×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Gamefly Complains of Poor Treatment From USPS

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the spurring-rubber-dvd-development dept.

Games 269

Gamefly, the popular video game rental service that operates through the mail, has filed a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission about the high number of games that are lost or stolen in the mail. The complaint (PDF) asserts that the postal service's automated sorting machines have a tendency to break a small percentage of discs, and that preferential treatment is given to DVD rental services like Netflix and Blockbuster. "According to Gamefly's numbers, it mails out 590,000 games and receives 510,000 games back from subscribers a month. The company sees, depending on the mailer, between one and two percent of its games broken in transit. ... Even if you assume the number is one percent, and a game costs $50 to replace, that's an astounding $295,000 a month in lost merchandise. ... That's not the only issue — games are also stolen in transit, which has lead to the arrest of 19 Postal Service employees."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

269 comments

Heh heh.. riiight (5, Funny)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709161)

Those lost game disks were lost in the mail... Heh heh... *hides stack of reported "lost" disks under the couch* Nothing to see here, move along!

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709209)

Read the summary. Postal employees have been arrested for stealing the games. Games are being broken in transit. It doesn't sound like their customers are the biggest problem.

I'm modding you down for being stupid.

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (-1, Troll)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709211)

If only I could mod you down for a lack of a sense of humor...

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709445)

Sorry guy, but you kinda deserve it. It wasn't that funny, and it was pretty stupid.

BTW, not the same as anon above.

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709469)

Ass. (Article summary says): high number of games that are lost or stolen in the mail. ... have a tendency to break a small percentage of discs

Note the major problem is lost items, not 'broken items' is a side issue of less significance.

So how can you tell that the 'high percentage of (disks) lost' in the mail were really 'lost in the mail' and not merely reported as such?

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709529)

Way to be a dick; I chuckled.

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709595)

I would mod you up if I had any points. There is obviously more reason to 'steal' games than movies as movies are easy to get from bootleggers/internet. Therefore it makes perfect sense that more games would be 'lost in the mail' than movies.

Posting anonymously as it's obvious current moderators are using mod points incorrectly.

Re:Heh heh.. riiight (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709837)

Allot of companies that send things by mail stick their own address labels to the outside of the parcel. By that I mean an address label with the company logo.

If you see a parcel tagged with the Netflix logo I think you can have a good guess at the contents.

That's why I quit Zip.ca (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709197)

This sounds a lot like the reason I quit Zip.ca (Canadian Netflix). 3 DVDs within 3 months failed to end up win my locked mailbox (I live in an apartment). With all the time I spent with my account on hold while they investigated the lost DVDs, I didn't get to make very good use of my membership. I can only imagine the problem would be worse with games, where they are worth quite a bit more $50 vs. $20 (many DVDs are $10 or less). Also, with no signature required for the discs, I'm sure a lot of people are just reporting that the disc never made it to them, or saying they sent it back when they didn't, and keeping it for themselves.

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (3, Interesting)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709245)

At least with NetFlix if you get tired of the Postal problems and broken/scratched discs, you can look for something to stream. If it wasn't for the streaming stuff, I'd have canceled by now. The last disc I ordered a month ago is sitting waiting for me to do something with it while I have more fun streaming old Doctor Who and Red Dwarf episodes on demand.

Unfortunately, there's no real equivalent for streaming NetFlix style games... yet.

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709863)

Speaking of Netflix streaming...

Has anyone gotten Netflix streaming to work in Windows Firefox under Wine? Netflix claims that their streaming service works with Firefox 2 or greater on XP or Vista, but when I run Firefox under Wine it tells me I don't have a compatible browser...

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709471)

I've rented 533 DVDs from Zip in nearly 5 years. 0 have been lost, and 0 have been stolen. I have lived in a house and I've lived in an apartment (locked mailbox). You must have had some pretty bad luck :(

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (3, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709665)

Or a single bad postal employee...

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709941)

Yes, most people are honest and wouldn't steal even if they knew they had a 100% chance of getting away with it. But there are bound to be a few bad eggs out there and the more times a parcel changes hands the higher it's risk of passing through a dishonest person.

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709861)

You bring up a good point. Why is a movie that can cost $100 million to make cost $25 on disc but a game that cost $15 million to make cost $50 on disc? Is the volume of DVD sales that much bigger to explain the large difference in retail price?

Re:That's why I quit Zip.ca (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709877)

Yes. (also, movies make back their expenses -- ideally -- from the box office)

Dying industry (3, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709223)

Seems like this is just one more nail in the coffin for the USPS. Seriously, without services like this, they'd probably already be out of business. Since 1973 they've been a state sponsored monopoly rather than an actual branch of the government. I don't see it being too much longer that they're allowed sole right to transfer first class mail with both UPS and FedEx waiting in the wings to offer better more reliable service.

Re:Dying industry (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709287)

You really should hope they stick around. For all its 'crappiness' USPS isn't THAT bad, and if they disappear it'll get ridiculously expensive to mail a simple letter via UPS/DHL/FedEx/Whoever. Look at the cost to send a normal one page letter via the USPS versus anyone else. Do you want your phone bill to go up $4 every month because it costs them that much to send it to you? And water, electric, cable, ect? You can probably get most of them electronically, but not all and I'd rather keep my money thanks to the USPS charging them a quarter rather than 4 bucks. If UPS charged them 4, they'll raise the bill 6 or 7.

I bet it would cut down on the number of incorrectly addressed items I get. Maybe whoever keeps mailing 'Current Resident' would finally have to get a real business model instead.

Re:Dying industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709453)

USPS charging them a quarter rather than 4 bucks

Not quite how it works for large volume mailers (which is why we still receive snail-spam).
Plus, if UPS/FedEx started carrying everyone's standard mail their costs would drop because they would be far less specialized.

Re:Dying industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709459)

I think DHL went out of business.

Re:Dying industry (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709713)

I think DHL went out of business.

Not quite. They ended domestic parcel service in the US, but they still do international shipping.

Re:Dying industry (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709473)

The companies that mail 'Current Resident' generate a lot of jobs, from mail processing to delivery to the people making the actual piece of mail that gets sent out

Re:Dying industry (4, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709495)

I was about to say something like "it's cheap unless you consider taxes"...but thought I'd better check on that. And bigger than shit was I wrong. The USPS actually runs on it's own sales. I guess I'll STFU now. [nalc.org]

Re:Dying industry (5, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709555)

The reason it is more expensive is it is required by law, as in the United States, the USPS is a state-protected monopoly whose rights and position are made exclusive by law, and in exchange for that, their price is regulated, and their competitors are legally required to charge a higher price.

It is in fact illegal to compete with the USPS, but there is a narrowly carved exception that other mail services utilize.

The two laws involved are the Private Express Statutes and the Mailbox Access rule.

The Mailbox access rule gives the postal service exclusive access to the customer mailboxes. Your mailbox is federal property, and it would be criminal trespass, and a felony under federal law for any employee of a competitor to deposit mail in anyone's mailbox.

The Private Express statute refers to a group of laws that make certain acts federal crime and also civilly actionable offenses for any organization or employee of an organization to deliver mail other than the postal service.

COMPETING carriers like Fedex, UPS, etc, cannot LEGALLY deliver non-urgent mail, without employees being thrown in jail, and their company having to pay massive fines, except if certain special conditions are ensured. All these conditions force the price to be much higher than USPS cost for the customer.

The special exception that allows third-party mail services to deliver letters refers to "extremely urgent letters". One way a competitor is permitted is that the delivery of the letter must cost the greater of $3 or "twice the First Class US mail service would cost"

Other exceptions would be "Lawful Private Carriage" exception, which requires that the US Postage be paid in addition to the private mail delivery service's fees (i.e. an agreement is required with the USPS, and standard postage affixed to the letter, and the postage cancelled upon receipt, ON TOP of the private carrier's fee).

Re:Dying industry (4, Insightful)

chewedtoothpick (564184) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709967)

There is nothing which prevents any person from installing a secondary mailbox similar to those used by us in more rural areas for newspapers.

I hate government sponsored monopolies as much as anyone else, but the USPS actually provides a rather critical service even in these days of easily accessible alternatives such as e-mail. Without the pressure of the USPS being able to provide affordable prices for shipping to more poorly covered or less easily accessed areas (such as Alaska and Hawaii) only the people in major metropolitan areas would receive reasonable parcel and letter services. As much as that may not affect you there are still many millions of other people who are equally as valuable and important to you who would be royally bunged if things happened the way you obviously wish.

mc1138 got it all wrong.. (3, Interesting)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709561)

The game rental business is the one with the nails going into it's coffin. Remind me again why you'd need a physical disk? And with theft, loss and damage Gamefly is living proof (so to speak) that A) there's a market for game rental B) renting *physical* media is costly and logistically complicated.

Re:mc1138 got it all wrong.. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709667)

because there's no way in hell I'm going to pull 50gb through my broadband connection? Even at 16 mb/s.

Re:mc1138 got it all wrong.. (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709867)

Why would you want a game that takes up 50 GB? Any game that approaches that level of data consumption must be seriously abusing full motion video, probably to the point of using pretty much the entire development budget on it. Either that or it is storing trillion polygon models for the specs of dust in the game, and similarly absurd texture sizes.

Re:mc1138 got it all wrong.. (3, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709895)

Remind me again why you'd need a physical disk?

So those assholes don't decide they don't want me playing it anymore. So I don't accidentally delete it. So I can loan it to a friend. Same reason I still buy CD's (well, the once a year I find something worth listening to), rip them, and throw them in a storage tub.

Re:mc1138 got it all wrong.. (1)

mellestad (1301507) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709915)

Because I doubt even half of console owners have the broadband pipe to use an online service like that. And many that do have caps. I'm not going to pay $1 per GB for a game on top of what my rental charges. It would probably work in Japan.

Re:Dying industry (1)

kentrel (526003) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709743)

Europe got rid of postal monopolies, and the vast majority if not all are either privatised or soon to be. Mail here is cheap and reliable. I've never had a DVD broken or go missing either.

Re:Dying industry (2, Insightful)

wbren (682133) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709933)

Do you want your phone bill to go up $4 every month because it costs them that much to send it to you? And water, electric, cable, ect? You can probably get most of them electronically, but not all and I'd rather keep my money thanks to the USPS charging them a quarter rather than 4 bucks. If UPS charged them 4, they'll raise the bill 6 or 7.

Actually, I'd be willing to bet most people can get all of them electronically, and pay them electronically too. Companies that don't support electronic bills and correspondence will simply fail to compete and die off. That's progress.

I can't remember the last time I mailed a letter. It must have been 2002 or thereabouts. Only official documents that need to be signed and mailed are worth mailing, and I send those UPS/FedEx because they arrive faster and have reliable tracking (USPS tracking is a joke). And extra couple bucks to mail one document every few years isn't a big price to pay.

I realize not everyone has such little dependence on the USPS. I'm just saying that they should.

Re:Dying industry (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709295)

Sole right? when has the USPS stopped you from going to FedEx, UPS, DHL, ect. However, the USPS must deliver to all US territories, no complaint. Now there is not many locations that a private service does not go to that the USPS does, however I will put money on that when the space program starts going regularly to other planets the post office will offer service at least several years before you see a UPS uniform on the mars.

Re:Dying industry (3, Interesting)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709393)

> when has the USPS stopped you from going to FedEx, UPS, DHL, ect.

For sending, never.

However, the primary customer of all those services is the sender. They couldn't care less about the recipient, except insofar as it might piss off the sender. And they're aimed primarily at the business market with their delivery times. And on the receiving end, USPS sometimes has special privileges.

Case in point: in Chicago, the USPS, unlike all the other entities you mention, has master keys to the front doors of many apartment buildings (NOT the individual apartment doors). They need these so that they can get to the mailboxes, which are inside the lobby area. This means they can also leave packages in the lobby area, instead of out on the street (or not at all, which is what all the other services will do). If a package actually requires a signature and they keep missing you, getting to the local post office in a city is a lot easier than getting to whatever boondocks location FedEx and company want you to go to for picking up the package (a 30 minute drive from where I was in the case of UPS; completely inaccessible without a car).

Totally agreed with your other point, though. I doubt UPS and FedEx deliver to the US territory which is the south pole station in Antarctica, for example.

Re:Dying industry (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709511)

Sorry if I'm way off base here, but I'm assuming the US Postal Service works similarly to the Canadian one. In Canada if you miss your package, they leave a receipt in your mail box, and tell you to pick it up at the nearest "post office". I put post office in quotes because the post office is usually the neighbourhood pharmacy or convenience store, where they have a little counter in the back where you can pick up your packages. I really don't understand why UPS, Fedex, et al couldn't work out a similar deal with local stores to act as pick up places for packages. It's not like there's some sort of law restricting this process. Dry cleaners do it all the time. My basic guess is, is that courier services really only care about delivering to businesses. They charge rates only businesses would pay, and therefore, their residential customers are almost nil. So they don't focus on the market, and for personal use, most people find that their service is terrible.

Re:Dying industry (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709805)

> if you miss your package, they leave a receipt in your mail box, and tell you to pick it
> up at the nearest "post office".

Typically it's not the nearest one but the nearest "big" one. At least in my experience.

> I put post office in quotes because the post office is usually the neighbourhood
> pharmacy or convenience store

Definitely not my experience with the USPS.

> I really don't understand why UPS, Fedex, et al couldn't work out a similar deal
> with local stores

They could, but it would cost them money. And since the package recipient is not their customer, it's not worth it to them. Which is precisely the problem with said companies.

> My basic guess is, is that courier services really only care about delivering to
> businesses.

They certainly operate as if that were the case.

> They charge rates only businesses would pay, and therefore, their residential customers
> are almost nil.

That doesn't follow, since the rate is paid by the _sender_. Their residential senders are nil. Their residential _recipients_ are anyone who buys stuff online, basically. Very few e-tailers have the option of shipping via USPS, because for them the courier services offer all sorts of conveniences (e.g. package pickup).

So yes, the courier services are terrible for recipients, good for senders. The senders are the ones paying them; the rest follows from this.

Re:Dying industry (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709347)

You're technically correct, but factually way off. Yes the USPS has a monopoly over mailboxes and the term "first class mail" but that's really not the kind of impediment to competition that you might think. It merely means that other companies focus on markets that are more lucrative.

The building that I work in gets shipments from at least a dozen different couriers and shipping companies. That doesn't strike me as a particularly effective monopoly.

Re:Dying industry (1, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709385)

More reliable service? I've worked in a UPS plant. I now prefer to ship FedEx.

Also, if the UPS plant was any indication, UPS (and maybe FedEx and DHL) would have to do massive upgrades and changes to handle the basic mail that flows through the USPS system.

I have no problem with the USPS being in place. Furthermore, I can't see any problem that USPS is having that UPS or FedEx couldn't have themselves. Considering the necessity that postal mail still is, I'd prefer to leave it to the government. Privatization would only increase costs and lower service. You would also wind up with the last-mile problems of broadband. While UPS does deliver packages to my town, it has no regular drop-off location, and I have to drive 45 minutes if I want to ship UPS or FedEx. Obviously they would open more branches if there was suddenly a shift, but there would still be a period where many towns would be crippled in some fashion.

I'm fine with decreasing the services offered by USPS, though.

Re:Dying industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709465)

Is the US postal system really that useless? I just sent a package with Canada Post's overnight service, and it arrived the next morning as promised, all for more than $10 less than FedEx or UPS would've cost (and with extra insurance, too!).

Similarly, I order some things from Switzerland on a regular basis, and their standard airmail service has never failed to make it to Canada in a week or less. This is excellent, considering lettermail often takes a week to travel from one side of Canada to the other, if you don't pay for a time guarantee.

Re:Dying industry (2, Insightful)

wgoodman (1109297) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709565)

on the other hand.. I ordered a package over a month ago that was shipped via usps. for some random reason, they decided that my address did not exist (i found this out via their nearly useless tracking function for certain shipments) after i saw that it had been rejected (it had never actually left the post office to go on a delivery, they said they had rejected it before it made it on a truck) i went in, and showed them a package that ups had delivered with the exact same address. i was told that there was nothing that they could do and that the package was already on route to the sender. 3 days later, the tracking info AGAIN said that they had tried to deliver it but it was undeliverable as addressed. after i went back in, they searched for it, couldn't find it and i was told that it had been returned. that was 3 weeks ago, neither the shipper nor the local post office has seen it. it doesn't matter how cheap something is if they can't actually manage to do the job they're hired for. it's generally worth sending packages via any route but the usps since at least it's not a lottery as to if it'll get there or not.

wrong (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709485)

Since 1973 they've been a state sponsored monopoly rather than an actual branch of the government.

"The United States Post Office (U.S.P.O.) was created in Philadelphia under Benjamin Franklin on July 26, 1775 by decree of the Second Continental Congress. Based on the Postal Clause in Article One of the United States Constitution, empowering Congress "To establish post offices and post roads," it became the Post Office Department (U.S.P.O.D.) in 1792. It was part of the Presidential cabinet and the Postmaster General was the last person in the United States presidential line of succession. In 1971, the department was reorganized as a quasi-independent agency of the federal government and acquired its present name. The Postmaster General is no longer in the presidential line of succession.[14]"

Wikipedia, fun for the whole family. PS: they're not 'sponsored'; they don't get any money from the feds. They're given the postal equivalent of common carrier status, but only to a mailbox marked "US Mail". If you want to make your own postal service, you can go right ahead- you just can't deliver to a US Mail mailbox. Given that almost nobody's mailbox is actually marked "US Mail", practically, you CAN run a competitive service.

I don't see it being too much longer that they're allowed sole right to transfer first class mail with both UPS and FedEx waiting in the wings to offer better more reliable service.

USPS has never, in my entire life, lost or damaged a package or letter of mine. UPS and Fedex have done one or both, repeatedly.

I once had a USPS delivery guy (working the holiday season) bang on the doorbells of the entire complex until someone let him in. I was in the shower and when I stuck my head out the window, he demanded to be let in. His response to "I'm in the shower" was a string of profanity demanding I let him in.

I called the USPS customer service number and spoke to a rep who was meticulous in taking down the particulars, and apologized profusely. I figured I'd never hear back from them about it, except then I received a phone call a week later saying the guy had been disciplined and re-trained on USPS practices for delivery to apartment buildings. A week or so after that, a customer survey card appeared in the mail, asking if my complaint had been handled to my satisfaction.

Go read the Journal of Improbable Research's article about shipping weird shit through the mail. It's astounding what they got through the mail, and they said that it is a miracle that they can do stuff like ship a balloon when in most countries, you can't even get reliable letter service.

I don't know what the fuck your personal beef is with the USPS, but the fact that they're a monopoly and run both efficiently and extremely competently is pretty amazing to me.

Re:wrong (2, Interesting)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709541)

USPS has never, in my entire life, lost or damaged a package or letter of mine. UPS and Fedex have done one or both, repeatedly.

I don't know what the fuck your personal beef is with the USPS, but the fact that they're a monopoly and run both efficiently and extremely competently is pretty amazing to me.

Are you or a relative a postal employee, by chance?

I've had numerous things lost or damaged in the US Mail in the last year. It has been a decade since UPS lost or damaged a single package of mine. I don't use Fedex as often as the US Mail or UPS, so I'll leave them out of it.

Also, different post offices have different levels of competency. Just because your post office & carrier does a good job doesn't mean most of them do. Of the 7 or so post offices I've had substantial experience with (as a resident of their zip code), I would 2 have been horrible, 2 were quite good, and the others average. Note that "average" is below where I would rank UPS.

No, I don't work for UPS, and I don't own their stock or have any other commercial interest in them.

Re:wrong (1)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709567)

I would say 2 were quite good...

*sigh* Even forced preview couldn't save me; I only read the first 2/3rds of it, fixed 2 errors, and clicked submit.

Re:wrong (2, Insightful)

ikono (1180291) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709711)

Also, different post offices have different levels of competency. Just because your post office & carrier don't do a good job, it doesn't mean most of them don't do a good job. (See what I did there?)

Re:wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709727)

I've had numerous things lost or damaged in the US Mail in the last year.

Guess calling the postman a "stupid motherfucker" that one time wasn't such a hot idea now was it?

It has been a decade since UPS lost or damaged a single package of mine.

Try calling the UPS deliveryman a "stupid motherfucker" and let us know how UPS delivery works out for you.

Re:wrong (5, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709891)

Look, these threads are the same every time:

  • "UPS sucks, but FedEx has been great for me"
  • "USPS loses my stuff every day, but UPS is perfect"
  • "I used to work for UPS and I would never ship with them"
  • "my brother works for FedEx and HE says use USPS"
  • "Over here in $COUNTRY our stuff works fine"
  • "Oh yeah, I visited $COUNTRY and my postcard to my mother never made it back home and I had to pay two euros to send it"

Etcetera. Look, you open up a public forum and you're going to hear horror stories about each major carrier and stories of wonderful service about each major carrier. Because it's all just a bunch of random personal anecdotes, it doesn't mean anything.

Do a statistically-valid survey of a significant percentage of each major carrier's customers and get back to me.

Re:wrong (1)

dxkelly (11295) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709625)

The post office in my area has no problem delivering me my mail or my neighbors mail or the mail from the next building. Sometimes I think I'm Radar O'Reilly.

Re:Dying industry (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709581)

In terms of actual performance, I have not had serious problems with USPS. I often ship anywhere between one and ten packages on a given business day by USPS for nearly four years and I don't recall a domestic package being lost in all that time. We can argue the merits or lack of in public vs. private ownership and operation, but it's actually very good performance, I've had worse troubles with UPS and FedEx.

UPS Ground and FedEx Ground are roughly equivalent in speed to First Class Mail, and they usually charge $4 or more per package than First Class Mail unless it's a heavy package. That can add up to a lot of money and possible lost sales.

Re:Dying industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709695)

this is another reason i actually do serious replies on slashdot less and less. everything is a nail in someones coffin and the end for some entity bigger than most european governments is dying because some slashdont brain trust who can't get beyond the geek squad in his own life is modded up +5 insightful.

the fact is that 99.95% of all people who use these systems, whether they be microsoft, usps, major music labels, etc etc etc don't see the world in the same light as most of the people here and use their products and pay openly for them because they think it's a good deal. that's the way it's going to be for some time to come and people who defy this system are going to get the beat down. we've seen it time and time again.

you're not insightful. usps isn't going anywhere until people stop getting products in the mail. decades and decades of security there. and even when it does become unprofitable, weak and frail the government will prop them up like they did with the railroads in the lean times. the public will let the usps run in the red for even a few more decades before someone sticks a fork in their ass for once and for all.

eureka (4, Interesting)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709225)

Now I finally understand what Netflix meant when they said it would "cost us too much to switch to machinable envelopes." (That's from memory, so it may be paraphrased.)

get a new package handler (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709227)

Fedex, UPS...

So that explains it (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709261)

I just started using GameFly a few months ago instead of getting raped by Blockbuster when I didn't return the games on time. I rented every few months but would keep games 3 or 4 games for far too long. So I switched to GameFly after the girlfriend pointed out it would be far cheaper overall.

One of the things I found rather annoying is the constant emails like 'have you got XXX yet?' or 'When did you send back XXX?'. I figured they were just trying to establish the average time it takes to get the game to me and back from various distribution centers or something.

After reading this I'm inclined to believe they are just trying to figure out which shipper is shafting them on a regular basis.

What I've worried about is what happens when I put it in the mailbox to go back and some neighborhood kid comes and steals it? I live in a good neighborhood and have no reason to assume any of the kids around would do it, but having been a kid once not to long ago it would seem to me to be a great target for some free games once you realize someone is doing it.

Anyone had any experience with GameFly not getting back a game or the game never arriving in your mailbox? How is their customer support in those situations I wonder?

Re:So that explains it (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709305)

I used to have GameFly a few months back and canceled since it took too long.
It'd take on average 7 days from the time I mailed a game back to when I got the next one.

Taking into account how long I'd keep it, it just wasn't worth it for me. I think I was paying around $25/Mth, and at that subscription fee I could be a new release every two months.

Re:So that explains it (2, Interesting)

Just Justin (1539921) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709537)

I remember when I was a gamefly member, about 2 or 3 years ago, they started doing this thing where as soon as the post office received your game, gamefly would send out a new one.

The idea was that this would make the turnaround time shorter. Even then, it was put game in mailbox Monday after 2pm, receive a new game by Friday.

I think the best thing to do is buy a game, then either trade it on goozex, or sell it on Amazon and then use that money to buy another game.

Re:So that explains it (3, Informative)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709307)

I've had games lost on return, and one never made it to me, one DOA. They've been pretty easy to deal with, don't really ask quetions other then how did you try to return the game, in an open mailbox, locked community box, dropped off at post office, questions like that.
I've never gotten the email survey's asking about shipping time. Wonder if you live in either a huge use area or are the only subscriber in a three city radius.

Re:So that explains it (3, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709545)

Stealing things out of a mailbox is a federal crime. Robbing a convenience store (with a weapon other than a gun, in jurisdictions where that matters) carries lower penalties. No one ever said petty criminals were smart, but one of the benefits of the USPS being a federal agency is that they have laws that extremely overprotect them and their service.

I've had lost games.. (2, Informative)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709281)

I've been using Gamefly for almost 5 years now. In those five years, I've had three games lost when returned. I've had one game take 2 months to be returned to the Gamefly facility, one game shipped to me that was broken on delivery, and one never made it to me. I'm at my second resident since I've started this, so I would have to assume it's not just my address nor an individual carrier nor local postal center, but more widespread. I have noticed over the years the little cardboard thing has gotten a little more sturdy. Given the increasing news about postal carriers not delivering the mail, or stealing it, and the increased use of contractors to transport a lot of mail from major cities to smaller, I can see this becoming more of a problem. And with Gamefly plastered on the shipping sleeves, it is easy to take a guess at what's inside, quick and easy money.

Re:I've had lost games.. (3, Insightful)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709761)

Another solution...plain brown envelope with a USB flash drive inside that is encrypted with a key that is e-mailed to you. Nothing to break. Useless without the key.

USPS sucks. (3, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709309)

I live in NYC (Astoria, Queens) and we often have our mail lost or damaged (they'll simply snap a CD in two or fold a book in half to fit it into our mailbox). At times, especially with packages, our postman doesn't even try. We'll have a tracking number to check the status and the system will show three "Delivery attempt" notices and we won't get a slip OR a package, and it will simply disappear into the ether.

And both I and my wife teach at the university level, with alternating schedules, so one of us is almost always home.

We've complained to our local post office (the Long Island City office at 11105) about losses and damage and the manager told us it was a "problem they were aware of" and that there were "investigations" and people would be laid off. A year later, no change. Last thing was a reasonably expensive wristwatch (not a Rolex or anything, just a garden variety $150 or so mechanical watch with a Citizen/Miyota movement that I hope will last a long time) and the company would only deliver USPS, so I took a chance.

Sure enough, it was "lost" without any delivery attempts the first time around and the shipper, happily, agreed to ship an alternate via UPS and to pursue USPS themselves for reimbursement. UPS, of course, had it here two days later, no problems.

Lesson: this is the age of email and global shipping services that actually work. There is no need for USPS. I wish we could do away with piracy controls already so that we could avoid this hassle and have all things like communications and games delivered electronically as should be the case naturally. For solid goods, everybody should just use UPS and/or FedEx. Yes, they have their own problems, but they're not as notoriously shitty as USPS, which has been the butt of jokes in major cities in the U.S. stretching back to the mid-'20th century, and which only got tracking capability for regular mail a decade or more after everyone else on the planet did.

Re:USPS sucks. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709399)

For solid goods, everybody should just use UPS and/or FedEx. Yes, they have their own problems, but they're not as notoriously shitty as USPS, which has been the butt of jokes in major cities in the U.S. stretching back to the mid-'20th century, and which only got tracking capability for regular mail a decade or more after everyone else on the planet did.

You forgot to clarify "tracking", such as "so called tracking", etc... because calling what the USPS does "tracking" is highly inaccurate. I will often recieve a package before the USPS acknowledges that is has actually travelled anywhere. And that isn't because they deliver fast.

On the topic of the USPS going down in quality, I guess I lived in a really good area for a while, because I've moved twice relatively recently, and the service in both the new places has been terrible, especially when compared to the previous one.

Kudos to the Coopersburg, PA post office for the great job they do.

Shame on the Center Valley, PA and Dublin, PA post offices for the crappy job they do.

Posting anonymously on the off chance that my mail carrier reads slashdot.

Re:USPS sucks. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709573)

You forgot to clarify "tracking", such as "so called tracking", etc... because calling what the USPS does "tracking" is highly inaccurate.

I've gotten the same "tracking" from UPS and Fedex, unless their ground shipping is actually done via hypersonic jet, as I've seen the tracking go from Concord, ON, to Regina, SK (about 2700KM/1700 miles) within 20 minutes.

And Fedex is fucking lazy. They punt and send it via Canada Post before it gets within 100 miles of me (and then I have to go pick it up at the post office 2 or 3 days later). UPS at least gets it to the nearest city on their own.

The only tracking I've seen that is worth a damn is Canada Post's Xpresspost and Purolator (and Purolator can actually figure out where I live and drop off/pick up stuff from my door, something UPS and Fedex have never managed).

Re:USPS sucks. (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709413)

UPS and FedEx are both hella expensive for anybody outside the continental US.

HELLA.
EXPENSIVE.

Cheapest option on solid goods is generally 5-10 times more expensive than USPS. Especially UPS. They can't figure out how to drive through Canada, or put goods on a barge, they'll only send it via air freight, which is generally 2nd day service and obscenely expensive because of it.

DHL is better than both on price, but they are still more expensive than USPS, and good luck finding an online retailer who uses DHL.

Honestly, I've never had an issue with my local USPS. I live in a condo with the little metal mailboxes and I don't get broken DVD's, or mis-delivered items (well, that I've ever known about). It sounds like a local problem with your local government employees, and if it really bothers you, you should get some other locals together and put some pressure on your local representatives to DO something about it.

Anyways, back to Gamefly, I'll bet their biggest problem is a lack of distribution centers. Turnaround on Netflix for me is usually 3 days, which is a day to get to netflix, a day to process, and a day to get back. No way they are hitting that without a local distro, probably more than one even. Also, if Netflix's packaging forces hand-sorting, I could see that as being a bonus as well. They have very low protection, just a fiber sleeve, and they don't -seem- to be having the same issues, at least not on the ratio that GF has.

Re:USPS sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709559)

The Valdosta, GA post office just fails to forward our mail. They've got a great excuse every time, but it fails miserably.

Re:USPS sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709693)

And both I and my wife teach at the university level

Presumably not in the English department. (Sorry, I tried to stop myself, really :)

GameFly compared to Blockbuster (4, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709335)

TFA says Blockbuster is now considered competition to GameFly. I've only been using GameFly a short while, but for fucks sake please don't compare them to BlockBuster. Maybe I'll change my mind, but BlockBuster changes their rules and rental policies almost weekly. They've got a hundred ways to get extra cash out of you. They 'did away with late fees' only to charge you some other weird fee of a dollar or so if you didn't return it in the 'time period' ... just like a late fee, smaller sure but its a late fee all the same. Then they go ahead and charge you full price for the game within a short period of time. When you return it, it takes them more than a month to issue the refund to your card. I'm not talking about the extra time the CC processor takes. BlockBuster itself waits for the better part of a month at least in most cases.

Then, the bastards just silently do away with the 'no late fees' policy and go back to charging them without warning, no signs, the clerks don't mention it, you either find out on your next rental afterwords or when the just charge your card anyway if you don't rent again soon enough.

BlockBuster is about as evil as Microsoft.

GameFly may not be better, but they have yet to charge me anything over what I signed up for. I will admit, I'm only in my 4th month so feel free to point out how they may rape me later if you have different experiences.

Re:GameFly compared to Blockbuster (1, Interesting)

hldn (1085833) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709531)

here's a novel idea: return your rentals on time.

i have never in my life had to pay a late fee on a movie or game rental.

Replacing broken disks should be discounted (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709353)

Even if you assume the number is one percent, and a game costs $50 to replace

You'd think an outfit as large as GameFly would have a swap-for-flat-fee arrangement with vendors for broken media. After all, they are essentially buying a license that has rental rights.

If they are doing it right, it's more like $10-$20, assuming they pay for media only and get a full box. If they get just a disk, it's well under $5, probably very much well under.

If they are fortunate enough to be allowed to make their own replacement disks, it should be the cost of a blank DVD plus their labor costs if they can certify the original is destroyed.

Re:Replacing broken disks should be discounted (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709617)

It makes you wonder if, perhaps, the vendors don't really like GameFly all that much. As I understand it, despite attempts at clickwrap licencing the right away, First Sale allows you to sell/give away/rent/set on fire a game you purchased, whether the publisher likes it or not. To establish a special "medium only" price(as is quite common with DVD rental places) obviously requires the publisher's agreement.

Since, as you say, that would be the obviously superior way of dealing with the breakage problem; but they aren't doing so, I wonder if they have the option or not.

Re:Replacing broken disks should be discounted (4, Informative)

Tauvix (97917) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709683)

One thing that you are not taking into consideration is this:

Gamefly will sell you the game if you like it, then ship you the original box and manual.

When they have a new release, they buy dramatically more then they are going to need in the long run in order to meet short term demand. Then, you have the option while you have the game to "Keep it" for a discounted rate (usually less then buying it used at Gamestop/EBGames). If you managed to get ahold of the game in the first week or so of the release, you can also be reasonably sure that you are either the first, or at worst the second, person to use the media.

And again, since they are sending you the case and manual, they have to be obtaining the retail versions of the games (I have purchased a number of games from them over the last 3-4 years that I've been a subscriber, it has always been the same packaging/UPC that I found on Amazon, Best Buy, etc). So, while it's probably not costing them $50/game to buy, it's not going to be costing them $10-20 either.

I used to work for Best Buy for a while, it's highly unlikely that Gamefly is getting a better deal on the games then BBY is, and on a $49.99 game the cost to BBY was usually around $38-40. I would imagine that GF is picking up a new release for $43-45/copy on a $49.99 release.

Even so, there are better ways to handle it (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709811)

First off, they are probably paying more than retail since they are buying rental rights as well.

A reasonable agreement would be something like this:

Buy rental rights, resale rights, and "retail box media" separately. How the actual numbers work out is between GameFly and the publishers, but it should be something on the order of:

*$x/week for every week a particular copy is available for rental or every time it is rented, OR a % cut of all rentals
*$y for every sale, with a discount applied for "used" disks based on how many times they've been rented.
*$z for every media set, where $z is slightly more than the incremental production cost.

If a disk is destroyed and replaced, GameFly is out an additional $z.

If a disk is destroyed and NOT replaced, GameFly is out their share of the money they would get from the sale, and the vendor is out $y. But this isn't unfair to the publisher, since the customer that would have bought this copy anyways will probably buy a copy from somewhere. The vendor also loses since the $x/week stops as soon as the media is no longer rentable.

USPS / USPO isn't bad... (4, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709391)

Royal Mail (UK Postal Service) was made private and since then we've seen prices skyrocket, service diminish, and little or nothing of any actual benefit.

In fact the government is having to put more and more money into this private company each year to keep it afloat.

The USPO is SO cheap when you compare the two. And you all get first class mail with no additional charge!

You hate it so much and want private? Trade?

Re:USPS / USPO isn't bad... (2, Insightful)

Boss Sauce (655550) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709609)

NOES!!! We like our USPS very much, thank you... er, some of us do. The ones who send mail. In my experience, things do /not/ get "lost in the mail"-- that's just a slacker's excuse for not having sent something. In this case, stuff's getting /stolen/ in the mail-- different issue, and I'm sure the USPS has federal agents on the case. Given the size of the US, and that a first class stamp will send your letter across town or from Miami to Honolulu, I consider the USPS (1) a bargain and (2) a poster-child for the idea that government /can/ do things very, very well. Them, and the, um, Flowers By Irene.

Re:USPS / USPO isn't bad... (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709823)

Dude, stuff DOES get lost in the mail. Perhaps you have always had good mail carriers, but I've lived in a lot of different places, and in some of them sometimes mail that was sent to me (I know it was) just didn't get there.

At most places it's been good, but there were certain places or with certain carriers, where things just wasn't that horribly reliable.

Overall it's a good system, but don't claim things never get lost. That' BS.

Re:USPS / USPO isn't bad... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709621)

The USPS *IS* private, in the same way that Royal is. They get bailed out by the government, have some oversight, etc., but are at least nominally private.

This has not gone well traditionally. Some other, similar companies? Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. You may remember them from such wonderful hits as 'global economic downturn' and 'Death of Lehman Brothers.'

The problem with 1/2 privatizing is that you end up with a business that cannot fail, no matter how much it screws up. Which, from the sound of it, is Royal Mail. Freddie and Fannie were the same way - 'too big to fail' and well connected to the government. And as a result they could take on all sorts of predatory, speculative, totally insane risky loans, eh, the taxpayers would always bail them out, right?

Right?

Bad idea for them and bad idea with the package delivery services.

Re:USPS / USPO isn't bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709647)

I'll trade with you! The South African postal service is so corrupt and so much gets stolen that Amazon.com stopped delivering here (unless you pay for courier).

Re:USPS / USPO isn't bad... (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709649)

A lot of Government owned services here in the U.S. actually became cheaper when turned private because it was done on a bidding system. If the company was believed to be a lesser desired choice, they were fired, and therefore lost their chance at profit. (Source: John Stossel goes to Washington)

Re:USPS / USPO isn't bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709799)

It's cheap here BECAUSE the govt. plows tons of money into it. Whether it's "private" or "public", it's not a profitable business.

USPS has shoddy merchandise, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709427)

When it snows I am always finding mailboxes on the roads I clear.

alternative expaination (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709501)

If I am a USPS employee who wants to steal video games, I am not going to steal from companies that sells videos. I am going to wait for a gamefly container to come by and steal it. That way I get a $50 game instead of a $5 movie.

Then there is issue of transit time. Does gamefly deliver with a day to most places? Netflix appears to. Less time in the mail means less time for damage.

Then there is the way the number are reported, 590 thousand units out, 510 thousand units in. There is no indication here that the post office has anything to do with this. The fundamental reality is that the business model of renting a $20 movies for $10 a month is different from renting $50 games for $10 a month. As a customer of gamefly it is worthwhile for me to claim I never got the disc, or claim I did send it back, as I get an expensive game that maybe makes the risk worthwhile. This problem is exaggerated when one considers that a movie can be copied. This may not be a 14% loss rate, but it probably accounts for some of the shrinkage.

In fact we don't really know anything because the article did not list certain critical facts. Like the precent of the subscribers who cancel within a month or so. At lest some of these, we assume, claim that they never received a disc. We also don't know what percentage of the netfix and blockbuster DVDs are damaged in transit, and any reporting of such numbers must be a function of the number of days in transit. Also, how many of these were damaged by the xbox?

Even if we assume that USPS is solely responsible for losing 14% of the discs, one has to assume that there is some insurance involved. Claims are filed, and if the dics are insured at retail price, then gamefly might actually come out ahead as the some fo the cost has likely already been covered i rentals. As far as preferential treatment, I have been in these situations. When the volume is high it is often worth to invest in certain processes to that will reduce cost overall. For a half million pieces of mail a month, there may be no ROI for this, and as a taxpayer I don't want to subsidize it. I suspect that netflix might be an order of magnitude above this, and then it might be worthwhile to implement special considerations.

Re:alternative expaination (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709751)

The only problem with your analysis is that Gamefly can and will charge you for the cost of games if they are lost in transit. It says so in the ToA. Granted, they don't always do so, but I'm willing to bet if by game 2 or 3 that gets "lost" that you will be forking over cash. Oh, and Gamefly does not cost $10.00 a month. I tried it out for a month, and I distinctly remember it costing me nearly $30.00 per month.

Re:alternative expaination (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709759)

The essence of Gamefly's complaint is that it is illegal for the post office to implement special considerations for netflix.

Re:alternative expaination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709779)

As a taxpayer, as many others have remarked, you *aren't* subsidizing it.

http://www.nalc.org/postal/perform/selfsufficient.html

Re:alternative expaination (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709789)

We also don't know what percentage of the netfix and blockbuster DVDs are damaged in transit, and any reporting of such numbers must be a function of the number of days in transit.

Another major point missing from this is that a DVD is essentially a MPEG-2 stream. If a few bits are unreadable, the disc still works. If it's a game disc, that's not the case.

So, all other things being equal, they should be seeing higher rates of damaged returns than a DVD rental company does. This != Favoritism.

It won't matter in a couple years anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709507)

Unfortunately, I predict that in the next gen consoles, the PRIMARY method of content distribution will be internet-based.

There are too many advantages to internet based distribution.

By doing this, game companies can tightly regulate prices on games and destroy secondary markets.

Re:It won't matter in a couple years anyway (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709603)

def

A Matter of Incentive (1)

nrozema (317031) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709599)

Perhaps a subscriber has more incentive to report a $50 DRM-ridden copy protected game "lost in the mail" than a $15 DVD they can simply "burn and return". What makes Gamefly so sure it's the USPS?

It's not USPS's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709605)

Gamefly and Netflix are both aware that the automatic sorting machine damages discs. They've been aware of this for quite some time, and to save a few cents on shipping, continue to utilize the automatic sorting instead of manual sorting. As for the non-favorable treatment, it's bullshit. I've received numerous damaged Netflix DVDs.

The simple solution (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709679)

Insured mail. Customers opt for insured delivery of the merchandise and are charged an extra $1.00 a month. If the game is 'lost in the mail', USPS pays for the game. Once it starts to cost the USPS real money, there will never be a 'lost' game again.

Re:The simple solution (2, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709929)

The problem is that you cannot send the disc back insured mailed without handing the disc to a postal employee behind the counter of the local post office. I'm also not aware of any sort of pre-payed reply mail program that includes insurance, so the insurance on the return would be coming out of the customer's pocket. No chance in hell.

USPS is horrible (1)

evolvearth (1187169) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709715)

I try to avoid USPS when purchasing merchandise online. There was one website that only offered USPS, and I purchased a product through them twice. The first time around, the product took about a week and a half to arrive to my home when the estimated time was 3 business days.

I ordered a second time. I was hesitant, but I figured a little bit of extra waiting wouldn't kill me, and I wanted an additional product from that site. I waited the three business days and nothing came--I wasn't surprised. So I waited s'more, and I decided to check the useless tracking feature USPS has to see if there were any updates. Turns out my item was already delivered...the day before I checked the tracking. It never arrived in my mailbox, but it said it was sent. I filed a complaint and was assured by the mail lady that when something is scanned in, it means it was put in the right mailbox. She claimed that it could've been a kid who stole it out of the box. I was pissed, and I felt like I was robbed. A week later, my brother checks the mail right after the mail lady delivered, and lo and behold, there is my package. What the fuck happened!? Where the hell was it? Was it put in the wrong box and someone had the decency to put it back in the box so it gets delivered to the right address? Was someone a little careless with the scanner? I was glad I received the merchandise, but I took this as my second warning. I won't use USPS again, because the third time I may not be so lucky.

i promise its not USPS (1)

Tyrannousdotnet (1432371) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709725)

whoa, its more like 80,000 people CLAIM they sent back their game. if you had a 50-60$ game and could claim USPS lost your send back, why wouldnt you?

The problem .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709773)

.. is not the USPS. Its that these companies try to mail a DVD/CD as a *letter*. And Netflix is just as bad, however, due to their volume, and the fact that their bright red "envelopes" stand out they are easy to pull out and send to be hand-sorted - personally I feel they should be forced to pay parcel rate.

Hint - the machines that the USPS needs to use in order to be able to sort millions of letters every day require that letters be flexible, as they are transported by belts that have to run around 12" diameter wheels at a rate of up to 40,000 letters per hour. To safely mail a DVD or CD, you need to put it in a hard plastic/cardboard case, seal it with packaging tape (not scotch tape), and mail it as a *parcel* - think back to how AOL CD's were mailed and how they always arrived safely - you don't need to be quite as fancy, but the package needs to be more than just an envelope or a paper wrapper, and if you don't want it to be flexed, don't send it as a letter. (The machine that sort parcels don't need to flex the mail)

This applies to anything, pen/pencils, rulers, candy - if you don't want it flexed, send it as a parcel (package), not a letter. (And yes, the postage is more)

(And in case you didn't guess, I do work for the USPS, but since I am not an official 'spokesperson' I am posting as AC)

registered post? (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709927)

i don't know how it works in the us, but here, if i pay an extra fee, i can send registered mail or parcel, which is guaranteed to arrive at the correct place without any damage. if you are sending things that are valuable enough to get stolen or fragile enough to get broken, pay some more.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...