Tip: Avoid the US Mail if possible!

First off I want to say the mail has its uses. Good for sending letters, documents, checks, and so on. On the flip side they do a horrible job with packages and their tracking is horrible.

Long story short I ordered a new Garmin GPS unit to replace the one I stupidly left in a rental car. I put in my home address for billing and work address for shipping so I could be present to sign for it. I put the wrong zip code on the shipping address. It got sent out anyway--via US mail.

It is now nearly 3 weeks later and the item eventually went back to the shipper. I credit this problem to a few things:

  • I made a mistake. I will take some of the blame.
  • The website I purchased from did not cross-check the city/state and zip code. The zip code I entered was for a different city! A lot of online retailers do this check in background and ask you if something looks off.
  • The post office couldn't make any changes. They just sent it back. If I make a mistake with Fedex or UPS all I have to do is call to get the address corrected. For almost a week the tracking said it was in "Atlanta, GA". I called the postal service and by the time I got a call back the item was already returned the the person didn't tell me any information I didn't already have.
Bottom line is I will use the mail as a last resort. They are the most archaic and inefficient shipping service in the world. I would rather pay more for UPS or Fedex and know it will get there within a reasonable amount of time and have someone to call if things go wrong somehow. If I have no other choice then I will mail it but I will purchase delivery confirmation or even certified mail to be sure it gets there. The people who work at the US Mail have zero incentive to improve and that is why it is so bad in the first place.

Shipper/Receiver beware! US Mail is a gamble at best!