My Experience with the U. S. Postal Service
Everyone complains about shoddy service during the Christmas season. So I'd like to tell you my story. It's typical (I'm guessing) of millions -- close to a billion -- of very small successes brought about by the USPS.
I needed to send a package from California to my dad, who lives in New Jersey. (My dad was born on Christmas day -- this was his birthday present.) So at 4:30 on Wednesday 12/15/99, I went to the post office on Western, just north of the Hollywood Freeway. I didn't wait long, but while I was waiting I had time to see a poster saying "Ask for Confirmation". The poster was very vague about how I would receive this confirmation, but I went ahead and asked anyway. I was afraid the clerk would say "you want WHAT?!" and then I would have to explain it, and since the poster was vague I wouldn't really know what to say. Instead the clerk's hands went into a blurry frenzy, she asked me for about five bucks (including 35 cents for Delivery Confirmation), and handed me a receipt and this:
I was confident the clerk knew what she was doing. Still not quite knowing what to do with this confirmation, I thought I would check the USPS website, and sure enough, there's a link right at the top for "tracking/confirmation". I clicked it, typed in my number, but sadly, it was too soon for any information to be known about my package.
On Saturday 12/18, my dad called me up to say how much he was enjoying his birthday present (Oh yeah, I remembered, I guess it got there without my help). After I chatted with him about Veeblefetzers, Portziebies, and the Theory of Relativity, I went to the USPS website again to see if it knew about my package. I clicked tracking/confirmation, and typed in the 20-digit number that appears along the left side of the Confirmation Receipt. To my amazement, I found a history of the path of this package, which I reproduced, here. Good job, USPS.