Christmas is almost here! I wanted to talk about getting those Christmas boxes shipped off to family and friends. This post might be a little late for this year but hopefully not for next year. When considering shipping venders, I choose United Parcel Post. Here’s why.
Since I live in a rural area, my situation may be different from city folk. My home sits on a paved, private road, a half mile from my mail box. I love living rural, but it does produce problems with mailing and shipping parcels.
If a package does not fit in my mailbox, I get an orange slip that says I can pick up my parcel the following day at the Post Office. The Postal truck will not drive down my road. Period. For extra good measure, they write “Dog” on the slip. Never mind that I haven’t owned a dog for 6 months. Never mind that I have been home all day with no mail truck creeping down my driveway, scouring the property for the invisible dog.
I go to the Post Office to pick up my parcel, and sure enough, the word “DOG” is clearly scrawled across my box in indelible ink. When I mention to the clerk that I don’t have a dog, he cocks his head to one side and gives me a quizzical look before he shrugs his shoulders and signals for the next in line. I would have a tendency to give the Postal Service a pass if this was the first time this has happened, but it happens with EVERY parcel that exceeds my mail box dimensions.
Mailing a box produces the same amount of frustration as picking one up. Leaving a parcel to be picked up a half a mile from my house would not be wise. It invokes another trip to the Post Office.
I recently shipped a large priority mail parcel to my sister in Louisiana by standing in line at the Post Office for 40 minutes. Keeping in mind that most everyone in North America is shipping a box to someone, somewhere this time of year, I anticipated the 24 customers standing in line ahead of me. It was still annoying. I dreaded the trip. By the time I shuffled up to the window with my box, there were 23 people behind me. Yes, I actually counted.
My UPS experience (as always) was so much different. Their counter was half the size of the Postal Service with 3 employees working the counter, all smiling as they interacted with their customers. With only 4 people ahead of me, my wait was only 8 minutes. One of my parcels was a long 4 inch X 50 inch box. Not sure if his question was prompted by requirement or curiosity, but the clerk asked me what was in the box.
I told him 2 tree branches. When he looked at me with a queer look, I felt the need to explain.
“You see,” I said, “We had my techy grandson with us during the summer and we taught him how to use his first pocket knife to carve a walking stick. Our grandson loved it but had to leave before it was finished so we are sending him the walking stick along with another branch to practice on. Since Phoenix doesn’t grow trees, we thought we would send him some of ours.”
With a twinkle in his eye and a little bit of a grin, he asked me how much I wanted to insure the parcel for. “Probably the price of the 2 boxes I had to jam together to get this there” I said. We both had a good laugh.
I must say, that sending parcels through UPS will cost a little more than the US Postal Service so if the cheapest service is what you are looking for, the US Post Office is where you want to go.
On the other hand, UPS guarantees your package will arrive on the day they say it will arrive, if not sooner. Not so with the US mail. They guarantee nothing. Even their priority and overnight mail service. My experience with UPS as a friendly, helpful service supports my vote for this superior service. Add to that an 8 min. wait time vs a 40 min. wait time…..well, there you go.
You can arrange for both UPS and USPS pick-ups for a fee. My thought on that is if I can’t get the Post Office to drive down my road to deliver a box, I can’t count on them to pick up anything I have to mail. My other reasons for supporting UPS:
- UPS will take parcels weighting up to 150 lbs. The Post Office up to 70 lbs.
- UPS tracks and scans your package every step of the way.
- UPS has a reputation for quickly finding mis-delivered packages (probably because they track them so well). They have a 7-10 day inquiry period and if your package isn’t found or is damaged, they power through your claim within 1-2 weeks. I can’t imagine their pseudo-government competition acting that fast on anything.
I have one recommendation, no matter who you choose for a shipping service. Take pictures of the well packed items in your box as well as the taped up box before shipping. If you ever have to file a claim for a damaged box or goods, at least you will have picture proof of how well you packed your box and the blame will solely rest with the shipping agency.
The only kudos I give to the US Postal Service, is they are the only agency who delivers to military bases.
Well that’s my shipping bias. Merry Christmas Everyone!