Wow, it is quite disconcerting when everything is going great with a transaction, and you have a tracking number to follow the package's journey from one USPS facility to the next ....

... and then the tracking number is reported by the USPS as "delivered", BUT IT ISN'T THERE.

In this case, the tracking report showed "delivered to parcel locker", as I have a PO box and the key to the parcel locker will be left in my PO box. I've rec'd many packages this way and always considered it safe, as a package is not left out on a doorstep until I get home. But there never was a key in my PO box for this package.

So I printed out the tracking report and took it to the counter window and explained that the package was not delivered as reported. The USPS employee, a lady, looked glumly at the tracking report and then disappeared into the back area. She was gone a LONG time. I was feeling guilty about all the people waiting in line behind me! (There were other windows working, but still ... )

Finally USPS lady emerged with a triumphant smile and my package !!!

She explained that she is sure that what happened is that the employee who was checking in packages input that the delivery was to the parcel locker BEFORE it had been put there. But this package would not fit in a parcel locker. So the employee should have switched the delivery method to leaving a delivery notice in the PO box so I could pick up the package from the counter. But somehow that is not what the employee did ... as the USPS lady explained, instead, the package was set down on the floor and forgotten.

And there it sat. And this is something that does happen ... and it's why it's a good idea to keep the system hunting for a missing package, because when you find that USPS person who both cares and knows how to look, they will find it.

This USPS lady knew just how a package could go missing even though it was reported as delivered. She knew where and how to look. And she didn't quit till she found it! Yay for her !!!

A couple of other thoughts ... As I was in the process of realizing this package hadn't actually been delivered as reported, and was figuring out where the package might be, I realized that, per the USPS system, there were no faults in the delivery. How would I file a claim if it was only my word that I never got it?

Requiring a signature delivery is far from foolproof. Any signature is accepted - it doesn't have to be the addressee, so if the notice goes to the wrong person, there is no way for the USPS to know that it isn't a family member or someone else authorized to pick it up. Unless the extra service requiring identification only from the addressee is added, the signature doesn't accomplish much. Years ago a package was sent to me that was never delivered and never found. It was signed for at delivery by someone I've never heard of. There was no requirement that it be delivered to me only, so as far as the shipper was concerned, they fulfilled the delivery.

Anyway ... any time a package goes missing in the system, there is every chance that it is there to find. It just takes an employee who knows how to look. Just thought I'd share this good experience as encouragement!