Shopping Online and Shipping Part 2–Not USPS

Ok, you have your gifts identified.  You're ready to check out.  Now you have the dubious chore of figuring out how to get your gifts from the vendor to your loved ones.  As easy as this might sound, its not always the slam dunk you might think… You want shipping accuracy. You want it there in time for the Holidays (or your "holiday of choice" – like a birthday, anniversary, or other special date). You want it insured for the replacement value; and most importantly, you wanna know where it is at all times.

As blunt as this may seem, and as harsh as it may sound (because I have friends that work there…) this is NOT the United States Postal Service (USPS). In order to insure that your gifts get where they need to be in time for the Holidays, you should use

  • UPS
  • DHL
  • FedEx

All three of these shippers offer consumer shipping solutions that are affordable and provide (depending on the carrier) configurable notification system.  With the above, you can track your shipment from initial tracking number issue through all phases of delivery.  You can, with some, even see a copy of the signature of the person that signed for the package. 

If your shipment gets lost or misplaced, often it is easy to track it down. If it truly evaporates, then filing a claim and getting your money back (provided you purchased the appropriate shipping insurance coverage) is just a matter of a simple phone call and providing your tracking number.  Damage claims, while always a hassle, are a lot easier too.

Now… the USPS… to quote my daughter, “girl, don’t get me started..!”

The USPS is a huge disappointment. Despite their, “if it fits, it ships for a low, flat rate,” promotion, I have little to no confidence that ANYTHING gets through to the destination on time, or accurately.  Their tracking systems leave a great deal to be desired, in that, by comparison, you never now where your package is.  For as many sorting machines as they have, for as many scanning opportunities as they have, you would think that knowing where your package is would be an easier job for a government funded and run agency than with a privately held company; but that’s not the case. 

Once in their system, the USPS has little to no idea where the package is.  They can’t tell you when it should arrive, where it is within the delivery process; and don’t EVEN ask them what truck something is on. They simply don’t know. Their systems don’t gather that kind of data and likely won’t.  Again, I have relatives and close friends who work, or have worked, for USPS, and I know a little bit about what I’m talking about.  If you have something important to send, this is NOT the shipping solution you want to use, despite the “low, flat rate” they offer.  Sad; but true.

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