Help me get things delivered *not* by the Postal Service
April 11, 2020 11:53 AM   Subscribe

We are staying in a friend's house in a rural area. USPS only delivers to PO boxes. For health reasons, we are very intensely quarantining and going to the post office is a non-starter. Amazon (for better or worse) has been our go to for delivery but they don't specify which mail carrier they are using and a number of packages have not arrived. Basically, we need UPS, Fed-Ex or another option. Can you recommend options for books and home-goods that you know do NOT use the US Postal Service? Thank you!

I feel like maybe this is simple and I'm missing something but, for example, I am strongly desirous of new books right now but when I go to Powells or other sites I can't tell what mail service is used. I just placed an order from Home Depot which I *think* is not being sent by USPS but that was based on extreme reading-between-the-lines.

Do you order from a company that provides books or home-goods and that you know doesn't use USPS? Or alternately do you have a simpler way of figuring out how a company ships its stuff? I've e-mailed various companies but have not gotten responses as I imagine they are swamped. Please share your tips with me so that I may read a new book and open cans. (We currently don't have a can opener and it's driving me bananas...)

Thank you!
posted by jeszac to Shopping (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some ebay sellers offer a choice of delivery service (though I think USPS is most common and generally the cheapest option for most ebay items.) Also, for books: if you have never tried an e-ink ereader, you can get an old used kindle for ~$25 on ebay.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:06 PM on April 11, 2020

If you’re willing to pay, any choice at checkout for next-day or expedited shipping will not be USPS.
posted by kapers at 12:43 PM on April 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Target ships Fedex or UPS in my experience this week.
posted by General Malaise at 1:20 PM on April 11, 2020

My target delivery is coming via UPS Surepost which uses USPS for the last leg of delivery. If you're signed up for UPS My Choice which tracks pkgs to your address you can change some deliveries to UPS ground for an additional charge. It may be regional which carriers are used but I've noticed a lot of changes in which carriers are used by retailers since our shelter in place started.
posted by oneear at 2:01 PM on April 11, 2020

Do these missing shipments have tracking numbers? Are these things getting bounced back to the seller, or held at the post office? Calling the post office and asking what they think is going on, and if they have any suggestions for what you should do, might be a good first step, if that hasn't been tried. If they're holding stuff for your pickup at the PO, maybe there is someone local, like a neighbor, who could be persuaded to bring your held stuff the last mile? Is your friend in touch with any neighbors? What works for them?
posted by enfa at 5:45 AM on April 12, 2020

Yep, UPS surepost plus no RFD (?) means your packages are at the post office.

I live in a very rural area and all I had to do was register my address and RFD brings those packages.
posted by spitbull at 6:25 AM on April 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Have you tried calling Amazon? I've heard that if you call Amazon and ask/insist they'll put carrier preferences (and maybe exclusions) on your account.
posted by thebazilist at 7:03 AM on April 12, 2020

Your best bet is paying the premium for next day shipping. The challenge with UPS and Fedex is that they don't really like doing the last leg of delivery especially in rural areas, so they often will pass the packages off to USPS for the last leg of the delivery.

UPS calls this Sure Post and Fedex calls it Smart Post. You need to make sure the sender avoids either of these options. In general this will make the shipping costs higher.
posted by vegetableagony at 9:16 AM on April 18, 2020

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