You may have ordered something recently, and similar to other customers, you may be wondering, “Why is my package going further away from me?”
This does not make any sense from your standpoint, but it is just how the delivery system works in the US. All significant couriers seldom deliver packages using a direct route to your door, which is completely typical.
So, it may seem like your package is only a few miles away, and then it appears to go in an alternate direction or in the opposite direction.
However, this is the usual way major couriers go about their delivery routes. Read on to learn more and to also learn some fixes for such a situation.
Why Did My Package Go Farther Away Usps?
Similarly to many people, you make think that packages are transported from a post office to a post office until it reaches your nearest post office; however, this is not the case. Instead, the packages are passed between different places, known as sorting centers.
These sorting centers do as exactly as advertised; they sort, organize, categorize, and separate, this is so the courier’s network works efficiently and swiftly.
Little known fact, there are 31,000 post offices spread throughout the United States, but there are only twenty-two USPS distribution centers, which is a very tiny percentage when compared to the post offices.
With this in mind, you can see why many packages have to travel further away to eventually arrive at the nearest distribution center, where they can be sorted appropriately and scanned; then, they are sent on their way to your mailbox or your door.
So you see, this is why packages typically appear to be being sent far away; they are simply on their way to the nearest distribution center.
This may appear to be pointless and irritating; however, without this crucial step in the delivery system, otherwise your packages would likely become separated and or misplaced.
Also, when the packages are scanned, the scan updates not just the package’s location for the courier(s) but also updates the location of your package for your tracking information.
So, while it may seem unnecessary to you, the importance of both sorting and distribution centers cannot be overstated.
1. The Necessity of Sorting Centers
One may think that it would be more efficient to keep packages going on track to their delivery location at all times (your doorstep or mailbox). Unfortunately, this is not the case,e and it is for a good reason.
An excellent way to both visualize and explain this is: A delivery truck that is full of packages is on its way from point A to point B.
Aside from gasoline, it does not really matter all too much if the delivery truck is entirely full or is carrying just one package; there are still a certain amount of costs that come with this process of transportation.
On that note, it would probably make the most sense to fill the delivery truck up with as many packages that can possibly fit within the truck, effectively lowering the total cost to ship each individual package.
Also, since all of the boxes are going to different places, the delivery drivers cannot simply stop and transfer the packages to a separate truck.
Instead, all of the packages are sent to sorting centers. The sorting centers have the specific purpose of organizing and ensuring that the packages are indeed going to the exact location all remain together.
This not only ensures that everything is affordable as possible, but it also saves time as well.
It is understandable that it is much more efficient to collect a large number of packages and then go out of your way to a place that can sort them, even if it means traveling more miles to do so.
2. The Possibility of Human Error
It is important to remember that the majority of the sorting is done by cameras and or machinery, and when you consider the staggering amount of packages that are shipped through FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
It only makes sense that using cameras and machinery, it is the only possible way to get it all done in a timely manner. Now, this would also not be possible without humans being involved in the process.
However, this also introduces more chances for human errors. Once the packages and parcels are separated and sorted, the bins are moved around by people.
Even in this situation, the packages can indeed fall out and then may be placed back into the wrong container, which can end up with the package going to the wrong place.
You could arguably blame the technology used as well since it does sort and scan literally thousands of packages per hour. Typically the majority of packages will indeed be sorted correctly; however, the occasional error can be made.
With that being said, it is absolutely crucial for the shippers to have clear shipping labels, as it not only helps humans keep track of packages correctly but also helps the machinery as well.
As humans, we are capable of making mistakes; for example, it is entirely possible that a courier driver could have missed a few hours of sleep last night and has accidentally misplaced your package.
You cannot blame the courier either, as we all make mistakes, and USPS will always find a way to make it right and get your package to you.
On that note, practice a little patience when you are awaiting the arrival of your order, even if you need the item as soon as possible; remember that USPS has a routing system in place for a good reason, it is so that your package is not lost, misplaced or held for too long.
USPS has been in the game for a long time now, and they know what they are doing and the quickest way to get your package to you while simultaneously keeping track of all of their shipments and making sure they end up where they need to be on time.
3. Unpredictable Weather
Let it be known that couriers do use highly advanced systems to make sure that their packages take the most time and cost-efficient route possible.
Once you consider the scale of which couriers operate, you can see how a small mistake can snowball into a much more significant concern.
It is important to note that these routes are also built and adapted in real-time; this means that any possible recent accidents on the route are accounted for, and the same goes for road work or weigh stations.
It is possible for your package to be scheduled to go through a certain area that is not currently passable due to severe weather; in this scenario, your package courier’s route may be rerouted to somewhere else.
This is a conceivable way for your package to appear to be moving further away or even backward from the destination address (your address).
Unfortunately, this cannot be predicted, and there is also nothing you can do to help this situation. Bad or sudden weather changes can lead to delays or your package courier being rerouted through a safer route.
4. Incorrect Shipping Address
It should come as no surprise that if the shipping label on the package is incorrect in the slightest way, it can lead to many possible issues, such as it being sent to the wrong shipping address.
This is why you will want to make sure that you enter the correct information when you are checking out, although it is equally possible for the shipper to misprint the label for your package.
Similarly, smudged or dirty labels can also make it more difficult for the scanning cameras to scan the labels efficiently. However, USPS, especially, is incredibly efficient at correctly determining where their packages are meant to be going.
Even if the process is not carried out in the most precise manner, they are typically very able to ensure that the package gets to where it needs to be.
It is not uncommon for packages with incorrect ZIP codes to be directed to the wrong destination since the ZIP code on the package plays a very crucial role when shippers check the label.
Interestingly enough, when your parcel arrives at your local post office for the next to final step in the shipping, typically, the only part of the address that is actually checked is the ZIP code.
The ZIP code plays a crucial role in not just the shipping label but also determines the route for the courier to take while simultaneously providing the sorting centers with all of the necessary information they need in order to sort your packages correctly.
On that note, be sure that you do enter the correct shipping information, as it is absolutely essential to ensure that it is shipped to a valid shipping address.
5. Sticky Packages
Now, this particular situation is rare but not unheard of, but some packages can occasionally become stuck together. The most common cause for this is sticky materials on the outside of the package, and ironically this could even be from the shipping label.
We are sure you can figure out what occurs next, one package gets stuck to another package, and then both of the packages end up going to the same location.
Typically the mistake will only be realized by humans, where the package is then separated and put back on track to its original destination.
This may be a humorous way for your package to be misplaced; however, it is more common than one would think.
Fix 1 – Double Check Shipping Information
When you order something, there is always a segment where you have to fill out the shipping information, which informs the courier where to deliver the package.
With that said, it can be easy to make a mistake while filling out the shipping information, such as putting one or two wrong numbers in the required recipient address.
It only takes a small error to essentially domino into a more significant problem, such as your package being sent to the wrong address; this situation can get complicated rather quickly.
In such a situation, you will want to either contact the courier to correct your mistake or contact the seller to cancel the order and possibly discuss a refund or coordinate a new order.
So, when you reach the shipping information part of checking out, you will want to double-check the information you have provided for any mistakes or possible typos.
When filling out the shipping information for the courier to use, you should always provide precise and accurate information. This shipping information is crucial to the shipment of the package and ensures that it does not end up going to the wrong place.
On that note, always check over your provided shipping address information, as any error in the information can send your package way off course.
Fix 2 – Remember The Sorting Centers
When you are tracking your package and see it going in the other direction or appearing to be heading further away from you, you must remember that it is likely heading to a sorting center.
Since these sorting centers are so far and few in between states, it is very likely that the routing system for the courier had to find the nearest sorting center, and this very well may be miles off course from a straight shot to your doorstep or mailbox.
Keep in mind that the sorting centers are essential to the shipping process and ensure that the packages stay together with any other packages that they need to be shipped with.
Also, the sorting centers are responsible for scanning the packages and when they scan your package, not only is the package location updated for the courier, but it is also updated for your package tracking information.
On that note, it is a relief that these sorting centers keep track of where the packages should be heading while also providing you with more accurate tracking information.
Fix 3 – Keep in Mind, Unpredictable Weather and Road Conditions
All of the major couriers, including USPS, use an advanced routing system to determine the fastest and most efficient route to take.
With that said, there are unpredictable factors that can and most likely will come into play, which include severe weather conditions and or accidents that have caused the courier to reroute and change course on their way to you, the recipient.
Since these possible factors are unpredictable and difficult to avoid, there is not much you can do other than patiently wait for your package to arrive eventually.
Remember that USPS will always strive to calculate the quickest and most efficient route in order to get your package to you in the fastest way possible.
Also, it cannot be overstated that the USPS couriers must take packages to sort centers; therefore, the courier could be diverted to reach the nearest sorting center.
Fix 4 – Make Your Order Priority Mail Express
USPS offers the service of Priority Mail Express, which provides a one-day or two-day delivery guarantee and also adds a $100 (US) of insurance coverage for your package(s).
This is an excellent way to ensure that your order is delivered in the quickest possible way and ensures that your package(s) is insured if any damage or misplacement is to occur.
Priority Mail Express shipping is most likely the fastest form of shipping available with USPS, so if you would like your package(s) delivered in the quickest way, you will want to opt for the Priority Mail Express shipping option.
Also, with the insurance coverage, you will have peace of mind knowing that your package(s) is receiving the best and quickest possible shipping process with USPS.
Fix 5 – Observe The Tracking Route
As you know, you can indeed track your USPS shipped package. With this in mind, if your package is going through multiple states, you can wager an educated guess as to where it will pass through.
You can then check the weather for that state and see if your package may be rerouted or stalled up by weather conditions; you can also enter the route into Google Maps and see if there are any possible accidents that may cause your package’s course to be halted or changed.
It is pretty incredible that we live in an age where you can track your package; it was not that long ago that you would have no such option, so take advantage of this service and track your package.
Remember, USPS has been delivering mail for 51 years now, which means that they know the best way to get your package securely to your doorstep or mailbox in a timely manner.
It is equally important to remember that all packages must go through sorting centers to be sorted and scanned; this process cannot and should not be avoided.
It is easy to get excited about an item that you have ordered, and you may want it as soon as possible, but these routing systems must be followed from the moment your package departs to the moment it is delivered to your mailbox or doorstep.
Keep in mind that delivery trucks are operated by humans, which means that there is almost always room for error to occur.
The same can also be said for the scanning cameras and the machinery that sorts and scans the packages, as mistakes and misreadings can also occur.
The anticipation of waiting for a package that you ordered to be delivered can be overwhelming; though, you should have patience and know that your package will be delivered.
Priority Mail Express is the quickest way to go about shipping with USPS, so if you would like for your order to be shipped as quickly as possible and also want the peace of mind that comes with its insurance coverage; then the Priority Mail Express shipping method is the one for you.
USPS is a fast and reliable courier that will get your package to you; even when it seems like it will not reach you in time, USPS has the skill and expertise to get the package to you on time.
Also, be sure to remember that all packages shipped through USPS and other major couriers must go through sorting centers, so it may appear as if your package is going in the wrong direction or even backward, but it is most likely simply going to the nearest sorting center.