USPS Delivers Christmas Gift 371 Days Late

A woman in Florida recently received a Christmas gift from her daughter in Arkansas, but she isn’t waiting until Dec. 25 to open it. Why? Because the Postal Service was supposed to have delivered in time for last Christmas.

On December 10, 2010, the woman’s daughter watched as her local post office prepared the priority mail shipment and sent it on its way. That was the last anyone saw of it until it showed up at her mom’s in the last week.

“I was furious. I didn’t want to hurt my parents” by having them think I didn’t send a Christmas gift,” the daughter tells She was so angry, she began driving 25 miles out of her way to use a different post office.

After finally receiving her low-priority mail, the mom thinks that what may have happened is that it got lost at the post office it was originally destined for, and that it was likely found when that office was closed down in late November.

Regardless, she is very amused by the fact that it eventually popped up after more than a year. She even made sure to save the top of the box as proof of her tale.

A rep for USPS apologized and said, “It is not the type of service we try to provide.”

That’s right, because usually the package is just gone forever.

Included in the box was a gift card which the daughter worries might have expired in the year-plus that it’s been sitting unused. But the USPS rep says the Postal Service can provide a letter explaining to the retailer that the package was delayed.

We can’t wait to write the follow-up story about this poor woman trying to explain this story while standing at the cashier at some local retailer.

Postal Service delivers Christmas gift to Indian River family — one year late []


Edit Your Comment

  1. NashuaConsumerist says:

    Kinda happy ending?

  2. SkokieGuy says:

    Charming how the daughter’s anger is that she was worried that her folks wouldn’t think she sent a gift. Has the daughter every heard of this think called the telephone? Maybe a personal visit?

    Not that her folks didn’t get a gift, but that the folks would think poorly of her.

    “….I’m SOOOO angry, because you made me look bad….”

  3. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    Better late than never, I guess.

    Oh wait..

  4. Mav3481 says:

    “That’s right, because usually the package is just gone forever.”

    Nice. +1 for this

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Right, like the letter will help her in any way, shape, or form in getting that gift card re-activated and the balance restored.

  6. anchorworm is really sick of Minnesota weather says:

    Oh, great, I sent my parents gifts out priority mail on Monday. The clerk at the Post Office said that it would get there by Thursday at the latest. What Thursday did she mean?

    • Cat says:

      Pick a Thursday, any Thursday.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      I have to say I do usually have good luck with USPS, but not too long ago I had a month where every thing that came through the USPS was in some way suckified. My mom overnighted a package to me only to have the post office promptly lose it (which sucked since it contained time sensitive medication), then it mysteriously reappeared four days later looking like it had been hit by a truck. The next week I got a package with a huge slash in it that was poorly retaped.The only thing missing was, of course, a check. Around that time they also lost a resume I had sent by registered mail, and informed me they had no way to tell what had happened to it.

      On the other hand, the packages I send to my friend in Japan always arrive surprisingly quick and in good condition. Win some, lose some!

  7. mikeMD says:

    Fruitcake. Meh.

    • Rachacha says:

      Might be better after it was sitting in a box at the Post Office for a year!

    • Quirk Sugarplum says:

      No sir! When properly executed, fruitcake is yummy.

      Be not swayed by that unholy brick of Claxton’s you see in your supermarket. This is a false messenger. Seek out the one, true fruitcake! I’m partial to several homemade ones or, in a pinch, Figis’ “Grandma’s”. But there are many other paths to enlightenment!

      • CubeRat says:

        I love good fruitcake. My mother made it (with Brandy!!), then after she passed away, my brother found the recipe and has made it. This year, no fruitcake and I really, really miss it.

        I agree with you, those poor souls that have only had store tinned fruitcake have missed a little bit of heaven.

        Anyone know where I can buy GOOD fruitcake in the Pasadena CA area?

    • chizu says:

      We made a Jamaican/ Caribbean Black Fruit Cake. And I can tell you, that thing was delicious.

  8. milrtime83 says:

    “She was so angry, she began driving 25 miles out of her way to use a different post office.”

    What’s the point? They are all part of the same organization and it probably wasn’t even the fault of the specific post office location she dropped it off at.

    • Murph1908 says:

      This was my thought too.

    • kobresia says:

      It could be, some branches have less sullen and disgruntled employees than others. I definitely favor one of the post offices in my area over the other two because the postmaster was way more conscientious and customer-service-oriented than the other two.

      In this case, if the parcel was lost until they closed that particular facility down, it was at least a year overdue for being shuttered. Seriously, how do you just “lose” a customer’s parcel for nearly a year in your post office? Did they ever clean the facility? Were they super-careless with the way they handled the mail?

      From the original article, it’s one of the “video” mailing boxes, a bit larger than the VHS cassettes they were designed for, as opposed to a letter that could’ve fallen in a crack in a machine or behind a counter easily enough. I just can’t imagine how a remotely well-run facility could lose something like that.

  9. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    “Included in the box was a gift card which the daughter worries might have expired in the year-plus that it’s been sitting unused. But the USPS rep says the Postal Service can provide a letter explaining to the retailer that the package was delayed. “

    Probably a BlockBuster gift card, in which case SOL.

  10. chemmy says:

    Hope that wasn’t a Blockbuster gift card.

  11. superml says:

    Now you don’t have to buy a present for this year.

  12. crispyduck13 says:

    Fuck USPS. I won’t be happy until they are rightfully shut down. So sick of their under-achiever bullshit.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Despite all it’s problems, I’d rather pay $0.44 for a letter than $30 for a UPS/Fed-Ex letter.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        That is true, but they’ve been dicking around with my packages this week to the point that I’m ready to go nuts. I wrote my latest crazy tale to Consumerist last night about how 2-3 day priority delivery actually means ‘up to 5 days and we can’t do anything about it otherwise.’ Maybe they’ll see fit to post it.

        • Earl Butz says:

          No can do, my friend. Required, by name, in the original US Constitution.

          Plus, the dirty secret of both FedEx and UPS is that most of their deliveries are at least partially handled by USPS.

        • AEN says:

          UPS and FedEx don’t guarantee their delivery times either.

  13. KyBash says:

    Yet another USPS fail! When UPS couldn’t find a package I sent, but which they wouldn’t admit they lost, it took TWO years for it to appear. C’mon USPS — if you try just a bit harder, you might someday be as bad as your more-expensive competitor.

  14. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Yes, the USPS can provide the letter to the retailer if the gift card is expired. Whether or not the retailer will care is another matter altogether.

  15. zyphbear says:

    Honestly, USPS has been just terrible in their service lately. I sent a Priority mail package…that took a WEEK to arrive (not the 2-3 days quoted) and a Christmas Card that randomly got returned with a “Return to sender” claiming that postage was due, even though I used a forever stamp that I purchased less than 3 days beforehand, then was returned a week later as well, but apparently didn’t leave my state!

    They are wondering why they are losing money? It’s not due to the lack of bills being mailed and letters not being sent to family/friends, it’s the terrible service you get when you attempt to use them! Things like photos and Cards are still being sent by mail and they can’t even do the standard service they have been doing for countless years! They are basically shooting themselves in the foot.

    They should take advantage of people who like getting physical objects, like postcards and greeting cards, help advocate that! Like Postagram and iCards, encourage people to use those services to get them interested in getting something special and use it to get your service levels back up. Throw in a Postcard with a Express/Priority mail shipment! There are so many ways to approach this to fix their own issues. They just need to start caring again or they will just go the way of the dodo and it will be all their fault.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      […Christmas Card that randomly got returned with a “Return to sender” claiming that postage was due, even though I used a forever stamp that I purchased less than 3 days beforehand….]

      Do you get that a forever stamp covers first class postage for one ounce? I suspect your card was heavier, so extra postage is due. A forever stamp is not good for unlimited postage. For example, you can’t put one forever stamp on a 1 pound box and expect it to be delivered.

      [They are wondering why they are losing money? It’s not due to the lack of bills being mailed and letters not being sent to family/friends, it’s…..] the Congress that passed into law a requirement that the post office fund 75 years of future pension obligations within 10 years. Let me say that again. 10 years to put aside enough money to pay pensions 75 years in the future – for people not born yet.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Then the USPS needs to become a private entity. Then when they keep sucking harder than an LA hooker they can go under like every other company that performs poorly. There are other companies to take their place.

        • failurate says:

          No. Horrible idea.
          I see you are frustrated, but you need to look beyond your own nose. There is no private company that has the same reach and responsibilities that the USPS has. Not FedEx or UPS.

          The USPS is still vital for commerce and cannot be duplicated without massive massive expenditure. It is a modern marvel and deserves to be subsidized by all of us.

      • failurate says:

        I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that something that absurd was pushed through by representatives from Georgia(UPS) and Tennessee(FedEx).

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:


      The Forever stamp does not mean you can just mail any letter with no regard to size or weight. The Forever Stamp’s value is the First-Class Mail stamp postage rate for a one ounce letter at the time of use.

      So your letter was likely more than once ounce in weight.

  16. framitz says:

    At least the package did get delivered and the fruit cake was just as fresh.

    I don’t get the hate for USPS, I’ve only had one issue with them over the course of many years, and it was resolved quickly and correctly.

    • MMD says:

      Ah, but that’s part of the point. Service is extremely inconsistent, depending on your city, your specific post office and your carrier. After receiving habitually awful service in Chicago, I feel incredibly lucky to have good service in WI. But who knows what happens if my awesome carrier gets a new route or something…

  17. Coffee says:

    This is why it’s a bad idea to ship puppies via USPS, lady.

  18. kewpie says:

    I actually had a similar experience several years ago. I came home one day to find a package with a PaperBack Swap book inside. I was confused because I had already gotten the same book many months earlier. When I checked online I remembered that the first copy I had ordered from another swapper never arrived. I had marked it missing and ordered another copy without giving it another thought. I checked the postmark on the package and sure enough it had been mailed almost a year earlier (within a few days). The package wasn’t damaged in any way and the address was correct. The post office had no explanation.

  19. regis-s says:

    Coulda’ been worse I suppose. At least they didn’t want to charge her storage for a year.

  20. sufreak says:

    My MIL mailed a slew of Xmas cards. Not a single one has arrived at their destination. Meanwhile, the ones we mailed from the next town over made it in no time.

  21. georgi55 says:

    If your mommy is getting “hurt” because she didn’t get a gift and can’t openly discuss that they have bigger issues than presents missing.

  22. MickeyMoo says:

    Make gift cards non-expiring (retailers are already getting more than enough float on the cash to compensate for trivial “administrative” costs)

  23. j2.718ff says:

    I believe there was an SNL “commercial”, for a shipping place that did this sort of thing as a service. That is, they made it look as if you made your shipment several weeks ago. They put an old postmark on the box, throw it around, maybe rip it a little, and then send it to its destination.

  24. Not Given says:

    The local hospital’s records show a bill was sent to me twice. Neither one got here. I finally called and asked them how much it was because I didn’t want it to get sent to collections. I was going through all my paid bills, FSA notices and EOB’s that hadn’t been stapled together and found an old EOB and FSA notice without a bill. It usually takes a few months, like 4 or 5, for them to get their bills sent out, but I thought 8 months was pushing the boundaries. Both bills will probably turn up next fall, on the same day.

  25. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    get that letter so you have an explanation of what happened.

  26. The Twilight Clone says:

    This bullshit will only get worse as the US Postal Service begins to shut down. Then you’re left with the frightening duopoly FedEx and UPS.

  27. Dave B. says:

    “It is not the type of service we try to provide.”

    No, but it’s the type of service you DO provide.

  28. psm321 says:

    *sigh* so much USPS hate because of a rare occasional lost package. Like that never happens with FedEx or UPS. OTOH, the VAST majority of the time, USPS priority mail will ship packages across the country faster (I get CA->MI in 2 days *routinely*) than more expensive FedEx/UPS Ground

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

    Based on what we’ve read about the rats eating the contents from packages in NYC, at least the item arrived intact. It could have arrived with a hole chewed in the side of the box and the insides reduced to a rat’s nest.

  30. jogales says:


  31. fir3ball says:

    When I was dropping off packages (online postage is amazing) I heard the postal workers trying to upsell Priority because First Class isn’t a time guaranteed service…NEITHER IS PRIORITY…. I’ve had stuff get to Italy faster on first class than packages sent Priority domestically.

    That being said I’ve shipped hundreds of eBay items through USPS and most of the time the experience isn’t awful, especially for the price vs. UPS / FedEx

  32. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    I work for a shipping company and I handle our claims. We ship out over 400 packages per day with USPS. They lost a bag of 129 packages in their sorting facility. When I went to claim all 129 packages, they mysteriously started being delivered one by one, 2 weeks later. -____-