I hate to break it to you, but if you're planning on buying and shipping out a bunch of Christmas presents, you're probably a little too late for that. USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and tons of other shipping companies are overloaded beyond belief during the holidays. Even if you did get your packages in on time, you're probably like me and are constantly checking when your delivery is going to arrive at its destination. You may have found yourself asking: "Why did my package go farther away?"
"Why did my USPS package go farther away?" Well, there are several reasons.
It's a question tons of people are asking when they're tracking their packages, and there are a couple of explanations for why they're going "all over the place." First, one needs to understand the concept of how mail is delivered. It doesn't simply go from post office to post office. Due to the incredibly high volumes of physical mail, especially with our increased reliance on it thanks to the enormous spikes in online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there's more mail than ever to sort.
According to this Quora thread answer by Maximilian Radniecki, a Postal Support Employee at the United States Postal Service, there are three main reasons why your package will move "farther away" from you.
"Employee human error
Sometimes mail has to be sorted manually because of a damaged barcode or the handwriting is too bad for a computer to read or they miss the right container when throwing it in and don’t notice. Either way, that can cause it to get sent to the wrong place, although it’s usually caught at the next step in the process."
The second reason that Max lists is:
Up until it arrives at your local post office, the only relevant piece of information on the destination address is the ZIP Code. That’s how they are stored and sent. If you want to send a package to somewhere in NYC (zip 10001) but you put the zip in as 90009, it’ll go to Los Angeles, CA even if the rest of the address was right. The error won’t be caught until it’s already in LA and it’ll have to be forwarded to NYC."
Wow, even @USPS Priority Mail packages are suffering huge delays. Two I'm tracking: one left a regional facility on the 9th; other's been in a regional facility since the 8th. No further scans on either; today's the 16th. :( These are holiday gifts; get them moving, @USPSHelp!— James (@Dronak) December 16, 2020
The third most probable reason that he listed is:
Sometimes mail gets stuck together. Most often because of the sticky peel-away seal on large envelopes. So if they are stuck together and one package gets scanned and it’s going to Chicago, the package stuck to it is going to Chicago too, regardless of destination. This error is also not often caught until it arrives in the Chicago post office."
There are some other reasons why your mail is also moving farther away from you, as well. It could be that the package was sent to a sorting facility in order to be processed. Let's say there was a huge Amazon order from your area that all came from the shipment facility. Then USPS might pick up the packages to then be brought to a sorting facility. It all just boils down to the most efficient route for them. So in short: No, USPS's route doesn't revolve around your PS5 shipment or IPSY bag.
If you’re about to check on your USPS package look no further. It’s in transit, arriving late 😭— Agapé Pacìno 🇻🇮 (@EP13WYO) December 16, 2020
Ordered from @amazon shipped through @USPS Shipped 12/1. Started in Gardner, KS, to Kansas City, MO, then to Kent, WA. Final destination? Rochester, NY. I don't teach Geography, wait, I do teach Geography. Package is traveling in the wrong direction. 16 days & it's further away.— Mike Battaglia (@CoachBags13) December 17, 2020
my mom is a postal carrier for the usps, and every year starting in november she gets home around 7 or 8 pm, while leaving around 5 or 6 am. This is with some people delivering just parcels before the shutdown.— ✿cheshkittin (@Cheshirekittin9) December 17, 2020
USPS will experience package delays this Christmas, like every other holiday season.
Again, due to the nature of the holiday season, not to mention all of the backups that have occurred thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, don't expect your packages to get to their destinations in their normal timely manner. Considering all of the additional volume the coronavirus has brought on, a whopping 1.2 billion more pieces of mail nationally, they're doing a fairly good job.