Friday, December 30, 2011

Why I Hate The Post Office

I am standing in line with several USPS boxes filled with stuff, addressed, customs forms filled out, money ready for payment - completely prepared. The three people in front of me are completely unprepared - one just has the item to be mailed, no address label, no nothing. Another has not filled out their address label and has a used box with a bunch of writing on it including two addresses that must be marked out, one has not filled out customs forms. After waiting for the people in front of these three (who may have been unprepared, but I was too far away to know) and waiting for these three unprepared people who could have easily done what I had done and doing all of the crap out *before* getting in line, it is my turn.

My first items - no problem. Then I get to a USPS box and the postal worker tells me that I need a different customs form. Different than the ones that worked fine with the other boxes. "Why?" "The size of the box requires the over 4lb customs form." "But the box weights exactly 3 pounds. I have the under 4lb customs form - and at 3lbs, that is correct, right?" "No. You must have the over 4lb customs form for this." "But it is *under* 4lbs - wouldn't that be the wrong form?" "I will not mail this without the over 4lb customs form." "But it is *not* over 4lbs! Have I filled out the correct customs form for under 4lbs?" "Yes." "What is the weight of my parcel?" "3 pounds." "So this is the correct customs form, right?" "No. I will not mail your pacvkage unless you have filled out the over 4lb form." "This makes no sense to me." "Next customer please."

So I call the USPS, and after a long time on hold I get a human, who begins by telling me that I am correct. That the rules say I have filled out the correct form. I think this is solved... but it is not. Because after going over this several times the person on the phone says that there *is* a glitch in the system - and the computer will not accept the under 4lb customs form on this size box. I ask if I would be breaking the law by using the wrong customs form, and get put on hold for a long time again. Then I get transferred to International Mail where they tell me I need to use the under 4lb form if my package weighs less than 4lbs, and *not* to use the over 4lb form. This is international stuff, and you can not break these laws! I mention that the person that transferred me told me that the USPS box requireds that I used the over 4lb form no matter what the weight. They tell me that is wrong. They put me on hold while they consult some international dude - maybe a lawyer - and then come back to tell me that I am using the correct form, but it seems the PO computers have a glitch and will not accept this form, and she tells me the easy way to do this is just break the law and use the incorrect form - though she can not tell me to do that or advise me to do that. I ask, who does the prison time if I get caught? She says - not the post office. I ask if there is a legal way for me to mail this package. She says "No." WTF???? I say I do not want to break the law - especially if it is the post office that is wrong, here. She gives me a phone number to complain to a voice mail... and that's that!

So, already the post office hires slow moving people, allows unprepared customers to get service, and has a computer system that makes the employees go through a half dozen options when all I want to do is mail a danged package first class with none of the extra stuff they want to charge me for... but now they want me to break the law because their computer system is flawed?

This will only end when the US Postmaster General either does time (for forcing me to break the law) or calls me to apologize personally.

They are in debt because they are run by idiots.

Someday, a real rain will come...

See? I couldn't end the year with nice happy stuff about movies, I had to complain!

- Bill


Daniel said...

"See? I couldn't end the year with nice happy stuff about movies, I had to complain!"

Maybe so, but it's an interesting and entertaining story.

A.A said...

Here's my story. I'm sending a gift to my girlfriend in Spain by Express Mail. I carefully look up online beforehand which customs form to use - it clearly states Form 2976A. I go, make the package, cheerfully fill the form and give it at the counter. the clerk scans my package , checks her computer, and she suddenly says - "no, you have to fill form 2976 instead".

I tell her what I read online, but she insists "the computer in front of me is the authority". I buckle to her knowledge, fill the form she requests instead and give it to her to send with the package. Afterwards, when I get home, I check the USPS website, and it still says form 2976A was required. I look at online forums, and people have had their stuff rejected by Spanish customs and returned because they used Form 2976 (the one the clerk insisted on) when they should have used 2976A with Express.

Now, I am certain that my package will be delayed another couple of weeks till it's returned to me, and what's more , I'll have to pay for shipping again! What the hell? I hope I can at least get them to give me a refund, although they'll probably say it was my fault and the USPS bears no liability.

Note: I am not necessarily blaming the clerk here.She may have been simply trying to be helpful, but the USPS computer system was messed up.

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