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Priority Mail International Parcels

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Threnody posted 11/7/2013 09:03 AM

I have very little experience sending packages out of the United States unless it's to an APO address, and I'm wondering if I was being very naive about this. I'm looking for experiences you may have had.

I have a friend in Croatia, in a suburb of Zagreb. I sent a package to him "Priority Mail International Parcel," and filled out the customs form. In the package was a self-help book in English, a letter, a blank card with a photograph (for his mother who is facing major surgery soon), a gift box with a fancy guitar pick and a rock (for him), and a stained glass box (for his sister who is due to have a baby in 2 weeks). I wrapped everything in front of my PO employee, who helped me complete the customs form. On the form, we listed "Book, card, cardboard gift box containing rock and guitar pick, glass box, letter." I was told the package would be delivered within 6 to 10 business days.

The package left my Post Office on October 29, and it reached a sorting facility in Chicago on November 2nd. It has since sat there, and I'm wondering if there was a snag with Customs.

Is this sort of thing normal? Am I worrying for nothing? I'm concerned because I want his sister to have the glass box ASAP, before she has her baby (it's for baby mementos), and I want him to have the card to give to his mother to cheer her at the time of her surgery, and because I want him to have the guitar pick before he goes on a trip next week.

Should I just disbelieve the Post Office next time it tries to give me any kind of estimated delivery to somewhere? This isn't even a matter of "Well, the mail there is delivered twice a month by a man on a donkey." The destination is a village on the international highway halfway between Zagreb and a city to the north of it. Delivery access shouldn't be a problem.

And that doesn't explain why it's still noted as sitting at a sort facility in Chicago. So far, I've blamed it on the alligator found at the airport, but the joke is getting stale. I'm kind worried Customs is going to call me to say there is a problem and I'm going to be arrested for sending seditious... guitar picks? It's stamped with the GPS coordinates of a place he and I hold dear.

Is this delay normal?

Reassure me or pour me a drink. One or the other.

[This message edited by Threnody at 9:05 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

Deeply Scared posted 11/7/2013 09:12 AM


All the times I've shipped international, I usually use either UPS or FedEx International.

My experience is things usually get hung up in customs and then after the delay there, they zip right through with delivery.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. It sounds like you have a tracking number so you can always call the facility it's at and ask for a delivery status.

I hope your package arrives soon

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:13 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

Threnody posted 11/7/2013 09:16 AM

I've been watching the delivery status online. We use the Customs form number as the tracking number.

I'm a mess lately. This would be in the category of "what ELSE could go wrong this month?" and I probably need to take a massive chill pill and sleep until February.

Oh, how I hate this time of year.

Deeply Scared posted 11/7/2013 09:17 AM

You can't sleep through Christmas...I forbid it!

ajsmom posted 11/7/2013 09:32 AM

VERY normal.

I sent a letter to a client in Barbados which had material samples enclosed and it took two and a half weeks for it to get there. It weighed 10 ounces and cost me $14.00.

USPS really doesn't update until it gets to the next stop. It could well be on its way.

Keep in mind though, once it leaves the US it will get handed off to the postal service of that country and from there, anything goes.


Amazonia posted 11/7/2013 09:39 AM

USPS tracking only works in the US I thought...? At least that was the case when I've sent stuff overseas.

Have you checked with your friend to confirm he didn't receive it?

Threnody posted 11/7/2013 10:02 AM

As of this morning, he had not yet received it. So let me see if I understand this:

It arrived in Chicago on November 2nd, and even though the status says it is still there, it's possible it has left already for Croatia? And that tracking will not work from the moment it left US soil?


ajsmom posted 11/7/2013 10:31 AM

It arrived in Chicago on November 2nd, and even though the status says it is still there, it's possible it has left already for Croatia?

Yes, most certainly.

And that tracking will not work from the moment it left US soil?

That is my understanding as well.

In other words, good luck, my friend!

In all seriousness, I'm sure it will get there, probably (fingers crossed) in one piece. The unknown is when it will get there.

O ye of little faith!

sullymeishadomi posted 11/7/2013 10:42 AM

I sent you a pm. Short version...its probably in customs which is a seperate entity from the p.o.

Or its in customs on your friends side.

sullymeishadomi posted 11/7/2013 10:47 AM

Tracking **is** only good in the U.S..

Depending on the country, the customs form can be used as tracking. Many people use registered (not the same as certified) or express mail if they know the country isnt good with tracking.

I have used fedex in costa rica. It was fedex in the capital and then a contractor outside of the capital area. It would have been quicker and cheaper for me to use postal first class or priority. All depends country to country.

TrustedHer posted 11/7/2013 10:48 AM


4 years of therapy, and it all comes down to the realization I have issues dealing with uncertainty.

And that life is uncertain.

Amazonia posted 11/7/2013 11:12 AM

The USPS is only able to control what happens in the US.

When I mail things to my friends in China, the lady at the post office always tells me that they can guarantee delivery up until they hand it to the Chinese post office - then it's out of their hands (literally and figuratively )

sisoon posted 11/7/2013 11:21 AM

IMO, the only thing worse than Uncertainty is Change....

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:21 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

NotDefeatedYet posted 11/7/2013 11:54 AM

The USPS never keeps their tracking info updated; even for packages sent within the US. I sent the frame of my blackpowder revolver back to the manufacturer for repair in Italy last month. I got it back repaired three and a half weeks from the day I sent it. The time I sent a package to Britain it took just under two weeks. If they don't have it in three weeks, that's when I'd start trying to hunt for it.

sullymeishadomi posted 11/7/2013 12:04 PM

Notdefeated...usps does have up to date tracking in the U.S.. At least where I live. It may be off by a couple hours due to how well the equipment updates. Each night those packages have to be accounted least at your local p.o. level.

Out of the country: customers are at the mercy of that country's p.o.. Do they scan that item and do they inform USPS of the status of the scan/item.

Holly-Isis posted 11/7/2013 12:41 PM

We've had a few overseas packages go astray, so for our more expensive orders we will be shipping FedEx or UPS from now on.

The worst was one that was going to the UK. It was sent from MD, went to NJ then Canada. From there it went to Chicago then Brazil. Finally, nearly two months later it was delivered...only to have UK customs charge our customer tax because somehow the paper we had declaring it as a repair was lost. We sucked it up and paid the tax but have a sour taste about shipping USPS Priority overseas.

It's hit or miss when it comes to tracking overseas with USPS. APO boxes tend to be more reliable because that's technically still the USPS system rather than overseas.

I hope it flies there fast Thren!

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