Outgoing USPS Mail Missing: What To Do
November 13, 2020 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday evening I dropped off two expensive returns in a USPS mailbox. The box said that the pickup time for all mail inside is 10am on weekdays. I just checked the tracking number for both returns and neither are showing up as having been processed. Shouldn't both packages be in the system by now?
posted by Kitchen Witch to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe? Wednesday was a federal holiday which could have created a little extra lag time this week. It may have been picked up but not scanned at the facility yet. Things are moving slower than ever with USPS, I'd just wait a few more days before panicking about it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:09 AM on November 13 [6 favorites]

Unlike UPS and FedEx tracking, USPS tracking is not updated in real time, and USPS doesn't promise that tracking will be updated whenever the package is touched, only when it's finally delivered. I will frequently check a package that's gone days without updates and then see that it was delivered and also have several days worth of retroactive scans show up. Give it some time.
posted by phoenixy at 12:12 AM on November 13 [5 favorites]

I've had USPS packages update days later and after they left my city. I have shipped...many things. Hundreds of things. This is normal. If you don't see an update by Monday then maybe call somebody. Keep in mind there are still major mail delays right now.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:34 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]

The timestamp says you posted this question on Friday morning, which suggests you mailed the packages on Thursday evening. It’s not yet 10 AM on Friday. I imagine this is just confusing because you’re in a very different time zone, but clarification might help.
posted by jon1270 at 3:15 AM on November 13

USPS is way behind on a lot of tracking and shipping lately, so it’s possible that they may take a few days or even a week to show up in the system.
posted by Slinga at 3:48 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]

The last expensive thing I returned went back via USPS. I walked it into the Post Office and handed it to a dude myself with my own hands. It was definitely received by the Post Office.

The return shipping tracking remained in "shipping label has been created" status until the day I got a refund processing email. Anxiety-provoking but it worked out fine. I think they just don't do the scans on certain types of labels.
posted by phunniemee at 5:21 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]

Also, those pickup times are not appointments for the post office so much as they are deadlines for you.

Maybe it is different in the US, but in Canada, they are essentially the earliest time a box might get picked up. If you deposit something by that time, it should get picked up today. If you deposit it after that time, you run the risk that today's pickup has already happened and your thing won't go out until tomorrow. The chances that your thing will be picked up at that specific time are low, unless the box itself is immediately outside a postal outlet. Otherwise pickup time is subject to the vagaries of a driver's schedule and route changes and that day's traffic conditions, etc.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:31 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]

Last year I put two expensive packages in a USPS pickup. I was concerned when I didn't see tracking update the next day and very worried when it didn't the following day either. The internet and USPS assured me it was fine.

Two weeks later I found out that someone had been stealing the packages at night through the bottom of the box. I was out several hundreds of dollars and they were never recovered. Keep following up on this.
posted by Marinara at 6:51 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]

USPS tracking is updated in batches, and sometimes a particular batch is slooow. Could be bad, but almost certainly fine.
posted by wnissen at 10:05 AM on November 13

One of the consequences of DeJoy destroying so much of the USPS's capacity is that tracking has taken a hit. Recording parcels for tracking takes time and has been sacrificed in a lot of cases in order to favor actual timely shipping of the mail/packages. It's frustrating and leads to worry, but I think you can rest assured that your packages are moving through the system even if you're not getting updates via the tracking number.
posted by quince at 12:51 PM on November 13

Sorry, should have specified: dropped off parcels on Wednesday eve, assumed they'd be picked up around 10am ish on Thursday, especially because the box was outside of my local post office branch. I wish I had gone inside the PO to drop everything off but there was a man following me around and I didn't feel safe going somewhere closed off.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 2:31 PM on November 13

All good! Tracking info updated at 2am this morning.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 5:48 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]

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