“PHONY” Express

Drawing of the Pony Express in Nebraska.

The short-lived Pony Express of lore…  We need you.  I think.

In 1860, a number of riders apparently rode on horseback at full gallop from roughly St. Louis to Sacramento over a number of days.  They would ride from station to station where they would switch to fresh horses.  These stations were anywhere from five to 25 miles apart given the terrain.  A rider would ride for about 75 miles.  Wild Bill Hickok was a rider in his youth – about 15 years old.  He rode something like 320 miles in a little over 21 hours because the next rider had been killed.  Imagine that…

Anyways, it was a rider on one horse.  One horsepower, you can say.


About a month ago, I mailed an envelope with two DVDs from Los Angeles to Ohio.  Not much further in distance than the Pony Express route in actuality.

I mailed it on Monday.

It reached its destination eight days later on  Tuesday the following week (because Monday was a holiday).  It took a week, for argument’s sake.

Perhaps the mail truck didn’t see a parked car along the way.


Or maybe the driver wanted a “Pimp-my-Ride” look and stopped off somewhere along the way to get it done?

30 inch

Or maybe instead of one horsepower, it was one boy-power.  Ignore the air mail signage.  It’s fake.


In today’s time of man-made hearts and boson particles, I feel there canNOT be an excuse for such lackadaisical service.  (Did you hear that Hermione’s invisibility cloak can be a reality?)

And the US Postal Service wonders why they are going out of business… as did the Pony Express after about a year.  They lost $200,000 on about $90,000 in revenues.


Well, you say, “Give the Postal Service a break.  It was only one piece of mail.”

I knew you’d say that.

On February 26th, I sent via official “Priority Service International” a package to my cousin in Hiroshima.  They alluded to “7 – 10 day service” in their ads.

This package had all the gizmos.  Tracking number.  Web tracking.  Etc.

The status as of March 8th of my “Priority Service – International” package.

On March 8th, I checked the status as my cousin hadn’t emailed me to say she got the (surprise) package.  Lo and behold, the last web entry was February 28th, that is was processed through the LAX sort facility…but that was it.

Fini.  No more progress.  Disappeared…like Obama during the Benghazi attack.

I had to call the US Postal Service as you are unable to inquire on an international priority package via email.  Waited close to ten minutes.

She told me the package had left the United States, that it was in Japan, and that it can take “up to seven to ten days for it to be delivered”.

I said, “No, I believe it’s lost here stateside so can you please initiate a trace?  Besides, its been 7 to 10 days.”

Her reply: “You can initiate a complaint (trace) after ten working days as it can take seven to ten days to get delivered.”  Didn’t she just say that?

I said, “Well, I mailed it Monday two weeks ago and today’s Friday.”

She said, “Ten business days will be Monday, March 11.”

You can imagine the response when I asked for a refund.

Can you see steam or the egg frying on my head?


Monday, March 11th.  TEN working days since I mailed a Priority package to Japan – with the USPS assurance of delivery in “7 to 10 working days…” going through my head.

Had to call again.  One “working day” later to place my complaint and initiate a trace.

This time, she asked me for details.  “How much did you declare?”

“I don’t remember.  Your clerk spent five minutes inputting tons of stuff and I filled out a form in triplicate.  Shouldn’t it tell you on your screen?”

You can imagine the answer…  No.

Had to hang up and look for the receipt from TEN DAYS AGO at home that I fortunately found.

Long story short, called again the next day (the 12th) and at the end, guess what she said?  “It will take up to 21 days for Japan to research, find the package and reply.”

I said again – very nicely – the Japanese aren’t that sloppy.  That the package was still HERE… in your SORT FACILITY at LAX.

She said (politely), “No, the information tells us it was shipped to Japan so its there.”

Double GRRRR….


So they finally initiated a trace.

And guess what.  The Postal Service was wrong.  It was NOT in Japan.

I was wrong.  It was not at the LAX sort facility.

Instead, the Postal Service found it… likely in the same post office I shipped it from as the package “re-arrived” at the LAX sort facility after the trace was initiated!


The Postal Service wonders why they are losing money.

The workers just don’t care.

Well, I’m making sure my future packages are arriving in Japan by using UPS or FedEx.

I’m through with the pHony express.

19 thoughts on ““PHONY” Express”

  1. I use to work for an eye doctor and we sent out recall notices each month to remind patients it was time for their eye exams. We would get a few back with a “moved” or “unable to deliver’ stamps on them each month. One day fifteen came back that had been gone two year! Where had they been for two year? I have always wondered.

  2. Mmmm, we’re finding delivery companies more and more unreliable. Bad enough if something is coming from or going to an address in your own country but when it’s international you’re almost kissing the package goodbye sometimes. Most extraordinary example was ordering a new iMac from the UK to be delivered to us in France. Cut a long story short, it never turned up and it has never been found…

  3. Oh my gosh… I sent a book to my friend in North Carolina and one to his brother in Washington, D.C.
    Am I in deep trouble?

      1. He got it yesterday!
        It took only 10 working days from Quebec to North Carolina.

  4. How come I clicked on the Like Button and I don’t appear?
    Anyways… I liked that post about the postal service.

  5. During the Christmas holiday season, we got several cards returned from addresses that had been in existence for decades…and the addressees had lived at those locations for…yep…decades. My parents, cousins, and friends – cards returned from these locations with “No such address” rubber-stamped across the front. Several people reported to us the same thing with our address., seeking to find out if we had moved (we hadn’t) from our home of 23 years.

    The USPS flat out ROCKS!

      1. You would make very good company going over the pond–much better than a back end full of boxes and palettes, but alas–I only fly domestically.

  6. We’ve had a “mail order” business since 1983. Ohhhh, the stories I could tell you about both the U.S. Postal Service AND United Parcel Service. You wouldn’t believe.

  7. Koji,
    “the workers just don’t care”….can you spell U-N-I-O-N? Oh, but wait, help is on the way, Congress sets the USPS rules & regulations…ooopps. Well cheer up the bottom can’t be far and it’s only UPs from there!

  8. Koji, we ship products to Europe and it has taken up to six weeks for packages to get through customs. Germany has been the worst. We shipped on Feb 8 and the customer just received on Mar 20. Our experience has been that Customs in the destination country has been the biggest problem. However, I agree that there is no excuse for the 8 days to OH. We ship first class and in most cases 2 – 3 days is typical, even to the left coast.

  9. The USPS has been a joke since they started, I think. Now, we are going to lose Saturday delivery come 1 August. (So much for a ‘surprise package,’ eh?)

  10. Oh I feel your pain on this! I have had outright shouting matches within the system. It’s the arrogance of their answers that makes me just crazy. I start out calm, but when you hear the same responses over and over and nothing happens…I have mailed packages that never arrived…not even after the 14 day trace. So…I’m with you. I mail almost everything UPS.

  11. Working in an office I can tell you stories!! My favorite is how a check sent to a church in Wellsboro (about an hours drive north of us) took 6 months to reach its destination. It arrived the same day as the second check we sent them. My friend in Scotland and I joke that between our pony express and their hot air balloon (air mail service) are we should send out Christmas presents Dec 26 to have it here by Dec 25 the following year!! LOL Although that said, our small post office that I deal with daily is fantastic, the larger one near my home is a nightmare.

  12. Ah, Koji, I feel your pain. There is nothing in the world that can get my ire up more than uncaring, unresponsive, incompetent bureaucrat. Not everyone in the postal service fits that description… but where it does, I understand “going postal.”

  13. Right on ! I understand… that’s why I do what you’re doing now…I use FEDX and UPS. I never use the postal service. Not to mention, I get mailed delivered to me by mistake, at least twice a month, and this mail doesn’t even have an address that’s close to my address. I often wonder if I’m even getting all my mail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s