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Thread: question about P.O. boxes..

  1. #1

    Question question about P.O. boxes..

    I think this is the right place to put this, sorry if it's not, or if it has already been answered elsewhere.

    You would think I should be able to find this information at the usps website, but I didn't have much luck.

    Thing is, I recently moved into a new house, and apparently the postal service here is a bit.. unpredictable. In the words of a neighbour: "our mailman is an idiot". So, occasionally he delivers things to the wrong house. Once I got my neighbour's utility bill, and another time I bought a video game on ebay, which was delivered to another neighbour's house.

    Wouldn't be so bad, BUT, the neighbour who got my video game is an older guy, who apparently feels that anything delivered to his house, he has the right to open it! His son, who lives in the house next to his, handed it over and apologised for his father. The father is not a bad guy overall; he's always friendly to me, just he's a bit of an old goofy redneck who smokes pot, supports Trump, and seems to be a bit racist. Sort of like a pot-smoking Archie Bunker..

    So clearly I don't want to deal with him opening any mail of a more, ah, immature? nature.. And I'm considering the value of a P.O. box. But what I want to know is, what happens to packages that are too large to fit in the box? They have a variety of different sizes available, at different prices, but I really don't want to spend much on this. So when a package bigger than my box arrives, do they just hold it, for me to pick up, or what?

  2. #2

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    When packages too big for the PO box come in, they're held by the post office and you have to go pick them up yourself.

    Around here you have to wait in line to speak to postal employees about packages. Whether they know what's in the box or not, I have no idea. But if whatever you got has been imported from another country, it's required to say what's in the box on the label if you didn't already know.

    Hopefully wherever you order from has discrete packaging! It definitely isn't a private exchange by any means but from what I know, there will be a slip in your box about your package. Give the employee that and maybe proof of ID and you're set.

    Still much better than having a neighbor open your mail though. Even if a postal worker knows what's in the box, it'll be much less damaging than if your outspoken neighbor knew.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepies View Post
    When packages too big for the PO box come in, they're held by the post office and you have to go pick them up yourself.
    Yes, this is how it works. In addition there are some other tidbits that may help, they (the post office employees) do not have the right to open your package, that would be a violation of federal law. I'm quite familiar with package pickup at USPS because in the city I live in, theft is so common that the postal workers are instructed to never leave a package that cannot fit in the mail slot if no one answers the door, the only difference in your case is that the package slip will be in your P.O. box instead of the mail box or slot at your house. You must have valid government issued photo ID (Driver's license, Passport, State ID card, Learner's Permit[in some states], etc. ) Depending on where you live you may have to stand in the full line, or the post office will have a sort of "express line" for package pickup. You must also pick up your package in a timely manner or they will return to sender.

    Another potential option is to sign up for FedEx delivery notifications for your address. A lot of the places I buy from, such as ABU, prefer FedEx because of the weight. FedEx offers a service that gives you delivery notifications for free, sending you an email. With this service, they allow you to redirect your package on a per shipment basis to a FedEx location such as FedEx Office. The FedEx service is entirely free and I have never had an issue with it (other than having to carry a 35 lb. package 6 blocks). While UPS has a similar delivery notification system, to my knowledge they don't allow for free redirects.

    If you only get your shipments through FedEx you may want to go that route as a money saver, it just requires you to diligently check your email and that you have a FedEx location nearby. A P.O. box is great for this since you can basically get the smallest size and they'll still hold your package for you, just be aware that many places do not ship to P.O. boxes.

  4. #4

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    Thank you both for the info!

    I'll try to remember that about fedex, but I have to say that my preference is for supporting the USPS. (I'm kind of a socialist) Despite the apparent incompetence of our local mailman, I've always had a great respect for that institution. (Maybe Kevin Costner helped a bit) Having to drive over to the post orifice, and possibly chat with their employees in front of an audience of customers seems preferrable to taking a chance on my neighbour opening a box full of diapers or whatevs. I actually had several packages of a rather um,, private nature delivered here successfully before the incident with the videogame, so I thank the fates he didn't open those!

    Side note: Is there no simply "reply" button here, other than the "reply with quote", or am I just blind?

  5. #5

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    While the post office will hold items to big for the box, some have boxes just for packages which can hold all but the biggest of parcels, mine takes this road and puts a key in my box when I have a package waiting.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icewolf View Post
    While the post office will hold items to big for the box, some have boxes just for packages which can hold all but the biggest of parcels, mine takes this road and puts a key in my box when I have a package waiting.
    Hmm, that sounds pretty cool. I'm not sure I understand their logic with PO boxes. I mean, they have several different sizes you can rent, at corresponding prices, but if you get a package too big for your little box, they'll put your package in one of the bigger boxes, leave you the keys to retrieve it, so... why would I bother renting the bigger box?

    I can imagine a far more efficient system. Ditch the mechanical keys and just have single computer terminal where you put in your username and password. The terminal tells you wether you have anything to pick up, tells you which door its in, and opens the door, or tells you that it's too big for any box and you'll have to pick it up at the counter. Or I suppose at this point the whole system could be an app on your smartphone. Except I only have a flip phone, cause I'm a bit odd, but still.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilBinky View Post
    Hmm, that sounds pretty cool. I'm not sure I understand their logic with PO boxes. I mean, they have several different sizes you can rent, at corresponding prices, but if you get a package too big for your little box, they'll put your package in one of the bigger boxes, leave you the keys to retrieve it, so... why would I bother renting the bigger box?
    The "package" boxes are not rentable, it is more like my post office has 3 sizes of box to rent then if the package is too large for the one you rented they put a key to a larger "package only" box that, in mine, is set just outside the actual office in the P.O. Box lobby. I will note however, my post office services a lot of farmers and ranchers, the kinds of people that might be checking their mail at odd hours, so having a way to deliver packages that only requires the lobby to be open makes sense.

    Think of it more as you have 3 sizes: one for mostly letters and easily foldable stuff, one if you get more solid items, like discs from netflix, or a few magazines or you can wait a few days to check and one that is more for businesses or those that get a lot of mail/oversized items then one that is a practical cave for packages that has a different key and numbering (like the P.O. Box might be 3264 and the package box is jut 8) system, maybe akin to bus lockers.
    Last edited by Icewolf; 22-Aug-2016 at 05:56.

  8. #8

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    For an alternative, some UPS Stores have mailboxes. I'm sure there are a couple other options out there. If you're specifically worried about your diapers going to the wrong house, you don't have to buy a box anywhere. You can have the package shipped directly to a business that accepts packages on your behalf. UPS Stores, FedEx Offices, and others. You just pay a fee, and you don't have to pay monthly for a box if you don't feel that you ultimately need it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icewolf View Post
    The "package" boxes are not rentable, it is more like my post office has 3 sizes of box to rent then if the package is too large for the one you rented they put a key to a larger "package only" box that, in mine, is set just outside the actual office in the P.O. Box lobby. I will note however, my post office services a lot of farmers and ranchers, the kinds of people that might be checking their mail at odd hours, so having a way to deliver packages that only requires the lobby to be open makes sense.

    Think of it more as you have 3 sizes: one for mostly letters and easily foldable stuff, one if you get more solid items, like discs from netflix, or a few magazines or you can wait a few days to check and one that is more for businesses or those that get a lot of mail/oversized items then one that is a practical cave for packages that has a different key and numbering (like the P.O. Box might be 3264 and the package box is jut 8) system, maybe akin to bus lockers.
    Mine does the same thing also no mail delivery were I'm at so have to have a P.O.box
    Very nice to go in and check my box and when there is a key with a locker number on the tag goto the locker get my package any time I want it's great even sunday.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilBinky View Post
    Thank you both for the info!

    I'll try to remember that about fedex, but I have to say that my preference is for supporting the USPS
    Preference towards USPS as well. They're pretty good in my opinion. Both times I ever used Fedex, one box had a hole in it like someone took a pick axe to it, my laptop was surprisingly undamaged, thank G-d. Another time I literally saw the package being thrown at my house. The insensitivity of Fedex workers! Fedex makes me fed up.

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