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Beware of porch package theft

Given the prominence package theft from porches has seen the last few years, I probably don’t need to remind anyone to take care in removing your delivered packages from your porch as soon as possible after delivery.  But I will anyways, given that we’ve had a number of packages delivered to the correct address go missing in the last couple of months.  There are some easy things you can do to better protect yourself.

– Get a camera or video doorbell on your porch. We’ve all seen plenty of videos of people stealing packages, that seem to be aware of the cameras, but at least this gives you some certainty that a package was stolen, and not mis-delivered, and gives you photos and video to submit along with a police report.

– Talk to the drivers.  We’ve tried to talk to our delivery drivers from Fedex, Amazon, UPS, and USPS to ask them to put packages behind the columns on our porch and not right in the middle where they are prominently visible, and many of them do this consistently, so that is worth a try.

– Install a package drop or package delivery box.  At a former house we installed a package drop slot that went into our garage, for smaller packages and it worked well.

– Use a separate mailing address.  We also maintain a UPS store mailbox account, and whenever we are on vacation, we divert all deliveries there.  We also take care to have any high value items delivered there.

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The USPS has done great this holiday season

I am happy to report that we haven’t had a single lost or detoured package over the last two months.  And by all indications, the delivery times are pretty close to the revised 3-5 day window for first class mail.  Compared to the 2020 holiday season, 2021 shipping with the USPS went really well.

I don’t track UPS and Fedex as closely, because we rarely ship using any service other then that USPS.  But I can tell you that for the last couple of months, we’ve personally experienced a lot of delays with orders from Amazon; perhaps as much as 25% of our orders haven’t made their expected delivery day, and we’ve had a few that were very significantly delayed, and two that never showed up.  Compared to Amazon, the USPS comes out very much smelling like roses.

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USPS shipping update – there is still time to order for Christmas!

We’ve issued a number of notices to order early for Christmas this year, based on the disastrous shipping situation that everyone experienced last year, with many standard First Class packages taking 3 or 4 weeks to arrive when ordered in late November or December 2020.

I’m happy to say this year things are going much better.  I just checked some recent shipments that shipped from our fulfillment contractor in Reno Nevada.

  • Shipped 12/8 to California: arrived 12/11
  • Shipped 12/8 to Montana: due to arrive today 12/13
  • Shipped 12/9 to Tennessee: due to arrive today 12/13
  • Shipped 12/9 to Austin, TX: due to arrive today 12/13
  • Shipped 12/10 to Illinois: due to arrive tomorrow 12/14
  • Shipped 12/10 to Minnesota: due to arrive tomorrow 12/14

It seems like all across the continental US, packages are arriving in 3-4 calendar days.  We have also not had any reports of any packages getting lost in the USPS system, or taking inadvertent long trips to places they aren’t supposed to go, like Guam or Hawaii.

As a comparison, we’ve personally had quite a few orders from Amazon.com be significantly delayed, or never arrive.  I’d say the USPS has really done a stand-up job of pulling their act together this year.

So you still have time to order from us and receive the package for Christmas.  But don’t wait too long!

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USPS changes

The USPS recently implemented new standards for First Class mail.

Single piece first class mail traveling within the same region will still have a delivery time of two days.

This affects only letters and flats, not packages.  They are apparently still holding the standards the same for First Class Packages (2-3 days).   I don’t think those standard are anything close to the reality.  In our recent shipping time review, we found that even within the same region we ship from (west coast) still took an average of 3 1/2 days, not the two they claim, and cross country packages took 4-5 days on average.

Price hikes: They’ll be in place until at least Dec 26. And it could cost anywhere from 25 cents to $5 more to ship packages depending on the service. But don’t expect costs to go down much in the New Year: the agency plans to adjust prices twice a year, in January and July.

Since our shipping cost calculator queries the USPS system in real time, orders will reflect any price increase by the USPS.

Over the holiday season, postal performance sank: 71 percent on-time delivery for two-day mail and 38 percent for three-day mail during the last week of December.

Like we said, order items for the holidays very early this year.

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Shipping companies release holiday ship-by-dates

We recently wrote about the current state of USPS shipping (which is how most of our orders are shipped as it is the lowest cost for packages of the size we ship).

An article in the Wall Street Journal today presents the official ship-by-dates as release by the USPS, UPS, and Fedex, for packages to arrive by December 24th, in time for Christmas.

The U.S. Postal Service is recommending domestic mail for destinations in the contiguous U.S. be sent by Dec. 15 for those using its ground service. The recommended date is Dec. 17 for first-class mail, Dec. 18 for priority mail, and Dec. 23 for priority mail express.

If this holds true, it will present a much better picture than last year, where many of our shipments shipped in early December took 2 weeks or more (some took 4 weeks) to arrive.  But I remain skeptical given the general disarray that is all things supply chain, are this year.

My advice, order by late November to insure delivery by Christmas, just to be sure.

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