The Post Office Wants You To Know They Caught The Thief Who Stole Your Shirt

Someone at the post office poached the Villainous Victorian Velociraptor Matt had ordered from Shirt.Woot. Woot sent Matt a new Velociraptor shirt and he figured that was that. Not so! He recently received a remarkably detailed letter from the post office’s Inspector General, complete with an added surprise.

Matt writes:

I thought I’d write to inform about some suprisingly good customer service from USPS. I had ordered a woot shirt about 2 and a half months ago that apparently got lost in the mail system. I called Fedex and got a message a few days later how they had no idea where it was and to call the shipper and have them re-send. Well I did just that and Woot’s great customer service sent me a replacement. Today I check the mail and I have a big manilla envelope from the USPS Inspector’s Office in my mailbox. Apparently people really love the Villainous Victorian Velociraptor (I know they couldn’t see inside the woot bag, but it’s still a great shirt). I’m suprised I ever heard anything again about the shirt. See attached photos for letter from the US Postal Inspector.

USPS Win.jpg


Edit Your Comment

  1. duxup says:

    “the suspects were approached by agents”

    Agent Smith?

  2. Goldensummer says:

    Postal theft is serious business.

    • The Marionette says:


    • kristinc says:

      If postal theft were really serious business, I and scores of other people from a niche collecting community who were ripped off by a dishonest swapper would have seen some justice for the thousands of dollars we collectively lost to her. It’s nice this guy got his shirt, and I don’t want to sound bitter, but I think it was mostly luck. If postal authorities really took it seriously when people used the mail system to run scams or steal things, the dozens of reports we made and detailed evidence we provided would have led to her arrest.

  3. JoeDawson says:

    I’m confused, if it was shipped USPS… why did he call FedEx

  4. Norvy says:

    Headline’s use of “mole” seems to infer that it’s a USPS worker who stole it. I don’t get that from the letter.

    P.S. My Villanous Victorian Velociraptor arrived unscathed.

    • The Marionette says:

      I don’t see “mole” anywhere in the headline, but then again they probably edited it (they seem to do that with posts too).

    • ellmar says:

      “someone at the post office”… This made me think it was someone who worked there, though I suppose that it could mean any person who was at the post office ?

  5. chucklesjh says:

    That’s the first time I’ve heard of USPS going out of the way to fix something. Maybe they should answer why my water bill showed up 2 days after the due date even though it was sent from an office less than a mile away and post marked almost two weeks before the due date.

    • nybiker says:

      Maybe it took trip on the rapids somewhere or went to Niagara Falls? Seriously, I would suggest that if you are in NYC, sign up at the NYC DEP site so you can see your bill and even pay it via EFT.
      But if you’re not in NYC, I guess your water bill represented that day’s 1 envelope out of the millions processed that got misdirected.
      Other than that, in the context of the OP’s story, I would ask the same question you did.

  6. psm321 says:

    I find it funny when people think that good service from the USPS is surprising, since they are in my own experience the best, fastest (priority mail from CA to MI in 2 days FTW!), and cheapest _unless_ I’m shipping FedEx through work where we have negotiated cheap rates (the retail FedEx rates tend to be higher than USPS). They also work hard to deliver misaddressed mail, investigate problems, etc., unlike UPS and FedEx (again, in my experience)

    • Silverhawk says:

      I’d love to have your experience.

      My history with USPS is the opposite. If it absolutely, positively needs to get there, USPS will find a way to lose or delay it. Seriously, it’s happened every time I’ve depended on them to send something important, or receiving from someone else.

      Sure, UPS & FedEx screw up too, but not nearly the frequency that USPS does.

      • KyBash says:

        I can’t remember the last time UPS delivered something the same month it was sent without first mangling it, dunking it in oil, or leaving it at the wrong house. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t do business with anyone who ships only via UPS.

        USPS is great — fast, cheap, reliable.

        • psm321 says:

          To be perfectly honest, while I like to be a USPS booster, I think it really is mostly a regional thing depending on who’s running things for that particular carrier in your area. I’m lucky enough to be in an area where all 3 (USPS, UPS, FedEx), are pretty reasonable. I do still think USPS has a more consistent service level most places though (with exceptions like I think Chicago and NYC where people complain about horrible mail carriers)

    • shepd says:

      Agreed. And I’m in Canada. I won’t buy things from the US if they only ship by UPS/FedEx/not USPS.

    • Salty Johnson says:

      I’ve heard bad stories, but I’ve never had a problem with UPS. Once did I have a delayed package shipped with FedEx. Several times have I had issue with the USPS. I usually ship UPS when I can.

      Also, I do believe that parcel services other than the USPS are legally-mandated to have higher rates than the USPS. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. Anybody have more insight into this?

    • Unclaoshi says:

      Same with me. I always get the USPS express option when I buy something and its usually the cheapest and its always been faster then UPS and FedEx has.

    • profmonster says:

      USPS is great for small things. They lost my faith last summer when they told me that a framed mirror (about 11 x 14) was too large to send with them.

    • Voxxen says:


      UPS has been a disappointment every time for one reason or another. They’re crazy expensive, slow, manhandle your goods and the actual act of delivery is always a bother. They can’t get into an apartment building so they have to leave it outside on the street, they come at awful times like 3pm when no one is around to accept a package that requires a signature. Then when you take a day off of work they come at a completely different time or don’t come at all. Then they send it back.

      Fedex has all of the same problems, but add the fact that when you get a date timeframe for delivery they immediately send it to your local hub and then sit on it for as many days as necessary to get it to you on the very last day.

      Only problems i’ve ever had with USPS were actually with the person who sent the package.

      Oh, and I got my copy of Starcraft II three days early :3

  7. JediJohn82 says:

    Does anybody find it sad they have to have a special law enforcement agency just to police the postal system? Seems like federal crime investigation would be better left to the FBI.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      No. Many companies have a security department.

      • mdoneil says:

        The United States Postal Inspection Service is not a security department, it is a federal law enforcement agency and separate from the United States Postal Service. The history of the USPIS dates back to 1772 – older than our Constitution itself.

        The internal audit and inspection functions of the service were transferred to the USPS OIG in the 1970’s. The USPIS investigates crimes involving the mails including fraud, terrorism, child exploitation and many other crimes that involve the mail.

    • RandomHookup says:

      It is also involved in investigating crimes that can’t be easily handled by local authorities. Considering the billions of packages and checks delivered annually, it’s not really surprising that there are special cops just to handle the mail system.

    • ellmar says:

      The US Postal Inspection Service dates back to Ben Franklin’s reign as Postmaster General. Once upon a time it was responsible enforcing obscenity prohibitions under the Comstock Act, including the prosecution of those who sent contraceptives (and information about contraception) through the mail.

  8. Outrun1986 says:

    Yeah my post office here is great, they are very nice and helpful to me. I wouldn’t consider mailing packages with anyone else.

  9. BoredOOMM says:

    Memphis is now in Atlanta? No wonder the USPS is going broke.

  10. nybiker says:

    Not having heard of the t-shirt design, I wasn’t sure exactly what was lost just by looking at the photo. At first I thought it was some sort free-standing bicycle artwork. I now have to try and get the shirt myself.

    • alSeen says:

      Woot shirts are awesome. Nice soft material. The only issue is that they are designed to be tight fitting. So if you like a baggier shirt, you have to go up a size or two. I normally get XL shirts or XXL depending on the maker, but woot shirts I have to get in XXXL.

  11. veg-o-matic says:

    It’s not really “customer service” as much as it is “enforcement of federal law governing the mails.”

    Whatever you call it, my nerd crush on the USPS has been ratcheted up a notch.
    Kudos, Mr. Inspector Higgin-b.

  12. ZekeDMS says:

    I’m all the more appreciative for my 3V and my Trap shirt having arrived unmolested. Those things have been coveted by everyone I know already! It’s a miracle they made it past jealous thieves I say.

  13. rahntwo says:

    Can anyone enlighten me as to where the Southwest Airlines story went? It was there- and then POOF! it was gone. Wassamatta Consumerist?

    • GoalieLax says: now has editorial control and decided to pull a story about SWA planes partying at a LV club with naked jetblue jets?

      (go look at deadspin re: lebron earlier this week if you don’t get the reference)

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      It will probably show up tomorrow.

  14. diasdiem says:

    It’s a Villainous Victorian Velociraptor on a Velocipede!

    • ZekeDMS says:


      The velocipede is just a secret bonus for the smarter among the crowd to spot, don’t give it away! :)

  15. Fallom says:

    Ironic that a federal organization takes more responsibility for theft than any airline.

  16. rahntwo says:

    If Southwest Airlines has decided mechanical problems are now considered acts of God, would the flight crews be doing the repairs now… Re-,2933,295857,00.html

  17. yagisencho says:

    Love the shirt.

  18. beloitks328 says:

    Confused Joe Dawson thats an easy question why he was contacted by USPS when he used FEDEX. that’s because FEDEX delivers US Mail. And a lot of it. All Priority Mail airport to airport. All priority express mail, etc. FedEx is the largest customer of the USPS, I dont know if that means they deliver more US mail that the USPS but who knows. The real question is Matt, did you spend i dont know 4 times more than that shirt is worth on shipping? Alright, not for me but your right it is great shirt. I had to go back and look at the pic, the first glance when reading the article I see the dinosaur and instantly dismiss it, I didnt even see that it was riding a bike with big wheels wearing at hat, amd looks pretty happy

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Yes, you’re right, they do haul a huge amount of the mail. I love telling people that when they rip on FedEx and say “Oh I always use the PO!!”

      I totally want that shirt too.

  19. Scarficus Rex says:

    Tell me quickly what’s the story
    Who saw what and why and where
    Let him give a full description
    Let him answer to Higginbotham! …er…Javert!

    • FangDoc says:

      Nice to know I’m not the only one who routinely inserts bits of “Les Miserables” libretto into my everyday life.

      The last time I had to pay $25 for my first bag on an airplane, I caught myself humming, “Charge ’em for the lice, extra for the mice, Two percent for looking in the mirror twice.”

  20. Duke says:

    David Higginbotham? That sounds like a name I would make up as a joke. He’s clearly doing a good job, though. It’s nice to see that there are government employees out there who care about their customer service. Well done, Higgenbotham!

  21. two_handed_economist says:

    Getting a letter from the IG would be amazing, but Matt did not get a letter from the “Inspector General”. The IG heads the Office of the Inspector General, United States Post Office (, which conducts audits and reviews at the overall operations level.

    The letter came from a field level “postal inspector” working for the United States Postal Inspection Service (, which conducts hands on investigations of abuse, etc.

  22. suez says:

    Wow, maybe they can track down my issues of Entertainment Weekly that go missing every once in a while.

    • dabarak says:

      I once had the back cover of a magazine delivered to me. That’s where the address label was.

  23. Beef Supreme says:

    So wait…now he has two velociraptor shirts? Not fair.

  24. STrRedWolf says:

    Send this to Woot! immediately! They’ll like the story!

  25. dabarak says:

    I wish I had good experiences with the Postal Service.

    Postal inspectors never followed up when I filed a fraud complaint. In an eBay sale a few years ago, the seller specified postal money order as payment, but never shipped the item and never responded to emails. The postal inspectors never did anything either.

    Our current mail carrier routinely bends unbendable mail to stuff it in our mail box, often stuffing the box to the point where it’s very difficult to get any mail out of it, and often breaking CDs. No action taken by the local postmaster.

    A past mail carrier where we used to live often neglected to handle mail forwarding. No action by the local postmaster.

    Am I bitter?

  26. MacBenah says:

    So this doofus had a Postal shipment lost and called FedEx to complain? Wonder if he whines to the water company when his telephone goes out?

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      Shirts from woot! are shipped via fedex smartpost. This means that fedex handles the package from the shipper to the post office nearest the delivery point, then the mail carrier delivers it to the mailbox. The tracking number belongs to fedex, that’s why he called them.

      • The Cybernetic Entomologist says:

        I never really did understand how “Smart” Post works – I’ve ordered stuff from Woot in the past, and the shipping path from Woot in TX to me in KC is pretty simple. For some reason, the package went from TX to Kansas City regional FedEx Ground hub, to Milwaukee FedEx Ground hub, then from there via ground to my local post office in suburban KC.

        No, this wasn’t an isolated incident. Everything I order from Woot takes that route.

  27. KrispyKrink says:

    And they can’t be bothered to do anything when local USPS employee’s steal some of my Netflix DVD’s.

  28. John Meacham says:

    I had a similar thing happen, I ended up getting a package 3 months late. The letter explaining what happened said it fell out of one of the sorting machines and got wedged somewhere in the machinery until it was found at a later inspection. It was in somewhat poor shape, but it did eventually get to me and they explained what happened. All in all, the USPS is one of the better organizations I have come across.

  29. Smiley36 says:

    The U.S. Postal Inspectors are great! I once had a landlord who was irked at me for moving out and terminating my lease early. Not only did he keep my deposit but he kept my mail (before my change of address form kicked in). After threatening me that he would throw out my mail (including a payroll check) I called a USPS Inspector and filed a complaint. It turns out that the USPS takes a dim view of interference with the mail system. My landlord returned the mail to the post office and it was finally forwarded to me.

  30. ThinkerTDM says:

    A government official who actually does his job? Incredible!

  31. eman187 says:

    I ordered a shirt from woot a couple of years ago that disappeared once it got into USPS hands. Emailed Woot and they send a new one overnight. Also never send money thru the mail no matter how small the amount. Mail carriers can sniff out money a mile away.

  32. Mihkel says:

    It’s a little ridiculous, but it shows that they at least care a little bit.

  33. Mihkel says:

    It’s a little ridiculous, but it shows that at least they care a little bit.

  34. xnihilx says:

    You know this makes me wonder about a few things with SmartPost. I know there’s been a problem with the packages from Woot being lost somewhere between FedEx and when the USPS gets them. (Hubby had it happen and didn’t get his package.) Maybe there is a bigger issue with theft during the transfer between companies? Just a though.

  35. Link_Shinigami says:

    And here I thought “Post Master General” was just a title and not a position for a secret armed forces with their own intelligence operation agents…