the daily news digest of the postal world since 1998


WSJ: Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers

The Wall Street Journal reports that along with the boom in ecommerce shipments has come a flood of returns:

Behind the uptick in e-commerce is a little known secret: As much as a third of all Internet sales gets returned, according to retail consultancy Kurt Salmon. And the tide of goods flowing back to retailers is rising. Shipper United Parcel Service Inc. expects returns to jump 15% this season from last year, making them a significant and growing cost for retailers.

The stakes get even higher during the holidays, when return volume peaks. So this year, chains are digging through past transactions to weed out chronic returners, train shoppers to make better decisions or stem buyer’s remorse.

The Journal says that e-retailers are coming up with imaginative tactics to deal with customers who return large numbers of orders:

constant returners may see fewer discounts in their inboxes, while their high-spending neighbors land the better offers.

The rise of free shipping and returns has coincided with a surge in online sales of clothing and footwear. In the past, retailers would charge online shoppers $5 or $10 fees for delivery and returns to cover the cost of shipping and handling. The rise of more lenient policies by online shoe retailer and parent company Inc. helped prompt customers to turn their living rooms into dressing rooms, as shoppers in many cases aren’t on the hook for shipping fees in either direction or the back-end cost for returns.

Retailers say people who return a lot also typically buy a lot. But that isn’t always the case, and the burden appears to be growing.

Read more: Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers –


NY Times: Snail Mail's Retreat in Canada

With the digital handwriting ever clearer on the wall, the Canadian postal service has announced that it will end its remaining door-to-door letter deliveries over the next five years and focus on its one clear growth area: package deliveries to a public that is increasingly doing its shopping online.

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The changes, which include hefty jumps in the cost of stamps, provoked widespread opposition, judging by recent polls. But officials wrestling with rising pension costs and fading revenues said that curtailing deliveries was unavoidable given the world’s rapid evolution toward instant electronic communication.

Read more: Snail Mail’s Retreat in Canada –


USPS carriers forge through Sunday snow to deliver packages

MILWAUKEE — Sunday usually means a day of rest for U.S. Postal Service Carriers, but not on a snowy weekend before Christmas.

"It’s not easy today," carrier Jeff Miller said. "Seventy degrees and sunny is a lot easier. Driving around is going to be challenging."

Miller is one of five carriers who pushed through the storm with boxes from the Post Office on Teutonia and Florist in Milwaukee Sunday.

Read more: USPS carriers forge through Sunday snow to deliver packages | CBS 58 | Local News.


Boston Police provide additional details on letter carrier shooting

From the Boston Police Department:

At about 6:07pm, on Friday, December 20, 2013, officers from District C-11 (Dorchester) responded to a radio call for a person shot outside of 74 Bailey Street.

Upon arrival, officers observed a male victim who had sustained a gunshot wound to his right hand/wrist and had a bloody laceration to his forehead. The victim reported he was shot by a black male in his twenties, 5’8″- 5’10” tall, wearing a black hooded jacket with a black face mask. The victim explained the suspect jumped onto his United States Postal Service (USPS) truck and demanded the victim give him the draw. The victim replied, “What draw?” At which time, the suspect struck the victim in the forehead with a handgun and, later, forced the victim to strip down out of his USPS letter carrier uniform. The suspect then attempted to flee the scene in the USPS truck with the victim still in the rear cab. The victim reported, while in fear for his life, he opened the rear door of the vehicle and got away on foot down Bailey Street in the direction of Dorchester Avenue.

A description of the suspect was given to the police dispatcher and the victim was transported to Boston Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The USPS mail truck was located a short distance away, on the sidewalk, in a snowbank on Clermont Street. It was towed as evidence.

A United States Postal Service Inspector responded to the scene.

Further investigation by district detectives and USPS Inspectors revealed the suspect fled in a UHAUL rental van. The UHAUL van was later located at the Sunoco Gas Station, at the intersection of Gallivan Blvd and Washington Street in Dorchester. It was also towed for evidence.

The Boston Police Department is actively investigating facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call District C-11 (Dorchester) detectives at 617-343-4335.

Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by calling CrimeStoppers at 1(800) 494-TIPS (8477) or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463). The Boston Police Department will stringently guard and protect the identities of those wishing to remain anonymous.

Today’s Boston Globe provided more details:

It did not appear that the gunman attempted to wear the postal worker’s uniform, according to Officer Neva Coakley, a Boston police spokeswoman. Coakley said it was unclear at exactly what point in the altercation the gunman shot the postal worker.

Police and US Postal Service continued their investigation this morning. Several cruisers and a patrol wagon lined Bailey Street, a one-way lane of mostly older homes, some in good repair or recently renovated, others worn with age.

Boston detectives and US postal inspectors went door to door in pairs, interviewing residents. One duo methodically examined slush piled along the edges of Bailey and Clermont streets, searching for evidence.

Read more: Boston Police Investigate Assault and Battary Incident on an USPS Carrier in Dorchester —


Royal Mail top directors set for share windfall worth up to £4.2m

Royal Mail revealed share bonuses for its top directors worth up to £4.2million at the time they were awarded, as its transition to a public company saw cash incentives replaced with stock.

Some 15 senior staff will get the shares in 2016, if they meet performance targets, with boss Moya Greene eligible for up to 92,232 shares, worth £488,000 at the £5.29 price when they were awarded.

The windfall will be lower if the company does not hit the top end of its targets, but could also be much higher if its stock, up from £3.30 when it listed in October to £6.05 yesterday, continues to soar.

Read more: Royal Mail top directors set for share windfall worth up to £4.2m | This is Money.


Video: Overstuffed Houston area mailboxes have postal customers concerned

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Stuffed and overflowing mailboxes at Houston area post offices have customers concerned the postal service is putting their mail and personal information at risk.

Mail was practically spilling out of the blue mailboxes outside of the Julius Melcher Post Office on Timmons when we stopped by and customers here say this is common.

"I don’t know if they’re not emptying them or if they just don’t have adequate boxes," one customer told us.

Read more: Overstuffed mailboxes have postal customers concerned | News – Home.


Canada Post's secret plan to get lazy seniors some fresh air

Columnist Warren Kinsella in yesterday’s Sun on Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra’s plan to eliminate mail delivery- it’s all about helping seniors!

Here’s what Chopra said when asked about his idiotic plan to eliminate urban home delivery, and thereby force Canadian seniors to slog through snowbanks and foul weather to some distant “community mail box” to get their mail:

“Seniors are telling me, ‘I want to be healthy. I want to be active in my life.’ They want to be living fuller lives.”

Get that? Seniors are saying to him that they need more exercise, says this Conservative Party appointee.

Confined to a wheelchair? Got a bad hip or knee? Too bad!

Chopra and his boss, Stephen Harper, apparently think all you Canadian seniors out there are lazy and slothful, and — without consultation, without warning — they want to eliminate the mail delivery you’ve had your entire life, so you can get some fresh air! The long march awaits!

In salary, Chopra got half a million bucks last year, he got nearly $200,000 as a bonus, and he’s got 22 presidents and vice-presidents.

Read more: Has Canada Post gone postal? CEO Deepak Chopra’s remarks will live forever | Columnists | Opinion | Calgary Sun.


Video: Reward offered for man who shot postal contract driver in Georgia

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

CONLEY, Ga. – The manhunt is on for the gunman who shot and robbed a United State Post Office worker. Police are also searching for the postal truck the thief made off during that robbery.

Friday night, someone got into a secured area at the post office located in the 1300 block of Cedar Grove Road in Conley sometime between 7:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. They shot the postal worker then made off with the truck he was driving.

The driver of the truck wasn’t discovered for about a half hour. He was rushed to the hospital in critical conditions.

Postal inspectors say they believe the robber targeted the contract driver who spends his days driving between post offices. They aren’t saying if anything was in the truck at the time of the robbery, but the company that hires those drivers believes the robber was after Christmas presents.

Read more: Man shots postal driver, steals mail truck in Conley – Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5.


Georgia: Postal worker in critical condition after being shot by a robber after dark

Another postal worker has been shot by a robber while working after dark- this time in Georgia:

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information about the shooting and robbing of a postal truck driver Friday night at the Conley Post Office on Cedar Grove Road in DeKalb County.

The driver, who has not been identifed, was shot and robbed between 7:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., according to the postal inspection service’s award notice. Police are searching for his white-paneled postal truck with ‘US Mail 302M3′ on the back.

Channel 2 Action News reported that the driver was in critical condition when he was taken to a hospital.

Read more: Postal service offers reward for info on truck robbery, shooting |


NJ letter carrier charged with theft again

A mailman employed by the Washington Township Post Office who was found guilty last month of stealing while on his daily route must now answer to charges related to the theft of a postal service camera, according to authorities.

Brian Kramer was arrested this afternoon after township police received information from the United States Postal Service that a camera had been turned over to them by a third party who found the device in personal belongings, Washington Township Detective Sgt. John Calamari said.

During a Nov. 14 court appearance, Kramer had pleaded not guilty to the charge of Possession of Stolen Property, but the judge found him to be guilty and he was given a $1,200 fine, nine months of probation and 30 days of community service.

George Flood, a U.S.P.S. spokesman, said Kramer, who has worked as a letter carrier since January 2006, is still employed with the postal service and would not comment on any personnel actions taken against him “due to individual privacy concerns.”

Read more: Washington Township mailman charged with theft –