Adventures in Mailboxes

So when I decided to go semi-nomadic, I had to get my mail somewhere. I don’t want to have it delivered where I’m living, since that might change, and the place I’m at now has too many people for that to be a clean solution. It’s a big decision, because changing one’s address is a massive pain in the ass, so I did quite a bit of research before deciding on a US PO Box. The big sticking point was whether or not UPS or FedEx would deliver. However, I discovered something called Alternate Addressing that claimed such deliveries are possible. Are they?


I’ve successfully gotten both FedEx and UPS packages at my PO Box. Most of the time, it’s required me to go to the Post Office during business hours. *Sometimes* they use the extra-big dropboxes for items that don’t fit in my tiny PO Box, but not always. After some interactions with the postal employee, it became pretty clear he wasn’t thrilled about dealing with my non-USPS packages. At least once a package was delayed, but still eventually arrived.

However, we have our first and last failure. I got a screaming deal on a $300 gas heater for less than $190 from that may be the difference between having or not having frost on my testicles in the coming months. Naturally I verified that UPS had successfully delivered to my PO Box *before* I fucking ordered it, and they had. After some kind of address auto-correction on UPS’s part lead to a not-quite-correct but still totally obvious address on the shipment, they couldn’t find the location. So I did an address change to EXACTLY the same address format that UPS had on their subsequent successful delivery. I got no reply or update of any kind despite having signed up for text updates (twice) for five days. The next update I got, the item had been Returned to Sender, with no further attempt to contact me or allow me to pick it up at a local facility.

As a result of all these shenanigans, not only have I not gotten my fucking heater yet as the weather slouches toward Gomorrah, but the original sale is evidently over, and I can no longer get the item for the same price, so I’ll end up paying at least $30 more despite my best efforts.

So here’s what I think is happening. *If* the post office is open, the UPS driver *might* be able to drop off the package by cutting in line in front of everyone already there. However, if it’s not open, there’s no place for them to drop off the package, so they have to try again the next day. So I’m guessing it’s a crapshoot as to whether any given UPS or FedEx deliver will go through to a USPS PO Box, even when the Alternate Addressing is used. Furthermore, the last status update on my returned package said that the RECIPIENT HAD CLAIMED NOT TO HAVE ORDERED THE PACKAGE, which presumably means the USPS employee who had previously accepted my packages got tired of his extra-governmental responsibilities and basically told me to fuck off.

So no, you can’t really get FedEx and UPS packages reliably delivered to a US PO Box.

As a result, I’m signing up for a three-times-as-expensive UPS Mailbox Services setup, and changing my address.


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One Response to Adventures in Mailboxes

  1. Vasa says:

    Ugh, what a hassle. And how annoying that the mail carrier just straight-up lied like that!

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