> It wasn't until the story really started to take off that on February 16th, finally a manager at the USPS Consumer Affairs department took note of the case.
> And I mean that literally: he told me straight up the reason he was contacting me was because of the news articles he had encountered on this case.
Welcome to a future where only voices that broadcast their grievances loudly over social media get answered.
If it weren't for the fact they aren't my games, and that I promised the donor he would have them all returned to him, I wouldn't have made a big fuss about this.
And even in my case, I was extremely lucky that some sites picked up the story. The ones I personally asked all shot me down.
This has been my experience with any of my ideas, causes, or product marketing.
The most logical fits tell me to f* off in more words, and completely unpredictably random partners come out of the wood work after I just do it my way.
That kickstarter/product hunt style of lining up your marketing partners beforehand will never work for my ideas. The plan is to make a big splash for the time dimension of virality. Unfortunately, people that I think would understand my idea/cause/product, don't. And unlikely partners are completely enamored by it. This has limitations.
It helps others. "The company, that faced a notorious case in February" is an interesting way of starting a news piece.
They started a case for me, and eventually called back to tell me they spoke with with mail carrier who was the last to scan the package, who explained that the package was routed incorrectly, but they had it and would be delivering it shortly.
In another case I've also had good luck simply calling the sorting station and talking with the actual human who handled my package (there was just a backlog and it would be delivered soon).
I did not get an "corporate vibe" either time, but rather was able to communicate with the actual person who would know.
My mail got delivered wet a few times, so I complained. And all they said to me is, it got wet because it was raining. They basically said that there is nothing they can do when it is raining...
Don't put out any outgoing mail. Even if yours is dry it will get wet when it comes in contact with other mail that is wet.
If you can hold off sending a letter in the rain do so
If it's raining the wet letters get tossed into a bucket, then into a larger hamper than into a machine for sorting.
Wet letters make other dry letters wet. So even if you take them to the post office they may encounter wet letters in their way.
Although I have had Canadians tell me that their postman does not pick up outgoing mail. Thats what I thought. DUH!2
And if you think the story is even a little bit better losing a package at UPS or Fedex you're delusional.
If you're kind, and exceedingly polite to them, and are as understanding as possible, they'll be incredibly helpful in return.
The people that deal with lost packages and lost mail are used to being yelled at, berated, and treated poorly, so they often react surprised and helpfully when you go out of your way to be as nice as possible.
Most importantly, the best advice I can provide is to have all of the information you can possibly provide written down first (preferably typed so they can read it easier), along with a detailed timeline, and copies of any supporting documentation.
Basically you'd call a number or send an email with your problem ("File claim for missing package," "Put me in touch with a human being at the USPS," "Cancel my Comcast service," that sort of thing.) The service's agents would then waste time navigating phone trees and dealing with red tape on your behalf.
Seems that there'd be a lot of potential customers who could use a personal assistant but can't afford a full-time employee. Obviously some tasks would require granting power of attorney or other scary legal maneuvers, but plenty of others wouldn't.
I offered a $500 bounty to anyone who could help me locate the package. It was worth that much for me to recover it.
In the end, both USPS employees that really helped me out the most turned down my offer to send them the bounty.
I realize there's a dark side to this suggestion: it weakly incentivizes loss for the purpose of getting a reward for it, and makes getting help a luxury for the wealthy.
However, the current system of only helping when cases hit the media doesn't work either. Obviously they can't afford to do exhaustive searches for every last piece of lost mail. There needs to be some sort of middle ground, where value and personal importance of the package is weighed against costs and available resources.
Probably the first thing that needs to happen is for the USPS to stop getting bled dry over pension payouts.
Like the guy who got sold fake / cancelled tickets to an NBA Playoff game. 200K Twitter followers made sure that StubHub (I believe?) "reached out to the Golden State Warriors to get you good tickets to tonight's game!".
While their hands are tied (somewhat - I have pretty little sympathy for companies who profit off of ticket resale), they were promptly, and rightly barraged by people without big followings who said "How come when you canceled my tickets you only offered a refund and $20 in credit?"
It's not exactly new. A prime example of that is Apple who tells you that it doesn't help to go to the media with a story, but time and again complaints go un-answered until somebody manages to hook in media attention (either through dumb luck or through their pre-existing clout).
AppleCare is good at a lot of things, but Apple's still been known to dodge responsibility for a lot.
The only reason I did well in that situation is because I had the AppleCare warranty they kept replacing the video card no questions asked.
My 2007 MacBook Pro was given the option for a free repair or replacement as well for issues with the nVidia video chip overheating and desoldering itself. The problem with that was that it also took eight years for them to finally acknowledge the issue. However, I missed the short warranty window in which people were allowed to claim it.
Apple has a horrible track record for owning up to their problems.
"If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."
Welcome to our past and future. The fastest way of getting any dispute resolved is often to contact the local media or a political representative. Disputes with utility companies, retailers or landlords that grind on for months are often settled in minutes when a journalist or council member picks up the phone. If anything, the ability to kick up a stink on Twitter is an improvement.
For decades I've seen situations resolved only because a local paper or broadcaster took up the cause. It's routine.
I'm almost surprised by the number of firearms, more so that it appears most were drug-related seizures. I shouldn't be, but I am. Many of the pistols appear to be in terrible condition, too. (Unsurprising.)
I am wondering if any of the rifles not marked as confiscated property were lost in shipping...
Iphone 6's for $75USD, etc.
It had my address clearly visible on the package still. They could easily have delivered it.
If not for the media attention, these most likely would have ended up on a govdeals.com listing, and going for an absolute fortune (tons of collectors know about that site.)
Then again, maybe they only try to recover mail right before they list it for sale. Can't know for sure, but glad I don't have to find out.
Just recently they emailed me telling me they "searched" for it but found nothing. I get a feeling they never even bothered to look for it. The box is probably still sitting in a corner somewhere.
Oh please. This has been the case throughout history. If you can get the attention of a higher up, by whatever means, you have a much better chance of getting what you need done.
Nothing has changed and social media has nothing to do with it aside from providing another avenue (albeit a more accessible one) to put pressure on those with the power to help you. People are people.
it gets really bad if you use book rate/etc as my mom used to do a dog magazine for the breed she was involved with for fifty plus years. There is no actual requirement the magazine shipped that way show up by a set date, in good condition, or even be delivered. She once had people complaining about a magazine not delivered a month late only to find out they were still on the dock with other mail all pushed into a corner.
Guaranteed delivery isn't even that either. there are all sorts of exceptions. The simple matter is, you want it there then pay a shipping company that values their reputation. if you must use USPS then require a signature on delivery and insure it.
I think people are really quick to assume that government employees are lazy and out to screw them, and so something like UPS or FedEx which are private should automatically be better. In truth, I really appreciate the post office. They work hard for us. They're our public servants.
Side note, when I worked at UPS they wouldn't even accept packages wrapped in brown paper for this exact reason. It gets stuck in the machine and ripped off, never to been seen again. When sending a package, put the label directly on the cardboard and write the address in marker on the side.
> When sending a package, put the label directly on the cardboard and write the address in marker on the side.
While you've got the marker in your hand, also make sure you black out any barcodes on the box from previous mailings, because supposedly they can make your package get redirected to unexpected places.
These envelopes generally contain a check, and oftentimes the check was getting lost, plus the people who process these gifts were going nuts pulling all of the staples out of the envelopes so they could open them.
The Post Office gave us a different explanation every time we called. At first they blamed a graphic we had on the face of the envelope. So we re-ordered the envelope without the graphic. Then they blamed the weight of the paper. So we re-ordered the envelopes with heavier paper. Then they blamed the color of the text and the font choice. So we re-ordered new envelopes with plain black block letters.
After all this, these envelopes were still being opened. The post office said our physical mailing address was causing problems, because mail can't actually be delivered. Instead our mail guys go pick it up. Unfortunately, that isn't really something we can change with the volume of mail we get, so we were stumped.
Then one day we got a call from our bank lockbox. They wanted to know why they had a bunch of our envelopes.
After we got that call, I went to the basement, pulled examples of all of the envelopes I could find and brought them back to my desk.
Presorted bulk mail has a barcode on it called an Intelligent Mail Barcode. It contains the postal ID of the person shipping the letter, delivery information (all the way down to route), plus a few variables for options.
When our envelopes were proofed, they just included our address on the face. After we approved the envelopes the plant would put a barcode on them. Every single envelope had the same barcode on it. I decoded the barcode by hand, and lo and behold, the barcode contained the delivery instructions for our lockbox PO address. The plant we were using didn't actually calculate a new barcode for our envelope orders, they just used a barcode they had on file for us.
We ended up ordering new envelopes with no barcode. Our mail immediately started arriving unmolested. Moral of the story: barcodes matter.
They tested all sorts of wacky stuff sent through the mail, including an unpackaged flower and a ski, both of which made it to the recipient (but various others did not).
I figured they could lookup WHOIS on the domain, get the address, and deliver it.
I have to admit I did get a chuckle out of your outrageous act of teenage rebellion. Fight the system!
If you've ever shipped or received anything internationally, you know packages get really beat up. Taping two boxes together and then wrapping that makes absolutely no sense.
I'm glad this was resolved well, but you can avoid a lot of headache by not trying to ship homebrew packaging internationally.
There were definitely mistakes made on our part. But what I really can't forgive is ... once the outer wrapper came off, my address was still plainly visible on the box.
I can't for the life of me understand why they shipped it to their undelieverable mail / govdeals.com auction site location.
It's also a lesson in not putting all your eggs in one basket. Shipping these out incrementally, and via a system that has the proper insurance in place, would have been a better move. Hindsight and all that.
I hate that blame is being placed on him for the shipping. He was doing me the favor. It was my fault for requesting so many games to be sent at once.
Anyway, I'm very happy that the games got to you eventually.
They just keep getting more and more insane.
Even two years ago when I bought Iron Commando for the Super Famicom, the $240 asking price was insane. It's at $1500 now for a complete copy. I passed on Pokonyan for $100, thinking that was too high, and a year and a half later ended up paying $800 for it.
How many years can the prices keep doubling like this? How can anyone afford to collect these games at these prices?
The whole thing feels like a giant hyper-inflated bubble.
Maybe it's just me but I don't really trust the regular postal service with anything, and if there's no other option, super-duper insurance is the order of the day.
Anyway, what a project this will be. Hopefully you can get it completed without any more unnecessary drama.
insurance is a scam, especially with USPS. You can't just say "this package is worth $10k to me". They will let you buy $10k worth of insurance, but if you go make the claim, only then do they say "ok, you said it was worth $10k, now prove it". If you can't show a catalog, or a preponderance of evidence that the item was worth what you said, they simply won't pay.
No reason to be ashamed at this. All the free time invested into this project gave the author a little fame. They used that fame to further the interests of the project. Win win.
But I mean, it's not fair in the sense that other people have packages they really care about, but can't get help on.
That and the fact that I probably took someone else's place in the queue to find their lost package :(
I'm just picturing some guy in a back corner of an auction room hesitantly putting up a numbered sign to an rambling auctioneer and getting the whole package for $20 bucks.
As I said. It is a government agency and upper forces will create action.
We always like to say "if it had an address it will get there. - eventually. "
Despite the awful reputation, every carrier I know takes great pride in delivering. Most people take it for granted and remember the bad experience.
Like seeing the cop hiding in the hill once and always driving slow everytime you pass it -even though the cop is not there 95% of the time.
It's not. You just have to insure it for the correct value...
If not, then I'm not sure $10000 would have been either.
There were many reasons we couldn't insure for $10000. That wasn't our mistake, though. The mistake was shipping 100 games at once instead of 20 - 25 games at a time.
i'm given to understand that with at least fedex, there are magical cutoff amounts which change the handling of the package. qualitatively different things happen with something insured for $5000 than $4999.
so, yes, i'd be willing to believe that $10k might've triggered processes that would've gotten the package to you with less hassle.
Also, it apparently wasn't all that easy. They searched, came up with nothing, and then had to request a second search in order to find it.
But they seemed to have procedures in place for doing so, no?
Do you have any idea how many calls a day a supervisor answering the phone receives? Not just "where's my parcel" but the patron has data that states intermediary carriers (ups to PO for last mile)
Thousands of calls a day. With 31,606 offices there has to be at least 2-3 calls per day.
Search harder is a congressional command. (Besides all their political mail is free to them)
Somebody failed Shipping 101.
WOW, and they would just put that up for auction. That is the definition of theft. Don't apologize for that.
Don't falsely accuse people!
The post office goes to great lengths with undelivered mail they open the boxes and try to find any kind of address, perhaps an invoice or other clues.
You're right though, there's the possibility that they don't actually try to deliver the mail properly until right before they are getting ready to auction it.
However, I'm very glad I didn't have to find out whether or not that was the case.
They would only open it as part of the process to eventually auction it.
So I can totally imagine it sitting there waiting for someone to claim it (like you did), without anyone seeing the address.
Stop being so negative, it's not good for you.
Theft is the criminal (i.e. against the law) stealing of someone's property without their permission. This situation would have been complying with the law, stupid as it may be. It's much closer to abandoned property or salvage.
I recently sent a USPS package that "disappeared," and they offered the same explanation. A month later it magically showed up at the receiving end. This wasn't a brown paper package or anything -- it was packaged for me by UPS employees in a UPS store and mailed US postal service by them.
Wondering if there's some new (flaky) label scanning tech in play at USPS?
This govdeals.com site looks nifty. I may need to peruse it for, uh, research.
> Apparently, their machine ripped the shipping label right
> off the box. And so the USPS sent me just the label in an
> envelope, and proceeded to berate me to ship better next
> time, even though I was the recipient.
They just wrote,
> As of the time of writing, February 14th, 2017 — this
> package has yet to arrive. It has been stuck in the Jersey
> City, NJ 07097 bulk mail processing warehouse with
> absolutely no movement.
I was under the impression that the package simply vanished, rather than being given evidence that something else was up, like damage to the packaging.
Why not just tell me about the latter, first? It does shift blame a little...
As of the time of writing, February 14th, 2017 — this
package has yet to arrive.
On February 14, 2017, I received the following letter
I was swamped with updates so I didn't get the chance to get to my mailbox sooner in the day.
This is when I found out the sender had reused my old two boxes, on February 16th:
In hindsight, I should have guessed from the label they sent me that it was paper wrapped. But I still received that letter after having published the lost-package article.