Postal Service Shows It Can Toss Fragile Packages Over The Fence Just As Well As FedEx

The U.S. Postal Service is always trying to convince people that it’s just as good as FedEx or UPS. But for all the aspects of those businesses the Postal Service should emulate, there’s one it shouldn’t: Tossing expensive packages over customers’ fences.

Only weeks after a FedEx carrier made headlines — and probably got a slap on the wrist from his regional manager — for heaving a computer monitor over a fence, a man in California caught his local mail carrier launching a package (containing an antique clock) over his fence and into his yard.

“I looked and he pulled up, threw it over the fence and then got in the van and drove off,” the recipient tells NBC Los Angeles about the incident, which was all captured on his recently installed security camera. “I went out there and picked up the thing and he was already up the street.”

Not surprisingly, that toss resulted in a bit of damage to the clock. “The chains no longer work. I guess they’re jammed up in the back. And one of them is off the rails. And the second hand is catawampus, it’s loose,” says the buyer. “But I don’t know what else is broke until I take it in and have them look at it.”

He says the post office was responsive when he called and had someone out to his home in a matter of minutes, though he would not let the USPS rep take the clock back with them, opting instead to have it repaired and get reimbursed by the Postal Service.

In a statement to NBC, the Postal Service writes:

The U.S. Postal Service was dismayed to see the video of one of our employee throwing a parcel over a fence. That does not represent the kind of service we strive to provide our customers. This matter is currently being investigated to determine the appropriate actions to be taken with regards to the employee and our customer.

The man says he doesn’t want the mail carrier to lose his job, but says he should be reprimanded.

USPS worker caught on video tossing package over fence [MSN.com]

Thanks to Daniel for the tip!

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  1. rpm773 says:

    The man says he doesn’t want the mail carrier to lose his job, but says he should be reprimanded.

    Well that’s nice, but I’d probably also request that he and his potential vengefulness be transferred to the other side of town, far away from my house and my mail.

    • CreditSense-CreditRecovery says:

      I agree here. Give the job to someone who will do it and be thankful they have the job. On the other hand though, if the Union is that powerful, making it so hard for people to get fired from the USPS, then why the history of people “going postal”?

  2. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    The man says he doesn’t want the mail carrier to lose his job

    Why not? In this economy there are plenty of people who are willing to take that job and do well at it until the union tells them to slow down and quit working so hard.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      Was that a ‘blame the Unions’ I heard? That’s Consumerist BINGO for me!

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Actually, I’d be willing to bet the punishment for this is nothing or close to nothing, because of the union. You can’t easily get fired from the post office. Too bad we’ll never know.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i know someone who got fired from the post office. after about 20 years they couldn’t deal with his level of crazy anymore. the crazy was always there, they just couldn’t manage to fire him for it

      • failurate says:

        I really thought I was going to win when the “I Heart/Hate Milk” square was covered.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Ever see that Seinfeld episode where Newman tries to get a transfer to Hawaii and gets Seinfeld to help him deliver his route? If not, Newman doesn’t get the transfer because Seinfeld did “too good” a job and delivered something like 90% of the mail in the bags and Newman’s boss new it couldn’t have been him delivering the mail. Newman quote: “Nobody’s ever cracked the 50% barrier”.

      Anyway you made me think of that and giggle.

  3. final_atom says:

    at this rate, dhl is next to toss a package.

    • CubeRat says:

      DHL stopped delivery to USA residental addresses two-three years ago.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Good riddance.

      • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

        Well, domestic anyway. A few months ago I got an international shipment couriered by DHL.

        And boy did it look it. I’m surprised I didn’t see the output of those Will It Blend videos for how beat up the box was.

        • Silverhawk says:

          Same here, got an international shipment couriered by DHL with last mile delivery by the USPS, and it looked worse than that package that Ace Ventura kicks down the hallway at the beginning of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Oh, and half the contents were missing (there was an inventory sheet on the outside of the package), and the remaining contents were badly broken.

          Our USPS carrier handed it to me as though there was nothing at all wrong, but was very careful to point out and then profusely apologize for a slightly ripped envelope that had gotten stuck in a sorting machine.

    • oops says:

      DHL has already joined the elite “package toss club” see link below:

      http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=98a_1325503197

  4. Missing in Vlissingen says:

    Well, because this is a government agency, I’m sure the USPS will ignore the complaint and send this consumer through a morass of bureaucracy, unlike a nimble and accountable private company like FedEx…

    “He says the post office was responsive when he called and had someone out to his home in a matter of minutes”

    Oh. Well, nevermind then.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Yeah, you’re right. Best to get rid of the postal service so UPS and FedEx can fight over who tosses their package better!

      • Snowblind says:

        Yeah, you’re right. Best to get rid of the postal service so UPS and FedEx can fight over who tosses their package faster and cheaper!

        Fixed that for ya!

      • failurate says:

        Expecting the straight change… you swung and missed on a late breaking curve.

    • TurdFerguson says:

      NOTHING will happen to the USPS employee I can assure you. I used to work for USPS (father was a long-time carrier and supervisor) and if that employee is a union employee I’d be surprised if there is ever even a formal meeting the carrier will have to attend. The postal worker union and an overzealous affirmative-action hiring policy is a big reason why the USPS is a joke.

  5. AllanG54 says:

    It’s not an antique clock. I had one just like it and it cost all of about $250. To fix the hands all one has to do is push them back in place. As for the chains being off the sprocket inside, it’s a little harder to fix but something that can be done at home. It happened to mine and I was able to fix it with a little work.

    • AcctbyDay says:

      I can see how this would turn out well for this consumer. Become a clock maker and fix the USPS mistakes!!! Or break it even worse? Some things you just don’t do yourself.

    • NickRayko says:

      Good thing you’re an expert on non-antique clock identification. There were certainly a lot of long, detailed shots of that clock, so there’s no way you could be mistaken.

    • incident_man says:

      The OP shouldn’t have to fix problems with a purchase he made, caused by the delivery person.

  6. CubeRat says:

    Well, I’m going to give this mailman the benefit of the doubt. The USPS has been losing market share to UPS & FedEx, both of whom toss packages (I base this on previous posts).
    So, maybe the mailman thought- “huh, it seems to work for them. Taking everything to the mailbox/door 6 days a week hasn’t been doing so hot for us.” LOL

  7. mypcrepairguy says:

    I blame the shipper on this one. USPS and in general most delivery companies are not the most careful when dealing with packages. In this situation the shipper should have packaged it BETTER to withstand the shipment process. Sure the package was tossed…but this happens all to often in shipment hubs for all the major shipping companies.

    Simply put, the item should have better packaging.

    • who? says:

      Some things just can’t be packaged perfectly. In this case, what would you do? Put spray foam into the innards to keep them from moving around? Tossing the package over a fence is definitely not acceptable, regardless of how the thing is packaged.

      That said, when I worked for UPS, we were hyper-careful with anything that was actually labeled “fragile.” Was the package labeled as fragile? Or has that changed. (I worked for them 25 years ago, so I wouldn’t know.)

      • NickRayko says:

        “Fragile” is a blatant request for extra abuse by the carriers.

      • yurei avalon says:

        Few years ago a friend of mine who worked as a truck loader for UPS told me they were encouraged to toss/throw packages as much as possible to save time. He got yelled at by a supervisor one day because he refused to toss a package that was marked as a bio hazard, some virus or something a lab was mailing I think. He had all kinds of stories about things being marked as fragile getting tossed/kicked around.

        Personally I don’t bother writing “fragile” on things I ship that are. I use all of my energy instead to securely package and wrap the object so that it has the best chance of surviving shipping.

      • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

        Actually, the spray foam is a real shipping thing. I recently purchased some used lab equipment that came sandwiched between two halves of what was essentially a custom mold of foam. Basically:
        1. Place a plastic bag in a box, open
        2. Pour in some liquid foam
        3. Wrap top of plastic bag over it, squish the item into it
        4. Place a second bag on the item
        5. Pour in more liquid foam
        6. Wrap top of plastic bag over that, close and seal box

        Well, I was impressed, anyway.

    • dg says:

      Well it was marked “Fragile” – then again, that means “Kick into Smithereens, throw over fence, and smash into wall” in French – but that’s just an inside joke that the French have been playing on us stupid Americans since the 1800′s… Guess we shouldn’t blame Neuman for learning French and taking the markings to heart…

  8. LightningUsagi says:

    USPS…where catawampus is a mark of excellent service.

  9. Emily says:

    Old clock, “catawampus”… I smell a steampunk.

    “I say, my monocle fell from my eye when I witnessed the roughhousing being perpetrated upon my parcel!”

  10. heyoldstyle says:

    And all this time I didn’t realize that ‘catawampus’ was a real word – I thought it was just a funny made-up word that my dad used when we were kids.

  11. Nighthawke says:

    The carrier will probably get a letter in their file, and little else. In the govt industry, it takes more paperwork to hire than fire, especially if the employee is willingly violating policy and the law. It’s more convenient to stuff the offender into a windowless office with a stamp and a pile of letters for them to hand-cancel than deal with the paperwork to terminate them.

  12. APCO25guy says:

    The USPS won’t fire the lazy turd who tossed the package. Why? Their union contract practically requires you get caught stealing mail, raping or going on a postal shooting rampage before they will summarily dismiss these kinds of douchebags.

    the mailman here spends most of his time smoking cigarettes talking on his cellphone before getting around to delivering the mail. Most packages I get reek of stale smoke.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Years ago when I lived in town, our on foot mail carrier left his mail pushcart outside a local corner bar while he had “lunch”. To my knowledge, no one stole it. It just seemed a little irresponsible to leave everyone’s mail just sitting in the street, unaccompanied.

    • AEN says:

      Since you seem to be so familiar with it, do you have a link to that USPS union contract that you mentioned?

  13. unpolloloco says:

    I’d be willing to bet that the package suffered a similar fate in the distribution center too – this incident is just in public. Part of the blame goes to the shipper here for not packing correctly.

  14. ancientone567 says:

    I knew it! All the delivery companies have a pool going on who can throw the package the furthest. Bonus points are given open breakage. Double Bonus if the package spills out into the street.

  15. jiarby says:

    Glad to see that the fired UPS drive got a new job!

  16. diagoro says:

    I had this exact thing happen a few months ago. My father had passed away, and my sister sent a box of photos and personal items. I found out later, after hearing the postal worker toss the box over the fence, that there was a photo frame enclosed. Small and large shards of glass were all through the box.

    Sadly it’s the fourth time it’s happened. I’ve complained after the last three, but don’t expect things to improve…..

  17. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I think we need a new bingo card.

  18. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  19. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  20. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  21. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  22. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  23. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  24. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a fence or else it might have been a longer toss.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  25. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a fence or else it might have been a longer toss.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  26. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a fence or else it might have been a longer toss.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  27. SoCaliTrojan says:

    That postman probably has me on his route too. Three days ago I was sitting by the window of my porch when I jumped and was startled by a noise in the porch. When I looked, the postman had just finished tossing my package at my porch from 20 feet away. My new $200 HID headlights for my car still work, though. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a fence or else it might have been a longer toss.

    The FedEx guy who services me does a better job. He walks up to my door, bangs on the door hard like someone’s chasing him, then heads back to his truck to look for the packages. Apparently he wants me to walk to the street and bring the packages from his truck back to my house. He has already done this to me on more than 1 occasion.

  28. sumocat says:

    If you’re going to make it difficult for people to reach you, for example by surrounding your house with a six-foot tall fence, you can’t complain when people can’t reach you, especially if you don’t have delivery instructions posted in plain sight. Security and convenience are opposing forces.

  29. Villnius says:

    So, is this the start of a meme?