DHL is the prime shipping company in Europe at least that has been my experience.  Every European vendor where I have purchased something uses DHL to get the item to the states.  Fun fact, sometimes DHL hands over the item to USPS or another shipper when it lands in the US.

I bought a bunch of posters from two different art sites to be shipped out to the beach.  At the beach, we do not get USPS unless you have a POBox.  I had one during the years the kids were in camp for letters but once camp ended so did the POBox.  We only get Fedexp or UPS out east.

In the comments section of the purchase, I told both vendors that we do not get USPS out east.  One of them wrote me back immediately and told me that they could not control who DHL handed off the package too once it hit the states so I told them to send the package to my billing address.  The other one told me that they had zero control over what happens. They obviously did not read the fine print. I had a bad feeling about this so I reached out to them several days after the purchase and my hunch was right, they shipped it so we had to just wait and see.

The first vendor who reacted changed the address and I got the package.  They were right about not being able to control who DHL gives the package to once it hits the states.  They were also right that DHL usually hands off most packages to USPS.  The other vendor sent me down a rabbit hole that I went through because more than anything I was curious to see how the system works.

DHL couldn’t reroute the package for the vendor or for me.  I had to wait for it to hit the states.  I tracked the package and saw the tracking number was not on the USPS site.  I decided to call USPS and see if they could reroute the package.  I called them.  I was on hold for an hour and a half to finally be told that there was nothing they could do, not a note they could make on the computer, zero until the package was completely handed off even though they had the tracking number.  Makes no sense.

I went online, and with the tracking number, I was able to sign up for tracking info.  In a few days, I got an email saying the package had arrived from DHL, USPS had it and it was going to the beach. It doesn’t take much on DHL’s end to know that the address does not receive USPS but obviously, they don’t care.  I knew that calling was worthless so I went to the USPS site and wrote an email, describing what happened and if they could reroute it that would be great otherwise the package would be bounced back to Germany.  Massive cost on them.

Not shocking after the hour and a half wait, I never got a response to my email although the site clearly says that you get a response within 24 hours.  Instead, I got a tracking email telling me that the package was in NJ going to its final destination.  I have no idea what that destination is.  It could actually show up this week or go back to Germany.  No address of what the destination is.

USPS employs 640,000 people.  They are estimating that their financial loss for 2018 will be $1.2 billion and ended 2017 with $15 billion in debt on their books.  DHL is another story.   My story is just a glimpse into serious waste and mismanagement.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Amazing that our lives that are so streamlined by the logistical brilliance that is Amazon, still falls into these holes of logistical stupidity as your story illustrates.I can only imagine the fury you felt at each broken piece of the process and the time it wasted.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Beyond….and costly on their end which is so absurd. I don’t get charged for this and neither does the vendor.

  2. jjj575

    I wonder if there would be any value in a “Follow me delivery/tracking” service.There is express delivery, 2 day, 3-5 business days, and I saw that Amazon now allows deliveries for weeks later.Would there be value to have items delivered to you whereever you happen to be. It would probably require access to calendar and phone location. No sure about the algorithm for delivery , bit would there be value? How much?

    1. Gotham Gal

      They have it but they don’t give the final destination address so not sure where it’s going

      1. jjj575

        So one could hang around a certain spot, hoping it arrives…or try your luck at the assumed delivery spot?Wellno suppose the betterouse trap wasn’t reinvented overnight…and I assuming a better one has been invented?

  3. TanyaMonteiro

    bye bye USPS. (at least you still have a postal service, here in good old SA we only rely on private companies.

  4. jason wright

    “At the beach, we do not get USPS unless you have a POBox.” Negative marginal cost of distribution economics? When i think about this kind of scenario i do wonder what money is for. the USPS should just bill you for the to-the-beach service a la Uber.

    1. Gotham Gal

      if they can’t figure out how to email me back I am quite sure that would be a reach….but you are right.