Delayed mail and packages?

Discussion in 'Community Center' started by Piso Mojado, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006

    Here are two Chicago mail-in ballots for our November 3 election, one for me and one for my wife. Both were postmarked 24 September 7 PM at S SUBURBAN IL 604. I received my ballot on September 26. My wife got hers October 2.

    S SUBURBAN IL 604 is the USPS South Suburban Processing & Distribution Center at 6801 W. 73rd Street, Bedford Park, Ilinois. Bedford Park is on the southwest border of the Chicago city limits: it's a 40 minute, 20 mile drive from my home in Chicago.

    Local mail deliveries have never taken eight days here, but with the pandemic everything slowed down a day or two, and it's gotten worse since summer. We don't get mail six days a week anymore. Normally I mail ballots back within 48 hours. This year I'm waiting for early voting, which starts October 14. Each early voting site will have a drop off box for mail-in ballots, and the ballots will be date stamped that day. I've never done this before, and I've been voting by mail since 1972.

    How is it where you are?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
  2. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I vote in person. I in essence will not go out of town on business on election day (with candidates for US Congress, Senate, or President). I have missed a few local elections. But I don't live inside the city limits and can't vote for positions like mayor and so forth. I can vote only on state or county seats. I consider the impact much less for me than on what I call national elections. I have not missed a single election in over 20 years.

    One year I drove 3 hours (each way) just to vote as I was out of town and left early to make it to the polls before they closed. After than experience, I simply will not go out of town on election day.
    Piso Mojado likes this.
  3. Monofletch

    Monofletch Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    Sign up for informed delivery... it is a free service from the post office that tells you what to expect each day in your mailbox!
  4. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Thanks for your well meaning advice, but I tried that years ago and it was so aggravating I turned it off. Most of the notifications were for bills and junk mail — not catalogs or cards addressed to "addressee," but business envelopes with my name and nine digit zip code, mailed at bulk rate. The two USPS-delivered magazines I subscribe to never appeared. For parcel delivery to me, I get better results entering the merchant's tracking number in Track Packages and Manage Mail at USPS.COM. It even tracks parcels in the hands of foreign postal services, unless the U.S. has gone to Cold War status with that nation. It has worked with Priority Mail parcels I mail too, including one I mailed to China last year.

    I think I was too wordy to make myself clear. My problem is NOT what to expect each day in my mailbox. My problem is guessing when the letters I mail will be delivered.

    Normally, when I mail a 1st class letter at a Chicago post office before 5 PM, it is delivered to a Chicago address the next delivery day. The March pandemic lockdown doubled that, but we voted by mail in the March primary without problems. Mail-in voters here get an email confirmation from the Board of Election Commissioners when their ballot is received. Ours took 4 and 5 days for delivery. They were postmarked the day they were mailed, and our votes were counted.

    Our infection rate went down this summer and restrictions were relaxed, but the mail service got worse. I just had two general election ballots mailed to me, on the same day from the same postal center. One took two days to travel 20 miles to my home and one took eight days. It will get worse because mail-in ballots are just now trickling back into the postal system, and a lot of people are voting by mail in this election — over 440,000 in Chicago and 1.1 million in Illinois.

    440,000 mail-in ballots is more than the total vote in our March primary.

    How is the mail service where you live? Is it running slow with the letters you mail?
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
  5. The Amazing Virginian

    The Amazing Virginian Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2010
    I have not noticed excessive slowness with the mail. IMO, two items is not nearly enough to form a meaningful sample. One could have just been an unfortunate fluke. And I do not consider what you described to be excessive - 5 days on average. Yeah, a bit long, but not crazy IMO. YMMV.

    The bigger problem here is that the post offices appear to be understaffed. This past Saturday I went to the main local PO to mail two small packages, and it took me more than 25 minutes waiting outside in line just to get INTO the building - and then several more minutes before someone at a counter was able to help me. That seemed excessive to me. And it was not unique - I had a similar experience at another PO last Tuesday near closing time. They actually closed right after I got in and told the folks waiting behind me that they were SOL.
  6. yablanowitz


    Apr 14, 2006
    You should try it where I live. All our mail is sent to a prossesing facility 178 miles (and incidentally, two states) away. If I drop a letter for in town delivery, it first has to go to Amarillo, TX for sorting, then come back here for delivery.
  7. Monofletch

    Monofletch Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    I deliver in St. Louis and we have some cases...I hear Chicago is having real issues. So that has effected delivery times too. I guess it just depends on where you live.
  8. The Amazing Virginian

    The Amazing Virginian Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2010
    Another data point.

    I shipped a knife on Saturday afternoon by priority mail from Virginia to Connecticut. It arrived today (Monday). Pretty good, IMO, for less than $8.
  9. Charlie_K


    Jul 16, 2012
    I can't comment, the mail has never been good in my neck of the woods, even long before all this voting by mail crap came around.
  10. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I have no complaints with the USPS mail service. I see the tracking and says the package is in Atlanta..... supposed to be delivered the next day..... well.... somehow, it goes out at like 2:00 AM and arrives at the local PO for delivery on time. I find that amazing.

    I think that the bigger the city you live in, the slower the mail service.
  11. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Thanks for your answers. Today, October 30, I got a letter from my gas utility Peoples Gas. It was mailed presorted first class and the stamp from the Pitney Bowes postage meter is dated October 8. The letter inside is dated October 9 and I'm assuming that is when it went into the postal system. The return address is 8 miles from my home, a 25 minute drive at this time of day.

    Yesterday, my wife and I went to our early voting site and put our mail-in ballots in the drop off box. An election worker checked the envelopes to make sure we'd signed them and printed our names and address. Our early voting site is a Chicago Park District field house half a mile from our home. On a nice day I'd enjoy the walk, but it's early winter here and I drove. Early voters weren't lined up outside, but they were coming in 2–3 per minute at 3:45 PM. I only saw one other drop-off voter.

    For what it's worth, this is the first election where I didn't see campaign junk and electioneering within 100 feet of the polling place, and I've been voting here since 1968. Campaign workers seem to think polling place means voting booth, and they'll try to hand you a plugger card as you walk in the building's door. That's election day stuff, but on early voting days they'll put campaign posters as close to the door as they can manage. Not this year.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  12. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Yesterday at 5:03 and 5:12 PM, my wife and I received emails from the Board of Election Commissioners saying our ballots had been received and accepted and our votes were recorded. That was a busy Saturday for the election judges and some needed overtime for the election workers. Democratic and Republican election judges have to view the signature on a mail-in envelope, and after they agree that it matches the signature card on file, the Board's election workers remove the ballot and put it through an optical scanner. We use fill-in-the-ovals ballots.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
  13. rje58

    rje58 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    Where I live, mail service was acceptable/good until COVID19. Ever since it has been poor. I understand that they are handling more mail due to more people ordering online, but in the long run they are making their own financial matters worse with poor service. Businesses have already been using alternatives to postal service for years, I think that now that most "mail" consists of items rather than letters, it won't be long before individuals too begin using the alternatives. The price advantage the postal service used to offer has dwindled and will likely continue to do so. It seems possible, maybe even likely, that before long the postal service will be reduced to delivering just "letters" which these days consists primarily of bills and junk mail. I wonder if that will be enough to keep them afloat long term?

    UPDATE: When I originally posted this message on November 5, there was a package of fixed blade knives enroute to me from Iowa that had been in transit for SIX DAYS - sent Priority Mail! It has now been nine days since the package was mailed, and the tracking indicates its been sitting in a "USPS Regional Destination Facility" here in North Carolina for the past three days.

    Back in June, I purchased a birthday gift for my grown daughter that was also sent Priority Mail. It arrived exactly THREE WEEKS to the day from the day it was shipped.

    I think I am about done with USPS... UPS, FedEx, etc. Here I come!
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  14. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    The multi-national giant delivery services have been lobbying for half a century to get postal keys for 1st class letter delivery. No one wants to deliver promotional junk and letter junk because no one would subsidize it like USPS. That is the primary service of USPS and IMO they will be kept in business for that. The secondary service of USPS is delivering for multi-national giant publishers at extravagantly subsidized rates. That is becoming a past service, because printed publications are increasingly viewed as relics of the past and non-essential.

    I am not a business or government insider, just a former postal worker. I was a letter carrier for the United States Post Office Department: the one established in 1792 by the 2nd United States Congress and George Washington, and abolished in 1970 by the 91st United States Congress and Richard Nixon in retaliation for the U.S. Postal Strike of 1970.

    The old Post Office subsidized small publishers. If you had a subscription list of 500 and a bill for mailing out one issue, they would give you Second Class for future mailings and refund the difference from your first mailing. Second Class was a token payment to prevent frivolous use of the system, as the 2nd Congress intended. George Washington thought newspapers should be mailed for free like Congressional mail, but he lost the argument. This is what I.F. Stone wrote about the Weekly newsletter he started in 1953 and shut down in 1971:

    The old Post Office was a rough place to work, but the USPS got downright vicious. They introduced Taylorism, which you can read about here:

    The Post Office timed routes to keep them manageable. Neighborhoods change and demographics change, but postal routes have to reflect what a carrier can actually carry. Union stewards would tell us "Work at your usual speed. Don't try to impress anyone." Some listened. USPS started time-and-motion studies. Someone follows you with a stopwatch, times you climbing stairs and divides by the number of steps. Taylorism can turn any job into hell on earth.

    If you are curious about the old Post Office Department, read Charles Bukowski's Post Office. We all read it. His love life is fantasy but the job and his alcoholism are real.

    Richard Wright's first novel was set in the Chicago Post Office where he worked. He suppressed it but didn't burn it, and it was published after his death as Lawd Today! It is the last day in the life of a Chicago postal worker and it ends when he is killed by his poor abused wife. It is a depressing book, too negative and alienated to be true to life, but parts of it ring true.


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