Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

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 New horizons come and go...

    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.
    905 and mrjinks like 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.
    Oreille Là-bas, 905 and Alan G like 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.
  8. Myke

    Myke Listening

    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?
  11. E.Baba

    E.Baba Forum Resident

    Be happy you have a cheap option. We don't.
    riverrat, Dave and tmtomh like this.
  12. 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.
  13. chazz101s

    chazz101s Forum Resident

  14. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    Jersey City transfer point is the worst in the nation.
  15. 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.
  16. Myke

    Myke Listening

    Read all the other posts in the archives here, that kind of crap has been going on for at least a decade.
    BluesOvertookMe likes this.
  17. 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.
    Instant Dharma and zongo like this.
  18. 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.
  19. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    I just had an LP take 8 days to arrive sent Priority Mail.
  20. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Is it just me, or are members here just so desperate to find a thread where knowledgeable people won't tell them what the problem is, and about how the Post Office is being torpedoed by regulations and limitations beyond their control, that they are willing to just keep griping and griping in other threads about their atrocious practices until somebody calmly explains it to them one more time...then they go post and whine in yet another thread?

    Again: the USPS is regulated by people whose campaigns are being funded by for-profit courier companies such as UPS, DHL, FedEx and others, who want them to privatize the Post Office so they can finally compete with them on a commercial basis, and put them out of business (THEN, watch their rates zoom once the competition is gone). This has been the case for years, and it's the same old story: Post Office is "bad", "in distress", the public comes to its' defense...and then they start in on public broadcast entities and decades-fought social programs and whatever else they can wheedle the legislators to go after, and keep the defenseless public on its' toes. Eventually, they come back to the ol' "Post Office is bad, and should be privatized" song and dance once again, and the USPS goes through yet another round of penny-penching, micro-managing regulations designed to undermine their effectiveness.

    One of these moves of desperation long ago, was establishing "Media Mail", a cost-cutting measure which re-classified media at a different price structure, however, removed from the more "essential" mail, such as paid advertising leaflets, certified and express mail, and Amazon delivery deals, which keep the Postal Service in the black, but Media Mail tends to stay in delivery centers until the pipeline is less crowded once more "essential" freight, parcels and paid mail is prioritized; then they filter as much Media Mail as they can into the pipeline without clogging up everything else. Most Media Mail is considered to be non-essential "entertainment" media, thus, lower-prioritized. This is just the USPS working as hard as they can to keep the lights on, while their overlords in DC gleefully undermine their effectiveness as the United States premier courier. This is why they are the only profit-making company that are required by law to fully-fund the pensions of their employees for a full 75 years into the future, something no other organization is required to do. And every 2-4 years, you have selected the people to put into place to make stupid crap like that happen, while the for-profit competition, funds the commercials that tricked you into making decisions like that every other November or so.

    Why? Because there are "people" who are justifiably afraid of what might happen in November if the Post Office manages to effectively deliver "other" things (i.e, ballots) in a timely fashion, as they have for generations, despite these "people" trying to convince you that they need to be put out to pasture. That is what the fight is all about, and why your LP's are stuck in Jersey, just as the regulators hoped they would be.

    Yet, there you are, at least three threads a week, whining about your Postal System's inefficiency, blithely starting complaint thread after complaint thread, and pretending you don't know what you are doing to your own Postal system as if you haven't been shown this every darn thread on this board that springs up.

    And...this Information Campaign will keep happening, so forget about trying to convince the rest of the board it's all the Post Office's fault. :wave:
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  21. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Just another variant of a long-standing tactic:
    Gain control of the oval office; put industry shills and sycophants at heads of gov't agencies who then put sand in those engines by any means possible, kneecapping their ability to do their jobs or simply failing to do so, decimate their budgets, drive competent staff away, then point to how government "doesn't work".
  22. zongo

    zongo Forum Resident

    Davis, CA
    Well said!
  23. ex_mixer

    ex_mixer Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    In January and February of this year my Media Mail shipments within the lower 48 were arriving on the ETA date of the receipt. Some even a day or two early. in the last 2 weeks they have all been delayed an average of 3 -5 days.
  24. Christian Hill

    Christian Hill It's all in the mind

    Patience is a virtue
    tmtomh likes this.
  25. black sheriff

    black sheriff Magic City

    Here's one for you guys. I purchased a few records from Chris in the classifieds on July 26th. Chris is a top seller so this is no issue with him. The records were shipped media mail the next day. The records just arrived today, August 19th, from MA to FL. :crazy:

Share This Page