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Lame Post Office

Lots of companies and lots of goverment run institutions have stupid policies. One that comes up in my life fairly often is the Japanese Post Office’s system of delivering packages.

There’s how they do it.

Heavy or light, the mail person carries the package all the way to my place up 2 flights of stairs only to find I’m not home (why would I be since like the majority of people I have to work during the day?) Then, even though there is a post office a 1 minute walk from my apartment he leaves a note and takes the package all they way back to the cities’s main post office 3-4 miles away. Which by the way is an 2 hour walk round trip or 80 minutes by train and 620yen. The note has several options

1) You can come to the main post office and get your package.

2) You can schedule a delivery time

3) You can have it delivered somewhere else

4) You can have it sent to another post office

100% of the time I have them sent it to my local post office adding 3 days to the delivery time. First day get note, second day send note, 3rd day wait, 4th day it’s at the post office 8 buildings away from my apartment.

Does anybody see a problem here? I asked them if there was a way to just always deliver any package to my local post office “no, I’m sorry, we can’t do that sir.”. So, every single time they pay some mail person to carry the package to my apartment (wasted effort) and every single time he has to leave the note (wasted paper) and then every single time he has to carry it back (more wasted effort) and every single time I have to send the note (which of course another mail person has to pick up and another has to look at and detail with, more wasted effort) then someone finally has to ship it to my local post office. What a waste! And no, they won’t just leave it in front of my door which would be fine with me as it was in LA and should be here too where theft is relatively low :-(

  • Zehgerman
    postal services

    What a stupid system :/

    In sweden the package is sent directly to the local post office and you get a note in your mailbox requiring you to pick it up. And if you have a special delivery for example from ups or fed ex it comes right to your door when your home :)

  • Cormac

    irritating, isn’t it…and God help you if you miss those slips. Once i had two parcels from Amazon on one day, when i was only expecting one. i thought the second slip was a duplicate (sometimes they come twice), and tossed it. Later i find out that it was real, and that my parcel was sent back to Amazon. Still haven’t got it :(

    The only real solution is to have everything sent to your work address. Also handy for sneaking stuff past your other half ;)

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    heavy

    The problem with sending stuff to work is you have to carry it home on the train. If you just ordered 5 heavy tech books or a new US XBox that can be pretty heavy. That was no problem in the states where I had a car except that many online places would only send to your billing address (my home)

    UPS had the slip problem where they would leave the slip, I’d call and have them deliver to work. It seems like it would be in there best interest for you to be able to register a perminant forwarding address.  Everybody would win. You’d get your package faster, they’d save money by not delivering twice.

  • http://www.unknowngenius.com/blog drDave
    They are not so bad…

    Actually, I’d like to play devil’s advocate for once and defend the Japanese Post Office.

    At many occasions, I’ve been simply amazed at how stuff got delivered to my house nearly right on time despite major omissions. That includes:

    - One letter from my bank that had been accidentally sent with the wrong chiban

    - A few letters that got delivered to our door (rather than the lobby’s mailbox) as they were missing apartment number AND our mailbox label with our names on it had fallen.

    - And the one that really amazed me: a package I was sent from Europe got mislabeled and they skipped everything between the name and building name and the zip code (no ku, no choume etc). It still arrived at our door less than 5 days late.

    From experience and for having sent quite a few packages that were returned to me from the US because of minor errors in the labeling, I do not think the USPS would go anywhere to that length of service to deliver something.

    As for this inconvenience you are talking about, you know that, were they to do as you say (for example, leave the package on your front door when you’re not there), there would be much more potential problems and complaints about it.

    A lot of services might not be perfect in Japan, but honestly, the postal system is one of the best I have encountered thus far (no, my aunt doesn’t work there ;o)

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    You might like this

    http://www.improb.com/airchives/paperair/volume6/v6i4/postal-6-4.html

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest the Japanese Post Office completely sucked.  Just that one of their policies is poorly thought out.  They would save both me time and them money if they had a way for me to register that I automatically want all packages sent to the local post office.  A Win – Win situation.  As it is it’s a lose – lose situation.  I get my packages 3 days later, it costs them more to deliver it, process it, etc.

  • http://www.chipple.net/ Patrick

    I agree that the first time they ship is almost always a waste of time and efforts for them.

    However, the slip that you get should contain instructions to re-schedule a delivery using the automated phone service or their Web site, so you can re-schedule your delivery right away when you get the slip. You can specify the day and the part of day (morning/afternoon/evening) you want it to arrive, so it’s possible to get your package the next evening at your door.
    I find this very convenient.

    Personally, I’m a rather heavy user of the postal services here and I’m usually very satisfied with their service.

    Thanks for the funny link about the postal experiments. :)

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    Waiting…

    True, I could call or go to the website.  I get the slip at night (when I get home from work) so that might make it an extra 2 days instead of 3 but only *might*.  I have no idea how fast they get around to shipping that thing to my local post office.  If they process my request that morning and ship it that day then it will be at the local post office for me the following morning (2 days).  If they process it late then it will not get sent until the next day and it will still be 3 days later.

    As for rescheduling a time, no time fits my schedule.  I’m home 11pm to 9am at best and often less.  I can’t stay at home until noon waiting for a package and I can’t get home fast enough to wait for an evening delivery.  Even if I could get off work early enough for an evening delivery I wouldn’t want to have to come home to get it and miss seeing friends after work.  So, I’d just like a way to tell them “always send it to my local post office”.  I’m sure someday they’ll figure it out since it would save them money.

    There are things I like about the Japanese post office.  For example the fact that they sell boxes complete with straps and tape to seal it.  Of course on the opposite side, I miss Mailboxes Etc type of places from the states where I could take anything I want shipped and get it packed and shipped.  While I can get the box at the post office here in Japan they only have 3 sizes and no padding material. :-D