U.S. Postal Service Sends My Priority Mail Package 1,688 Miles Out Of Its Way

Just a little detour.

Just a little detour.

Tän ordered something on eBay from a vendor who was right in the same metropolitan area. How long can it take for the U.S. Postal Service to transport a package fifteen miles? Eleven days, evidently. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the seller hadn’t used Priority Mail: you know, that service which is supposed to take two or three days to get things across the country, not just across town.

We get the concept of distribution centers and that carriers can’t just shove something in the recipient’s mailbox on their way across town. What this illustrates, though, is that a service meant for getting your packages across the country isn’t the best choice for sending it to someone who’s practically your neighbor.

I purchased a gift on eBay thinking I would receive it quickly since the seller was from the same area (greater Sacramento). The seller shipped the gift via USPS Priority Mail, which according to USPS.com should be “… within 2 days in most cases”. From my own experience, most things shipped even with normal First Class mail within California only took a day or two, so Priority Mail should be quick right? Wrong.


My package makes a round trip from Sacramento down to SoCal not once, but twice! Out of curiosity, I plotted the distance on Google Maps using the different addresses of the USPS offices and the entire trip amounted to about 1703 miles traveled! To give some perspective, you can drive from Ashland, Oregon through California all the way down to Tijuana, Mexico and back in 1626 miles. That’s all of California. Twice!


At first, I thought the package was mislabeled, but when I received and examined it, I could see everything was clearly printed. In the end, I received the package, but it took 11 days instead of 2 and 1703 miles instead of 15. It’s no wonder USPS is going bankrupt.

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