Shipping Kiosk at USPS

It’s been crazy hectic here, but I want to share this before I completely forget.

I went to the Montgomery post office (like a main hub) on Friday to drop off two packages that were probably going to be considered late scans. The guy behind the counter said “Why aren’t you getting those scanned at the kiosk?” I said “Really, I can do that?” So he took me into the lobby, showed me this machine and yep, I can scan and drop into the bin.

That was at 1:07 pm – I got a receipt.

Later that afternoon, I finally finished my Friday orders, so I went to Prattville and did the same thing. THIS TIME I took a picture of each screen which look like this:

Then

Then this:

Notice the “fine print” – “in order to receive a TRUE acceptance scan”

So let’s look to see when the Montgomery packages were accepted. I dropped them off at 1:07 pm, and the initial acceptance scan was 9:30 pm.

So I basically need to make a trip to EDUCATE those MF’ers in Montgomery – because A. That initial scan is not good enough. And B. If they say they’ll pick up the bin by 7:30 and then scan…9:30 causes an Amazon seller trouble.

I’ll be nice…won’t cuss I promise.

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Yep, no better than a scan sheet. I guess they need to be sure you just don’t scan it and then not drop it in the bin.

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If they say they’ll pick up the bin by 7:30 and then scan…9:30 causes an Amazon seller trouble.

Why would that cause trouble? If a package has to ship by day X, and it gets a scan at 9:30 on day X, that should be good, shouldn’t it?

Do you get enough INR claims to worry about the scans? That’s the only reason you would need them for Amazon.

That initial scan is not good enough.

I don’t think the kiosk scan is intended to be for Amazon sellers, but more for the average person who wants a receipt that they did, in fact, ship their package of birthday gifts to their grandchild, but doesn’t want the hassle of standing in line. USPS employees wouldn’t know, or likely care, about what Amazon requires.

The kiosk disclaimer sounds like a theft deterrent statement to me, and nothing to do with ecommerce. Someone might buy a label for an express mail package, knowing that those are refunded if they don’t arrive on time, then take the package back home with them and bring it back to drop off at the PO the next day, effectively ensuring it would arrive late, and hoping to file a claim and get their postage refunded.

The kiosk is telling them that won’t fly, that the clock doesn’t start until the package is scanned in USPS “processing”.

Whether it’s worth it to stand in line to get a ‘real’ scan all comes down to money. Does the number of INR claims you pay (by using Buy Shipping but missing a timely scan) exceed the value of your time spent standing in line?

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So relate, but not going to unpack your entire post. Though hugs for that, from here on the east coast in the middle of the night. :slightly_smiling_face:

Our “long time” postmaster retired. I so miss him, yet the team at the post office still has his attitude.

That was one of Customer First, taking care of business customers job one. Even told me he was goaled on volume. Told me that he understood Amazon metrics, and he did! Let us use the buzzer at the door up to 5:15pm. Told me we can go later. I stopped him, “If you tell me 5:30, I will end up here at 5:31”

Our Post Office is so good, they call out my name everyday when I come in the door. Even with 10 people in line. I feel so bad, dropping the bin on the counter and running out. The looks I get!

100% on time ship metrics, 100% scan of each and every package. God bless them.

It has been 6 months without a postmaster, just this week, I asked two “official” looking people if they were the new postmaster, no just supervisors. I complimented them and told them how long I have been coming here. You would have thought I just gave them a thousand dollar bill!

I told them, we get to buy food for our family since they do such a good job. No hollow condescending compliment, it is simply a fact.

Now your Kiosk, “fragile, liquid…” Damn (where are the ■■■■ boxes) I hear that every night just before 5 when I drop off. From the USPS team, to the street people waiting in line.

So sad, good people have to play the game. Government hygiene.

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That’s my point…The teller who was trying to help me doesn’t understand the Amazon factor. So I was nice and let him show me, but now it’s HIS turn to learn. I did say these are Amazon packages so I need YOU to scan them and he led me to the kiosk. I never used it before, so now I have documentation to complain or stand my ground and say NOPE, that’s not good enough for Amazon and I’m not getting fired because YOU don’t want to do your job. I do go gentler early on, until I need to put my foot up their rear ends. But I need independent proof to do that.

Why would that cause trouble? If a package has to ship by day X, and it gets a scan at 9:30 on day X, that should be good, shouldn’t it? — ummm…

If I’m remembering correctly – sometime ago – if I printed labels too late into the evening, Amazon had some sort of cut off built in and considered it shipped late.

Prattville hasn’t had a permanent post master for 6 years now…and I had a great relationship with her when I could show her the win win. For a while, things were still ok, until some (dummy) husband threatened other workers in the back and now they want me to use the front. I still have a great relationship with many up front and I can skip the line. This kiosk thing happened in Montgomery where there is no relationship with them. I hardly ever ever go there.

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Exactly!

What is the exact issue you’re trying to protect yourself against? Is it being covered for INR’s, or keeping your on-time shipment metric healthy? Because the postal scan doesn’t do anything for your on-time (late) shipment number. That depends solely on the time you buy the label. A timely scan is only needed in case a customer claims the package wasn’t delivered, and you want Amazon to cover the refund because you used Buy Shipping.

if I printed labels too late into the evening, Amazon had some sort of cut off built in and considered it shipped late.

That cut-off time is generally midnight UTC time, which is 5 pm Pacific, unless you set it earlier. As long as you didn’t change your hours here, and it still says 4:30 pm (or whatever the latest option is in your time zone) -

If you’re mainly worried about late shipment dings, you can relax. Just make sure to buy the label before your cut-off on the day it’s required to ship and you won’t have any problems.

The time when a physical scan does help you is if a customer claims some type of issue with the delivery and you want Amazon to cover the refund because you used Buy Shipping. In that case, there is the requirement to have an on-time postal scan. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.

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Since Amazon tells us to use a scan sheet, don’t they accept that as confirmation of shipping?

No because they only look at tracking that indicates each package has individually received an acceptance scan. The scan sheet may say 10 packages when in fact only 9 were dropped off. Really the scan sheet only confirms a shipment or label as been created. I think they are only recommending the use of scan sheets for the convenience of the postal service. It’s been a point of contention all along and really the only safe sure way is to stand in line and make the clerks scan each package. Some post offices like to make their own rules and limit the number of scans at the counter or force you to use scan sheets. It would be nice to have a kiosk where you feed the package into and it scans and accepts but that would probably work as well as snack vending machines.

The postal clerks always count how many are dropped off and compare that number to what’s on my scan sheet. At least that’s how they do it here.

If Amazon doesn’t accept it, then I don’t think they should be recommending it.

A scan sheet is fine - IF - a subsequent “real” scan occurs in time to still be considered shipped on time. Later the same day is totally fine. So if you drop in a kiosk at 1pm and the USPS scans it for “real” at 9:30 pm - totally fine. For shipped on time, for INR’s, for valid tracking - the day is all that counts. I believe you have up to 48 hours after confirming shipping for the first “real” scan before you have to worry.

I use a scan sheet and my carrier picks up from me. My packages then get a movement scan when they are processed out of my hub later in the night. Always been fine.

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Exactly. Nor does a scan sheet confirm that the 10 you have there are the same 10 you are actually shipping. You could (and I’m sure some do…) fudge “shipped on time” by using a scan sheet but not actually shipping THAT box.

I’m not sure what the point of a scan sheet is, then. If Amazon doesn’t really rely on the scan sheet for any information, why not just tell us to drop it in the mailbox and call it good?

I agree. I think they are just trying to appease the post office and the counter clerks, and provide to buyers their order is moving faster than it is. Amazon says “USPS requires a SCAN form to scan packages at the pickup location for a pickup of five or more packages.”

Here’s what USPS says:
https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2006/html/pb22192/pb6ktxt.html

So it’s mostly for USPS, false confidence for Sellers, and a little bit of look good to buyers.

On time shipping metric comes from first acceptance scan.

On time delivery metric comes from scanned when delivered.

INRs – can be successfully defended IF the first acceptance scan is shipped on time.

The kiosk does not give a first acceptance scan – So the advice from the clerk to scan the packages at the kiosk and put them in the bin and off I go is not good enough for Amazon.

Especially during holiday season where the trip from the drop off point (and the package does not get an arrival scan) to the next distribution center, may take an extra day (or 2 - happened to me a lot in 2021 Christmas)

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I love when the first scan is 7 states away and amazon is like… Yeah you did it wrong. Clearly just a lack of scanning as I do not send packages by teleport.

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A now dead President once told us, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

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On time shipping metric comes from first acceptance scan.

I’m pretty sure (like, 99.9999999%) that isn’t true. It comes from the time you buy the label - or confirm the shipment, if you don’t use Buy Shipping. I’ve had pickups skipped on multiple occasions (grrr for substitute USPS carriers) and none have resulted in late shipment dings.

INRs – can be successfully defended IF the first acceptance scan is shipped on time.

Yes, this is the time when you would need it. Which is why I asked - do you get enough INR’s where the acceptance scan wasn’t on time that this is an issue? Because statistically speaking, most shipments don’t result in INR’s and also, most shipments do usually get their physical scan at night as USPS processes them (at least in my area) and you’d need to have both things go wrong in order to need a physical scan at drop-off to save you.

I’m just wondering if you couldn’t save yourself the time and hassle of standing in line, if it isn’t offering the benefits you think?

I don’t think I’m wrong about how it works, but you and @wadeorcas are making me wonder. :laughing: Maybe I should purposely let one go later this week to confirm that the USPS acceptance scan has no bearing on late shipments.

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I’m just saying this from an INR/A-Z perspective. Frequent enough, my first scan (individual package) might not be until the next day. I always have at least a dozen packages daily thru all venues so waiting in line at my understaffed PO is not an option. I just live with a minimum of a 2 day production time on all SKUs. I’m on track for a dozen A-Z INRs/year and making each and every order by hand, I hate to lose one.

Even so my FBM usually always beats my FBA with not a whole lot of options to safely shave time off the buyer facing arrival times.