content top


To come out with it up-front: I’m a fan of the postal service. It has great infrastructure, is reasonably priced, and mail you drop off in a mail box is delivered, by hand, to pretty much any address in the world. I cannot even get worked up by increases in postage. Compared to other first-world countries, the mail in the United States is a bargain.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any problems. For two years, mail to my daughter in Jersey City just did not get delivered. It was returned to us, addressee unknown, regular as clockwork. Infuriating, but I guess it was too much to ask of the delivery person to walk up a couple of steps to the mail boxes of the apartment building. My daughter now lives in Brooklyn and there are no delivery problems.

Click to embiggen

Problems with the postal service are routinely put down to e-mail and private delivery services taking away traditional postal customers. But a recent experience made me wonder just how many of those problems are home-made.

I ordered some fishing paraphernalia (not for myself!) and they were mailed to me. The package started out in Bell Gardens, California. I live in Claremont, California. Both towns are in Los Angeles county, and according to Google Maps only 33.3 miles apart. The item was processed in Bellflower on May 5th. I thought that I would probably have it delivered by May 10, but I didn’t hold my breath. Just as well. On the morning of May 9th, it passed through a sorting facility in Capitol Heights, MD. On the evening of May 9th through a sorting facility in Greensboro, NC. I guess that somebody in North Carolina noticed that the package was actually addressed to a California residence, because on May 13 the package was back in Bell Gardens. That’s a trip of roughly 5,460 miles. It then inched the remaining 33.3 miles to Claremont the following day.

That’s just crazy!


2 Responses to “Postal”

  1. Such a crazy system! The British postal system is just as bad. It’s a shame really as it’s so important to support the Royal Mail, but when they consistently deliver late, or not at all, they make it very difficult to do so, especially when our own customers are expecting their translated documents to be delivered on time. Having said that, I agree that it’s definitely the most economical and straightforward solution, so we can’t complain too much really 🙂

  2. Unbelievable! Seems so strange that it would go all that long way round just to get back to somewhere only 33 miles away. At least it made it eventually!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *