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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.