USPS Media Mail

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by The_Shocker, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. The_Shocker

    The_Shocker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I know that media mail is cheap compared to other forms of shipping because it's slow, but does the USPS purposely slow it down?

    I order 3 CDs from a Discogs seller in South Philadelphia. I live in a Philadelphia suburb that touches the city. A 5 minute car drive, and I am IN Philadelphia. Well, my package sat at the South Philadelphia post office for 2 days and today tracking shows it's in JERSEY CITY, NJ.

    So, my package went from right around the corner from me to almost to New York. How is this cost effective for the USPS in any way?
  2. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
    I had an LP take three weeks to go from Ohio to here (Boise) last month. At one point it was in Denver, then went to SLC, then back to Denver, back to SLC, and finally here.

    I’ve paid for first class on my last couple shipments instead...
    c-eling likes this.
  3. c-eling

    c-eling I never dreamed another way.

    Mine get stuck in the Pennsylvania loop sometimes, Ann Arbor, Penn, Ann Arbor, Penn, Detroit- Kinda funny.
  4. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Golden, CO
    I've had the same experience. DHL is even worse, sitting on mail carrier for a week.
    mrjinks likes this.
  5. The_Shocker

    The_Shocker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Wasn't media mail created for magazine, book club, and record club subscriptions?

    I don't mind it taking a little longer. I just don't get why it goes so far out of it's way to get somewhere. That just seems like it costs the USPS more money.
  6. chazz101s

    chazz101s Forum Resident

    My understanding is that USPS is becoming another political football. New director wants to prove his manliness by doing things like prohibiting overtime.

    Sounds reasonable, perhaps, until you have something in the pipeline and it takes way longer than it ought to for delivery.

    (Note that I am a **big FAN** of USPS - worked summers ["90-day casual"] as a letter carrier - also worked full-time as a postal clerk in my youth. No other delivery service covers **all** the United States like USPS.)

    Anyway, recent USPS shipment of mine - phono cables - so Priority Mail, not Media, took a full week to travel 1,122 miles. Not good. Certainly not what I expected.

    Yes, mine is just a single data point, but still I believe that something new is amiss with our dear ol' USPS.
    Alan G likes this.
  7. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    USPS uses a hub system. As with airlines, hub systems are designed to be efficient on the large scale but can create absurd inefficiencies on smaller scales.

    Of course, it is possible that your package was mis-routed by mistake.

    However, if you're in the suburbs - and I am guessing you're in a suburb that touches Philly to the north or northwest, yes? - it's also possible that you are on the southern edge of a region served by the North Jersey regional hub, while the seller (I know who you mean - I order from them on discogs although I pick stuff up from them since I'm in the city) is in the region served by the Philadelphia hub. If so, your package would go from the store to the Philly local hub, and then the Philly regional hub, and then - because of your ZIP code - the NJ regional hub in north Jersey, and then to a local hub closer to you, and finally to your local post office and then your home.

    As for Media Mail being deliberately slower, it's not deliberately slower in the sense of trying to incentivize people to pay more for First Class or Priority. It's slower because it costs less. So it won't necessarily get put on a plane to travel across the country; it will sometimes take less direct routes, "hitching a ride" on trucks going from hub to hub to hub; and sometimes it also sits at hubs for a day or two (or three or four) when there's a ton of mail volume and it gets bumped to the back of the line while the trucks take all the First Class and Priority mail and such.

    If you want a package to get from South Philly to the suburbs in a couple of days, it has to be sent First Class or Priority.
    JasonA, Reese and MonkeyLizard like this.
  8. Myke

    Myke Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    I believe we're going for a record on the number of threads on this subject.

    I try not to ever use Media Mail whether I'm shipping out, or ordering in. It's not worth the nickel I might save.
    Two years ago, the local postal employees were telling me to never use Media Mail, if I wanted my packages to arrive undamaged and in a reasonable amount of time.
    Personally, I especially have been using First Class or Priority going back ten years as the price difference was very little, but the speed of my buyers getting their purchases was huge.
  9. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    The USPS estimates Media Mail as taking longer, but almost all the records I've sent with it in the past few months have gotten there in 2-3 days.
    sberger, tmtomh and chazz101s like this.
  10. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Aloha, OR
    seriously. that and how many times do we have to hear from folks who don't seem to understand there's a pandemic going on that's slowing things down even more?
    Dave, Spitfire, tmtomh and 2 others like this.
  11. Myke

    Myke Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    And now for something completely different...

    GentleSenator likes this.
  12. E.Baba

    E.Baba Forum Resident

    Be happy you have a cheap option. We don't.
    Dave and tmtomh like this.
  13. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Diver Dan

    Alpine, TX
    For years Media Mail has treated me great. I live in rural area of Texas. I could order something MM, and usually it would get here in a week, sometimes even a day or two less! Same with shipping out. Whatever the tracking estimated as time of delivery, it seemed to beat it by a day. I've only had one package over the years ge stuck in NJ for two months, the ebay seller and i both opened claims with the post office, he refunded me, and one day it magically showed up in perfect shape.

    The last month, it's definitely gotten slower. Things take a week past the estimated time of delivery. 2 weeks at least for most items. It's still super cheap and I'm ok with it, and with everything going on and can't go to record stores, I'll take the cheap option. But it is a bit of a bummer.

    The bigger bummer is my wife has found Priority Mail to be getting slower. She's mailed 3 birthday cards/gift cards using Priority envelopes, which should be 3 days tops. Things are taking 5-7 days, which is ridiculous if you're paying a premium for the service.
    chazz101s likes this.
  14. chazz101s

    chazz101s Forum Resident

  15. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    Jersey City transfer point is the worst in the nation.
  16. The_Shocker

    The_Shocker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I can appreciate a pandemic is going on and slowing mail down. But that has nothing to do with the fact that a package was sent from South Philadelphia to a nearby suburb and was routed through Jersey City, which is 80 miles away from me. So a package is going to travel a total of 190 miles in order to make it 30 miles from the Philadelphia aiport to my front door. It just seems costly.

    If I sat in a post office for a few days waiting for a truck to be heading to my local post office, I could totally understand that. The logic of sending it 110 miles north to them come 80 miles south escapes me.

    But then again, I don't work for the USPS.
  17. Myke

    Myke Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    Read all the other posts in the archives here, that kind of crap has been going on for at least a decade.
  18. sberger

    sberger Grumpy(but grateful) geezer

    Same here. I almost always request media mail for records sent to me, and use it often when I send out unless the buyer wants to spend extra. From the East Coast to CA, once shipped, usually get shipment to me within 3-5 days MAX. Can't remember the last time it was much longer then that. And I've never had one complaint from a buyer when I've sent it out media mail.

    I'm not saying the USPS doesn't have it's issues. It does. But as regards this no problems so far for me.
  19. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    sberger is correct. I can get 25 pounds of vinyl from Colorado to New Hampshire in 6-7 days. No problems cept that NJ transfer point.

Share This Page