on Jul 19th, 2010 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 29 comments
UPS and FedEx frequently attempt residential deliveries when customers are not home. After a series of failed delivery attempts, these companies return the packages to their local distribution centers, forcing customers to travel to these remote locations to collect their packages. What if the Postal Service offered residential customers a service allowing them to use their local Post Office™ as an alternate delivery address? A delivery company would do its delivery scan at the Post Office and send an e-mail or text message to a customer telling him or her that a package is available. The customer could either pick up the package or have the Postal Service deliver it to his or her home on a specified day. The Postal Service could charge the customer a per-package or periodic (monthly or yearly) fee, or the delivery company could offer this service free of charge. In the latter case, the Postal Service could charge the delivery company, and the customer ordering a product to be shipped via UPS or FedEx could specify whether he or she wants the product delivered to a designated Post Office after the first, second, or third home delivery attempt. Post Offices would need space to store packages until customers pick up their packages or the Postal Service delivers them, so some Post Offices might be incapable of offering this service. Since this new service would most likely be considered a postal product, legal constraints should be limited. However, questions about access to postal facilities and security need to be addressed when exploring this opportunity. This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).


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I think this would be a great idea. First, it could be used to generate a small amount of revenue-charge a buck or so per piece, which would still be cheaper than the gas used to go to a UPS hub to pick it up. Second, if the customer is going to the PO already, they may do additional business while they are there which mean additional residual revenue. Or if there is a larger volume of packages, you may be able to use that to encourage more PO Box rentals-alowing customers to accept the packages at a reduced rate if they rent a PO Box at a specific office. A win-win if you ask me.

This would be a great idea, but only if the locations were open past normal business hours. For example, I was attempting to schedule a redelivery today to a condo (a location by which there is no way for someone to be "home" as it's a small metal box apart from residential units) and the USPS agent was so rude that he not only refused to schedule redelivery service but hung up the phone. I am attempting to resolve this problem, and find a way to pick up the package from the local center (which only operates during hours I'm at work) but there isn't even a way to transfer an item from one postal center to another.

It's insane, and why I never, ever let anyone send me anything via USPS. I've never had a good experience with the service, unfortunately.

If you can help with me obtaining the package without having to take annual leave to pick it up, I'm all ears. As it is, the USPS system is broken for urban dwellers.

Someone said security at the post office? It's a lot less secure than you would ever imagine. I was there for many, many years.

USPS would have to address the problem of not enough window clerks..already most offices have lines out the door

LP - have your condo association install Parcel lockers where the "small metal Boxes" are located,then your friendly mail man can leave the parcel in the locker and put the key to the locker in your mail box and you will not have to worry about redelivers again

Good idea, but the customer will not want to pay. Charge the delivery company, as the customer has already paid shipping to have it delivered to them. I doubt the other companies would go for it, as it will erode their market share as more people see USPS as "The Package Place".

I think it is a stupid idea. Some top dogs must have thought that one up.

This would be insane. The only real possible growth is in parcels. We have advantages in that we deliver to every address daily. To make it economically feasible, we would have to charge UPS etc... far more than they would be willing to pay. The first post is plain silly, yes UPS will let you redirect a parcel to another facility but the closest one they have to my house is 23 miles. You can sign the slip and ask for the parcel to be left at your house or you or a family member can show up at the Post Office.

It would be nice but how's a carrier to do it when they will have 8 hour street time with FSS. Besides, who's gonna lift those packages over 70 lbs?

I think it is a stupid idea. We already offer this service in the last mile agreements and get drop shipped parcels from UPS and FEDEX daily. Only the non profitable ones, making USPS absorb the costs of delivery.

With ideas like this one, we might as well just close the doors to the USPS.

I loathe to go to my post office - and I have worked there! 3 stoplights from my house. Has never had enough staffing, parking lot is so poorly designed, you have to wait through at least 2 light changes to get out. I can't imagine anyone else would want to do this, but wait, there is a charge to "receive" this service??? Wow!

Yes, if given the opportunity to have a FedEx or USPS parcel delivered to my local post office I would. I would also stop mailing my parcels via USPS. What consumer would not take advantage of the better tracking currently offered by FedEx and UPS if the consumer could pick up a missed parcel a few miles from home instead of 20 or 50 miles? The Postal Service currently offers alternate mailing addresses; they are called post office boxes.

stupid idea for the following reasons:
1. We have terrible hours
2. Long lines when we are open
3. windows clerks can't find the parcels half of the time.
4.How are you going to handle the oversize.
5. How are the carriers going to handle the "re-delivery"

I would not be able to use my LOCAL post office. It is never open when I am in my own neighborhood, except 1/2 day Saturday. Maybe if the package could be sent to ANY post office. I could then pick it up during lunch at the PO near my workplace. Oh, wait a minute, no I can't... They started closing at lunch time, too.

sorry that you missed me.

As an online seller, I think this is a good idea.

- short retail hours is a problem - for USPS packages too! Possibly units that have later hours or someone there after retail close could scan and give packages to customers who would NOT pay - non-USPS shippers would (a la Parcel Select).
- internet option to move a package close to someone's work location would also be nice, but needs to be handled at dutch door NOT retail counter at busy times. Again-shippers pay, not customers.

Terrible idea. I wouldn't trust the USPS with something important enough to have been sent via FedEx/UPS.

Do you people have any idea how many FEDEX AND UPS parcels are dropped shipped to USPS for delivery.

UPS and FedEx offers three attempts at delivery, just like the USPS. Re-delivery arrangements can be easily made. Why go to a Post Office, wait on a usually long line, and told "We Can't seem to locate your package"

Are you kidding, the clerks can't move fast enough, lines would be out the door. and their attitude towards a non revenue item is a waste of time.

USPS has it backwards. To be competitive today USPS needs to stop cutting deals with USPS/FEDEX and start going after their ccustomers.

This type of marketing problem is beyond the USPS capabilities. These are the same people who think getting rid of delivery days and reducing service is the way to go. It is not in their DNA to think logically trying to increase business. What this article assumes is an advantage, is actually a disadvantage to USPS decision makers.

Horrible idea and just another way for the usps to give more business away to the competition. I use the usps (specifically request the service from many vendors I recieve packages from) simply because I know I can pick up the package at my local post office if I am not home to recieve it. Other services, I have to drive miles out of my way (although they do make multiple re-delivery attempts that the usps doesn't do). I have always recieved better, faster service through the usps, as well - the only exception is when companies lie to me and tell me they are shipping usps and then user smartpost or ups mail innovations which are slow like molasses. The usps cannot survive by giving the business away - it really needs to focus on promoting the value of it's own services and competing for business.

Where does the postal service make any money on this?

The postmaster in the small town where my mother lives already does this. I work for the USPS and I couldn't believe it when my mother told me this. This postmaster is currently giving away her job.

If I read this right, the article did say the customer could/should be charged a fee either per pkg or monthly, like a PO Box and if the pkg is from another vendor, the USPS could/would charge them...? I like the idea of adding other services to accommodate, but 1) How will this fit into the USPS 5 day delivery model? 2) Can the USPS actually do this systematically?...making sure they send an email to the customer in a timely manner or the whole scenario is moot. Now, I have received shipment using UPS, not often, since I am a USPS employee. However, 50 % of the time these guys leave the pkg on my front porch, they did not knock, they only get my signature on their etch-a-sketch if they catch me outside, other than that its left and this 50%, IT IS NOT EVEN MY PKG! I am being totally honest. I will run after them before they get in their truck and tell them, its for the next street over....like always! I would have hated for my pkg to be left on someone else's porch. I may never get it. Oh, I can see them scanning their IMD, most likely as "delivered" yes, but to who? So I quite support the idea of a secure location while "not at home"

Can anyone tell me where I can find or where it is published about who can pick up your mail for you and what they need in order to pick up your mail?

IF I can't depend on the USPS to deliver an Express Package to it's destination, then why would I want USPS to hold on to other packages for me.

Currently, I have a package that was supposed to be delivered to my CPA..who was in the office at the alleged attempted delivery. No postal employee came to that office and my CPA keeps a very good ledger of his appointments and his wife is the Secretary.

USPS can't find these "Time Dependent Documents", that is Really Scary !!

I do not think that you can manage "Other Company's Delivery's" any better than your own.