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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:23 PM   #11
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 924
Default tracking -- subject to human fallacies

Originally Posted by mahratt
Hi Philip.

I know for sure that my package for Robert is now located in the US Customs.
It may very well be true. However, the tracking system depends on the handlers of the mail (whether they may be working for customs or the post), scanning the parcel into the system as it moves en route. If it is scanned at the point at which it exits customs and then continues on its delivery path with the post, then that bit of info should appear on the tracking history. And so forth, as it is is transferred from one point to another on its journey to its final destination. But it has to be scanned before its movement can be recorded in the system.

What I can state from experience (I have been in the antiques business for years and do a lot of shipping) with the US post is that sometimes, shipments addressed to me have no tracking entries after the New York ISC, often for a week or more, until it finally and unexpectedly is delivered to me. Online, the impression is that it is "forever" stuck in that NY processing center because there is no subsequent entry of data. Ideally, tracking entries typically appear for each intermediary stop, for example from NY to my home in CA. But in some annoying cases, it is like a "black hole" of data and there is no idea of where the thing is until it finally shows up--and it could be the following month. And in a few instances, when I check the tracking info online after delivery, there is no record of it being delivered at all! (for shipments going via international priority or express mail, a signature is required of the person receiving it so thus the delivery is recorded electronically in the tracking system, either via the hand-held device carried by the postman, or if the delivery card with bar-code is signed manually and scanned when the mail is picked up in person at the station.

The only point I am making is that the performance of the postal network can be unpredictable because of inherent inefficiencies in the postal system as a whole. Postal tracking is not infallible, there is a human element involved. And US Customs is not necessarily the default root of delays in the mail. Due to the volume of mail, not all packages warrant the same scrutiny. It is perhaps understandable that customs inspectors want a hard look at a parcel containing, say, a revolver or a set of ivory billiard balls, but here we are talking about a currently-published book, which according to tariff regulations enters duty-free if written and published abroad.
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