USPS Swallowed Up My MST3K

Rachel and her husband ordered a DVD set from a seller who shipped via USPS, but the package can’t seem to make its way to them. Their saga includes a cryptic email update and a notice of a delivery attempt they say never occurred.

Rachel writes:

My husband and I recently bought ourselves a big present for our First Valentine’s Day as a married couple: The (mostly) entire Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD set! We were so excited when USPS sent us an email letting us know the shipper had mailed the package, and we would be informed of all future updates. Well, a few days comes and goes, and I get antsy. On Thursday, the 25th, I decided to look up the label number again, and see where my package was. Imagine my surprise when it said: “Notice Left – February 25th”

I look up at my husband, who had been there all day (I work days), and I asked “Was there a notice from USPS under the door?” He replied in the negative. “Did anyone knock today?” Again, no. We were baffled. He guessed that maybe he had been in the restroom when they came by, but our apartment is not large. It’s doubtful he would not hear someone knocking. And the bigger question was – where is this danged notice?

I immediately attempt to arrange a redelivery, using their online function. It allowed me to carry through the request without the specific “article” number from the notice slip, and I just used my label number in its place. Friday, the 26th, was an option for redelivery, so I crossed my fingers and pushed it through. I also signed up to be emailed for any and all future and current developments on the shipping of my package.

Friday came and went. Nothing. I checked the Track & Confirm, and as far as I could tell, nothing had come of my package since the notice was left. We grumble and furrow our brows but we shrug and say “I guess we can just pick it up in the morning at the actual post office.”

That brings us to today. We wake up, and we stop by our actual mailbox (we’re bad about checking our mail, I admit it) before heading out. Hey! It’s a delivery attempt slip! Imagine that. Weird how it was down in the apartment mailbox and nowhere near our actual apartment! But since I had checked the Track & Confirm again before heading out and it seemed like our package hadn’t gone anywhere since the first failed “attempt”, we sally forth to the Post Office. After waiting about 15 minutes for a lady to come by the pick-up door, we are told that they can’t find our package and it must be “out for delivery” they guess. I asked “Is it showing as out for delivery? because I checked the activity and it doesn’t look like it’s gone anywhere.”

The lady just shrugged and said that must be it, because she can’t find it. So helpful. A++ for effort.

With much grumbling, my husband and I pack up and head back home, hoping that A) the package delivery hadn’t been “attempted” again while we were gone, though we assumed it would have because we fall firmly in Murphy’s jurisdiction, and B) that somebody hadn’t stolen our MST3K DVDs, because nobody seemed to have a clue where our package actually was. It isn’t showing up as being checked in anywhere, or moved around at all, and it isn’t at the place the delivery slip said it should be.

So, we go back home and keep our eyes peeled for a USPS truck. We find one at the apartment complex across the way. I approach the mailman waving my orange delivery slip as a token of friendship and peaceful questioning, and he informs me that he doesn’t deliver to us, but the guy who does should be around within an hour and hasn’t been by yet. Perfect! So we stake a vigil. We get bored after Car Talk ends and before Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me comes on, and decide to ask the office ladies to keep an eye out for us and jump the mailman when he arrives.

Our apartment staff lady then tells us (I love this part), that the guy who delivers our MAIL is not the same as the guy who delivers packages, and that packages should be delivered before noon on Saturdays, so he should be by soon. So many questions run through my mind. How did the package delivery slip end up in our MAILBOX if the mail guy doesn’t deliver packages? Why did USPS let me pick dates for redelivery and then not stick to them? What the hell do I do now?

We go back home and flop on the couch and hope that someone comes and delivers our package. Doesn’t happen. I notice that our label number ( the original delivery #) and the “article” number on the delivery “attempt” slip are different. I check Track & Confirm on both sets of numbers. Only the original number comes up with anything, but it still hasn’t changed since Thursday. The other set of numbers is like some weird amalgamation of our zip code and the old label number, but doesn’t turn up anything.

I’ve tried using the official article number to request a 2nd redelivery on Monday, but I’m getting worried and frustrated. We have 1 car, I work during the day and go to school at night, so a lunch break is the only chance I have at visiting the post office again during the week, and it seems like nobody has a clue where our delivery is, so who knows if visiting again will even help. Even better, the FAQ for Redelivery on the USPS website returns this:

Redelivery scheduled and no one arrived

If your mailpiece was not redelivered as you requested, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and our Customer Support Representatives will assist you.
Ha! Fat chance. All that number gets you is a phone tree that flat out tells you “All of this information is up to date, and customer service is not an option at this time.” Except I just tried it again and if I hit 0 enough times at the right moments, it dangles the option in front of my face, but says that I have to call during “business hours.” Even when I tried calling on Friday during the afternoon, I kept getting put in robotic loops that refused to connect me to a CSR, so I’m not sure I believe it this time, either.

At this point:

- I don’t believe anyone attempted to deliver anything. We live upstairs and the mailman probably thought he had something better to do than bother knocking on our door in the afternoon, so he just put the slip in the mail and let it ride.

- I don’t know where the heck my package is, and nobody at USPS seems to know, either, not that I can get one on the phone at all or in person for more than 20 seconds.

- I really want to watch some Tom Servo :(

Long (hopefully not entirely dull) story short, I just want someone to help me find my delivery. Am I misusing the article number on the delivery slip? Will they actually update the Track & Confirm status if it’s loaded up to be redelivered, or will it just show up? Is it listed under a different number now that it’s been “attempted”? And how do I talk to a living person without pissing off the nice robot lady who really wants me to believe that she can help me and I don’t need to speak to a human being?

I’ll try calling the post office again on Monday, I just fear that their answer will be the same as today’s. “Well, it’s not HERE.” Yeah, thanks. It’s not here either. So that’s two places it isn’t. Only 20 googillion more to check.

If you’ve spotted Rachel’s MST3K package, please trap it and send it her way. Probably not via USPS, just to be safe.