Of all the tasks related to online shopping, waiting for a package to arrive can be the least pleasant. This is especially true if, like many people in the US, you find that USPS is slow to deliver your packages. Especially in rural areas, there are stories of the Post Office failing to deliver the mail for days. While delays are annoying if you order a treat for yourself, not getting a package on time can sometimes be a major inconvenience. For this reason and others, many prefer to avoid using the USPS.
While avoiding USPS completely is almost impossible, there are different ways to become less dependent on this agency for deliveries. And in other situations, you can mitigate USPS delays based on your chosen shipping options. When you must use USPS, there are ways to improve the reliability of your delivery time.
Avoiding USPS when ordering from e-commerce sites
In many ways, delayed e-commerce packages are the most annoying. After all, the things we order online are frequently items we look forward to receiving. And in some cases, the item is critical. With the rise of online pharmacies and specialty items available only online, the pressure has never been higher.
Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid USPS when you order something online. That’s because, in most cases, the seller makes the choice of shipper. For most sellers, USPS is the most convenient way to send small packages, and they aren’t anxious to spend more than they have to.
With that said, there are some strategies that you, the consumer, can try.
Pay for expedited shipping
The first thing that you can try is paying for expedited shipping. This is not a foolproof method because USPS offers expedited delivery of products. However, paying extra for shipping increases the retailer’s chance to choose a different carrier.
While it used to be that USPS was reliable about delivery guarantees for expedited packages, that isn’t as true anymore. In particular, Priority Mail packages used to be guaranteed within three days to the Lower 48. However, they don’t suggest you call customer service until your package has taken a week or more to arrive. The only time they’ll guarantee a package delivery date is with Priority Mail Express, and this is very expensive.
On the other hand, FedEx’s 2-day service is usually a little faster than USPS. You have to pay a little more. Still, when an e-commerce site gives you a shorter potential delivery time, there’s a good chance they will use FedEx or another private shipping company.
Avoid using a PO Box
By their nature, Post Office boxes favor USPS. Alternative shipping companies typically can’t use a PO Box for delivery. Your shipper can use the expedited Post Office shipment methods, but you may not have a guaranteed delivery date. On the other hand, your package will be waiting at the Post Office when you’re ready to pick it up.
Fortunately, there are options for him even if your address cannot accept deliveries. For instance, you might use an Amazon locker or a designated pickup location like Staples. While USPS can use Amazon locker, other pickup options are likely inaccessible. On the other hand, at least you know your package is safe until you can pick it up.
Talk to customer service.
Another option is talking to customer service, especially if you’re having trouble with USPS delivery. In particular, Amazon will document USPS problems and other reasonable requests. This is unsurprising when you consider that Amazon has a “the customer is always right” mentality and a needle focus on customer service.
Similarly, some people will add a “no USPS” request in the delivery instructions. This approach doesn’t require a call the customer service, but it is also less effective than speaking to someone about the reasons behind your request.
With that said, delivery problems at the Post Office have led some major e-commerce sites to discontinue using certain services. Increasingly, companies realize that the small cost savings aren’t worth the problems, like customer complaints and lost package reports.
Avoiding USPS In Other Contexts
While most consumers can’t wholly avoid USPS when receiving shipments, you have a little more control as the sender. Certainly, one challenge is that USPS sends most small documents, and some alternatives are costly.
However, you still have a few options:
- Use a delivery service. Major companies like FedEx and UPS will send documents in large mailing envelopes, and nothing stops you from putting a single sheet of paper. However, this option is a little pricey.
- Email documents. Another option is to email documents, usually as an attachment. This approach lets you avoid paying for mailing at all. There are a few limited circumstances for this won’t work, however.
- Bill pay is your friend. The days when nearly all bills had to be paid by mail are long gone. If you use online bill pay or send payments over the Internet, you can largely avoid USPS.
- Don’t forget about delivery apps. If you will purchase something and have it picked up at the store by a private delivery driver like DoorDash, then you are guaranteed not to use USPS. Plus, you’ll get your package the same day.
- Send electronic greeting cards. These can be a lot of fun, and you will avoid paying for any shipping.
USPS isn’t the monopoly of yesteryear, and it’s easy to fight back. Many companies and alternative delivery options are available that can reduce your exposure to this government enterprise.
While using USPS in specific circumstances is sometimes necessary, many alternatives exist. In particular, private shipping companies, careers, and app-based see delivery services help keep packages from clogging the USPS system. Additionally, there are ways to send and receive documents without dropping them in the mail. You may need to be creative and sometimes plan.
Hi there, I’m JJ, and welcome To EverydayQuery! Founded in 2022, we created this project to be the most complete resource on the web for your everyday questions regarding retail, shopping experiences, and overall consumer questions. We’re a team of passionate consumers whose mission is to provide the best answers to your everyday questions.