USPS Delivers Just The Cover Of Your Rolling Stone, But Is Very Sorry

Reader Dave says that he received just the cover of his copy of Rolling Stone, wrapped in a cute, apologetic plastic bag from the USPS.

Received this in the mail this week. A very nice note from the USPS people saying just how sorry they were that they apparently decided to rip the cover off of my Rolling Stone, keep the body of the magazine, and then fold the rest into a nice little baggie and mail it anyway with their most sincere apologies.

Why do we suspect that the rest of the magazine is in a USPS toilet stall somewhere? Just kidding, just kidding.


Edit Your Comment

  1. ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

    Why didn’t they just take a dump in the bag?

  2. akyiba says:

    I’m still waiting for my Ikea catalog. I hope it the outcome won’t be this.

    • fjordtjie says:

      @akyiba: good luck! i’ve ordered the catalog 6 different times (over the course of a year and a half, not like 3 days), and it NEVER comes. so, my boyfriend decided to give it a shot. it came one week later. the irony is that ikea hates me, but will promptly send the catalog to my boyfriend who hates ikea.

  3. dmolavi says:

    i like how even the bag is mangled.

  4. MasterShazbot says:

    I got a Wired magazine a few months ago that was destroyed by Canada Post. Similar bag however at least the USPS is taking the blame, Canada Post’s bag said something along the lines of “we don’t know if we got it like this or if we destroyed it”

  5. Ouze says:

    My worked in a major USPS mail processing plant for 12 years.

    1.) No one (in the plant) stole your mail. They have people watching literally everywhere for theft. When things are stolen by postal employees they are nearly always by postal carriers.

    2.) You can’t read the magazines there – you would get a written warning immediately. So it’s not in a toilet stall. They do read the backs of postcards, though.

    3.) The flat sorter machines eat an enormous volume of all manner of mail each and every night without exception or prejudice. I also have gotten a baggie of shredded magazine.

    4.) I hope no one thinks anything I said here is any defense of the US Postal Service. It was a horrific place to work, and she loathed it every single day she worked there. The money is quite good if you have no degree, though.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      “They do read the backs of postcards, though.”

      I bought a novelty postcard one time that said,

      hee heee heee…

      I wish they would get in trouble for doing dumb stuff like 1) when it’s raining, by all means, don’t put my magazines INSIDE the mailbox and close the cover; put them standing up on the outside end of the awning! and 2) giving me someone else’s mail all the time!

    • Anonymous says:

      OUZE is correct. Without being techinical , on ocassion magazines covers do get rippred off. Sometimes we can get them paired up again. The letter sorting machines run at 40,000 pieces an hour. The machines have gates that divert mail to another tier, {1-4}. These machines will jam and tear mail like the machines that run mags etc. We don’t steal the mags. We do our best to get the mail to you. People also put pens, pencils, teeth, lizards {not frequently} jewelry,key fobs,krys, hotel plastic identity tags ets. To anybody, visit a processing plant and see how the mail runs and you will get a full understanding. I can probably criticize 90$% of the companies that you all work for.

  6. Nixi says:

    That’s almost cruel. Are they really just holding the magazine ransom? Sending page by page until you leave 2 million in unmarked bills next to the dumpster by the Walgreens?

  7. CountryJustice says:

    Anyone who has ever worked in subscriptions/fulfillment knows that this is the kind of thing that keeps CSR’s in a job. Missing/damaged magazines are so commonplace, I’m surprised this is an actual “story.”

    Just call RS and ask for a replacement copy.

  8. sprocket79 says:

    I got one of those plastic baggies with my mail once. The funny part was that it was a piece of junk mail for the previous occupants of my house. It looked like it had been dropped in a swamp though and was nearly degraded.

  9. scudly says:

    I once got a package from something I ordered online and only received the actual cardboard, the thing I had ordered online had come out at some point but the USPS continued to deliver a piece of cardboard with my name and address on it to me. Did me a whole helluva lot of good too.

  10. dianabanana says:

    USPS is probably one of the worst run organizations ever. I work for an online store and they lose at least a package out of a shipment every day. Calling them for claim forms is like prying teeth out of a dinosaur. I’m on my 4th call for having them send me claim forms. They say they sent it out every single time, yet we never receive them. A courier service who can’t seem to deliver letters… GOOD JOB USPS!

    I loathe every second I spend wasting my time with those incompetent idiots at USPS. There’s not a one place I hate more. /end rant

    • zekedms says:

      @dianabanana: What kind of store do you work for? Do you send out 500 pieces a day or something?

      In the 3 years my family has been running an online store, with a 50-100 piece a day average, we’ve come out with 6 things that had to be reported as lost.

      Considering the inconceivable amount of material they handle at the prices they do, the percentage of loss is damn well lower than most any other industry, especially delivery.

    • christoj879 says:

      @dianabanana: How do you ship USPS? I use Endicia, and while by no means do I ship with any considerable volume, I can buy insurance from U-PIC. Insurance claims are always a pain, but they do process them and the claim forms are self-service, no waiting on them to be sent to you.

  11. MissPeacock says:

    I’ve gotten things like this several times before. I’m mostly just impressed that they still sent me the remnants of my mail. And I guess I do feel that with all the mail that goes out everyday and goes through those wacky machines, a few pieces are bound to be messed up.

  12. A few weeks ago I sold a $50 textbook via Amazon to a woman halfway across country.

    Yesterday I rec’d a “WE CARE” bag containing the shredded remains of the empty envelope, no book. (“We care, but not enough to attempt to deliver anything…”) Why send that to me?!

    I was told by the USPS customer service via the 800 # that anything on the East Coast that gets ejected from its envelope by their conveyor belts o’ doom is sent to an Atlanta warehouse, and that I could (HA!) have a chance of recovering the book by writing a letter (no email, no phone – you have buy a stamp from them!) describing the object and what address to send it to.

    The address:

    Atlanta RC
    POB 44161
    Atlanta GA 30378

    I assume parts of the country have their own centers. I picture the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse…

    What’s freaky about this is that many of these items are obviously mass produced, so I imagine that you could describe all sorts of things and get some free merch. “Hey, I lost my Harry Potter book… it says “Harry Potter” on the cover… if you see one, that’s mine…”

    In the meantime had to refund this woman’s $. Not happy about that. Yes, I could have bought insurance… but if I did that for every item I sell I’d be spending 15 hours/week tying up a P.O. line and would actually start losing money on some items. Even just buying their mafia-type insurance (“things break…”) on higher-ticket items would eat into my profits too much.

    Two observations:

    – Wouldn’t it be MUCH EASIER & CHEAPER to maych my item to the envelope at the site by weight, indicated by the postage, seeing as it was a heavy book and likely the only item on the floor that weighed that much..? Isn’t this easier than sending a package mailed from Philadelphia to Chicago to Atlanta, and then assuming a miracle happens & I get it back… resend it up to Phila.?

    – If the machines rip open so many packages that you have a center to deal with, YOU NEED DIFFERENT MACHINES.

  13. pixiegirl1 says:

    At that point why even bother sending him the cover? What is he going to do with it look at all the magazine articles he can’t read?!

  14. catskyfire says:

    Basically, they send whatever has an address on it. That way, you can contact the sender and let them know if it’s damaged too much. In the case of the magazine, he can call and the company will likely send him a new one.

  15. TheJameson says:

    I got that same awesome “sorry, brah” from USPS when a guy I was subleasing to tried to send me a key I forgot. After the key was ripped out of the envelope by one of their sorting machines, I was lucky enough to receive an empty envelope from the USPS and a $500 fee from the place I worked.

  16. FoobieBlecch says:

    “We sincerely regret the damage … we hope this didn’t inconvenience you.” Why do businesses bother to make remarks like this? Why, no, it didn’t inconvenience me, I really send and receive mail only as a hobby, a time-filler: why would you think not getting my mail would be inconvenient? I was really only receiving it to keep you in business.

    It’s akin to those inane recordings you hear when you call any company’s customer service. “Please hold, your call is important to us, we’re experiencing unusually heavy call traffic.” Well, no, if my call WERE actually important to you, you’d provide additional call handlers; plus, if after a few months your “unusually heavy call traffic” doesn’t abate, then that moves from “unusual” to “typical” and you should handle it appropriately.

    Please, just tell me, “You can take it or leave it,” I’d appreciate that a bit more than the obvious lies …

  17. eighth_note says:

    I had this happen to one of my wedding invitations. It was returned to me in shreds. Luckily we were able to figure out it was supposed to go to my now sister-in-law, since she kept saying she hadn’t received an invitation.

  18. Gopher bond says:

    I sent a bunch of securities to the Federal Reserve the other week for redemption. Stupidly, I used the USPS, certified, request of receipt. Over the next several days I received remnants of mangled federal securities. Fantastic, now I get to fill out mutilated/lost/stolen securities form and go through that rigamarole again. But, in their defense, the USPS did say, WE CARE, in my case as well.

  19. Rider says:

    I love the way 99% of people have never had anything like this happen to them, but still they jump on the band wagon bashing USPS. I think they do an amazing amount of work for a very low price and have a higher success rate then any other company would.

  20. yungjerry703 says:

    i love usps, they used to get my art supplies cross country for the cheap, my double boxed shoes alwas arrive safe and sound but i have recived a bill from the hospital in a “we care bag” i’m glad they did cause i did’nt.

  21. The USPS deserves a little defense here.
    Their mission is to provide universal service at uniform rates. That means they have to deliver a birthday card to your grandmother for the same stamp price without regard to where it goes in the USA. Even if she lives 30 miles out in rural Nebraska. This telling Granny she is SOL on the birthday card, or they can charge what it costs to get it there. USPS can not do either.

    Many of the cost cutting has involved mechanizing the process (shredded magazine machines). Your letter carrier is forced into some stupid rules- like filling out an envelope that costs a dime to request you to pay for the three pennies owing on a letter.

    In this case- I would rather have the ripped cover or damaged envelope so that I could get another magazine sent, or track down missing mail.

    Finally, people working for the USPS are some pretty amazing folks. Often they are the one’s reporting a missing or possibly injured elderly person. They deal with dogs, families, children, and are most often seen face of our Federal Government. (or local government for that matter) Who else stops by every day?

    • alysbrangwin says:

      @Gizmosmonster: Having dealt with the post in other countries, I can say that the USPS is fantastic. Things get where they need to go relatively quickly, and there’s no need to send a trailing letter after a package saying “Hey did you get my package?” It’s way better than Kazakhstan, Italy, or Spain.

  22. IN THE FACE! says:

    I got a bag of shredded paper one time, and my name and or address was no where included in the messy wad of shreds so I have no idea how they knew it was for me? It also smelled like animal pee so I just left it on my front porch for a few weeks to (hopefully) gross out my mail carrier…

  23. Missing sentence correction:

    Their mission is to provide universal service at uniform rates. That means they have to deliver a birthday card to your grandmother for the same stamp price without regard to where it goes in the USA. Even if she lives 30 miles out in rural Nebraska. This is not true for Fedex or UPS. They have the option of telling you that Granny is SOL on the birthday card, or they can charge what it costs to get it there. USPS can not do either.

    Universal Service at Uniform Rates- Pretty amazing.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @Gizmosmonster: “Universal Service at Uniform Rates- Pretty amazing”

      That’s really not all that impressive and it means that I’m paying more so you can send your bumblefart Granny a birthday card. Screw that noise.

  24. gmoney says:

    When I saw the headline, two questions popped to mind:

    1) Did he see his picture on the cover?
    2) Did he buy 5 copies for his mother?

  25. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I got a birthday card from my aunt and uncle in one of these baggies once, and seeing how they normally send a gift card – it was suprisingly empty. But then I didn’t want to be selfish and ask “did you send a gift card because the USPS ate it”.
    I got some junk mail in one of these the other day too.

  26. Blitzgal says:

    Oh yeah people still steal mail. I’ve been receiving “victim notification” correspondence from a federal court in California to keep me updated on the trial of the US postal worker there who was stealing my Gamefly rentals (I live in Wisconsin). They tracked me down because she still had the original envelopes with my mailing address on it. I had totally been convinced that something fishy was going on when games would mysteriously never make it out to me and here comes confirmation of it.

    There was also a recent case in Texas where 8 postal workers were charged with theft, this time of Netflix rentals. Sometimes your missing mail is stolen, I can confirm it.

    • TKWarrior says:

      @Blitzgal: I have no doubt some of my game rentals are stolen at some point between the shipping center and my local PS office. The inconsistency of when I get games back is just crazy, IF I get the games shipped.

      I’ve had a ‘4 games at once’ plan with them for a couple years now. But for the past few months 25% of any games shipped never got to me. After the first couple games I really started laying into Gamely, but their CS basically didn’t care beyond the default responses they gave me. Some games would show returned while never getting them, others would not arrive until 3 weeks after shipped. In those you can tell someone was ‘rotating’ the envelope to remove the game without tearing the cover (they do not have them sealed like netflix).

      I even changed the address shipped to (still within the same zip) with no change. And the mail cannot be stolen after its delivered, unless someone is breaking into my place without setting off the alarm everyday just to steal gamefly envelopes. So either Gamefly is outright lying about if/when they send me games, or someone in USPS has sticky fingers.

      I can’t even say for sure if the dozens of forms filled out for USPS work, because the issue has gotten better, it you call 1 in 6 games still disappearing ‘better’.

  27. MyPetFly says:

    I received the back cover of a magazine once. It had the mailing label (more of a newsletter I guess).

    I’ve had some pretty crappy experiences with the USPS, and despite the fact that I’m sure they’ve got good employees, I still hate the USPS.

  28. This happened to me once (sort of) with a Netflix envelope. I got one of those “We Care” bags containing the tear-off paper piece of a Netflix envelope. Had to report the disc itself to Netflix as missing in the mail.

  29. Ein2015 says:

    If your machine mangles mail on a DAILY basis, it’s flawed. Period. I’d say it’d have to have a mangle-rate of less than 0.0001% to be worth anything.

  30. NoWin says:

    Hey, at least in most cases USPS tries to own up to the problem.

    It may not be the most frameable of apologies, but their system tries to get the mail from A to B, and if they can ID damaged mail or parcels, the vast majority of sorting centers will get (well, what’s left) to you.

    Makes sense why many magazines now go out in polybags vs just a label on a flipping cover.

    Been to the central Massachusetts center here; pretty amazing.

    One thing I learned (small parcel wise), just by observation, is not to try to stuff something into the “smallest” envelope possible to avoid the next highest rate. Shred, stuck, wedge, pull and tear was the result clearing out the opening to the endorser/sorters.

    Thats why I like the small Priority boxes.

  31. AD8BC says:

    I work for the company that makes the flat sorter machine. It sorts fast. It sorts beaucoup flats per hour. 99.9973% of the flats don’t get torn up.

    But sometimes, they do. It’s a fact of life that no
    machine is perfect.

    On behalf of the manufacturer, I’m sorry.

    I betcha that Rolling Stone will send you a new copy.

    Do people even read Rolling Stone any more?

  32. Dacker says:

    A cop-friend of mine was ticked-off when, for the 2nd year in a row, his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue did not arrive. He complained to his mail carrier about it. Lo-and-behold, the next day he had “a copy”. Note that I did not say, “his copy”.

  33. Nicole125 says:

    You didn’t miss much-Metallica on the cover-enough said.

  34. kbrook says:

    If you call the 800 number for the Post Office, I”m pretty much going to guarantee you that they’re not going to be much help with claims. Get the # for your local Post Office (it’ll be like pulling teeth, the PO does not want those numbers going out if it can at all be avoided), and call them. Since they’re actually in the trenches and working within the system, they’ll be much more helpful.

    A little secret: USPS CSRs, the ones on the phones, have access to a very limited amount of information. They can get you rate quotes, or tell you what you can and can’t send in the mail to Yemen, or try to help you figure out the POs arcane package measuring rules, but they can’t quote regulations, and they can’t help with claims. And even if you know everything in the universe about claims, you’re not allowed to give out any information that isn’t in your manual. You can get reprimanded for doing this. If you’re having problems with your mail or packages, it’s usually better to go to your local PO. (caveat: I worked as a CSR for the USPS several years ago, and the company I worked for lost the contract. Things may have changed.)

  35. corinthos says:

    I had a neighbor who was a postman and he would steal mail. He ended up getting fired but not for stealing mail but because he maced a 15 year old. It took them 2 months to fire him after that.
    He stole magazines and rebates. He knew the name and what the envelope looked like of many rebate companies and would cash them at a grocery store.

  36. domesticdork says:

    This just happened to me but with Canada Post and not a magazine. I ordered a handmade, reversible baby sling and all I got was an envelope with the invoice wrapped in a plastic bag that said it was either “received damaged or damaged in processing.” So which is it guys? Did YOU lose my sling or did the USPS lose it? Lucky for me the seller is being super nice about the whole thing and sending me a new one without any hassle.

  37. blb says:

    but “WE CARE”. that makes up for everything. problem solved.

  38. papahoth says:

    Yea, USPS bashing is a sport out here. As if Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, etc., are better run organizations? Right. I am still waiting for the first poster to claim that the government funds the USPS. Even writing this comment most likely won’t stop that from happening, but when it does, everyone should congratulate the poster for being a lame brain.

  39. BytheSea says:

    I suppose you could contact Rolling Stone mag and tell them the post office destroyed your copy of xx issue and they’ll send you a new one.

    Every once in a while, I get a bag like this with just the tear-off portion of my Netflix envelope – no disk. I’ve started to report it to Netflix b/c I wonder if someone’s stealing the disk.

    Another time I got a paperback book and the envelope from in a bag. The envelope and packing list were torn in half, and the book wrenched like the spine had scoliosis. However, I thought that was really cool and the seller gave me a refund, so, ykno, just amusing what mail machines can do to your stuff.

  40. sponica says:

    The most entertaining damaged mail I ever received was the label of a netflix disc…which explained why the DVD was looped back to Netflix before I ever received it.

    I must say my service was MUCH better when I lived in the boonies and at my college than here in NYC. Yes Mr. Mailman, feel free to shove everything in the box to save time. I mean, I’m LUCKY that the netflix discs haven’t been smashed in half yet. Now if the mailman had OCD, this would not be a problem.

  41. chauncy that billups says:

    hey, they left you the cover. The rest of the magazine is garbage anyway.

  42. Aesteval says:

    Pretty much the same thing happened to my W2 forms this year. Only it was a paper envelope instead of a baggy.

  43. Bubbasan says:

    Sure, sometimes mail is mangled by automatied sorting machines, but the percentage is a tiny fraction of what passed through these machines every day. Whatever is deliverable is delivered — and this means the recipient can contact the sender for a replacement, or at least know what happened to the item. Senders sometimes are at fault, including magazine distribution centers that affix multiple address labels to a single magazine, then ship out a bundle of magazines with no labels (which is how local PO’s can sometimes replace missing magazines with ones with no label — though after a certain number if days these are returned to the sender); people who poorly seal or pack parcels; people who send out unsealed envelopes; or like that one commenter did, put something like a key inside an envelope and not expect a sorting machine to rip it out. That last one is particularly galling, since the key likely became a projectile and could have jammed, damaged the machinery, or even injured an employee. There are mailing requirements (like propper padding, when to use a tyvek envlope, size and wieght matters, etc), and senders should be familiar with them before they cause a damage issue that later is blamed on the USPS.

  44. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    They did this to me with a catalog. I got the “we’re sorry” bag with only one ripped page out of the catalog. It reminded me of the scene in The Godfather where the guy finds the horse’s head in his bed. It seemed like the USPS was just taunting me and saying “Hey sucker, we just trashed your mail..whattaya gonna do about it?”

    They should have just sent nothing at all, and I wouldn’t have even known about it!

  45. Lo-fi says:

    I’m not sure I understand the concern. Rolling Stone is just awful. They did reader Dave a favor.

  46. kidzmatter2me says:

    I work for a company in Indiana that used to ship USPS. Note the use of the words “used to”.

    Over the course of several months, we shipped several boxes of magazines all over the country. Every week, we received several of these “We Care” bags in the mail containing just the address label from the box and a USPS claim form. Needless to say, filing a claim was almost pointless. Out of the over 100 claims we filed, every one came back stating that the packaging was insufficient. We never saw a dime from USPS. Note that our packaging was certified for well over the weight it contained, and had an excellent crush rating.

    Since then, we’ve switched to FedEx for shipping. Know how many “We Care” bags we’ve gotten from them in over a year of shipping with them? Not one. Every package has gotten to its destination intact. Needless to say, the USPS won’t be seeing our boxes any time soon.

  47. raygungirl says:

    A few months ago, my boyfriend attempted to send off for his transcripts from his old school. The school required a $5 money order for official transcripts, which he put in the envelope, and we put it in one of those drop boxes that’s basically in the parking lot of the post office.

    Couple weeks later, we got the envelope in one of those USPS baggies. The envelope had the side ripped off where someone had stolen the $5 money order out.

    Mostly I’m just amazed anyone would rip open something addressed to Art Institute. Were they specifically looking for a $5 money order? If I was gonna risk getting caught stealing something, it’d be for a lot more money than that.

  48. bubbajosh says:

    Hey, this happened to me about a year ago…only it was with my paycheck! I’m surprised the USPS still exists; it has very little going for it to constitute its existence.

    I know first hand because I used to do tech support for them. Most USPS employees are fairly competent in the work they do; with the systems they use, not so much. And forget it if you’re talking with a little Mexican lady who doesn’t understand how a keyboard works.

    Yeah, they’re real special individuals.

  49. Actually, that was the cover to Rolling Stone issue 1061, “The Comedy Issue” with Chris Rock, Tina Fey, and Dave Letterman on it. Metallica was on the front of issue 1062.

  50. alexwiley says:

    The automatic mail sorting machines have been installed in most of the main USPS sorting facilities. The machines are about as big as football fields and are made by Lockheed Martin. There are two bins on opposite corners where the mail is dumped in, shift/shake sorted, automatically weighed and scanned, then each parcel is tracked along the central conveyor system and pushed into one of 100 different bins, each representing a different zip code in the region.

    During testing while I was setting these up for LM they constantly ripped the ever-living-hell out of magazines. Then they have to be turned off, you crawl underneath the thing and pull the pieces out.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Most of the bashers here don’t have a clue what goes on with mail. I read these amusing posts and whoever said most were lame brains was right. Stop mailing bill payments and with the back of the check in the envelope window and no return address. How do know where it goes, we can’t open it. Put the address on postcards. Don’t scribble an address. Most of us don’t know your writing. Put the correct postage on. Don’t send anything that’s smaller than 3 x5 inches. Go do some study before you post complaints here and make yourself look stupid.I thought some of the same things that were written but I work for the USPS and understaand the flow.