US Postal Service: “Customer service is not a selection at this time”

07May09

After seeing some confusing tracking information on the US Postal Service website, I decided to give them a call. But despite plastering their toll-free number all over the website, the automated phone system said no details were available regarding the shipment. When I tried to press zero to speak with a real person, I got a particularly irritating message: “Customer service is not a selection at this time”.

Really? That’s the best they can do? No option to contact the local post office, no way to hold for one of the few people working at the call center? Yep, it’s really that bad. And the way the message is phrased is just idiotic, since it’s vague about what “customer service” means and implies that it might be available if you try at another time.

What they ought to say is this: “There are no customer service reps available on this phone number, but if you need to speak with someone, please call your local post office as follows.” Then, provide a working number for the local post office that handles things like orphaned packages. Apparently, only the main branch in a given area has access to this data. I called four post offices in and around my zip code to locate my mystery package, only to find out the online status was wrong and it had been delivered right to my mailbox. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but when dealing with the USPS, confusion and guesswork seem to be the norm.



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