I find myself buying an increasing number of products over the Internet. Even when price is not an issue, I sometimes cannot find a particular item in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Practically everything I order these days is delivered by a service that provides tracking information for packages. It is reassuring to be able to follow the progress of a package with some certainty as to when it will arrive.
Yesterday, however, my faith in package tracking was shaken. The Postal Service was to deliver a package on Sunday, December 11. (The first time the USPS was supposed to deliver on Sunday, I was skeptical, but my order did indeed arrive when it was supposed to.) I checked the mailbox frequently Sunday afternoon, but no package ever materialized. Sometime after 6 PM, I visited the USPS tracking page. I was surprised by what I saw (see below).
According to the USPS, my package was delivered Sunday at 3:21 PM. If so, where was it?
This morning, I visited the local post office with a copy of the tracking information above. The postal clerk took my printout and disappeared for 5 or 10 minutes. When he came back, he explained that there had been some sort of mistake. He didn’t really say what went wrong, but he suggested that the driver on Sunday was an inexperienced one. Anyway, he assured me that my package was on a truck and would be delivered today. It was.
I was happy to receive my order, but I will never again be quite so confident of tracking information, at least from the United States Postal Service.