• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE SUPPORT OUR FORUM - UPGRADE YOUR ACCOUNT HERE!
[4]

Rant on the US Post Office

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

RWanke

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
64
Likes
66
#1
I was fortunate enough to win an auction on eBay for what appears to be a really nice Skinner 6" 4 jaw chuck with the right backing plate for my South Bend Lathe. The Post office tracking said it was arriving Monday and as I was working out in the shop, I saw the mailman approaching from down the street. I walked down the driveway to get the mail and my anxiously awaited chuck. The mailman handed me a small stack of junk mail and bills along with a small package that I was also waiting for from Brino on here (thanks again Brino) and started to drive off. I said I was supposed to be receiving another package. He then said "Oh yeah, I almost forgot it. I have to scan it first." He reached behind him with his left hand and brought out a box and proceeded to scan it. I immediately looked at his arm and thought, this guy must work out, but his biceps where smaller than my forearm. He handed me the package and I said "Hold on. Somethings not right". I immediately open the box in front of him and all that was inside was a couple pieces of bubble wrap and a "air packing pillow". The bottom edge of the box had been torn and the post office had put a piece of tape across it with a sticker on it that said "received in damaged condition". How in the hell can an 18 pound chunk of cast iron and a T wrench fall out of a box and no one notice it! The shipping label has the original weight as 18lbs 13 ozs. I contacted the seller and he has initiated a claim from his end but what's the chances of anyone caring enough along the way between Pennsylvania and Indiana to actually try to figure out where this big chunk of steel they are probably stubbing their toe on actually belongs. I'm sure I'll get my money back but it was the chuck that I wanted!!
 

RandyM

Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
2,244
Likes
2,210
#3
I will expand on John's answer a little more he posted while I was typing.

I understand your pain. However, I have always felt that the guy that packaged it is partially to blame as well. Anything with any weight to it, is to be packaged so that it absolutely cannot rattle around or you have the result you are experiencing. The problem is it takes time and expense to do this correctly, and that is why it is a common problem. Even inexpensive commercial retailers and manufactures have this problem and then they like to blame the package delivery system. Not to say that parcel carrier cannot damage a well packaged item, but the likelihood is greatly reduced. And not to say that someone in the Post Office didn't see it escape it's package. But then again, we are talking about government run business. Cardboard alone will not get a heavy package to it's destination. It has to do with the laws of physics.

I hope you are able to recover your payment at the very least. Good luck.
 

benmychree

John York
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
1,863
Likes
1,323
#4
If the guy would have used a bunch of cut up slabs of cardboard all around the item instead of bubble wrap and air pillow, the package likely would have survived; it is not just the PO that handles heavy items in this way, UPS is no better; they say that if a package is breached, it is the fault of the sender for not packing it well enough; I was told that their policy is to never bend over to put a package down, at least in the terminal, but to drop it, because of back injury issues.
 

markba633csi

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,231
Likes
1,162
#5
I too have had several poor packing experiences. Ebay for one needs to have better advice on packaging especially for large heavy items.
They give poor instructions like "choose a box only slightly larger than the item itself" WRONG! The box should be generously sized with thick dense packing material like cardboard or thick foam all around. Styrofoam peanuts are next to useless. Good packaging takes time and some effort and expense. Some people do it well. Many others, not so much.
I had a 6" lathe literally fall out the bottom of the box during the ride across country to me. I was able to get back a hefty refund but I would have gladly paid extra for a good packaging job and an undamaged machine.
Mark
 

Billh50

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
1,924
Likes
1,423
#6
I bought a laptop on ebay. Well it never made it to my house. The box arrived empty and all taped up where it was torn open. The box was a regular laptop shipping box and should have made it all the way. Anyway, the seller sent me a another laptop which got here just fine in the same type of box. 2 weeks later the original laptop showed up in a padded envelope with the ebay slip inside. No battery and no power supply. When I asked te seller if he wanted me to ship it to him he said not to bother. I bought another battery and power supply for $25 and now have a spare laptop for the garage.
Sometimes things work out for the best.
 

chips&more

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2014
Messages
2,355
Likes
1,678
#7
I bought a Levin lathe from back east. The seller had it “professionally packaged”. I received it destroyed. The lathe was 65lbs. Packaged, the lathe had one layer of bubble wrap on it and the rest was popcorn inside the box. When I opened the box the popcorn looked like it went through a shredder, just little pieces left. Insurance paid for it and I got to keep the broken lathe, but it was not a fun ride…Dave
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
3,206
Likes
3,637
#8
I shipped packages out on a daily basis for 22 years, mostly by UPS. The typical package weight was 17 lbs. and this was electronic equipment, Back then, UPS insisted on 2" minimum packing surrounding the goods. I packed super tight, often to the point of a skight bu;ge in the package. Over 22 years, I never had a claim for received damaged goods.

For heavy items like machine vises or chucks, I would ask the vendor to put a second tag attached to the item with all the shipping details. It won't prevent damage from falling out the bottom but at least it won't be floating around some USPS or UPS terminal with no idea of where it is supposed to be.
 

CluelessNewB

Active Resistor
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
1,063
Likes
580
#9
I'm a big fan of "Fiberglass Reinforced Strapping Filament Tape" for packing heavy items. I don't sell much stuff on ePay anymore but when I did is was mostly small heavy items. I shipped over 1200 items and never had the post office damage or lose anything I sold. I can't say the same for stuff I bought :). I will always remember something my very first eBay customer told me "Please package it very well, I'm buying a piece of history not pieces of history."
 

RWanke

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
64
Likes
66
#10
Yeah, I have to agree with all of you on the packing part. My rant on the Post Office part is that surely someone saw the problem and could have/should have done something to help. You know, a little customer service. I'm 64 years old and have been earning a living since I was 14 and I honestly don't believe I once turned my back on an obvious problem that a little effort on my part couldn't at least help a little.
 

SSage

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Messages
135
Likes
64
#11
Well, USPS people can only do so much, they don't handle the packages through the whole system. The boxes go through automated conveyors and various machines, who knows where it fell out. Its the seller's fault. USPS is great when handling the heavy flat rate boxes, but you have to pack them correctly. My 50 pound medium flat rate boxes make it just fine. You have to pack them tight, glue the box tabs together, use reinforced tape on all sides of the box and put extra tape on the corners. I would double box a lathe chuck and add extra card board around it to hold it tight.

I make bullet gas checks for a living, so my boxes can be very heavy. I can put 20,000 to 30,000 small pieces of copper or gilding brass in a medium flat rate. USPS only looses or destroys a couple per year, thats not bad. But, watch out for FedEx ground. They have destroyed a few heavy items of mine, like a nice old one of a kind ham radio tube amp that I could not repair. FedEx has been very rough on my packages, I avoid them when I can. UPS is far better in my area, I get my steel from them often and the heavy 70 pound boxes survive surprisingly well. But, I ship over two thousand heavy USPS boxes per year with very little issues. I wrap even the little small flat rate boxes with the reinforced tape on all sides if its over 2 pounds, lighter boxes still get all of the corners taped up.
 

whitmore

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
294
Likes
174
#12
I bought a Levin lathe from back east. The seller had it “professionally packaged”. I received it destroyed. The lathe was 65lbs. Packaged, the lathe had one layer of bubble wrap ...
I shipped a small lathe once, but it took nails, glue, lots of half inch plywood, and some creative
use of PVC pipe and nylon cable ties to secure and protect the smaller bits. The rows of screws that kept the lid
on only take a few minutes to remove with a power screwdriver. Heaviest box was the
lathe bed (90+ lbs). Some of the cable ties snapped, but they were employed in depth.

It never occurred to me to use bubble wrap, except for a plastic jar of loose scews that would have rattled.
 

C-Bag

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
295
Likes
213
#13
Don't so much blame the post office, blame the guy who packed it; he should have known better to pack a heavy object with bubble wrap and an air pillow.
Amen brother! My whole biz is through the mail and in 33yrs of using USPS they have only lost 2 packages and one got returned for damage. The stuff inside was ok so I just re packed it and sent it back.

UPS is on average 30% higher than my same packages through USPS and lots of my rural customers won't deal with them.

I've gotten so many things from eBay that were so badly packed as to be a joke. I've taken to taking pics before I open them if is see anything weird. The last one was a 0-2" Starrett DI with no case. When it got here the probe was sticking out through the box! Bubble wrap and peanuts, worthless. I unwrapped the DI and it seemed stuck and I pushed a little and it came free and there was a whirring and it didn't work. The seller was nice knew she'd made a mistake and refunded me, but that would have been a score.
 

middle.road

Actively Learning...
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
1,295
Likes
665
#14
+1
You can't blame the worker bees at the PO, that is grossly unfair. It's up to the shipper to do it properly.
The entire package handling system is so automated now.
If the package gets snagged on the conveyors it's over in a matter of seconds.
Back when I scored that pallet of lathe chucks, Honey and I abused the 'flat-rate' boxes. Out of over eight chucks shipped only one ended up mangled in New Orleans and the PO recovered that one cause we taped an additional shipping label right on the chuck.
We did up one 3-jaw that had to go in two boxes, body in one, jaws in another.
I'd hotglue the box together and put extra double core pieces all around.
And I agree with the FedEX Ground statement above, their conveyors could mangle a hunk of concrete.
 

chips&more

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2014
Messages
2,355
Likes
1,678
#15
Well, USPS people can only do so much, they don't handle the packages through the whole system. The boxes go through automated conveyors and various machines, who knows where it fell out. Its the seller's fault. USPS is great when handling the heavy flat rate boxes, but you have to pack them correctly. My 50 pound medium flat rate boxes make it just fine. You have to pack them tight, glue the box tabs together, use reinforced tape on all sides of the box and put extra tape on the corners. I would double box a lathe chuck and add extra card board around it to hold it tight.

I make bullet gas checks for a living, so my boxes can be very heavy. I can put 20,000 to 30,000 small pieces of copper or gilding brass in a medium flat rate. USPS only looses or destroys a couple per year, thats not bad. But, watch out for FedEx ground. They have destroyed a few heavy items of mine, like a nice old one of a kind ham radio tube amp that I could not repair. FedEx has been very rough on my packages, I avoid them when I can. UPS is far better in my area, I get my steel from them often and the heavy 70 pound boxes survive surprisingly well. But, I ship over two thousand heavy USPS boxes per year with very little issues. I wrap even the little small flat rate boxes with the reinforced tape on all sides if its over 2 pounds, lighter boxes still get all of the corners taped up.
You are lucky to have a Post Office that will except Priority boxes with extra tape on them. Mine will NOT. You can put tape on the lids. But nowhere else. If you do, they will reject the package! And you cannot modify the Priority box in anyway…Dave
 

ttabbal

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
403
Likes
406
#16
I do think 90% of the time things are automated. That said, I was picking up a package from my local post office the other day. There was a door open to the back room and I watched them throw packages about 10ft across the room and into bins. I'm not naive and I'm sure it happens with every carrier. I don't want to see it though.

Of course, if things are properly packaged it's not generally a problem.
 

Eddyde

Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
1,224
Likes
955
#17
I agree, poor packing is mostly responsible for the op's issue. I like to use the double box method for packing heavy or fragile items. Pack the item in a tight fitting box be sure it cannot move around by packing filler material around it, tape close. Then pack that box in a larger box with at least an inch of tightly packed packing material, surrounding it on all sides, tape closed with continuous wraps of tape around every axis. I prefer to ship via UPS or Fedex to the USPS but I know that not always an option.
 

Superburban

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2016
Messages
363
Likes
275
#18
+1
only one ended up mangled in New Orleans and the PO recovered that one cause we taped an additional shipping label right on the chuck.
I don't get why it is so hard for sellers to understand that. I write that in the comments to the seller, on all medium or heavy items, and have only seen 2 packages that arrived with the address also on the inside.
 

4GSR

Banned
Banned
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
0
Likes
3
#19
Some of the guys on here can say I pack the medium flat rate boxes with a wooden box on the inside that holds the contents when I ship. Haven't lost one yet. One of the wooden boxes has been across country twice and still holding up. Had a guy send me some chunks of material that was 8" OD and about 1" thick. The first two boxes arrived empty. The medium flat rate boxes only had tape holding the flaps closed. Third attempt, I receive part of the material requested. A couple of the pieces still exited the box. Tried to make the seller understand, didn't do any good. He just added one more wrap of tap around the box at the middle.
 

bfd

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
403
Likes
234
#20
the same thing happened to me with a 3/4" 10" long solid carbide boring bar I got an empty box with a hole ripped into the side the person I bought It from just put it in a post office shipping box without securing it to a bit of cardboard. he refused to take ownership of the problem and I lost 80 bucks. bill
 

dlane

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
2,756
Likes
1,249
#21
I once ordered a small wood lathe , fedEx delivered it when I wasn’t there, the box was beaten to hell ,when I opened it up The lathe bed was broken in half. FedEx owns that lathe , jet sent the new one ups and I met them at the transfer station and took it home my self.
Edit : the USPS has been fine
 
Last edited:

Hukshawn

Banned
Banned
Joined
Nov 19, 2016
Messages
1,400
Likes
1,008
#22
I'm an outsider commenting here, but on average, when I recieved a package from the states compared to China export, or European export, or Canadian shipped, the USPS packages are generally in rougher shape. I haven't ordered anything significantly heavy, usually just small parts in flat rate boxes, or padded envelopes.
I don't think I can recall a time I got a BOX from China. Almost always bags or envelopes. But I used to get care packages (boxes) from a family member in Switzerland and they were in fine shape.
Just last week I got a box shipped from California. It was packaged very securely, but the box was beat up. Corners all dented in, one side corner dented in. Contents were fine, box was maybe 3lbs.

Just my two cents. The USPS does seem to be a bit careless with boxes, or maybe just always in a hurry?
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
3,206
Likes
3,637
#23
I received two "heavy" shipments last year. One was a machinist's level, via USPS and the other was a 7 hp gasoline engine sent via UPS. Both arrived without incident. The level was contained withing a wooden box, no sharp features to punch through the shipping container. The engine was bolted to a wooden base. Plenty of protrusions to poke through and very little padding but the wooden base effectively restrained any internal movement.

When I used to ship, I made liberaql use of "FRAGILE" and "THIS SIDE UP" labels. I suspect theat USPS and UPS tend to think that if a box is heavy, it is rugged. I also insured every package for full replacement value. I suspect that seeing the insurance label on the packages aqlong with the caution labels gave the handlers pause to think before lobbing it across the room.
 

RWanke

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
64
Likes
66
#24
Well just to finish this out, I guess I'm over being mad about the whole deal. The Post Office sent a $50 check to the sender (that's what the priority shipping boxes get insured for). I doubt they put much time into even checking or trying to find it because I'm certain that would cost them more than the $50. I agree with all of you that the ultimate responsibility lies with the shipper. Good news is the guy has another Skinner chuck in the same condition but without a backing plate. We're in the process of working a deal where he sends me this chuck with a refund for an agreed upon price for the cost of a backing plate. I stressed to him to pack it like it had to survive nuclear war this time.
 

middle.road

Actively Learning...
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
1,295
Likes
665
#25
We've received (3) heavies, shipped via USPS, in the past month and they have all been fine.
When you consider the volume that the USPS handles they don't do a bad job.
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top