Archive for the Mail Day Category

A non-update update to the USPS Fraudulent Delivery Saga

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Earlier this month I wrote pieces (first and second) about my local Post Office screwing around with delivery confirmation, and even went as far as to mark a “Signature Required” package as delivered even though the item was sitting at the post office for several days before an actual attempt at physical delivery was made.

Ut was the latest in an on-going poor delivery model that my local USPS branch has been employing. I went to the post office on January 18 at 9:15 a,m., and was told by woman working a the window that the managers were not on duty until 11:30 a.m. that day.

Frustrated, I left my name and phone number and a brief synopsis so that ANY MANAGER could call me back. I’ve been awaiting a return call ever since.

I sort of let the issue sit. I probably should have gone to the post office this week to try to settle the issue in person, but I had other things I wanted to do, and other errands that needed to get accomplished. Also, I had already gotten my package thanks to my brother-in-law who was nice enough to go sign for it at the post office in the middle of last week.

I digress. This week I received a notification that a new Roger Clemens card was “delivered.” I grabbed my mail earlier int he day on Thursday, Jan. 24, so I sorta knew what the deal was when the Delivery notification came through after 3 p.m. I figured the USPS was still scanning packages a day earlier and that it would arrive today, Friday, Jan. 25.

Well, guess what didn’t show up today? That’s right, the card that supposedly was delivered.

So I called the local Postal Office and the phone rang dozens of times with no answer. Fed up I decided to call the 800 national numbered and had to navigate my way through a phone tree until I finally got an option to speak to a live person. Sadly, the automated message advised that there was a 35 to 52 minute wait, and then advised that the operators only have the same information that is available online.

Knowing this was wasted effort, I hung up the phone and decided to call the local branch again. This time the number doesn’t even ring — it’s just goes to a busy signal.

Looks like I’ll just have to wait this most recent episode out and then try to make contact again in person next week when I have time off of work.

Stay tuned.

Proof USPS lied about “Delivered” COMC package

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , on January 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Oh, USPS, ya’ll got some explaining to do …

Yesterday I wrote about the package that was mailed from COMC (Link) in Washington to my address in the San Francisco Bay Area. The item, which requires a signature, was marked as “Delivered” by the USPS at 4:26 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, despite the fact that the item was never signed for or delivered at all.

I expected it to show up Saturday, Jan. 12, given my local USPS poor habit of fraudulently marking these as delivered a day earlier. No such thing arrived.

Lo and Behold what did I get in my mailbox Monday, Jan. 14? Not the package, but one of those glorious pink notices advising “Sorry We Missed You…,” effectively summoning me to the Post Office to sign for my item.

Call me stupid, but why would someone have to go sign for package that was already “Delivered?” Oh, that’s right … because it wasn’t.

This is PROOF that my local post office is continuing this scam where upon employees scan the items as “delivered” a day early to improperly inflate the success rate of it’s timed delivery service.

The Good News is that the COMC package is not lost, and has not been stolen. In fact, it’s exactly where I suspected it was the whole time — the damn Post Office.

The Bad News is now I have to figure out how to make time to get to the post office to retrieve the package — a sometimes daunting task given my work schedule that essentially keeps me from my hometown from sunrise to sunset.

I’ve also now got to find time to get in contact with the local Post Master to demand this branch stop this practice. It really undermines the integrity of the entire process; causes lots of stress on the consumer, and ultimately puts many of us who buy, sell and trade via the Internet at risk.






COMC package marked “Delivered” by USPS … only it wasn’t.

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

We all have our share of mail nightmare stories. My most recent tale, however, is the latest in an on-going issue that leads me to wonder if the USPS may be committing fraud.

The Washington-based card consignment website COMC.com recently shipped my latest purchases to me via USPS Priority Mail, and in customary fashion, COMC used the “Signature Required” option to ensure safe delivery. I’ve been a user of the site for almost a decade now and really have had no issues with purchasing and delivery.

My most-recent package was shipped on January 9 and was set for delivery on January 11. Because of the package required a signature I was constantly paying attention to the mail that day. I checked it frequently; a relative was home the entire day, and half way through the day I checked the shipping history and saw that the expected delivery date was changed to Saturday, January 12. Fine, I could live with that.

But when I checked the delivery history later that night, the status showed as “Delivered” at 4:26 p.m., which obviously didn’t actually occur.  Sadly, I knew what the deal was.  Back in November I had a similar situation involving some game-used baseballs. The package was marked and scanned as delivered late in the afternoon/early evening but the package did not actually arrive at my doorstep until the next day.  I spoke to my letter carrier, who has been working the route for several years, and he told me that it is customary for packages to be scanned at the office a day early, but not actually arrive at its destination until the next business day.  The letter carrier told me it’s not something he personally does, or even agrees with, but that’s the practice by the local post office. He said if the package is showing as being “Delivered” late in the afternoon or early evening, then it’ll in all likelihood show up the next day.

In that matter, my package did not require a signature. It was merely a Delivery Confirmation, and since the package was hand delivered to me the next day I didn’t raise a stink other than to mention it on Twitter.

But in this most recent matter, the package DOES require a signature, and it appears the post office went ahead and marked the item as delivered.  And so Saturday, Jan 12, rolls around and I check the mail again. A relative was home all day. And guess what? No package was delivered … and none of those pink “Signature Required” notes were left in the mailbox either.

And if you’re wondering if the package was stolen off the doorstep, the answer is no. We have the “Ring” doorbell system and it was not activated by any person seeking a signature for a package, or anyone taking packages.

It’s now Monday and I am livid that for the last 48 hours I’ve been stressing out about a package that may or may not be delivered today. I even checked the site again today and the status has not changed.  And when I requested via e-mail the proof of delivery, the scanned box for the “signature” is blank.

 

Whether or not this package arrives today, this will result in me contacting the local Post Master, and even calling the national complaint line in hopes of ending this practice of scanning packages early.

Pardon me in my thinking, but isn’t the USPS committing fraud by scanning these packages as delivered when in fact they are sitting in some office and not at the recipient’s address? Does this not call into question the validity of the entire confirmation and tracking process? I mean, they do charge extra for these services and they are set to not only gain monetarily from these special services, but are also skewing their success rate by using this practice.

Don’t get me wrong, not all USPS transactions fall under this umbrella. But this specific act of scanning packages as “Delivered,” a day early, needs to stop. Surely I am not the only one to experience this.  Please leave a comment if you have experienced the same or similar.

eBay Bucks purchase arrives; cracked from slab after 16 years

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Last week I chronicled here what I did with my eBay Bucks: I turned the bonus funds into a card I wanted for nearly two decades, the 1998 Upper Deck SP Authentic Chirography Roger Clemens autograph, limited to a reported 400 copies.

The card arrived Friday and I was anxious to see how bad the edges on this card were — the card was graded a 7.5 by Beckett Grading in October 2002, hammered significantly for edges.

When I opened the box I could see the issue, two finger nail digs near the top left border. I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe someone tried too hard to get it into a Card Saver II, or used their finger names to remove the card from a Top Loader? Either way, the grade was justified. But that, of course, didn’t mean I had to stare at that hideous 7.5 grade every time I wanted to look at the card.

And so I cracked it from it’s case. I broke off the top right corner of the BGS case with a pair of pliers, then slid a butter knife between the two parts of the slab and twisted the knife, to create separation. And then pried the top and bottom apart to free the card. This process is usually neater than what occurred here, but the card came out safe.

I often say Ultra Pro One-Touches are overrated — and I still feel that way, especially if you’re using them to secure cards during transport. I still believe top loader and penny sleeve are still the best for that.

But I do think One Touches serve as a nice case for display — they’re the new school version of my old favorite, the single-screw recessed screw down.

I bought the whole lot for one card…

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

You know you’re a player collector when you buy an entire lot of a player’s cards solely because you thought you needed just one of them.

Such was the case last week when I was conducting an open-ended search on eBay for Roger Clemens cards. I came upon a lot of 43 Clemens cards that initially looked like the majority of lots that hit eBay — full of standard issues from 1987 to 1998.

But this is why I try to check every single lot of Clemens cards when I do these searches — you never know what may be within the lot that was not mentioned in the title.

In the fourth image attached to this lot was a shiny blue die-cut 2000 Pacific Crown Royale Platinum Blue serial numbered to 75 copies.

The seller knew the card was special; they even show cased it on its own in the fifth and final image of the auction. But it was not listed in the header, so any person who was looking for this specific card would not have seen it. It also was not specifically listed in the description, just described as a die-cut card serial numbered 23/75.

The remainder of the lot wasn’t terrible. As it turned out there were five other cards in the lot that I did not have: 1995 Upper Deck Electric Diamond, 1998 Fleer Decade of Excellence, 1998 Ultra, 1998 Skybox Dugout Access, and 1998 Upper Deck All Star Credentials.

As far as the dupes, there was a 1997 Fleer EX-2000 – another reminder of the 1990s being full of cutting edge stuff.

Not a bad haul for under $6 delivered.

A Belated Congrats from Night Owl

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Way back in October, when it was determined the Boston Red Sox would face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, I reached out to Greg, AKA Night Owl (link), and proposed that we should make a small wager.

You see, Greg is a Dodgers fan, and I am a Red Sox fan. I’ve been communicating with Greg for about 10 years through our blogs and Twitter. It seemed like a fun idea at the time. So we agreed to make a small wager, with non-specific cardboard of course.

Then things started to develop in the Series. The Sox took Games One and Two in Boston, and with the Series headed back to the West Coast I turned my attention away from the wager, and focused on the fact that the Sox were heading toward another title, and because of my geographic location, I may actually have a chance to see it live if the series extended to a fifth game.

The Dodgers took Game three in legendary extra innings fashion, and then Boston won Game Four, securing the opportunity of a lifetime for me — I had tickets to Game Five to potentially see my team win a World Series title before my very eyes.

I’ve written about that experience (here) but I couldn’t help but think about Greg while I was there at Dodger Stadium that night. I wished he also had a chance to experience such a view; but I also though about our silly wager — even as Game Five wore on, I thought it would be nice to send him something instead of expecting him to pay me for his end of the wager.

I checked the merchandise stands for something that might make for a nice souvenir to send him, but sadly a lot of what they had was generic World Series stuff and it was overpriced.

But what I did end up doing was send him something that I confirmed he didn’t have — a 2018 Topps Living Set card of Game Five starter, Clayton Kershaw. You see, on Oct. 17, when Kershsaw’s card was released I ordered five of the cards because Kershaw is my favorite player. Those cards arrived within a week and a half of the Sox victory so I packaged one up and sent it on over the Greg, who acknowledged the card in a post that I actually missed at the time.

I wasn’t expecting anything in return — but this week I got a small package from Greg. He was holding up his side of the wager with a handful of Red Sox cards, and 10 Kershaw cards, three of which I did not already have.

Thanks for holding up your end, Greg. The cards are glorious.

The dream Roger Clemens card has arrived

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Ask any player collector what they’re dream card is and it’s likely going to be a signed rookie card of some sorts.  Or maybe a 1/1 featuring a sweet patch or button, coupled with an autograph.


For me, with Roger Clemens being my guy, that dream card is a 1991 Topps Desert Shield, signed by the man himself.

Some people may not understand my fascination with this card. I was a big fan of the photography used in the 1991 set and from the outset, I had my eye on the Clemens card because it features him standing at the base of the iconic Green Monster. I’ve owned probably 30 or 40 copies of the standard card, but always wanted the Desert Shield version. For the uninitiated, the Desert Shield version features a gold stamp in the corner. These were cards that were sent (in pack/box form) to the US troops stationed abroad during the Gulf War. The fact that some of these actually made it back to the States is impressive in their own right.

(Side note: Surely some of the boxes never actually made it abroad as sealed wax can be found if your pockets are deep enough. Nonetheless, the mystique surrounding the product remains.)

When I first learned of the cards, I hoped that one day I could own one card — any card at that — from that special set.  My hopes, obviously, were to own the Clemens card but I figured it would cost me a fortune. Remember, this was a quarter of a century ago.

Over time we as a hobby have found new ways to get the cards of which we’d always dreamed. The internet has made the impossible possible as we were no longer limited to just the cards we had in local shops and shows. Even so, I failed to obtain a Desert Shield version of the 1991 card until recently, when I not only located THE card, but one that had been handled and signed by the legend Roger Clemens himself. The autograph is authenticated by JSA, as noted with a sticker affixed to the back with a matching serial number on the COA.

The term “priceless” gets used quit a bit by collectors, but this one truly is in my mind.