Unbelievably, This is True

The facts in this story are real because I couldn’t make this stuff up on my best day or under the influence of alcohol. Marc is capable, but not me.

Several years ago, I decided to seek something that I’ve thought about for most of my life – dual citizenship in Italy. I scheduled my 1st Sept 2022 meeting at the Italian Consulate two years earlier. I drove over 4 hours to hear, “The person you need to see left early due to a personal emergency.” After waiting two years, I was stunned, but they took all my documents. Then came my encounter with the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Photo by Kelly on Pexels.com

(Fri 30th Sept) I mailed via Priority Mail additional documents the consulate requested a few days earlier.

(Sat 1st Oct) Following the tracking number, the mail arrived at a Detroit mail distribution center. The consulate should receive it Monday – Tuesday at the latest.

(3rd-6th Oct) The mail is still at the Detroit sorting center, but I can’t do anything because of a USPS timeframe rule for filing an inquiry.

(Friday 7th Oct) The hell with their timeframe! I talked to my local USPS post office, who provided a phone number that didn’t work, and then the postmaster didn’t return my call. I searched online and found a toll-free number for Customer Service. I got a helpful agent. He told me the process but said not to expect action until Tuesday or Wednesday because Monday (11th Oct) is a Federal holiday, which would be the day we depart for France.

I told him I was leaving the country for 2 1/2 weeks and I would be without a phone – so he wrote instructions for further communications with me must be by email.

(8th-12th Oct) I continued to see no change in tracking, and never received a report by email from Customer Service – which also means I have to move the issue to Consumer Affairs to continue the process – not USPS Customer Service – but I’m in France without phone service. Now that is government efficiency at its best!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

(Thurs 13th Oct) I received an email from USPS. “To serve you better in the future, we would like your feedback about the service you received on case number 123456 opened on 10/07/2022.” Really? My response was a reminder they failed to inform me about anything and the mail was still undelivered.

(14th-27th Oct) Not only no response from USPS, I continued monitoring the tracking, which showed no change since 1st Oct. I can’t do anything because I cannot contact Consumer Affairs because I’m still in France.

(Friday 28th Oct) We arrived home at night. Tracking shows no change. Because it’s the weekend, I can’t do anything until Monday.

(Monday 31st Oct) I called USPS Consumer Affairs to initiate their process. (I was on hold for a long time.) Why Customer Service doesn’t automatically pass the problem to Consumer Affairs is beyond me. I explained the situation, and he filed the report and told me what would happen going forward, including hearing from Detroit by Wednesday.

(Tues, 1st Nov) Detroit acknowledged my inquiry by email. That’s a start!

About an hour later, an email from Detroit stated the mailing was lost, but it could be at the lost/damaged mail center in Atlanta. I (of course, not them) have to file an application/request online – which I did immediately.

Shortly after filling the lost mail claim, I received a voicemail from Detroit saying they found it – but it still has to be processed – so continue monitoring the tracking and call if there are any questions. She didn’t state her name but left a phone number.

I called several times – but no answer – not even a voicemail.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

(Wed 2nd Nov) The status has not changed, so I called – but nobody answered again – and again – and again – etc. Then I got lucky – a voice answered. She didn’t sound like the voicemail lady. Oh boy, a chance to repeat the story!

She listened and sounded helpful, but the person she needed to talk to was gone for the day. She would talk to them in the morning, then call me.

(Thur 3rd Nov) I worked that morning and received no phone call. I started calling in the afternoon – and calling again and again. Finally, someone answered – but a different person from the voicemail or yesterday’s talk.

She told me her name, and that she was a supervisor who is unhappy about my situation. She assured me she would personally work on it because she knows the mailing is important because it was going to the Italian Consulate. She said to expect a call from her the next day.

(Fri 4th Nov) No change in the tracking status, which also means it hasn’t been found or processed. The supervisor called to say she contacted the consulate, but they have not answered. Of course, not!

(Mon 7th Nov) – No status change and no phone call.

(Tues 8th Nov) The supervisor called with good news. The consulate received the documents on Monday 3rd October – when I thought they should. They had the documents the entire time, so none of this was necessary!

Weary of the information, I emailed the consulate asking for confirmation. To my surprise, I received a confirmation email within 2 hours. Holy crap! My journey through the postal abyss was unnecessary!

Bottom line: All this happened because USPS failed to scan my mail for tracking. Meanwhile, my patience and persistence prevailed. Yes – patience – I never was rattled.

(Mon 14th Nov) …. and yes, as shown above, my mail is still officially lost. Who you gonna call?


41 thoughts on “Unbelievably, This is True

  1. I had a very similar experience with a shipment of author copies of my recently published book. USPS tracking showed “Label printed, but not entered USPS System yet” and that never changed. So I contacted the company that shipped it. They couldn’t find it and promised me they were trying to track it down. This went on for a couple of weeks. I elevated things at the company and was promised they would find it. They just couldn’t find it at the moment. Then, all of a sudden, it showed up the next day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is completely nuts. It’s the all for naught that gets me, though. So blaringly obvious the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing
    What was the video you linked?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters? Ha ha ha! I would like to say I have not heard this story before but I have, not exactly, but the same issues. I guess they just don’t want to share you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam,
      Initially, I had Crazy by Patsy Cline as the closing song. Then I had We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister. At the last minute, I came up with the closing line (Who you gonna call?) which led me to the Ghostbusters song. Nonetheless, it was a crazy & unnecessary journey with USPS.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cincy

    Thank God the government has a handle on the situation! But really, those documents have been through so much, through no fault of their own, that they have become characters in a Coen Brothers film at this point. Now all we have to do is locate them.

    What are the odds they turn up?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again living up to the “service” part of the agency name. You had the opportunity to experience soooo many aspects and individuals involved – that’s called “getting your money’s worth”! And best of all, they even delivered the goods in a timely manner!!! Next time, forget the dang tracking and go out to dinner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eilene,
      Thanks for making me laugh. However, because of the importance of the documents, I couldn’t leave it alone. Actually, when I received the call about the success, I started the process of getting the documents again … so the call saved me some time, money, and more frustration.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Resa,
      An unnecessary pain in the butt – but at least, in the end, the documents were at their destination. Timeline on the process? Who knows. On my initial visit to the consulate, I didn’t get to talk to the person I needed to – therefore I wasn’t asked questions and didn’t have a chance to ask any. I’m thinking a year – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was longer. Thanks for the best wishes … and FYI … this week I did a mid-week beach walk essay.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So this wasn’t about the destination, it was about the journey! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist this cheesy statement.
    That being said, at least things went right even if you didn’t know about it. I pretty much never fault the USPS because, at least in my experience and I guess now in yours as well and as I often say about directions I get through navigation systems – it usually gets you where you want to go eventually, even if it’s not by the best route!
    Even Fed Ex often uses USPS for delivery for final destination. And wouldn’t you know I spot a Fed Ex delivery vehicle as I’m composing this comment?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue,
      LoL … This was definitely the journey. I happened to check the status a few hours ago. Yep – it’s still officially lost! I’ve often called USPS as one of the great values in life. However, my confidence is a bit shaken. … and yes … at least my stuff made it … and timely too … too bad so few of us knew about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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