Was my letter really delivered on the 4th of July?
July 6, 2010 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I sent a certified letter to a large business last week and just checked its status on the USPS web site to see if it had been delivered. The site tells me that my letter was indeed delivered. On July 4. Which is a Federal holiday. On which they don't deliver the mail. Okay, I guess the Federal observance of Independence Day was on the 5th this year, but that's only because the 4th was a Sunday, On which they also don't deliver the mail. So does this make sense? Do they really deliver mail on Sunday and the 4th of July?
posted by Naberius to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Couple of possibilities:

The letter was put into the mail person's bag/car close to midnight on the third of july. The system marked it as July 4th. The business probably received the letter on Monday.

The mail person didn't put the delivery in on the right date.
posted by royalsong at 9:28 AM on July 6, 2010

The big post office near MSG in New York City has Sunday hours.

If your letter was held at a post office with Sunday hours and some one came in to pick it up, then the delivery would correctly be on a Sunday. I don't know whether post offices with Sunday hours were open on the 4th, but since the 5th was the official holiday, it is possible.

We also just received a letter in the mail with a post mark of July 28th, 2011, so mistakes do happen.
posted by NormieP at 9:34 AM on July 6, 2010

"The big post office near MSG in New York City has Sunday hours."

Coincidentally, a friend who tried to mail stuff there this Sunday says it wasn't open.
posted by Jahaza at 9:47 AM on July 6, 2010

Possibilities: Did you send it Express Mail as well as certified? Express Mail delivers every day of the year, including federal holidays (Christmas delivery is one of their big selling points).

Is the business potentially large enough to receive sufficient amounts of mail that it would have paid for Sunday mail pick-up? If the business is near a mail hub or a large airport, those offices generally offer pick-up services 7 days a week for large customers, and even for small customers that really want it. My former employer had 7-day mail pickup from the nearby (gigantic) airport because we received permits by mail from state or local government departments that wouldn't fax official permits.
posted by fireoyster at 9:50 AM on July 6, 2010

Jahaza So that would be another vote for mistake then.
posted by NormieP at 9:51 AM on July 6, 2010

Some large businesses get such a large volume of mail that they allow the Post Office to "receive" Certified mail on their behalf. They don't want to have someone stand there signing cards for the postal carrier and the postal carrier doesn't want to stand there all day watching them do it. In these instances, the Post Office will stamp as delivered all Certified mail that is placed in the recipient's post office box or pick-up bag at the moment it is sorted. As mentioned above the Postal Service never sleeps (except that guy you saw parked behind the Subway shop) and so it is possible in a large post office for the mail to have been scanned as delivered and so noted on the return card on a holiday.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:31 AM on July 6, 2010

One time I purchased an item that was shipped USPS (bad idea), and when I checked the tracking number online, it said the item was delivered (which it never was).

When I looked into the issue, I was told (I think by a customer service rep at USPS, though I can't remember) that if the current date is past the estimated delivery date, the system marks it as "Delivered" automatically.

But maybe your certified mail is more certified than mine was. Hopefully it is! YMMV.
posted by Zephyrial at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I received my passport from the USPS on a Sunday. Very odd and unexpected, that. I think I thanked the guy about five times!
posted by Heretical at 11:52 AM on July 6, 2010

I've once seen USPS deliver a package on Christmas Day, though that was on a Monday.
posted by Kattullus at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2010

The business wasn't in Loma Linda, was it? Mail delivery there is on Sunday-Friday. Although they probably didn't deliver on Sunday the 4th.
posted by mollymayhem at 8:06 PM on July 6, 2010

Mailmen have to scan the delivery confirmation barcode so possibly he scanned it Saturday and it didn't update in the computer until the 4th
posted by abitha! at 9:38 AM on July 7, 2010

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