Perhaps I could have gotten to the bottom of it if I was willing to spend a few more afternoons dealing with it but the phone really wasn't worth that much of my time. I've never sent something by USPS since then.
Occasionally I receive packages by USPS and dread it every time. Form 3849, even if you can somehow fill it out correctly (good luck!), always just results in them holding the package at the post office as I wait and wait for them to redeliver it. You never know if it's going to be at the post office that day for pickup or if today is the day they actually redeliver it so you're left wondering if you are going to spend 45 minutes in line at the post office for nothing or not.
I'll show up there, the person at the desk spends 10 minutes finding my package, apologizes, and hands it over. This last time they said, "Sorry, the carriers are kind of lazy".
I ordered a package on Ali Express and after 2 months of not seeing it, I filed a dispute, the Chinese seller was apologetic and offered to refund my money if it didn't arrive in the next 10 days. I was in no rush so I agreed to it. Ali Express's terrible interface led me to accepting the dispute as resolved and you can't reopen it so I just assumed I was out $30 or whatever the items cost. Weeks later I went with my wife to pick up a package at the post office and they brought an extra package to the counter (along with the usual "sorry"). It was my Ali Express items which USPS had never tried to deliver. If not for Ali Express' terrible interface I would have unintentionally taken advantage of some poor Chinese seller because USPS didn't do the one thing they are supposed to do, deliver the mail.
It does sound like you're in a particularly bad location. If you want better you'll have to pay more.
Shipping within the US is awesome. Living in any other country is very enlightening.
I agree shipping in the US is awesome. I'm still amazed how well it works. USPS delivers the vast majority of packages I get through them without issue so perhaps they are a lot better than other countries in that respect. I guess my issue with them is more about their handling of exceptional situations. They mostly do their job fine but if something goes wrong it feels like it's the first time USPS has ever seen a package delivery problem. Perhaps UPS and FedEx are just as bad. I've just never had them lose a package so I haven't had to experience it.
I do, however, often feel like USPS costs me more than UPS and FedEx just because I have to spend time each day throwing 95% of what I get from them in the recycle bin (and that's after I've opted out of everything I can).
However when I lived in South Jordan (southern salt lake county) they would put mail from someone a street over in our box or vise versa. Maybe once a month or more. I wonder how many things we lost or never got because of that.
I would pay to have the postal service eliminate all presorted/bulk rate messages.
I have multiple times lost important mail (or rescued it at the last moment from the trash) because it got mixed in with the floods of garbage that they deliver.
More than anything else I believe the deluge of crap makes the postal service uninteresting wherever it can be avoided, it's worse than the email spam situation because we have worse tools for dealing with it.
I've been using PaperKarma for awhile, which has significantly reduced the amount of junk mail I get. It's been pretty effective, we're down to only a couple pieces of junk mail per day (most of which is stuff for previous residents that I've never seen before)
I lived in Japan for several years and found the postal service there to be fantastic compared to what I experienced with USPS. Perhaps if I lived in yet another country this would be different?
This is all cheap stuff from eBay and Amazon, and I can get refunds. But it's annoying that each item made it all the way from China to Silicon Valley, then delivery failed in the last few miles.
I ordered a bunch of stuff via Ali Express back in mid-December. Most of the items arrived "fairly quickly" (with 2-3 weeks). A couple of the items didn't show up until last week! Fortunately, they weren't anything expensive (I had already "written it off".
I've had a similar experience with Amazon from a Chinese supplier. One time, I was sent something, could see it tracked and supposedly went "to my mailbox" - but nothing. I ended up contacting the post office, they confirmed "yep - that's what happened" - but nothing about helping me find the package.
I also sent a note to the seller saying I hadn't received the item, but that it seemed like it shipped all the way. They ended up apologizing, and sending the item again to me!
A couple of days later, the first item was finally delivered by the post office - no explanation given. I let the seller know this, and asked about the other item. They told me not to worry about it, and to keep it!
So - two for the price of one, I guess...
I've never had an AliExpress package take less than a month to get to me in Australia, BangGood and Gearbest are slightly faster for some reason.
Ordered a gift with rush shipping on Dec. 20th. Arrives at the local post office Dec. 22nd, marked undeliverable as addressed the next day.
I call them up and say, "Hey, I typed in 123 Sprig Street, but I meant 123 Spring Street. Can I just drive over and get the package?".
An employee told me all I could do was update my address with the shipper, wait for them to fail 2 more delivery attempts, have them return the package at their leisure, and have the shipper resend. So I checked the shipping status every day and, sure enough, they tried redelivering to the same bogus address twice. Predictable, at least. Got the package last week.
One interesting bit: if you mail something to an address that is valid, defined overly simplistically as "zip matches city/state, street exists, street number exists within the valid numerical range for that street regardless of whether there's actually a box there", it doesn't matter what the name is on it, it will go to that address. Even if their own records show no one by that name has received mail there and that someone by that name lives across the street.
On one hand, it's frustrating from a common sense type issue like yours. On the other, it at least blocks one class of social engineering type issues and lets the shipper's intent be fully represented by the package itself (even if it's wrong).
Out of curiosity, was the actual "Sprig" street a real street name or not? I can't remember at what point the name comes into play with a bad address.
I too hope that byuu's package shows up eventually!
Another recent package was said to have been delivered, but wasn't actually in my mailbox until the following day. Maybe my neighbor redelivered it for me.
I always feel a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I read things like this.
Is any labour of love worth your potential future? As much as I admire his dedication, it's not a choice I'd make... :(
Maybe it's just because I'm a bit of an ops guy, and it feels like leveraging a single point of failure. :P
Of course, if an exigent circumstance comes up, and I can prove it (medical emergency, bankruptcy), it's possible to borrow the other half of the 401K. But if I'm short on the mortgage, it's not going to help me, so it was still somewhat irresponsible of me.
If you don't mind a question ... I was thinking about taking out a loan again once it was paid off in order to pay my house mortgage down to 78% so that I can knock off the $200/mo PMI. If I then contributed $200/mo toward the loan + 401K, do you think that would be better or worse than just leaving the 401K alone and paying the PMI? The PMI will probably take another 6+ years to fall off on its own, due to the criminally lopsided interest-to-principal amounts that 30-year mortgages start off at.
(I realize the absurdity of asking financial advice here, but you seem to know your stuff, so why not? ;)
Also, check with your bank -- in my case, PMI will automatically stop at 78%, but once you get down to 80% you can initiate a request to remove PMI. Another option is if the housing market has improved, your house has more value. So if you are at least one year into your loan you can go through a refinance process where your PMI loan to value is assessed based on the current market value of your home. But again this can backfire, as the market value is based on the appraisal that the bank does. So you will have to make sure your house is in shape to sell to get a good appraisal.
Kind of a funny question on a site for people doing startups.
Most startups fail. Most people need retirement savings. That seems a poor investment.
"After preserving this set, I sold it and used the proceeds, plus an additional $10,000 of my own money [presumably this is the 401k loan], to purchase all 1450 games sold in Japan."
$10k isn't really that much (it wont destroy his ability to retire), and once he sells the games after dumping them, presumably he can pay back the loan anyways.
>Although I can't afford to host this content (it weighs in at hundreds of gigabytes)
I really urge you to get in contact with Jason Scott about getting a copy of your archive to the Internet Archive. These scans and dumps could be priceless and it makes sense to have as many backups of it as you can.
At any rate, thank you very much for all your hard work, time and expense in doing what it is you do byuu.
Providing me with the email would have been more helpful. Regardless, I sent him an email. Not sure if I'll be able to do anything, but we shall see.
> You can message me on Twitter @byuu_san or you can contact me via e-mail at setsunakun0 at hotmail dot com. (That's a zero at the end, not an O.)
EDIT: On behalf of byuu, thanks for looking into this.
Aufgrund der Streiks bei Lufthansa im Dezember 2016 wurden für Sendungen in die USA Ableitungen über alternative Transportrouten notwendig. Unter anderem über den Seeweg.
Das führt aktuell noch zu stärkeren Verzögerungen bei der Zustellung von Economy
Paketen in die USA.
Due to a strike at Lufthansa in december 2016 packages with destination USA need to be redirected using alternate transport routes, amongst other by ship.
This results in even bigger delays delivering economy packets into USA.
If you have the DHL tracking number you should try tracking.
There's also the DHL facebook page where you can start a facebook chat, with good luck your supporter will speak english. (Just try!) https://www.facebook.com/DHLPaket/app/1609168226005546/
From what it looks there's a high chance your package is on a ship somewhere. And even more importantly, the sender should create a "Nachforschungsauftrag" with DHL (ha, one of our bureaucratic german words I can't even find a translation for - it's a request for inquiry of a lost package). Even with domestic packages over here the tracking information sometimes is plain wrong, and I expect it even more so to be wrong if they don't use their usual ways of transport. (No tracking of all those packages in a shipping container on a freighter.)
Good luck. (Btw, once I have given up on a package from the US to Germany after 6 months. The day after I gave up and purchased an alternative product my packet arrived ... UGH).
This makes me think of another idea to avoid shipping the cartridges themselves around: an interface that allows eventually accessing them over TCP/IP. It could be exposed as a block device or a custom protocol, it doesn't matter as long as you can essentially send an address and get some bytes back, allowing to read the entire address space.
And you need them to look like this:
That takes about a half hour's work. Then you get to open the cart and clean the contacts, another five minutes. Then once it's connected to an SNES and powered on, you have to wait 5-10 minutes to dump it, and then move on to the next cart.
It's a full-time job for several months to do a complete PAL set. And that's not even counting scanning the boxes, manuals, cartridges and PCBs :/
It's a lot less effort for the donor to send me his games, and I send them back, and reimburse him on his shipping charges.
I honestly didn't expect this package to go missing.
On a side note, has anyone gone to the Jersey City facility? Is that even possible?
And afraid not. I am willing to drive there, but only if I know it's possible to get my package that way. It's a ten hour drive.
Are there pictures of this setup that I can see ?
Here's renderings, the full schematics and part numbers, gerber files, FPGA source code, and boot loader source code.
The problem typically lies with the drivers and the sorting phase (getting onto a truck). Sometimes the workers will cut corners and forget to scan the package. It's faster to throw it on the truck than individually scan every box. As you can imagine some barcodes are messed up so they have to type it in manually. I've had packages show up for with an initial scan at the point of delivery location. I will say it's gotten a lot better these days, but it varies depending on facility.
So back to the problem... if they don't scan it from the sorting to the truck phase. The driver could just "lose" it on the truck or during the route. Sometimes it's accidentally and falls in a crevice somewhere. I've had a package show up a year letter. Other times it's blatant tampering.
I was shipping out an used iPhone, stupidly use the same Apple shipping box my new one came in, and it was MIA on the tracking for two days. The tracker just stated "enroute", then the package magically started moving again. A one day shipment took four days to complete. When my customer received the item, the phone was gone, but everything else was intact. I mean there was no doubt that the driver had stolen the phone. Resolution? None. USPS called me and said they would look into it. Never really learned what happened, but I'm guessing the driver is still out there somewhere plucking away at packages.
I've lost my fair share of packages with USPS. If I've learned anything, it's to ship with UPS if you really want to make sure it arrives at the destination. If you look at the shipping rates, USPS is the cheapest, followed by FedEx, then UPS.
I did my best to contact them and ask for the package to be found, but nobody wanted to know. I eventually spoke to a woman in eBay's customer services, but nothing ever came of it. In my situation, at least I got my money back, and I know it's not quite the same as this poor guy's, but I can understand the frustration of dealing with tracked shipments. Especially for rare items that are difficult or impossible to replace - all you want is the package itself. Shipment tracking is supposed to prevent this happening - after all, if the package gets lost, it's likely in the same place as the last scan! You'd think the money the couriers have invested in the tracking system would incentivise them to use it to find lost packages.
Since he's handling the cartridges personally, it's a bit of a shame he has to give them all back. Wouldn't it be kinda neat to make an uber-cartridge that contains all chip configurations from every Super Nintendo cartridge in existence, so it could play any game on the hardware that game expects?
Note the "in transit to destination" is a fake event automatically added 24 hours after no scans. Assuming it wasn't stolen, it's still in NJ. Sitting in a pile for 10+ days for no apparent reason despite being priority mail.
It seems very odd that it would take that long.
Did you pay the right duties and tax on this? It may be that it's still with customs and they have absolutely no idea what a giant box of old SNES games is worth?
It didn't on the last package delivery, at least.
> Did you pay the right duties and tax on this?
I don't know, sorry. I'm the recipient.
> It may be that it's still with customs and they have absolutely no idea what a giant box of old SNES games is worth?
I would truly love it if someone from USPS would tell me that, if that were the case. I'd pay their ransom to get the package.
That would seem to imply it had cleared US Customs and was handed off for final delivery.
My story with them:
That's more than one full month for a package that contained nothing more than a teeshirt.
On top of that, the package never arrived at the final destination, and might be stuck in customs, for all i know. I never got a notification, and will actually contact DHL soon myself, because their service is absolutely laughable.
As a logistics company, they had one job. And they failed.
What DHL doesnt do anymore is US->US (domestic) shipments. International delivery is still definitely handled in the US by DHL themselves.
There is still a direct DHL presense in larger areas/markets like Seattle, San Francisco or Dallas. But not so much in other parts of the country.
Found this odd. What is scary about traveling to a presumably a big city in one of the richest countries in the world?
So I can understand the concerns. Heck, I ran into issues later when I left my phrasebook behind. I couldn't remember the word "Geldautomat" and was out of cash. Fortunately I did find someone who spoke enough English to help.
That said, I found the Germans I met along my journey to be far friendlier than the typical American stereotype of them, and the trip went just fine (and many more like it, later) -- but I was already a seasoned traveler who was used to all the aspects of long-distance air travel.
It's not rationnal but it's how it is ....
Not everyone enjoys, or is comfortable with, travel in its own right. It doesn't have to be about the destination, or even the journey - some folks are just homebodies, and that's okay.
In fact, I'm one of them! My trip to Manhattan last year was pretty much the first time I'd been out of Baltimore in half a decade, unless you count camping as travel, which I don't. It was rewarding but initially nervousmaking as well, especially when it took a quarter hour just to get to ground level from the deeply subterranean arrival platform. In the event, people there were uniformly lovely to me, and I had a great time. But it also helped to know that, if things went badly, I could just change my return ticket, get on another train, and be home again in a few hours. The same wouldn't be true in Germany, and I would face the prospect of a journey there with considerably more trepidation therefore.
I'm not saying that's what byuu should have done, sending the package seems perfectly reasonable. Being nervous of solo travel is reasonable too. I just wouldn't want him to miss out on an awesome country because of it... and especially a country as passionate about electronics & technology as Germany is.
I reckon the German education system must be great because the average person over there seems to have very good English.
Hahahaha … no!
They said in the future, if you want to be sure of a delivery, you have to send it registered mail: with that, every time a transfer of any kind occurs, it is done with paperwork, signatures, tracking, and under lock and key. Of course it costs an arm and a leg too.
That's some really high expectations there.
If you want to send something to another country and aren't willing to lose it? Buy a plane ticket.
It's essentially impossible for the carriers to prevent this from happening given their volumes.
The package is the sender's responsibility until it's received.
But that is not the kind of person I am. He was doing me the favor. If not for my asking, he'd still have all his games right now. And I'll make it right if I have to.
But I'm still holding out hope that someone at USPS might notice this and lend a hand.
The USPS is easily on my top 5 list of incompetent companies.
Yeah, I don't know. Fedex Ground seems to be focusing their efforts on package delivery via t-shirt cannon or something, lately.
One time DHL literally threw a package containing a hard drive over my gate to land on my concrete steps. Thankfully the shipper had put a ton of bubble wrap in there so the hard drive itself ended up without any damage, but I still count myself lucky. That was actually the third time they'd done that sort of thing, and after calling to complain (for the third time) they finally told me they were putting a note "don't throw packages over the gate" on my address. I'm shocked that's even something that they have to say.
Just like banks. Name any random bank in the world and you'll have 50 people saying "Best. Bank Ever", 50 more people giving you horror-stories and saying "Worst. Bank. Ever", along with many more people who are entirely indifferent.
At the volume the delivery companies are operating, with millions of deliveries a day, even 0.05% of failures will affect a large number of people, and will result in "Worst. Delivery. Ever" complaints.
Sadly there's not a great solution. No matter which delivery company you choose you might get your stuff quickly, or you might not. The only practical step you can take is make sure you minimize risk (multiple smaller packages + insurance).
Everywhere I've ever lived all of them were great and I've never had a lost package or any problems.
The only negative experience I've had is the substitute carriers here in SF; when my regular guy is out the sub loves to claim he tried to deliver the package without bothering. When someone is home all day it is a bit difficult to believe they attempted delivery without leaving even a note.
Ultimately, they all do work most of the time (except OnTrac, showing up at 11pm at night at my office and calling me is not acceptable).
And how often do airlines lose luggage? More often than packages go missing.
Are you sure that's true? I think the loss rates of both are around 1%
But yeah as dtparr said, obviously don't check your luggage. If it's too big to carry on, take it to the gate instead of baggage drop to ensure that it's manually put on the plane.
You can insure Registered Mail up to $50,000. Registered Mail is treated differently (e.g. stored in locked cages in transit, tamper-evident packaging) and comes with delivery verification. It's also, obviously, slower and more expensive.
On the contrary, there are probably billions of items shipped every day that does not get lost. Even if the 'lost' packages are 1%, it would still be reasonable to expect that you are in the 99%.
I have no idea, but I would expect the total amount of loss is less than 1% (?).
If it costs 1000 Euros to insure a 10,000 Euro package, doesn't that sorta indicate that the chances of something happening to the package are on the order of 1 in 10?
The value of the insurance is 1,000 Euros. Meaning USPS needs to pay out 1,000 Euros if they lose the package (that's what ryanlol was referring to). The price of the insurance (that the shipper paid) was not 1,000 Euros. Nobody said what it was, but it's going to be some small fraction of that.
They maybe able to open a case for you
end of story.