USPS delivery question

I had something weird happen today - a package that I ordered had been sent USPS and the tracking said it was delivered this morning. Well, I live in an apartment with clearly marked, locked, mail boxes - and mine was empty. I called up USPS and told them and asked what the heck happened to my package. They said they would file a report - I assumed I would never hear anything else about it though…

Well, not thirty minutes later I see that I just missed a call and check the voicemail. (note that this was at 7 PM) It is my local post office saying that the package had been misdelivered. Furthermore, they tracked down who had it, but unfortunately the guy works the night shift so I will not be getting my package tonight. They said the plan is for this person to put it in their mailbox tomorrow and USPS will then deliver it to me.

My question is… are they shitting me? I feel like whoever my mail carrier is just couldn’t be arsed to deliver it (I have had mail returned as undeliverable when it had my address clearly marked in the past) and this is the post office’s BS excuse. How did they track down where my package was misdelivered to? And how did they get that person’s phone number? Did they just look him up in the phone book and randomly dial him? Did they seriously ask him to return it to me/them at 7 PM and had that plan foiled when the guy had to go to work? And all of this within half an hour of the call I placed to the national USPS line?

Am I crazy or does that seem very implausible?

It’s unlikely that the Post Office found this guy’s number and called him (what if he had a cell phone; how would they have gotten that?) What probably happened is that the carrier didn’t deliver your package for some reason and the post office manager/postmaster made up a BS story to keep you from filing a complaint.

You’ll probably get your package tomorrow with your regular mail delivery.

I agree someone is lying to you.

Twice in five years, I was working in the yard when the postman arrived and spoke briefly to him - nothing more really than saying hi. When I took a break, I walked over toe the mailbox to get the mail and included was a notice saying package couldn’t be delivered as no one was home.


I had something similar happen with a box of Christmas presents last year. Tracking number said it had been delivered on a Friday but nothing had been at the door so I went to the website and started the process to have them track it down. I also left a message with the property manager’s office to see if it had been delivered there.

The box turned up the next day. It was raining and the box was damp so it’s unlikely that a neighbor in this building had it. The property manager doesn’t usually come in on weekends so it probably wasn’t left with him.

I think I read somewhere that some carriers scan all their packages as delivered before they start their route, rather than scanning each package when it is put into the recipient’s mailbox. This would mean that if for some reason they didn’t get around to delivering the package it would still be listed in the system as delivered.

I have often had tracking say packages were delivered at some absurd early hour like 5:30 am. Other times, I have had tracking say a package was delivered at a plausible time, but the recipient reports to me that a yellow delivery attempt notice was left in their mail box instead of the package.

I suspect that there is some of what you describe going on. I also suspect that they sometimes just push the wrong button on the scanner and it gets marked as “delivered” instead of “out for delivery” or “notice left.” With the USPS system, once the package gets a “delivered” scan, there seems to be no way to override it. For example, if the person who found a yellow notice in their mail box goes to the post office the next day to pick it up, the delivery time does not get changed and there are no additional scans reported on the web site. (I don’t know if additional scans are stored in the internal records.)

I ordered from a catalog for some Christmas presents, in October, and waited and waited, and never got it, so two weeks before Christmas, I contacted the company and they said that FedEx had reported back to them that it had been delivered. They sent me FedEx’s tracking information and it claimed that they had tried to deliver it on a Friday when I was home all day and had never gone anywhere, and they had left me a notice that they couldn’t deliver, and then that they had re-delivered the package on the Saturday. I know they didn’t leave me a failure to deliver notice, and even if they had, why would they then try to deliver it the next day instead of waiting for me to contact them? So I never got my package, FedEx was just bullshitting both of us. I never got the package, but at least the catalog company reimbursed me.