It’s a FEATURE, Stupid

Here’s minor rant about an annoyance. Amazon regularly sends me e-mails like this one:

Hello from

We’re writing about the order you placed on December 07 2009 (Order# xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx).
USPS was unable to leave the package at your delivery address as per their delivery policies. The package
will be available for pick up at your local post office. Please visit and click
“Locate a Post Office” to find contact information for your local post office or call 1 800 ASK USPS. The
items listed below are included in this shipment:

Dailey & Vincent "Brothers from Different Mothers"
Dailey & Vincent "Dailey & Vincent"

To see full details of this order, including tracking details and the shipping status of other items from
this order that may not be listed, please visit the Your Account section of our website (http:// You can also reach Your Account by clicking on the link in the top right
corner of any page on our web site.



If your shipment arrives too late, you may either refuse delivery or return it to us for a refund. For
returns instructions, please visit our Returns Center at



If you have more questions about this order, you can e-mail or phone Customer Service by clicking the
“Contact Us” button on the right side of any Help page (

Customer Service Department


Check your order and more:

Please note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.

That message has little to do with my reality, since it happens that my “local delivery address” is my local post office. Things are actually working exactly as I expected.

It’s like this, folks. My mail goes to a post office box. Unless I happen to be in the post office while Jacki is sorting the packages, her procedures require her to report the package as not-delivered (and she puts a yellow card in my box.) As she sees it–and as I see it–that’s a delivery, which will get completed when I make it into the office (which occurs daily). There’s no failure, here, and fairly often (including this time) I’ve picked up the package before Amazon gets around to notifying me that the package is “lost.” Folks who use post office boxes for mailing address have deliberately traded one sort of convenience for another. The package was exactly where I expected it to be, and I picked it up with the rest of my mail.

I realize this is a minor issue, and that Amazon’s trying to be helpful. But it shows a total ignorance of something you’d expect them to get right.

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2 Responses to It’s a FEATURE, Stupid

  1. joel says:

    A note to acknowledge that Amazon’s recently improved the email message. They’ve noticed that some people really do have PO boxes, and explicitly mention them.

  2. toy swords [spammer] says:

    Hey! That’s a very great post. I’m very certain I’ll counsel it to my co-workers.In case you submit extra posts please e mail them to me.

    [silly spammer. certainly hope your co-workers work for Amazon, then.]

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