Chicago Has The Worst Mail Delivery In The US

An audit of the USPS shows that Chicago has the worst overnight mail delivery in the country. From the Chicago Tribune:

The audit found that first-class mail sent between Chicago ZIP codes made it to the correct address the next day 91 percent of the time. The cities that fared best in the audit had deliver rates of around 97 percent.

The audit was for mail delivered between June and September of last year.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), who heads a congressional subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, said he has urged officials to do whatever they can to fix the delivery problems in Chicago.

Why not let Phillips Towing deliver the mail? That ought to fix it. —MEGHANN MARCO

Audit: Chicago mail delivery the worst [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo: kim_scarborough)


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  1. The Unicorn says:

    So. Not. Surprised. It’s especially bad on the South Side. I was going to comment bitching about this in the Brooklyn thread, but now you’ve given me a more appropriate place (thanks!).

    Our current carrier/zipcode seems to be okay, but back in the day, it was truly ridiculous. My boyfriend once had the carrier stop delivering mail to an apartment because the building was going to be sold & all the tenants moving out…in a month & a half. When he explained that there were still people living there, hence the continual arrival of mail, she was completely indifferent. Which, clearly, still pisses me off even though it was almost five years ago.

  2. mopar_man says:

    The outgoing mail sucks too. I had an envelope mailed out to me in December from there and it took 2 weeks to get to me (this was AFTER Christmas). I live approx. 6 hours away.

  3. Tallanvor says:

    @The Unicorn: South Side mail delivery was definitely the worst! My grandparents once sent a package first class from Peoria… It took 3 weeks for it to arrive. I’m sure it was just sitting around the post office in Chicago for most of the time!

  4. kerry says:

    This is not a surprise. I get a lot of mail with a “respond by” date well before the date I received it. The last time I moved it was to a new zip code, and the mail that went to my old address was forwarded to the new place. It generally took 6 weeks to 2 months for my forwarded mail to get from the old post office to the new one (they’re about 3 miles apart), usually with tire marks and torn corners. Oddly enough, though, my carrier is a superstar and will get mail to me even if the address is incorrect or smudged. The system sucks, but a lot of the workers do their best to compensate.

  5. mewyn dyner says:

    Well, I’ve not been too concerned with mail until recently. I’ve noticed my Netflix shipments sometimes take an extra day or two, even though my post office sends all its mail directly to that hub site (Carol Stream, IL). On the flip-side, though, I’ve had nothing but good luck with my occasional packages sent from the Chicago suburbs. They seem to get to their other IL destinations fairly quickly.

  6. formergr says:

    In the early ’90s there was quite the scandal here in Chicago when they found 2300 pounds of undelivered mail in a former USPS carrier’s apartment. That’s over a ton!

  7. mwwilk says:

    This is no surprise. I used to live in 60622 zip, and we used to suffer throw days of no mail delivered. Complaining at the local PO seemed to make things worse. Eventually, I think we got a new carrier that we reached harmony with. Still, it was the most bizarre thing… I think we went nearly a whole week without a single piece of mail. Then our mailbox was just jammed up with all the old stuff.

    I’m now in 60618, and hadn’t had any major problems until this year. The pattern this year is this: the next delivery day after a mail holiday, we don’t get mail. Which is odd, because usually the day after a postal holiday, you get even more mail.

    I always get the ominous feeling that when you call to complain, that you could be making things worse for yourself.

  8. John Stracke says:


    In the early ’90s there was quite the scandal here in Chicago when they found 2300 pounds of undelivered mail in a former USPS carrier’s apartment.

    I remember that scandal. Wasn’t there also a pile of something like 30 tons of mail under an overpass?

  9. John Stracke says:


    I always get the ominous feeling that when you call to complain, that you could be making things worse for yourself.

    Hey, they’re just trying to make sure you get the true Chicago Experience. Daley Lives!

  10. formergr says:

    @John Stracke: Apparently it was a mail truck stuffed full of 40,000 pieces of mail according to this article:

  11. incndnz says:

    In my 5 years in Chicago I have had a box of dishes chucked over the fence into my yard, 6 checks STOLEN from my mailbox, mailboxes that didn’t lock, and last winter when my non-profit office moved, the post office held all our business reply mail (which was all donations, checks, time sensitive material) until they felt like they had “enough” to deliver. They also refuse to allow us to change the name on our business reply mail account, for over a year. Also, every time you call you get attitude, mis-information and straight-up lies. Consumerist – can you outline a strategy to get the post office to help you – or can you help us figure out how to hold them accountable? No one there seems to care – it’s like they are above (below?) the law or something!

  12. I live in Chicago and the mail delivery has been getting worse. 2 weeks after Presidents Day weekend I received a mailer from Best Buy to use over the holiday. Lately I’ve been getting my bills and the due date is close to the actual day that I received it. A friend sent me a card and it took 10 days to get to me even though it was dropped in mailbox less than 2 miles from my house..

  13. “Why not let Phillips Towing deliver the mail? That ought to fix it.”

    *splort!* Meghann owes me a new keyboard.

    Y’all would not BELIEVE how long it takes mail to get from Chicago to Peoria. (Longer than it takes it to get here from California. When Chicago’s feeling speedy.)

    It’ll take two weeks sometimes for something my mom mailed from Chicago to meander all 160 miles from there to here.

  14. Maulleigh says:

    91% doesn’t seem that bad. If it was 60%…yeah. Even though I may have made some satirical ads in the past, I still have some mad love for the you ess pee ess. Media mail is still the cheapest thing BY FAR!!! And I’ve had lots of media mail stuff get there priority-style.

  15. KesCaesar says:

    I live in 60615, and I’m sick of how long the mail takes here. I’ve had to report lost discs to Netflix, only to have them show up 2 days later, a day before the replacement discs arrived.
    Once, a package that I tracked *sat* in my post office for 3 days before being delivered.
    I hate you, USPS.

  16. scblackman says:

    I remember the days in the late 80’s and early 90’s when people would find bags of half-burnt, undelivered mail under viaducts in Chicago. Sad to see that things haven’t improved that much.

  17. MMD says:

    I’m your neighbor, KesCaesar – greetings from 60615. My latest in a long, long string of mail-related problems is that I’ve inexplicably stopped getting mail on Saturdays. And today I had to report two missing Netflix discs – one that I mailed last week hasn’t gotten to them, and one they sent me last week still hasn’t arrived.
    I could go on…but you get the picture. It’s inexcusable, but no one at USPS seems to care when I complain. I wish there could be some sort of class action lawsuit against USPS in Chicago…

  18. TechnoDestructo says:

    I dunno about entire cities, but individual post offices can beat that. Any time I got mail from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, at my mailbox in North Pole, Alaska, it took between 1 and 2 WEEKS to get there. Stuff sent the other way would be there the next day.

    Best I ever saw, though, was a letter from Fairbanks to Atlanta, which arrived the next day.

  19. katewrath says:

    I’d like to one-up MMD’s suggestion–is there anyway to start a class action lawsuit against Chicago itself?

    It’s outright embarrassing to come from a place so totally corrupt. The ex-cons running for alderman, the budget overages on Millenium Park, the architectural rape of Soldier Field… And we’re supposed to host an OLYMPICS? Dude, we do NOT want the world to see what’s going on over here.

    Living in Chicago is roughly equivalent to living with your 40-year-old 300 lb Tourettes-syndrome-having brother. He might be a hell of a guy, but you don’t let just anybody come over for dinner.

  20. MMD says:

    Katewrath: Amen and Hallelujah!
    Seriously…if Chicago gets picked over L.A. for the US Olympic bid, I fear for the future.

    I teach Humanities classes and I have students do research om Millennium Park – they are always stunned at how far over budget that place went. I love the park, but the lesson here is one of management. Bringing us back to topic: if Chicago can’t manage to get the mail delivered in a reasonable amount of time, how will we manage an Olympics?!

  21. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I get First Class mail sent from Glenview to Rogers Park regularly.
    It often takes a week to ten days to go 16 miles!