Package detour?
April 15, 2020 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I ordered an item off of Etsy that supposedly shipped from Santa Ana, CA by USPS. I am in Illinois. I looked at the tracking info today and it showed that it was first received at a post office in Lihue, HI and is currently in a regional USPS facility in Honolulu.

Does this make any kind of sense? I track a fair number of packages that I order, and while they sometimes go through a number of facilities along the way, the route is usually fairly straightforward.

Etsy's tracker is saying it is going to deliver tomorrow but I am dubious. (I just checked on USPS website and it is saying it will deliver on the 20th which seems more plausible.)

I'm just wondering if my package got misdirected, and if so how might this have happened?
posted by Serene Empress Dork to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know about Etsy, but the address in my eBay account is two houses ago and I've never bothered to update it.

When I ship and print it has the old address in the return box which is bad, but I can see how a buyer would be confused that the origin is one place but the tracking shows the package leaving another.

My vote is "seller has decamped to Hawaii for the lockdown and is working from there but didn't update Etsy".
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:48 PM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Does it show the right destination? I have had sellers give me the wrong tracking number by accident before.
posted by primethyme at 12:52 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing either answer above is far more likely, but for completeness I believe Etsy also does allow shops to have "production partners" from what I understand (think subcontractors/manufacturers who fufill the order). Possibly the job has been sub'ed out to be fulfilled by someone else, so the shop shows Santa Ana, but the production was in Hawaii?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:08 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

The same thing happened to me last week. I ordered from an Etsy store in (per their bio) Missouri, and the tracking info said the package was sent from Puerto Rico. The USPS tracking into said it was sorted through a facility in Puerto Rico, so it doesn't seem to have been a matter of the wrong origin being reported.

For what it's worth, I got the order just fine. The arrival time was in line with the USPS estimate for delivery.
posted by pie ninja at 1:14 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It does show the right destination. The theories presented above all seem plausible, so I won't worry about it unless delivery is delayed much beyond the 20th.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:28 PM on April 15, 2020

A lot of freight is shipped in the baggage compartment of passenger flights... which have been massively reduced for obvious reasons. Perhaps that odd route was used because there was freight space available on those flights.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:35 PM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

The seller might also be using a mainland drop ship system that isn't functioning right now. Many folks who live on islands (I'm familiar with a different island, but its likely universal practice) rely on a freight forwarding systems* to take advantage of the shipping costs on the mainland to ship individual items. Individual packages are then aggregated for the journey between the island and the mainland.

So they set up their shop from where their packages get taken apart and forwarded (Santa Ana, CA) onward to their destinations in the US to save on shipping, and right now they are just shipping straight from their actual location and eating the difference in costs, which are certainly higher/slower from the island.

*often it's just extended family.
posted by zenon at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Or the post office screwed up. It happens. My partner is also shipping with Etsy. One of her packages was shipped from Chicago to be delivered in Chicago and it ended up in both Memphis and Mississippi along the way.
posted by hwyengr at 7:32 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

We’ve also been finding that the post office is missing scan points. It’s possible that it didn’t get scanned in Santa Ana and was misdirected to Hawaii, where it was scanned for the first time. Things are weird right now.
posted by hwyengr at 7:37 AM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The package arrived on April 17 with no issues. I discarded the packaging immediately so I did not think to look for clues as to its origin or journey.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:54 AM on April 23, 2020

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