Mail delays: no end in sight
You may remember during the height of the pandemic last year, when mail would show up late or not come at all due to staffing shortages and U.S. Postal Service sorting facility closures.
The pandemic is now easing, but in many areas, those delays are not.
Terry Eshom never knows if he’s going to find anything when he opens his mailbox.
“Last week, when our carrier was off, we got delivery one day out of five,” he said.
Eshom says he’s had delays for months, however.
Like many postal customers, Eshom has the Informed Delivery app on his smartphone, which tells him what to expect on any given day.
But he says what the app tells him and what he receives are often two different things.
“We were expecting eight or nine pieces of mail the other day,” he said. “We got nothing.”
Many packages late, too
And it’s not just first-class letters. Other customers complain about the priority mail service for packages.
Lucas McBride had to return a car part for his minivan because it took so long to arrive that, out of frustration, he bought a more expensive version at a local auto parts store.
“This package is three weeks late. Three weeks late,” he said, after finally receiving it. “It cost me $92 more than it cost me when I first went online and got it.”
USPS says delays will continue
USPS recently reported to Congress that it expects to deliver just 88 percent of mail on time this year, down from a normal 95 percent, and 90 percent last year.
It blames “ongoing impacts from the pandemic,” including:
- Old sorting equipment
- The ongoing labor shortage (USPS is currently hiring for thousands of positions nationwide)
Eshom doesn’t blame his mail carrier but blames a system that he feels is no longer up to the job.
“It used to be you could count on your mail being there every day,” he said.
USPS tells Congress its delivery issues have stabilized late this year, and it hopes to resume 90 percent on-time delivery or better in the near future.