Exactly. I think there are regional difference too.

Around here in the '70's and '80's UPS was dreadful, then with a lot of new management and their style in which they were actually working with the drivers, loaders, and sorters, instead of fighting them tooth and nail on every issue, they got their act together.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 10-May-13 02:22 PM
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#21. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 20


Powder Springs, US
          

There are regional differences. When I miss a FedEx home delivery, I can pick it up any time after 6:30, which is early compared to UPS. The facility is 10 miles or so from home.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Sat 11-May-13 02:13 AM
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#22. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 21


St. Augustine, US
          

I regularly use USPS due to its super fast delivery and reliability. That is except for one time. And then it was a disaster. Without going into the gory details I had sold a lens to a fella in the Denver area. The lens went to Denver then to Los Angeles then back to Colorado then back to Florida and then finally back to its destination. Took almost 2 weeks to get there, and I had to fight with the USPS every step of the way.

Despite that one major snafu I still use them.

When I see that our government run post office provides mostly superior service to the private sector it makes me wonder how they can afford to do it. Then I remember that the post office loses about $6 billion a year. The truth is that the post office should be charging a lot more for what, in many cases, is virtually overnight or 2 day service. In the meantime I will thank most of my fellow Nikonians and all US taxpayers for subsidizing my shipping costs. After all, I am entitled to it!

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

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sabre Gold Member Nikonian since 31st Dec 2006Mon 13-May-13 02:02 AM
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#23. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


Bedfordshire, GB
          

Sounds impressive, but couriers can still beat it. For example, two weeks ago I ordered a new lens from DigitalRev in Hong Kong. It was shipped out of their Hong Kong warehouse early on Monday morning by DHL (I was not given a choice of courier). It arrived at my workplace in the UK on Tuesday just before lunchtime. The courier's tracking system showed the complete journey to have taken just over 36 hours door to door from the best part of half way round the world. That's a really speedy long distance delivery service.

Cheers

Steve (Bedfordshire, England)
My Nikonians Gallery- please visit and leave a comment
A Nikon in the hand is worth two in the bag!

  

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largebore Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Jan 2011Fri 17-May-13 11:07 AM
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#24. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 23


Clarks Summit, US
          

I wish I could report good news on my experiences with the USPS but no way.

I have shipped a number of items with them and one item was lost and despite a tracking number they were cluesless as to where it may be. After a dozen calls to offices around the country the answer was that it was problem left in a trailer somewhere and forgotten..

Another instance was when the completely smashed a porcelain bowl that was packed like it was going on a space mission..

So USPS does not get any kudos from my experiences.

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Fri 17-May-13 11:27 AM
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#25. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 24


St. Augustine, US
          

While my experiences have been mostly positive I do agree that when they screw up they do so in a big way, and are most unhelpful. I actually would up writing a letter of complaint to one of our US Senators who was running for re-election. I actually got an apology letter from the USPS!

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Fri 17-May-13 11:10 PM
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#26. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 24


Boston Area, US
          

I wish I could report good news on my experiences with the USPS but no way.

Many years ago, I worked for an industrial automation company. Among our clients were major small package shipping companies. To my knowledge, the USPS was not our client.

On one memorable occasion, I observed the following items slide down an angled chute from a tilt-tray sorter down to the staging area to get loaded on a truck:

  • A shipment of consumer-grade fireworks
  • A container of silver nitrate
  • A box containing 2 16 pound bowling balls

Nothing untoward happened that day, but on other occasions I saw packages get destroyed as trucks were unloaded, fall off conveyer belts, get mangled in the sorting equipment, and in the loading process. I'd guess their success rate at 99.99+%, but when you are sorting 40,000 packages a day per installation, well, you do the math.

Each company had its own policy on how to deal with the stuff. One company (long since acquired) scanned the damaged goods and presumably tried to contact the shipper to settle the claim. As for the damaged item, it was tossed in a trailer. When the trailer was full, it was auctioned off, sort of like you see on some reality shows today.

There is no foolproof automated handling system. No matter how well run the company, the prices they'd have to charge to tack on the 5th 9 would only be tolerated for very special shipments. There are niche shippers who do just that.

Then there's the problem of what's politely called "shrinkage." In late 2001, I sent a $1000 rare coin to PCGS, a certification company, via insured express mail. I opted not to use Registered Mail for reasons of both delay and cost. My coin was tracked leaving Boston, and promptly disappeared. 4 months and several "paper chases" later, I got my $1000 refund. (The coin is now worth $3000 or so). Several months later, this article showed up in a Silicon Valley newspaper (note: archive link). I don't know if "my" coin was recovered or not; by then it would have been the property of the insurers.

So USPS is certainly not without its weaknesses and faults. Companies such as UPS and FedEx are where they are today by exploiting such weaknesses. But beware of anecdotal evidence.


"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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espeto68 Gold Member Nikonian since 29th Aug 2010Sat 18-May-13 04:55 PM
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#27. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 26


Oeiras, PT
          

Hi Nikonians,

Sorry to jump in this conversation.

Let me share with you my experience with USPS.
Living on the other side of the ocean, Portugal, i usually buy a lot from US and UK as well.

Understanding that USPS is the standard post office in US, i tried it once (bought some from Kirk, which made a really bad job, by the way) using the Priority Mail. After two weeks, which was the normal time advertised, the package never arrived and they never answered to my emails. The Kirk guys declined all the responsability, refund me the money spent (except the post) and were not helpful at all.

Like others here, YMMV of course, but I much prefer UPS/FedEx, even if it's a bit more expensive.

José

Nikonians!!! My best investment made after my camera!!!

D700, D90, D70s(IR), F100, F80, F Photomic FTn

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sat 18-May-13 08:44 PM
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#28. "RE: Let's hear it for the Post Office!"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

I do not ship as much as I used to but before moving here, my business send and received 20-40 packages a day, mostly pretty delicate electronics coming in for repair and going out repaired.
It was a large repair facility for pro audio gear.
We used UPS for a long time and had few problems but there was a nationwide strike by drivers so we had to switch to FedEx. When the strike was over rules changed and UPS dropped their insurance contracts to be self insure parcels. We had a claim about 1-2 times a month before the strike and we were compensated without much hassle, within 3-4 weeks. After they became responsible suddenly the claims went unanswered or just into a black hole with no action.
After a year and them owing me 10s of thousands of dollars in insurance claim(also claims increased after the strike because work rules changes also making throwing packages the normal way of getting the route covered with fewer drivers and more workload. When they stopped paying claims, there was no incentive to be more careful with packages.
I was forced to look elsewhere for shipping. One of our clients worked for the post office and suggested contacting their office. I described the shipping needs, delicate nature of the items and relatively high value of the items, and packed size. Four days later a truck pulled up and unloaded a thousand boxes of various size, broken down flat. All the shipping supplies, boxes, labels, everything was provided free. Our claims dropped back to pre-strike UPS days, but were paid in 2 weeks. An added plus was PO Box delivery.
Overall, my move to the USPS saved me $50,000 a year, improved reliability, and lowered damage rates. Never had one lost.
So when I ship gear from the US it is always USPS. If it is sealed at the post office, customs does not delay it on this end and they do not open it. If it goes through commercial carriers for 5-10 times the cost it is held in customs for a minimum of 4 extra days, where there is a high risk of it never being seen again.
UPS still owes me thousands of dollars from damaged or lost equipment and for over 10 years, all those claims are "still being investigated" if I can get anyone to respond at all.

My experiences with the post office in the US is similar to other agencies, dramatically better than the reputation. I have not had a unpleasant experience in and federal state or county office for many years. The last time I was in California I needed a replacement birth certificate, and a few other documents from federal and state agencies then taken to the Sec of State's office to apostille applied. Six agencies, needing to search records and deliver notarized copies. The birth certificate was 7 minutes from the time I walked into an extension office of the country, the DOJ's certificate took longer, 35 minutes. The apostille affixed to each document at the Secretary of State was 35 minutes. Overall, I think some of these agencies, like DMV and others get a very bad rep based on tradition of complaining, and being the subject of jokes, as a cultural common trait. Every society has some class or professions that are acceptable to repeat unflattering jokes about. In the US it is civil service employees.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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