USPS Package Odd Routing

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
DTalos
Posts: 395
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:59 pm

USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by DTalos » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 pm

I've been following tracking for a package sent via USPS that I'm expecting from the midwest (I am in the west) and the tracking currently shows the package at a distribution center in Puerto Rico of all places. Why would the package travel in the opposite direction of it's intended destination?

Jags4186
Posts: 4873
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:14 pm

DTalos wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 pm
I've been following tracking for a package sent via USPS that I'm expecting from the midwest (I am in the west) and the tracking currently shows the package at a distribution center in Puerto Rico of all places. Why would the package travel in the opposite direction of it's intended destination?
While I don’t know why a package would end up in PR, shippers operate on the hub and spoke system. If someone were to ship something from say Illinois to Texas, it may go to a super shipping center in Virginia or Colorado before being sent along, for example.

It’s possible your package got misdirected, but since it’s tracking is still active I’m confident it will end up where it needs to go.

Housedoc
Posts: 617
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 4:25 pm
Location: Alabama

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Housedoc » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:37 pm

I had a Discover replacement credit card sent from Utah to AL routed via Puerto Rico. It got lost so a second set shipped. It to went to PR. I called back furious and talked to executive staff. Third time it came via UPS overnight. USPS cards eventually showed up. No reason ever figured out.

getco
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:10 am

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by getco » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:47 pm

We ship out ~100k boxes a year across Big 3 carriers in the US. This happens more often than you’d think (No matter the carrier).

Lots of stuff is automated, but in the majority of sort and distribution centers, it all depends on a certain cart of pre-scanned boxes being loaded on the correct truck.

Seems like yours got put on the PR truck. It will be re-routed once it is scanned at the destination.
Last edited by getco on Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mpsz
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by mpsz » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:48 pm

The logistics/shipping industry is dealing with unprecedented volume right now as the world moves to online shopping. It takes a different form depending on where you are located... here in my area, I've had multiple packages delayed 2+ weeks by UPS, some USPS packages have shipped cross-country with 0 tracking updates until the day they were delivered, etc. I'm hearing that UPS in my area has a huge backlog of packages in my area and can't follow FIFO because of the volume, so some packages have been on trailers for weeks and weeks without moving. In short - the world is crazy right now and shippers are not immune.
Housedoc wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:37 pm
I had a Discover replacement credit card sent from Utah to AL routed via Puerto Rico. It got lost so a second set shipped. It to went to PR. I called back furious and talked to executive staff. Third time it came via UPS overnight. USPS cards eventually showed up. No reason ever figured out.
That's horrible. Discover staff have nothing to do with how the mail is routed. Hopefully you didn't ruin some minimum wage worker's day over something trivial and easily resolved.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 6159
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:22 pm

DTalos wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 pm
I've been following tracking for a package sent via USPS that I'm expecting from the midwest (I am in the west) and the tracking currently shows the package at a distribution center in Puerto Rico of all places. Why would the package travel in the opposite direction of it's intended destination?
Hard to say if this is just normal routing or if this is a misrouting situation. Even if it has been misrouted, hopefully a USPS worker will notice the issue and route it back to you. If not, you can contact the sender about the lost package. I've had a case where something came to my town, then accidentally got sent to another California town instead of being sent to my local post office. It took a few extra days for it to make the loop back to my town and get delivered. Just keep an eye on the tracking and if you get no updates for 7-10 days, then contact the sender about it being potentially lost in transit.
mpsz wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:48 pm
Housedoc wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:37 pm
I had a Discover replacement credit card sent from Utah to AL routed via Puerto Rico. It got lost so a second set shipped. It to went to PR. I called back furious and talked to executive staff. Third time it came via UPS overnight. USPS cards eventually showed up. No reason ever figured out.
That's horrible. Discover staff have nothing to do with how the mail is routed. Hopefully you didn't ruin some minimum wage worker's day over something trivial and easily resolved.
On the other hand, once something important has been lost twice with one shipper, logic suggests another shipper should be chosen, as the first shipper has shown their inability to deliver. I do think that should be a front-line call center option when something as important as a replacement card has been repeatedly lost. If Discover does not provide that option to their front-line call center staff, then that's a customer service deficiency on the corporation's part, not on the individual staff person's part.

Trader Joe
Posts: 1787
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:50 pm

DTalos wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 pm
I've been following tracking for a package sent via USPS that I'm expecting from the midwest (I am in the west) and the tracking currently shows the package at a distribution center in Puerto Rico of all places. Why would the package travel in the opposite direction of it's intended destination?
Have you contacted USPS with your questions/concerns?

StrangePenguin
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:35 am

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by StrangePenguin » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:55 pm

Trader Joe wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:50 pm
DTalos wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 pm
I've been following tracking for a package sent via USPS that I'm expecting from the midwest (I am in the west) and the tracking currently shows the package at a distribution center in Puerto Rico of all places. Why would the package travel in the opposite direction of it's intended destination?
Have you contacted USPS with your questions/concerns?
This is a good point. There are expected delivery times for various classes of USPS mail. They can be quite long, but once your package has not come in the expected time frame, plus a few days grace period, you can file a report with the postal service. I did this a few months ago when I had a package coming from only 30 or so minutes away that just stopped moving for days at a distribution center. As soon as I filed the claim, the package miraculously started moving again and arrived shortly afterwards.

(Another anecdote -- just this past week I ordered something from a business that is 12 miles south of me in Chicago. It was routed through a distribution center in Iowa! It actually arrived in reasonable time. Just silly though that they drove it to the next state and back.)

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9567
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:21 pm

I'm in Texas, and the tracking on my Amazon order showed it being left on someone's porch in Illinois. Never did get it, but fortunately the seller refunded my purchase price.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

jlawrence01
Posts: 1631
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:43 pm

With the USPS, things like this happen all of the time.

Three years ago, one of the employees at our contract postal station purchased identical gifts for his two twin granddaughters. He packaged them up and mailed them to the same address in Dallas. Both boxes left Tucson on the same mail truck. One arrived in two days directly routed to Dallas. The second went via Central California and took five days. It made no sense.

User avatar
celia
Posts: 10820
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by celia » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:26 am

DTalos wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:10 pm
...the tracking currently shows the package at a distribution center in Puerto Rico of all places. Why would the package travel in the opposite direction of it's intended destination?
Maybe PR is a hub and the package got stuck there due to bad weather. Just a guess.

A month or two ago, I called in for an Rx refill at a pharmacy one mile from home. After 5 days, I hadn’t got around to picking it up and knew they would probably reshelve it 2 days later. Since they had offered earlier to deliver it to me, I called up on a Friday afternoon asking if it could be delivered instead. They said sure but it would be 4 or 5 days before I received it.

Sure enough, it came 5 days later. I looked up the FedEx tracking code (out of curiousity) and saw that it was dropped off at the intake facility the following day someplace at least 5 miles away in the opposite direction. The package went on a joy ride to Oakland before returning back to practically where it had originated. This is probably common as I assume all the pharmacy patrons are local and the pharmacy knew exactly how long it would take. (Possibly Oakland is the closest hub.)

The worst case I have ever heard of was for an order of specialized genealogy books for our local society that wouldn’t interest many people. They were insured and mailed from San Diego using the Post Office and we received the tracking number soon after they were mailed. When we checked on tracking a week later, we saw that they had made it to a Los Angeles distribution center near us but continued onto someplace like Atlanta a few days later. The package eventually returned to the same Los Angeles distribution center but for no known reason the package then went to someplace like the Dakotas. Then the package went back to Los Angeles and was finally delivered after about a month. The person receiving it thought something was odd about the package so she took it to a local post office where it was opened. The box was full of rocks!

It appeared that someone at the distribution center kept (sold?) the books and deliberately kept sending the package in the wrong direction.
As the package was insured, we got the money back and ordered again.

Seasonal
Posts: 1659
Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 1:49 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Seasonal » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:36 am

All three major package delivery services are equally bad and subject to odd routings, delays, etc.

My current favorite issue is that FedEx's web site is showing a package for me as being "on vehicle for delivery". This is unchanged since May 21. I eventually got the item. but the web site stays the same.

User avatar
TnGuy
Posts: 443
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:31 am
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by TnGuy » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:24 pm

About two weeks ago we had a package that made it's way over to PR before arriving (late) to our house. This one was coming out of TX to begin with.


David
"Money will not make you happy. And happy will not make you money." - Groucho Marx

andypanda
Posts: 455
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by andypanda » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm

I'm in Richmond VA and the shippers are actually doing a better job than most years. I know they're swamped and so are the retailers.

One recent retailer example. Home Depot said they'd ship me a crimping tool for free and save me an hour in the truck plus tolls. I needed to make 3 sets of battery cables for my boat and the tool was only $20. It's a very large pair of pliers. The could have slapped a label on the blister card, but no, it came in a box that would hold a Kitchen Aid over the stove microwave. And it was stuffed with crumpled brown paper. And it came from Wisconsin.

#2. My wife had wanted a couple of cans of Campbell's Cream of Celery soup for a recipe and we couldn't find one in a store to save us. It had been over a month and the shelves were still bare. (Fwiw, they make soup in batches and plan a year or more ahead. Now they're working on producing for Thanskgiving, etc.)

Walmart finally had a 4-pack on line, but not single cans. I ordered two 4-packs and some fishing lures to qualify for free shipping. Great, she'll be happy. The first box came from West Virginia and had one can in it. The second box came a few days later from North Carolina and had 7 cans. The lures came later.

Is this a great country or what?
Last edited by andypanda on Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

02nz
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by 02nz » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:52 pm

getco wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:47 pm
Seems like yours got put on the PR truck. It will be re-routed once it is scanned at the destination.
OP better hope USPS has amphibious trucks then! :happy

In seriousness, I wonder if the cause is that, because of COVID and huge reduction of commercial flights, USPS is having to use weird routings they wouldn't have used prior to the pandemic.

tev9876
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:12 am

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by tev9876 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:27 pm

Could have something to do with the current state of passenger airlines. Passenger flights carry tons of USPS stuff along with other cargo. With so many flights eliminated the more logical direct routes may not exist any more. With few passengers flying and airlines not selling middle seats to begin with, there is plenty of empty cargo space for them to offer that lift capacity at likely cheap rates.

palaheel
Posts: 310
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:35 am

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by palaheel » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:19 pm

On April 11, I mailed a Priority Mail envelope in Raleigh, NC destined for Charlotte, NC.

It left Raleigh and arrived in Charlotte, on the 12th

It left Charlotte on the 13th, and arrived in Raleigh on the 15th

It left Raleigh, and by way of Greensboro, arrived in Charlotte on the 16th

It left Charlotte on the 17th, and arrived in Raleigh on the 20th

It left Raleigh and arrived in Charlotte on the 24th

On the 25th, it was intercepted by human intervention
and finally arrived at its destination on the 26th.

I omitted all of the intra-Charlotte stops along the way. There were over 20 entries in the tracing history.
Markets crash. Markets recover. Inflation takes your money FOREVER.

Topic Author
DTalos
Posts: 395
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:59 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by DTalos » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:33 pm

My package arrived on Monday. What's impressive is that it only took one day for it to get from Puerto Rico to the western USA (it's intended destination).

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9567
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:35 pm

DTalos wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:33 pm
My package arrived on Monday. What's impressive is that it only took one day for it to get from Puerto Rico to the western USA (it's intended destination).
So if I want to get something to CA fast I should send it to PR first?
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Housedoc
Posts: 617
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 4:25 pm
Location: Alabama

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Housedoc » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:10 pm

I had CVS mail a script refill I didn't need right away. Came next day. Last time was 5days from same store location. Gubberment never ceases to amaze me.

Topic Author
DTalos
Posts: 395
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:59 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by DTalos » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:46 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:35 pm
DTalos wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:33 pm
My package arrived on Monday. What's impressive is that it only took one day for it to get from Puerto Rico to the western USA (it's intended destination).
So if I want to get something to CA fast I should send it to PR first?
My package went from the Midwest to Puerto Rico in 3 days, but then when it arrived in Puerto Rico, it only took a day to get to the western United States.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 6159
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:57 pm

Glad to hear that the package arrived.

Helo80
Posts: 1506
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: USPS Package Odd Routing

Post by Helo80 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:34 pm

It probably just got thrown into the wrong bin and was routed thru PR by accident. I think that all three, USPS, UPS, and FedEx have done that to me. I had once package that was at the local PO in California take about 20 days to go about 10 miles to the final address.

Every once in awhile, you read about letters reaching their destination 10-20 years after mailing because it got thrown in the bottom of a bag that was then thrown in a warehouse, or fell out of the sorting machine and wasn't discovered until maintenance was done, etc. Even though total USPS mail volume is down, it's still **** flying everywhere.

Post Reply