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USPS woes on irreplaceable vintage part - don't suppose any of you work there?

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USPS woes on irreplaceable vintage part - don't suppose any of you work there?

Old 10-26-20, 08:32 AM
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USPS woes on irreplaceable vintage part - don't suppose any of you work there?

EDIT: Update on this one below. Don't get me wrong, would still love it if someone on the inside was able to look into this, but ... at least, after two hours on USPS site and phone calls, I have some answers.

I'd posted a seriously rare stem for sale here over in the sales forum.

@3speedslow and I were teaming up, pitching in to pay for it to go to @randyjawa for a special project, as a little thanks for everything he does for cycling at large, he's a really phenomenal guy IMO. I sent it out USPS Priority International, padded priority envelope, insured up to $200. All paperwork completed correctly.

Sad to say, looks like this stem is lost domestically while in USPS possession. We see it made it to NYC airport (see attached), where it bounced around for a few days, but hasn't resurfaced since 18 September. Worst part is, it seems tracking info and weight may not be adequate "proof of mailing" to file a claim. USPS wanted a pic of shipment proof, but the only pic I had was on a phone I had to return to my employer a few weeks back when they forced everyone to upgrade.

So it looks like this little gem of history is potentially lost forever.... I filed a missing mail search 2-3 weeks ago, no updates. I filed a claim, which I suspect will be rejected. Figured I'd toss it out here, if anyone on the forum happens to have any resources that could help, I'd really appreciate a hand. We were making nothing off this transaction, in fact, I would've been taking a noteworthy hit trying to return some positive karma where it's deserved.

I know it's a longshot, but figured it was worth asking. I can't even express the weight of my gut right now, that feeling you get when something's gone and there's nothing you can do.
.
.

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Old 10-26-20, 08:41 AM
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Ugh. No, but I hope it magically turns up. If it truly departed JFK, it looks like it is on its way outside the country. Maybe it'll show up after slowly making its way through Canadian customs, but I know that's wishful thinking.

Anecdotally, our mail has been worse this last month and a half, even worse than the initial panic over the political gutting of the USPS. We've had stuff that was clearly and correctly addressed to us returned to sender. Some postcards we sent weren't delivered and it's been a month and one of those destination addresses was 3 miles away. Maybe the roosters are finally coming home to roost after the changes the new postmaster general made a few months ago.
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Old 10-26-20, 08:47 AM
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USPS finally called back, it's looking like someone maybe keyed this in as destined for CN (China) versus CAN (Canada). My label clearly says Canada.

On phone with their int'l support agent, hoping for the best here...
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Old 10-26-20, 08:55 AM
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Well, update, it's in China's customs right now. Someone "might have tossed in the wrong bin or something". The agent I spoke with assures me China will diligently forward it back to USPS to go to the correct country. Forgive me, but I'm skeptical after 5 weeks of it being unaccounted for, and almost 2 months from the original mailing date.

tricky we've seen the same. Got hit in July/August sending bday cards to friends in-town. All flat mail has been screwed up for us the last few months now. Birthday cards were taking 10-14 days to go less than 4 miles. But this being international, I figured it'd make it OK. I saved the label, I clearly see the correct destination country is listed on it. I crossed all my T's and dotted all my I's.

*sigh*

Good to know USPS is at least aware of the issue and believes it'll be corrected. As for whether that actually happens or not any time this year is another story
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Old 10-26-20, 09:30 AM
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If it helps the Chinese PO never screwed up any of my shipments when I used to buy parts from there. It's when USPS got their hands on it that things went awry, astray and AWOL. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that it doesn't have to pass through the distribution center at Hazelwood, MO. aka " the Black Hole".
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Old 10-26-20, 09:38 AM
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I was wondering what was going with the “Plan”. I will PM for details!
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Old 10-26-20, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
Well, update, it's in China's customs right now. Someone "might have tossed in the wrong bin or something". The agent I spoke with assures me China will diligently forward it back to USPS to go to the correct country. Forgive me, but I'm skeptical after 5 weeks of it being unaccounted for, and almost 2 months from the original mailing date.

tricky we've seen the same. Got hit in July/August sending bday cards to friends in-town. All flat mail has been screwed up for us the last few months now. Birthday cards were taking 10-14 days to go less than 4 miles. But this being international, I figured it'd make it OK. I saved the label, I clearly see the correct destination country is listed on it. I crossed all my T's and dotted all my I's.

*sigh*

Good to know USPS is at least aware of the issue and believes it'll be corrected. As for whether that actually happens or not any time this year is another story
Yikes. That's a pretty big screw up. It's like the time my coworker shipped a cellphone to Brazil instead of Paraguay. Brazil has much stricter restrictions on goods manufactured outside the country including 100% tariff on some things. It stayed in their customs long enough that the next generation of that phone was announced before it was returned to us.

At least you have an update. At least in technology, anytime you get a different result is a sign that you've gotten over one hurdle. In the meantime, let us know if we can scrape our parts bins or co-ops to try to find what you are looking for or maybe a suitable replacement.
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Old 10-26-20, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
In the meantime, let us know if we can scrape our parts bins or co-ops to try to find what you are looking for or maybe a suitable replacement.
I am 99% certain nobody is going to have that specific stem in their bins I've had it for many years and ever since I got it I've had a search alert on eBay domestic and int'l trying to figure out what a proper price point was on it, and other than one showing up in German eBay 4-5 years ago for 180 €, I haven't seen another in existence. It's over 60 years old and from a smaller European manuf'er, so not sure there's many left abroad at this point, much less domestic. It was a perfect fit for the specific era of bike it was slated to go on.

It is what it is. I'm taking it in stride. My fingers will stay crossed and I'm keeping an alert setup on the tracking in case there's any new movement. It just SUUUUUCKS, the whole situation.

On the bright side, at least it didn't happen on eBay, and I'm grateful no money exchanged hands yet, so nothing to unwire, loss is square on my shoulders at this point.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:03 PM
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Hope it works out. You did everything right and they still lost it.

Stuff comes from China post pretty reliably.

Last edited by RobbieTunes; 10-26-20 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
Maybe the roosters are finally coming home to roost after the changes the new postmaster general made a few months ago.
Channeling Jose Ometeoti?
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Old 10-26-20, 12:26 PM
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Oh man, me too... I mailed some stuff I machined to @cudak888 without tracking (just using postage stamps), and it never got there. I machined the parts again and mailed them with tracking and they were there within a couple days! Just goes to show.. Completely random I guess.

It seems to be international too, probably due to covid insanity. I had a headset shipped from France, but the tracking info said the package was never given to the mailman - in France! Still not sure if the seller was a shyster or what, but the tracking hasn't budged in three months. Evilbay gave me my money back, the seller offered some paltry explanation, and that's that I guess.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
(...) @3speedslow and I were teaming up, pitching in to pay for it to go to @randyjawa for a special project, as a little thanks for everything he does for cycling at large, he's a really phenomenal guy IMO. (...)
Nice.
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Old 10-26-20, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Oh man, me too... I mailed some stuff I machined to @cudak888 without tracking (just using postage stamps), and it never got there. I machined the parts again and mailed them with tracking and they were there within a couple days! Just goes to show.. Completely random I guess.
Had similar happen when shipping a PX10 dropout spacer to top506 , couple years ago now? Now I only ship tracked mail. Even that's apparently fallible, though! Like ...

I shipped a pile of French headset parts to Iniezione recently and the last scan was the stuff leaving Atlanta and hitting NY. They never bothered to scan it in once it went on the truck, nor did the carrier scan at dropoff. I'm eternally grateful to the guy for looping back to confirm it arrived.

Had a fun one with greg3rd48, sending him some rare tidbits on-the-house, so he could complete his Gitane Super Corsa build, the carrier delivered to the wrong address. Fortunately, by some stroke of sheer luck, he was able to get his hands on it.

I'm usually sending out 2-3 packages a week, half for business, half just to hook other cycling enthusiasts up. I'm hoping this turns out to be something I'm laughing about later, but the fact this part cannot be easily replaced, and it's such a nice example of the period, it's stinging a little worse. An uncommon vintage dropout spacer or special MAFAC cable hanger is one thing, but this specific stem ... ugh.
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Old 10-26-20, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Oh man, me too... I mailed some stuff I machined to @cudak888 without tracking (just using postage stamps), and it never got there. I machined the parts again and mailed them with tracking and they were there within a couple days! Just goes to show.. Completely random I guess.
Still waiting too. I bet it looked like a mail-in ballot and was immediately torched with a flamethrower by DeJoy himself

-Kurt
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Old 10-26-20, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
I am 99% certain nobody is going to have that specific stem in their bins I've had it for many years....
Don't be too sure.

That said, i am optimistic that your stem will turn up. I'm impressed that the tracking number found it.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:02 PM
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I am on the other end of this and feel kinda bad about the whole thing. Two forum members, combined their kindness and worked together to send me this...


which was/is to be installed on this German road bike, a late fifties top of the liner...


And, for what it is worth, two other forum members have offered to send me items that I do need. Based on the stem result, I did suggest that mailing of stuff, at this time, might be dangerous in the resource sense. To that add that the US election and the upcoming holiday season will further tax the postal department. Might not be the best time to trust snail mail (no offense intended, just great empathy for the people who are struggling to keep mail moving.

All that said, I too am impressed with the effort the stem sender has gone to to sort this out. China? Really amazing that the postal system could track it.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:22 PM
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Well, I did 33 years as a conveyor mechanic / electronics technician with the USPS. Retired 5 years ago. It seems like the USPS really declined in the last 5 years. Coincidence? Anyhow, I have some stories I can tell!
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Old 10-26-20, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I'm impressed that the tracking number found it.
Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
All that said, I too am impressed with the effort the stem sender has gone to to sort this out. China? Really amazing that the postal system could track it.
Randy, you're worth it.

And what you both write is exactly what irked me. Like, if it made it to some customs port or whatever in China, how is that not included on the tracking info? How can they see that info, how do they know that but I - as the customer - cannot see it? Last I see in my tracking is exactly what you see in my 1st post above.

When the first operator told me "in China customs" my stomach got that feeling it gets when you just lost something. Shock and confusion. I have the label on this computer and checked with her on the phone, it clearly says "CANADA" so I told her that, frankly. "I don't understand, might've gotten tossed in the wrong bin at processing. We're strapped for resources with everyone working overtime. Let me push you over to the international team, they can tell you more".

Second operator confirmed, "system shows it's at the customs (whatever) in China" and "customs will re-route it once it gets processed as being in the wrong place and shipped back out, may take a couple more weeks." At this point, I'm going on a wing and a pray to be cliché. I asked at least half dozen times if I need to be worried. She was very calm and positive about the whole thing.

The most irritating part? I specifically input a 'Missing Mail Search" on 8th of October as follows. They mention at submission time you they'll get back to you within 24-48 hours. I still haven't heard back, just the confirmation I input a request, and this is the current status. Today I filed a claim because they say all lost mail claims must be submitted within 60 days of ship or you forfeit your right to make a claim. We're around day 55 right now, so I'm hoping this somehow works out.

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Old 10-26-20, 03:41 PM
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fwit, I probably know a guy with one or two of those stems. I can make inquiries if interested.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Still waiting too. I bet it looked like a mail-in ballot and was immediately torched with a flamethrower by DeJoy himself

-Kurt
With a little luck, Chad will hang on for a while and you'll get it.
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Old 10-26-20, 03:58 PM
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Frank O'Phile,
I sent Randy a lower HS race maybe a week ago through regular post international. I'm guessing it will take two weeks to travel 1000 miles. With this story I am reluctant to do a tracking of the package. But this is nothing new to Wesley Barnes, I sent him a 1985 Schwinn Peloton about four months ago. It has yet to cross the border. We have been referring to it as our "fugitive". From Indy to Niagra and then warehoused for months. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have covid at this point in time. Smiles, MH
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Old 10-26-20, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
. . .
Evilbay gave me my money back, . . .
And elsewhere in this topsy-turvey world, Goodbay let the crooked seller keep your money.
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Old 10-26-20, 04:29 PM
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In all fairness to all postal systems, and the people who populate them thanks. I have mailed hundreds and hundreds of components, frame sets and even a bike or two. Never has a package got lost! Some have taken a loooonnnnnggggg time to get from here to there (92 days from Canada to Australia) but every package did arrive. Only one time did I loose out on poor delivery or dishonesty. Not too bad as far as I am concerned and that one package, a lovely NOS blue Turbo saddle, did arrive one or two days after Ebay scooped money from my PayPal account.
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Old 10-26-20, 05:26 PM
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How did the verse go” a three hour tour “?
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Old 10-26-20, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
And elsewhere in this topsy-turvey world, Goodbay let the crooked seller keep your money.
Haha, tis the truth.

I've sold on there before and gotten burned a time or two, is why I call 'em evil. Albeit in my opinion the lesser of several evils these days!
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