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USPS Shipping Speed—Regular Package Service vs. Priority 3-Day

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Feb 14, 2020 - 4:22:59 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23240 posts since 6/25/2005

Some of you followed my earlier topic on tracking a banjo shipped to me.  That topic is here:

https://www.banjohangout.org/topic/360718/2

That banjo was sent from Maryland to California by the Post Office‘s standard package service.  It took 12 actual, and 8 business days to arrive.  Tracking was not particularly informative, in fact, a bit misleading.  It arrived safely and met the P.O. criterion of delivery within 10 business days.  Cost: $82 and change.

This was a trade, and I shipped the return banjo via USPS Priority 3-day service.  It arrived, as advertised, in three days. Cost: $127 and change.  Both shipments were insured for $1,000.

Cost, of course, varies by distance, but this is a good basis for comparison. My take is that the Priority service is worth the difference because an instrument is less likely to sit where it’s too hot or too cold for a significant length of time.  Not to mention a much better idea of arrival if you need to plan to be at the destination point.

Feb 15, 2020 - 8:51:56 AM

WesB

USA

222 posts since 12/17/2014

I'm with you on the $45 difference being worth it, but there will always be those who will go with the cheapest rate, no matter what.

Feb 28, 2020 - 6:32:32 AM

banjoy

USA

8827 posts since 7/1/2006

As a former (semi-retirned now) US Postal Employee in the position of PSE, and acting Postmaster for a small one-man rural office, I can tell you that Priority Mail is called priority because it's, well, priority. That's what you pay for, and it gets red carpet treatment. It's important to understand, though, that this is not a guaranteed serivce (meaning, if they miss the delivery timeframe but is delivered late, oh well, no recovery or refund). The only service they offer that exceeds Priority Mail is Express Mail, which is pricy as heck, but is fully guaranteed so if the shipment does not arrive by a specific hour on a specific day, there is a 100% refund. I personally had to refund three Express Mail shipments during my tenure that my customers sent out that arrived late. Package still arrived (late), but cost the customer $0.

In your other thread you edited one of your posts to interject that if the Post Office intentionally slowed down Standard Mail just to stretch out the delivery timframe to its max, that that would be unconscionable. I agree, but am here to tell you that does not happen. As I mentioned to you in private, sometimes bottlenecks occur, sometimes shipping containers may be detained for law enforcement inspection, whatever. But postal workers are not sitting around scheming ways to slow things down. That simply is not a thing.

I will tell you an unknown secret about First Class packages. They travel the same streams as Priority Mail and routinely arrive within 2-3 days cross-country. The only limitation is that First Class mail is limited to 13oz if you ship in person at the Post Office, or 16oz (1 pound) if you use Click-and-Ship, eBay, PayPal, Stamps.com, or any of the resources that allow you to prepare and print your own label. Plus, you get a significant discount if you prepare the label yourself (not at USPS Click-and-Ship, unfortunately, but all other sources give discounts), over the full retail you pay at the counter. So, for all you sellers of small items, and parts suppliers, as long as your package remains 1 lb or less, and you prepare the label yourself, you get the same speed, at discounted First Class rates, as you do the Priority Service. So now you know.

Here is a hidden link at PayPal that allows you to prepare ship labels for USPS, FedEx and UPS, and receive discounts:

https://www,paypal.com/shiplabel/create

Edited by - banjoy on 02/28/2020 06:39:12

Feb 28, 2020 - 6:54:26 AM

banjoy

USA

8827 posts since 7/1/2006

Oops. Corrected PayPal link (this one works now):

https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create

And, it's only for USPS and UPS (at any service level), FedEx is not included in the offering. My bad. But this link allows you to prep your own labels and save over retail cost.

Edited by - banjoy on 02/28/2020 06:57:18

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