Why Is It So %#$%@-ing Impossible To Get Your Mail Delivered in Brooklyn?

Sorry for the local flavor of this post, but we live in Brooklyn. When we order things from UPS the UPS guy does not ring the bell. Ever. We work from home, so we know he does this. We’ve seen him do it. When we complain, they tell us that he’s a 10 year veteran with no prior complaints. We’ve complained before, so we assume this is part of a standard script. It’s not just UPS that’s messed up in Brooklyn. The post office may be even more screwed up. We hardly ever get any mail. Even junk mail.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones.

According to The Gowanus Lounge, our whole zipcode might be messed up:

We always get misdelivered mail. Always. One day last week we got no less than 23 (yes, that’s twenty-three) letters addressed to other addresses — in a single mail delivery. We are on Dean, and the letters were to others on Dean St., Bond St., Hoyt St, and . . .Utica Avenue.

Something SERIOUSLY messed up is going on in Brooklyn.

And UPS is messed up everywhere: Reader Jarrod writes:

Does anyone else have a problem with Fedex or UPS not knocking on the door? I’ll often leave for work to find a door hanger stuck to the door. Even though I’ve been home and awake all morning. Sometimes they will drop off packages and not bother to knock to let me know it’s there.

No, Jarrod. We do not know. We’ve tried leaving notes. Any suggestions for how to get the UPS guy to actually ring the doorbell? Anyone else in Brooklyn not getting their damn mail? Let’s hear about it in the comments. —MEGHANN MARCO

Boerum Hill Thankful Pottery Barn Uses UPS [Gowanus Lounge]

(Photo: cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. goodolclint says:

    I don’t live in Brooklyn, but since we moved into this house almost ten years ago we have been getting letters addressed to a former female Navy officer. She lived there before the family we bought the house from did. And they lived there for four years!

  2. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    You do know that UPS is a private company that has no connection to the post office?

  3. matukonyc says:

    Maybe he doesn’t like you! Seriously, I get all of my mail, and all of my UPS packages, but then again I don’t live in a Pottery Barn-ordering neighborhood.

  4. Artki says:

    UPS and other delivery services always seem to knock around here (Los Angeles).

    I wonder if they have pressure to deliver an extraordinary amount of packages in Brooklyn – so much so that they don’t want to spend the time waiting for someone to answer the doorbell?


    And why can’t I indent paragraphs?

  5. humphrmi says:

    Here in Skokie Illinois, I’m constantly having this same problem with UPS. First time by, they put the door hanger out and leave without knocking. I’ve complained before and gotten the same schtick – veteran driver, no prior complaints, are you sure you were listening? It happens again and again. It’s maddening. If companies that I buy from offer an option, I ask for FedEx. Great service, and at least my local FedEx distribution station lets you drop by and pick up packages in the evening if you miss a daytime delivery.

  6. puka_pai says:

    I live in Texas and they don’t knock on the door here either.

    At Christmastime, I’d look out the window when I heard a truck start up to see the UPS truck driving away. Sure enough, if I checked the porch there would be a package sitting there and (s)he never knocked. My desk is less than 10 feet from the door, so it’s not like I could have missed it. This is even on things that I had sent with signature required, like electronics.

  7. Jaded says:

    Holy crap, YES! MAJOR mail delivery probs in Brooklyn 11201. I’d constantly get my mail crushed, torn, or wet. When it did arrive in one piece, there was always a chance it’d be delivered under the stairs, behind the locked gate to which only the landlord had the key. Magazines were constantly MIA. Obviously sensitive documents (credit cards, bank statements, airline tickets) would be left on the stairs instead of in the mailbox.

    I’ve never had such bad USPS service. I complained to 800-ask-usps at least seven times over two years. Someone from the local office (Cadman Plaza) would call me back, initially try to blame the problem on substitute carriers, but when pressured, this person said, and I DIRECTLY quote, “We have trouble with our delivery staff. I’ll try to talk to them in the morning before they go out, but I’m afraid there’s not much more I can do.”

    I moved away from the area about two months ago, and mail forwarding hasn’t been much better. While *some* of the mail is delivered on time, other pieces take 6 weeks to get here. One friend got the letter to me returned to them (make me wonder what other stuff has been returned!).

    Cut to the carrier for my new apartment. She couldn’t be sweeter, and offered three different ways to deliver the package I told her I was expecting.

    Screw you, Cadman Plaza. I don’t wish violence on anyone, but I can sure begin to understand what “going postal” is all about.

  8. Little Mintz Sunshine says:

    Wow. I have moved three times over the last few years in and around the same LA neighborhood. I still get my mail from three apartments ago and am not even dealing with the same mail carrier. My new mail carrier came up to me in my lobby and, knowing I was new to the building, introduced herself.

    As far as UPS, I have never, ever had them knock or ring the bell. Kinda like Time Warner cable installers…

  9. synergy says:

    I also live in Texas and these bastards never knock. My husband, who works evenings, has to sit “UPS watcher” duty at the front-facing window when we’re expecting a UPS package to make sure we don’t see the UPS truck speeding away after hearing the engine gunned from our curb. Often, after waiting all day at the window only leaving for rapid pee breaks, and giving up and leaving the house at, say, 8PM, we return 30 minutes to find a sticker on our door saying “8:07PM” ARGH! I swear they hide in the bushes until they see us leave!

  10. krunk4ever says:

    Should write a note on your door that says:

    To Mr. Delivery Person,

    I know how much extra work it is to push my doorbell or knock on my door, but I would really appreciate that you do before you decide to leave a “failed to deliver, will come back tomorrow” tag on my door.

    If you do decide to go ahead and just leave the tag without trying to notify me, I would have no other choice but to bring file a complaint against you with the video recording of you at my front door.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

    //krunk (^_^x)

  11. dariaclone says:

    To say a good word, I live in 60622 in Chicago and the Internets tell me that it is terrible USPS delivery. I’ve never had a problem in 2 years. A hooray for government services improvement!

    Of course, this means I jinxed the whole thing and I will never receive another piece of mail on time again.

  12. humbleish says:

    I live in a large apartment complex in Northern California, and the UPS delivery person never knocks anymore. I’m usually out during the day, so I assume he’s just gotten tired of unloading the packages and having to reload them on the truck, and unload them again at the front office (the leasing office accepts packages for us) once he’s through with my building.

    I think he just creates a delivery slip in his truck and sticks it on my door without ever taking down the package. It’s only been really bad one time my personal signature was required, since I left work and waited at home around the time deliveries usually come. I saw the truck come and go without dropping anything off, and when I walked outside, there was a slip on my door. It took about 4 delivery attempts and 3 trips to UPS to get that one delivery.

    I’ve never had anything lost or misdelivered, so despite the annoyance, I’m quite happy with UPS overall.

    If you know when the delivery person is coming, I would suggest opening your front door and watching for him. If you talk to him in person, you may have a bit more luck in the future.

  13. ideagirl says:

    I have had the same problem with UPS. My solution, and it seems to work, is to track my packages. On the night before it should be deleivered, I tape a large note to my door that says, “UPS: I am home, ring the bell, thanks!” So far it has worked.

  14. xiu.fly says:

    I was just yelling (at no one) about this today because when I left for work I found a UPS note on the door, which I knew was not there an hour before, yet I never once heard the doorbell ring. I live in Prospect Heights and have so many issues with the mail–I literally had to put pieces of tape with the apartment numbers written in thick red marker over the mailboxes in the lobby, and we still get the neighbor’s mail, or someone else’s mail who lives blocks away. My boyfriend’s parents once sent him a filled prescription for medicine that he needed and it took two weeks to get here from Pittsburgh, even though they paid for an overnight shipment. When his parents went back to the PO to ask what was up, the lady working basically just rolled her eyes and laughed when she found out it was going to Brooklyn ;(

  15. Tallanvor says:

    The mail service in Chicago also sucked. Every time I moved, I filled out the mail forwarding forms, and they never once forwarded any mail to my new addresses. This was in 60616, 60618, and 60626.

    I never had any problems with mail delivery or mail forwarding in Raleigh though, and UPS and FedEx has always been pretty good for me.

    Here in London, I had a problem with some mail (DVDs) not making it to my home address unless they were going to arrive on a Saturday… I tend to guess Saturday had a different carrier. I had to switch the deliveries to my work address. Rather annoying.

  16. tastic says:

    I live in New Jersey. I sent a wedding invitation to friends in Carroll Gardens (Union & Sackett) and, I kid you not, it arrived in their mailbox on the same day that I received a RSVP from a friend who lives in Hong Kong. Yep – round trip to the Far East took just as long as getting to Brooklyn. Amazing!

  17. LAGirl says:

    don’t worry, UPS sucks everywhere. in my old LA neighborhood, Koreatown, i swear to god i had the WORST UPS driver in the history of UPS drivers.

    i lived in a security building, so he would have to buzz me to be let in. he never buzzed me + i’d always get delivery notices. one time, i’d won a duvet cover on EBay and never got it. when i checked the tracking info, it said ‘left at front door’. well, nothing was left at my front door, which he wasn’t supposed to do since it wasn’t secure. and if he’d left it at the downstairs front door, where anyone walking down the street could grab it, then he was just a complete assh*le. it never turned up + i had to file a claim with the seller to get a refund.

    another time, he delivered one of my packages to another address. not down the street, or one block over, but blocks away. to someone with an Asian name. mine is Italian. and their street name didn’t sound anything like my street name. seriously, there was no rhyme or reason to the mix-up. UPS said they would send the driver back to that address, collect the package and redeliver it to me. i knew the driver was a total idiot, so i wasn’t that surprised that he’d made such a big screw up. i was more amazed that someone accepted the package, kept it for 3 days, didn’t open it, but never called UPS to say that it wasn’t theirs. maybe they thought no one would notice and they would eventually open it.

    and don’t get me started on my passive aggressive mailman. he sucks a**. he never rings the bell when we have packages, he hides mail inside magazines + advertising mailers. he always delivers other people’s mail to us. he also refuses to pick packages up from our front porch. when i questioned him about this, he tried to say there was some 9/11 rule that prevented him from doing a pick-up. he was totally lying and i knew it. i mean, come on, how many times a night do i see a post office commercial where two packages talk to each other at an office, or on a front porch and then one gets picked up by the mailman! i printed out the info from USPS.com on package pick-up and showed it to him. he said the info was incorrect. i ended up calling his supervisor to complain. she admitted that they had a lot of complaints on this guy and said she would talk to him. but, nothing has changed. still no package pick-up, still hiding mail in magazines. i’d even say it’s gotten worse since i complained. my boyfriend thinks he is punishing me.

  18. Crissy in Honolulu says:

    Same problems here with UPS. I have literally been in the kitchen, washing dishes, when the UPS guy has walked by my window (and, unless he’s deaf, heard me washing the dishes) and left something on the ground right outside the kitchen door — no “hello,” no “UPS delivery” announcement, nothing. And by the way, had I not KNOWN he had been there, I might have missed the package altogether before someone else walked off with it, because I probably would’ve walked past it when I left the house.

  19. Sinflux says:

    Our USPS guy is pretty good, but we have had problems with UPS and FedEx (like ideagirl we put up a sign saying “UPS/FedEx please knock loudly” on our screen door and leave the regular door open). When no one is home they usually leave the packages under the door mat (like that is going to conceal anything).

    And on a bit of an unrelated note, I once had a package come from China (not sure which carrier it was) and had the door closed but not locked and the delivery guy just walked in to my apartment and was knocking on the hallway closet door. It seemed completely innocent, but was just a little weird.

  20. UPS here in the sticks works great, and the guys and gals know where I work so if I am not home they swing by the office.

  21. TimSPC says:

    I’m in Brooklyn. Here’s the worst part about UPS for me: if you miss it, the pick up place is nearly impossible to get to. It’s at 104-01 Foster Ave. Luckily, I have a car. It’s still a an hour back and forth. Even still, I check HopStop and the closest subway stop is no where near it.

    And another thing… if I’m not there at 3pm on Monday, what makes you think I’m going to be there at 3pm on Tuesday and 3pm on Wednesday? How about mixing it up a little.

  22. kimdog says:

    I’ve actually had pretty good luck with both USPS and UPS up in Washinton Heights. FedEx is the one that pisses me off. They always knock on my neighbors’ door, and tell them that it’s the final delivery attempt and that it will be sent back if they don’t accept it. Bullshit! It’s the first attempt. And anyway, my super will accept packages as long as he is around. He’s really great. (It doesn’t hurt that I tipped him extremely well this year).

  23. formergr says:

    @dariaclone: ((waves at fellow Wicker Park resident))- My carrier in the same ‘hood is great, the post office itself on Division not so much. Long waits, and they’ve screwed up mail holds I placed while I was on vacation twice. They would deliver the entire week I was gone (with the poor mail carrier stuffing it in tighter and tighter), and then the week I got back would deliver nothing.

    My UPS guy here in this neighborhood (unlike my old) is great. Always buzzes, always friendly, and on the third delivery attempt has purposely changed his route to come later in the evening in hopes of catching me once I get home from work.

  24. captainbozo says:

    My favorite is when UPS leaves my St Louis Cardinals season tickets on the porch even though the package explicitly says not to.

  25. dantsea says:

    UPS in San Francisco was notorious for leaving door hangers in my neighborhood (Mission @16th & Guerrero) instead of packages. I caught the guy red-handed one day, bounding up my front steps with a door hanger in hand and no package. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but from that point forward he always knocked on my door.

  26. dantsea says:

    Of course my next place of living was a small town in the Midwest with fantastic UPS and FedEx service. The delivery guys knew the cars driven by the locals, so if he missed you at home but found your car on Main Street, he’d just toss the package in your back seat (no, we never had to lock our doors).

  27. demoman says:

    We have the same issue with UPS in our area. For the last 2 years UPS Deliveries to our residence the UPS guy NEVER even rings the bell. Just drops the package where ever he want’s and is off.

    We have contacted UPS a number of times regarding this and they say it’s not policy to do that and they will talk to the guy.

    Never happens, so I’ve gone to using other shippers.

  28. writewords says:

    I used to work in Brooklyn 11217 and we always had a problem with mail and packages. We used to get tons of other peoples’ mail. One time, I had ordered $200 worth of books from Amazon that people at our company needed to bring some of our projects up to standard (books on construction codes, etc.). I paid extra money for faster delivery and kept tracking the package online. One morning, the package was showing as en route and the expected delivery date was the same day, so I waited all day for it to come and then checked the status online around 4 p.m. The status said “delivered” at 1:30 p.m. No one ever came to our office, and they couldn’t use the excuse of thinking no one was there because we had huge picture windows and a huge glass door and we all sat at desks in an open floor plan. Anyone in the office could see out and anyone outside the office could see in. The funny thing is, our weekly meeting was on Fridays from 1-2 so not one person in the company was at lunch or out of the office because we were all in a meeting at the time of “delivery”.

    I complained to UPS but they didn’t really do much. Luckily, Amazon credited the entire amount to our company card and we reordered the books.

  29. raybury says:

    I’ve had mostly good luck with USPS, UPS, and FedEx. In the Philly suburbs, I used a UPS Store (mostly while still Mail Boxes, Etc.) for almost five years after I had a bad experience with a shipper who promised to ship Express Mail but actually used FedEx, which left me without a key package on time because I did not stay home to sign for it (as I was willing). Again, shipper’s fault.

    FedEx Ground, though, is another story. I awaited a package from Overstock.com, and when they resent it, my original package magically appeared. I now have enough disposable toothbrushes for a few decades.

  30. dancemonkey says:

    I’m in SF too, and my wife has caught our guy just walking up to the door w/ a yellow stickie in hand. She also once saw the guy parked across the street and asked him if he had a package for us. He said no. Then he left a yellow stickie on the door. We complained and never had a problem since.

    USPS on the other hand is another story. We had to cancel Netflix because he kept jamming discs in our little box and breaking them.

  31. Matthew says:

    For one thing, I’m sure the mail is pretty complicated in our fair boro — there’s a superdense population and people move a lot. You might consider renting a box at a commercial mailbox joint. That’s what I do now, and I really think it’s worth it. I’m safer, my mail’s safer, and there’s always someone “home” to receive my packages.

  32. ella says:

    Brklyn mail is BAD BAD BAD. We had mail missing for 3 days last week (and not the snowy ones). Getting magazines a week later has become standard issue. they never ring the bell with a package slip. I’ve gotten mail, dirty and four months late before. God forbid you ever try a change of address in this town!

  33. IanSchafer says:

    11201 has gotten so bad, I’m moving my entire company to Manhattan. It will be worth it just to get the checks that the post office isn’t delivering.

  34. brooklynbs says:

    The 11211 post office is probably the worst in the country. In fact, every postal worker in NYC I have ever spoken to will attest to this fact.

    I tried to get my mail forwarded once because I was attending to family matters out-of-state. For whatever reason, the post office never processed my change of address. They didn’t process it the first time, the second time, the third time, or the fourth time. The local post office out-of-state then called the 11211 post office to see what the problem was. After spending ten minutes on the phone with them, the local postmaster turned to me and said, “I’m really sorry, but you have the dumbest postal workers in America in your neighborhood.”

    While we’re on the subject; I once had something FedEx’d from England to my parent’s home, which is in a rural area in the South. The FedEx guy actually left the package sitting on a tree stump on the side of the road a half-mile from the house. I saw it driving home one day and couldn’t believe it. To their credit, FedEx was very nice when I told them what happened. The head of the regional office called to apologize and the next day, the company delivered a nice gift basket – which they left at the door.

    I also once missed an important FedEx delivery and was told I could come pick it up at the local distribution center. I had no way to get there other than a car service or the subway then about three buses. The FedEx manager was very nice. He found a worker who lived in my neighborhood and actually had the guy drop the package off at my house on the way home.

    I’m lucky now because I live above a business. USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL will leave packages with the business, and someone from there always calls to let me know a package has arrived. My mail service has improved slightly, but I recently put a check to my accountant in the mailbox and it never made it to her all the way across the river in Manhattan.

  35. sizer says:

    This is just standard UPS. They never knock, even when I’m at home. Just run up, drop it off, leave. I can sort of sympathize because it will take 10x longer if they knock at every door, but on the other hand the company claiming this ‘isn’t policy’ is also complete and utter bullcrap. That’s just a lie they tell you when they call, like the ‘no prior complaints’.

  36. Karl says:

    Strangely enough, this is typical of FedEx here in Seattle. USPS always manages to get it right (and leaves packages with the apartment manager when we’re not home). UPS is mostly flawless, although on one recent occasion they didn’t even ATTEMPT to deliver it, even according to their tracking system.

  37. chrisx says:

    When I lived in Santa Barbara, CA, this happened ALL the time. The UPS driver was so lazy, in fact, that he didn’t even come down the street at all.

    I’d check the tracking status of my package online for 3 mornings in a row… Each morning, right before 10 a.m. when package should have been delivered, the tracking site would change to “Attempted Delivery. Will re-attempt tomorrow.” WTF? I was sitting not 2 feet from my door, looking out the window.

    No truck in sight.

    Finally, it would say Final Attempt and I’d just have to go down and pick it up. No one there would ever hear a complaint.

    I hate UPS.

  38. jeremo says:

    Well I’m sure I’m about to get flamed… I am a UPS driver.

    Policy is to honk the horn (most don’t do that), announce “UPS!”, ring and knock at the door. But, honestly, management works the CRAP out of us and sometimes we take shortcuts. I don’t always knock, especially after dark…at 8:00 p.m. people aren’t always nice when they come to the door. I don’t always ring the bell either. I probably ring and knock about 75% of the time…If the package is “Signature Required” I ALWAYS knock. If you have had a “Signature Required” left with out you signing for it track the package, find out who signed for it and call in a complaint.

    Is UPS and their employees perfect? No. I’ve had complaint called in on me I KNEW were bogus, and I’ve has some that were true. I tried to learn from my mistakes, and to work with my customers. Its always easier when your customers like you! We do have some drivers who are just idiots, who don’t learn and don’t care…you probably have people like that where you work.

    We try to do our best…well, some of us do!

  39. laughingdove says:

    Out here in BFE North Carolina, UPS and FedEx just look at my mountain road, turn around, and mark it “Wrong address” without even attempting to drive up the road and deliver to my house. No note, no call, and after 3 days, it goes undelivered and ends up back in the hands of the person who shipped it. I’d rather they did what they used to, and throw it in the ditch on the side of the road. Then at least I could look for a package…

  40. @laughingdove: Interesting, here in WV the UPS and FedEx drivers take perverse pleasure in getting their trucks in all sorts of places and then back out.

    Happily, the mail man who delivered to our office retired. He routinely refused to deliver packages or letters. We ended up convincing the postmaster to redirect everything to our PO box and picked it up there.

  41. mad_oak says:

    UPS DRIVERS ARE PAID TO NOT KNOCK YOUR DOOR.

    With all the pain in these comments, I threw that sentence up there to get your attention. You’ve seen the electronic signature pad. You know the trucks have satilite tracking. You think these drivers aren’t deaing with strick metrics? Think about how long it takes to hang a door tag versus knocking and waiting for you to show up at the door, receive and sign for your package. UPS isn’t telling these drivers “give good customer service” they are telling these drivers “you are aloted X seconds per deliver, X minutes and X seconds to drive from delivery Y to delivery Z, and if you don’t meet these metrics it affects your pay”. Its not the driver’s fault, its UPS.

  42. pdxguy says:

    @mad_oak:
    Too bad another metric, perhaps an even better metric to use, would be customer satisfaction. These places seem to conveniently forget that without customers they have no business. Metrics or not, without customers, the revenue does not occur. And with satisfied customers it occurs much better and often.

  43. rekoil says:

    Humblish: I had the exact same problem with at at an apartment complex in Alexandria, VA. The UPS guy would drop off all the packages at the resident services office, then go to all the buildings and put yellow tags on the doors. Caught him red-handed when I noticed the tracking info changes to “delivered” but no knock on the door. Opened the door to see the driver walking away from my door, no package in his hand. Called and complained to UPS, but nothing changed. I just got into the habit of having things delivered to my office instead.

  44. mullenite says:

    I live in south florida (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami metro area) and UPS refuses to knock on the door. TO the extent that I put a note on the door once that said “I assure you I am home, please knock hard.” I watched the UPS guy from the window walk up to my door, put my $400 camera lens on my porch and walk away. No knocking, nothing. Thats why I try my hardest not to ship UPS, but sometimes you have no choice.

  45. bravo369 says:

    I live in central NJ and the same thing happened to us. I was expecting my new computer from fedex. My girlfriend was home ALL day and no doorbell. I come home to a tag left on the door saying no one was home. The package must have been in the truck when they came and I can only assume the guy didn’t feel like lugging a computer and monitor all the way to the door. we complained to fedex but who knows what that will do. I eventually had to pick it up myself from the fedex shipping station

  46. humphrmi says:

    @mad_oak: I agree, it’s UPS’s fault and they just BS us with “no prior complaints”, “It’s against company policy” and “We’ll look into it / talk to the driver.”

    However, while I’m willing to give the drivers a *little* slack, there is some responsibility here. If a driver is consistently having to door-hang or drop-and-run packages without knocking, he or she should bring it to the attention of management and continue pressing them on the issue. That’s part of being in customer service, and sadly the ability to take this initiative is what’s sadly lacking in today’s customer-facing labor staff.

  47. Sharad says:

    It’s completely UPS’s fault. I’ve never had a problem with FedEx except once during a blizzard. These people don’t know how to ring a doorbell. It’s really not that hard. So what if they have to have a 90 second turnaround time? It’s just more work for you tomorrow if you don’t deliver it today.

  48. skinny2 says:

    I’ve shipped several thousand packages for my Ebay business, the vast majority via USPS. I’ve had exactly one package go completely missing and it was going to Brooklyn. I wonder where all this stuff ends up??

  49. PDQ says:

    @ella:

    Brooklynites: Complain to your congressperson. Out here in LA we got Henry Waxman hot on the trail of the USPS and things improved.

  50. mrcool1122 says:

    In Manhattan, the UPS truck would park right outside my building and stay there while the guy made the deliveries all morning. I could go up to him as I left for work (after checking the package tracker) and politely ask him if he could look for my package. Depending on the guy and how CRAZY FULL his truck was, he’d either look for it right then or promise to leave it inside the building door. And their trucks can be insanely packed with packages, apparently all just for the immediate walking area.

  51. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Local mail delivery ‘worst it’s ever been’
    But improvements are on the way, vows Chicago postmaster
    BY MARK J. KONKOL
    Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporter
    March 11, 2007
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/291829,CST-NWS-mail11.a

    Some days, the mail arrives at Donald Lawson’s home in Beverly as late as 11:30 at night. His mailman shows up wearing a lighted helmet. That’s on the days when Lawson’s mail shows up at all.

    David Allen has had delivery problems of his own. The Northwest Side resident suffered along with his dog Tiger when the German shepherd’s anti-diarrheal medication arrived 11 days after it was postmarked — from his veterinarian’s office only 15 blocks away.

    He had to walk Tiger six or seven times a day in the snow till the medicine finally came. “I tell you, it’s no fun,” says Allen.

    On the Southwest Side, it took three weeks for the mail to finally deliver a pension check that retired city worker Gerald Sullivan was waiting for, to pay bills and buy Christmas presents.

    Then, just a few weeks ago, Sullivan’s wife, Jeanette, “thought someone was going to kill me, smash in the door or something,” when a light suddenly shined into her front room, where she was lazing in her pajamas.

    “It was the mailman … at 9 at night.”

    Most folks expect the mail when they get home from work. They expect local mail to arrive the day after it is sent, or at least before their bills are due or store sales begin.

    But in Chicago, mail delivery has gotten so bad that in-town, overnight delivery ranks the worst in the nation, according to Chicago postmaster Gloria E. Tyson.

    First-class mail sent between Chicago ZIP codes made it to the correct address the next day 91 percent of the time between June and September last year, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s most recent audit. Several cities reported making it 97 percent of the time, the highest success rate reported.

    During that same period, 77 percent of local postal customers rated the quality of delivery as “excellent, very good or good,” well below the U.S. average of 92 percent, according to a post office survey.

    ‘Raise holy hell’
    An informal survey of Chicago aldermen showed mail delivery woes affected people living in 38 of Chicago’s 50 wards. In fact, several aldermen have had mail trouble themselves.

    Southwest Side Ald. Edward Burke (14th) said a check his daughter mailed to him from her West Loop home arrived two months after it was postmarked.

    A 35th Ward resident stopped Ald. Rey Colon in the street while he was campaigning door-to-door last month.

    “She said, ‘Hey, alderman, I’m glad you’re here. I have your mail,” Colon said. “It was the insurance bill from State Farm for the ward office. And I was on a totally different block.”

    Northwest Side Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) had to call his local post office and “raise holy hell” after he didn’t get mail for four days in a row about two weeks ago.

    “I chewed their ass out and they brought me all my mail in a bundle,” he said. “It’s sloppy work.”

    Mell said he plans to call for public hearings on the mail delivery troubles at Wednesday’s City Council meeting to pressure postal officials to make immediate improvements.

    A national embarrassment
    And guys like Clifton Martin of South Shore, who says he sometimes doesn’t get mail for days at a time, are cheering him on.

    “Something has to be done,” he said. “It’s out of control and the worst it’s ever been.”

    And that’s saying a lot in Chicago, which was a national embarrassment for the U.S. Postal Service in the early 1990s.

    During that time, customer satisfaction and overnight delivery here was the country’s worst. And postal investigators uncovered massive fraud and delivery problems, including:

    • • An entire mail truck filled with 40,000 undelivered pieces of mail on the North Side.

    • • About 200 pounds of burning mail in Englewood.

    • • A cache of 2,300 pounds of undelivered mail hoarded in the apartment of a Northwest Side mail carrier.

    Things started getting better by the late ’90s. Aldermen said they weren’t fielding as many complaints back then, and the percentage of successful overnight deliveries increased to 95 percent in 2005.

    Big mail trouble became evident in 2006 when the delivery rate first sank to 91 percent. By the fall aldermen and congressmen say they started receiving spikes in mail-related complaints and those have not slowed.

    Rep. Dan Lipinski’s Chicago office has fielded more than 100 complaints since February, and 35th Ward staffers say they receive at least 10 complaints of poor, late or no delivery every workday.

    “I’m in a run-off [election] so I’m knocking on doors and one house after the other, everyone says, ‘Please fix my mail service,’” Colon said.

    Tyson, who took the top Chicago postal job four months ago, says the entire Postal Service is aware of the problems in Chicago and help is on the way. Tyson, a New York native, said she’s ordered a review and overhaul of every aspect of Chicago’s mail system from carrier training, mail collection and automated sorting to transportation, delivery and post office management.

    “The city of Chicago has spoken and the postal employees are taking action … And I’m telling them I want it done yesterday,” she said slipping into a thick Brooklyn brogue. “The current level of service is not where we want it to be.” Tyson said most complaints involve home and business delivery. Staffing shortages, injured mail carriers and routes that are not assigned to full-time carriers are at the heart of many problems, including customers troubled with misdeliveries, late-night deliveries and, at times, no delivery at all.

    Tyson said routes that do not have a regular mail carrier will get one, additional full-time carriers are being hired and neighborhood post offices with a high percentage of injured workers on “light duty” will get staffing increases.

    Another part of Chicago’s delivery troubles stems from not getting mail from the downtown processing plant to the neighborhood stations by early morning, which contributes to some carriers not making deliveries by the post office’s 5 p.m. goal.

    Allen says he’s heard empty promises of better delivery before, having talked to post office customer service representatives more than 15 times in recent weeks. What he wants to know is when he’ll start getting mail regularly on time and before supper.

    Tyson said she couldn’t answer that exactly, but she expects customers will notice things getting a bit better in “a week or two.”

    What she does plan to do is reinstate neighborhood post office advisory committees to establish “real time” conversations with postal customers about their concerns. Similar committees were active in the late ’90s, but have since disbanded.

    It’s driving folks nuts
    Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), who heads a congressional subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, says he’s made it clear to postal leaders that they have to “do whatever is necessary” to fix delivery problems.

    “I’ve talked to the postmaster general and he assured me he’s aware of the problems,” he said. “If they need more carriers, they get more carriers. If they need more supervisory training they get more … I am aware, engaged, involved and working with the Postal Service to find solutions.”

    Southwest Sider Janis Misovic says politicians better make sure the problems get fixed, because it’s driving folks in her neighborhood nuts.

    “You want to live your life and not think about the mail, but it’s so bad. I don’t get bills on time … My payments arrive late … I get sale fliers after the sales are over … I’m continuously thinking about the mail,” she said. “And it screws up my whole life.”

    Why is some mail late?

    Chicago postmaster Gloria E. Taylor says sometimes it’s due to something postal workers call “looping.”

    That’s when the automated mail sorting system puts the wrong bar code on a letter and it continuously gets sent to the wrong neighborhood post office.

    This happens if a letter is sent back to the downtown processing center without a line being drawn through the incorrect bar code, which signals the letter must be sorted manually.

    Until the bar code is voided letters will continue to go through that “loop.”

  52. Coronagold says:

    In New London CT if you have mail that must go out that day, you’re better off dropping it off at the PO because if the mailman doesn’t have at least 1 piece of mail (even junk) for your address, they aren’t stopping by your residence that day. Which is really really fucking funny because guess where they park every day to get out & walk around the neighborhood? Yep.

  53. lambretta76 says:

    11201 in Brooklyn in dreadful for the USPS. Frequently I’ll receive notes that I have packages waiting – however, I too work from home and would have heard it if they rang the doorbell. (They didn’t.) Often times packages just go missing, as does mail and magazines. 2-3 times a week we’ll get a bundle of someone else’s mail. (FedEx Ground and UPS are great for my apartment since I have gotten to know the drivers and they know I am at home during the daytime.) There’s certainly something criminal going on at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.

  54. helio9000 says:

    I pretty much done away with receiving mail but I also live in Brooklyn and have to say that our UPS guy is awesome. Everyone in the neighborhood knows him by name and he always stops if he sees you have a package (for dropoff). He also gives out his cell phone so you can call him if you have a pickup and will call you if no one answers the buzzer. The Fedex guy isn’t bad but the difference is that he goes out of the neighborhood while UPS seems to be around all day.

  55. racheltvgirl says:

    The Van Brunt USPS station in Park Slope, Brooklyn has made so many of my packages disappear that I’m starting to think David Copperfield works there.

    Once, while tracking a lost ebay purchase, they told me that I had already come in, showed ID, signed for, and gotten the package – when I asked to see the signature, it turned out it was signed for & taken by someone I’d never heard of! Once I got past the surly woman at the window, the “manager” seemed as upset as I was, apologized profusely, and assured me that this matter would be turned over to the postal inspectors, and gave me his name & phone # if I had any further issues. I submitted the refund form he gave me, which I later discovered was never filed, and was the wrong form, anyway! Every time I tried to contact the “manager” I was told he was out on his mail delivery rounds. I gave up after 2 months.

    We also received misdelivered mail on a daily basis, and change of address forms are virtually ignored. Things only got better for me when I moved to a doorman building.

    Thanks for the advice about complaining to congressmen — I’d never thought of that — but I’m definitely going to do it!!!!

  56. jpcooper43 says:

    USPS 11231 Red Hook office leave packages on doorsteps without ringing bells as a matter of course. Same thing, when you complain? Substitute mail carriers…

    Complaining never works, this is one time no ones come up with an solution. Even Consumerist is mute in the face of USPS…

  57. mc.tanner says:

    I have a business making and selling high end art papers and my studio is literally right next door to a UPS shipping station, so the convenience is too much to pass up. I’ve been using them for several years with few problems. That is, until this past summer 2006. That’s when they started destroying my packages. For years, maybe 1 or 2 total. Since July: at LEAST 8. Would you believe 1 package from New York to Missouri got destroyed 3 TIMES IN A ROW. SAME PACKAGE TO THE SAME CUSTOMER. I called and complained and they blamed my packaging almost every time, which is really funny, because I use Uline shipping tubes. Like the name suggests, they are meant for shipping, but UPS would “suggest” that I use their triangular mailers. They are never long enough for the stuff I’m shipping. UPS says the tubes fall off the conveyor belts or something. Not my problem.
    The 3rd time I shipped this one package, I wrote “Do not Crush, do not mangle, do not drive over with forklift, do not use as a baseball bat. This is the 3RD ATTEMPT to ship to this address. Your reputation is on the line!” Guess who’s package got destroyed a 3rd time? I got the package back and I hold onto it to show people, like it’s some sort of a sick trophy. I had to bitch loudly to 2 supervisors about it. The first one said change my packaging. I said fat chance and asked for another supervisor. The second one finally promised to ship it next day air and it finally got there intact.
    The joke is kind on them in that I learned to insure my packages early on, so these packages end up making me twice the money (even 3 times!…) when UPS destroys them. Although I would gladly trade this in for having my packages get there in one piece the first time around. My customers would probably be happier too, instead of having to file claims and wait another 2 weeks to get their orders…
    GDMFSOB UPS!

  58. snowpuff says:

    Meghann, You’re not complaining to the 800 UPS number are you? If you are, that’s a complete waste of time. The only people that can actually accomplish anything are at your local UPS package center or depot (it’s not a retail location – it’s where the trucks leave from).

    If you talk to them, your problem will be solved IMMEDIATELY. They will simply tell your driver “This is the problem.” He will say: “Okay.” That’s it. Human to human contact, it still works.

    You can get your package center from the 800 number. They will deny they can give it you, but they lie. They can and do give it out for difficult problems such as yours.

  59. Michael says:

    I run a small business that delivers products by USPS all over the world. In the US Brooklyn is by far our biggest trouble spot. Many times orders are simply never delivered.

  60. Mogbert says:

    I’m north of atlanta in Georgia.
    USPS -5 out of 10: We have missed bills, and we get other peoples bills, but it happens only about once a month. I had a DVD from Amazon go all over Georgia, the post offic was tracking it and trying to figure why it kept getting misrouted. My address was correct on it, but it had hit my Post Office twice and was returned both times as “No such address”. To their credit, the person I talked to really seemed upset about how they were screwing up so bad. I swear that USPS is the only business model that as work slows, and the number of people depending on them lessens, they charge more and do worse work.

    UPS- 3 out of 10: I haven’t had one knock yet. Only two ways to get the things delivered at home. If it REALLY expensive, then they will leave it in a mud puddle outside your door. If it is only moderately expensive, or waterproof, then the only way you can get it is to wait BY THE DOOR, and walk outside when they pull up. Otherwise, I just call the UPS company and tell them to hold it at the delivery place and I’ll drive to them.

    So far, Fed Ex has been better for me.

    Can someone get this thread over to UPS customer service to let them know there IS a problem, and that not ringing our doorbells may save them a minute each stop, it looses them a customer at most every stop. We know they are doing it, they aren’t fooling us.

  61. detrop says:

    i live in ft. greene and my ups guy is really nice. he always smiles and remembers my name. my postal worker, on the other hand, is a douche.

  62. zeebah says:

    Brooklynbs, I feel your pain. I live in 11211 also. The service is so bad that I have any packages sent to me at work (partially because of my fear of them getting lost & partially because if they get sent to the post office, I have a bus ride and a loooooooong wait in line ahead of me).

    The delivery person leaves nasty notes if names are not on the boxes, but still can’t stop delivering mail to the wrong building… or they just shove all our building’s mail into one apartment’s box.

  63. xiu.fly says:

    Writing to our congressperson really is a good idea. Take a minute to do it here: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

    Maybe if there are enough of us, something will actually change. Maybe.

  64. Well I live in 11238 (for now many years) and the postmen are horrendous. Lucky for me I did receive last week a court order to demand back taxes (from 2001), which I had no clue about until then. Up until that point I did not even know that I had owed ANY money to taxes; now I can’t even go to find out why they decided this potential garnishing of my wages. I have also been a victim of identity theft, and I can guarrantee it came from my mail carrier.

  65. vblood911 says:

    I was sitting around one shabbat (Saturday afternoon) in a high-rise in the Bronx while the lunch dissuasion was the same complaint UPS, FED-EX and the Post Office just leave tags. Now on Saturdays everyone is home, they open the door to see the tag but no one knocked. Apparently about two weeks before one couple in the building was pissed about this, they ordered a package from ups and kept their door ajar, when the delivery guy came he had the tag ready with no package. The were obviously pissed, when they quested him, he said residences are generally not home so he doesn’t bring large packages on his truck that he’ll most likely have to haul back to the truck. Besides being stunned about his answer (I didn’t feel like doing my job), the package they ordered was a paper back children’s book from Amazon. The called UPS filed a complaint and told me at lunch they still see the same guy making deliveries in the building or rather coming around with slips.

  66. norwich says:

    You are probably aware that delivery problems can not be resolved at local level.
    We are finally getting our mail delivery problems addressed after 7 years of delivery problems after contacting our Congressman and
    Postmaster General Jack Potter
    US Postal Service
    475 Lenfant Place SW
    Washington, DC 20260-0010
    EMAIL: pmgceo@usps.gov
    HIS DIRECT FAX: 202.268.5211

    The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives sovereign immunity only for the acts or omissions of an “employee of the government while acting within the scope of his office or employment.
    The postal exemption covers liability for lost or damaged mail. This exception has swallowed much of the liability the FTCA creates, leaving many deserving claimants without a remedy.
    Mail carriers who throw mail down the drain and/or constantly delivering mail to wrong address should not be considered acting within the scope of their employment. Their actions cause substantial emotional distress and financial losses. Equity and tort principles justify an expansion of the USPS liability under the FTCA.

    We are victims, and Congress needs to recognize us as such.
    Get connected with other’s in your neighborhood having USPS mail delivery problems at Google group USPS Postal Reform
    [groups.google.com]
    Attention University of Maryland off campus students, graduate students or anyone who has had a College Park or Berwyn Heights Md. address since 2001
    During past 7 years the College Park Md Post Office has caused 1000+’s pieces of 1st class mail, DMV notices, end of year financial statements, Jury Duty Summonses, credit cards and “Final Notice” certified mail notices, mail from university departments that were mailed to University of Maryland students and student organizations at addresses other than mine in College Park, Md that were either forwarded to my winter home in Florida or delivered to my home of 50 years on Norwich Road in College Park, Md 20740. Discussions between me and employees at College Park Md Post Office addressing their delivery practices was akin to listening to Bud Abbott and Lou Costello go through a rendering of “Who’s On First.”

    Good luck,
    Dennis Abe
    College Park, Md 20740
    [www.dennisabe.com]