1. Looking to trade some beers? Check out How to Get Started with Beer Trading.

Why so anti USPS?

Discussion in 'Beer Trading Talk' started by blackcloud, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. blackcloud

    blackcloud Devotee (418) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Just a typical noob question, but I've had fine luck shipping multiple times with USPS, just wondering why most people are so against it? Is it from actual bad experiences, or just stigma?
  2. tewaris

    tewaris Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2009 Minnesota

    It's a federal offense shipping alcohol via USPS.
  3. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    Not to mention it's a taxpayer $$$ black hole.
    TWStandley and evilcatfish like this.
  4. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (606) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

  5. BigTomZ

    BigTomZ Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Virginia

    I've had people send me USPS boxes, but generally it is believed that there is a higher risk of intercepted and destroyed boxes with USPS.
    TWStandley likes this.
  6. JohnfromPurdue

    JohnfromPurdue Initiate (90) Apr 27, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    It's a federal offense shipping with any provider. People are just under the assumption that since USPS is tied to the government they would be more likely to prosecute. I have never heard of anyone getting in legal trouble from using any carrier, USPS included.
  7. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (489) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Shipping yeast samples is illegal?
    TWStandley and davey101 like this.
  8. BigTomZ

    BigTomZ Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Virginia

    It is when they open it and see what is really inside.
  9. FEUO

    FEUO Disciple (325) Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    What gives them the inclination or right to open a box? (Unless something is already leaking)
  10. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (11,887) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Some OG BAs used to use USPS for their pioneering of the beer trade movement. Then the Feds caught on and they got sent up the river after getting caught. Now the only homebrewing they do is prison wine. Learn from their mistakes.
  11. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Yes, you're breaking laws no matter who you use in terms of shipping/receiving alcohol, crossing state lines, and all that jazz. However, that is a fairly indirect issue no matter whether you use USPS or Fedex/UPS.

    However, you're breaking one more very direct law with USPS though, i.e. no shipping alcohol with the postal service. With Fedex/UPS, the physical act of shipping alcohol with them is not illegal, simply against policy.

    That said, in previous discussions on this subject, there have been some good points about requiring warrants to open boxes sent via USPS. So in the end it probably doesn't matter from a legal standpoint.

    All of that said and out of the way, packages seem to routinely take a beating from USPS at a level I've never seen from either Fedex or UPS. That alone is good enough reason to avoid the postal service.
  12. JulianB

    JulianB Initiate (0) Feb 1, 2012 South Carolina

    One of my hobbies besides craft beer is rock climbing. I bought a hangboard (a training apparatus, for those here not into rock and gym climbing) from a guy online, and USPS snapped it in half in transit. This was something like 30lbs of molded polyurethane, the same material used to make skateboard wheels among other things. It's considered practically indestructible, and yet they managed to literally break the thing in half. When I showed the pictures to some climbing friends, one semi-seriously asked if they ran over it with a truck. That's why I won't ship any hard goods (i.e. anything that could be broken) via USPS.
    Hoppenheimer likes this.
  13. omniscientcause

    omniscientcause Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2010 District of Columbia

    Come on I am friends with Cliffs daughter and he was my commencement speaker...but I see your point. ;)
  14. forgetfu

    forgetfu Initiate (172) Jul 27, 2007 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Why no USPS? All legal issues aside as they've been discussed at length above, here are 2 other recent examples of why i won't use them any more than I have to.

    • Last week, i accidentally underdeclared a USPS package by 2lbs. (I wrote 16.5 lbs, it was 18.5 lbs). This was a legit typo and not me trying to save a couple bucks. 3 days later, the package had never even scanned in for acceptance at the local post office. I had no idea what was wrong, but i wasn't happy as there was a *very* rare bottle in that box.
      Then some time before 8am on Saturday, it was left at my door with a note telling me i had to come in to pay them more if i wanted to ship it. Fedex or UPS will just charge me for the difference but would never return the package after sitting on it for days. I'm lucky i noticed the box in the morning...i wasn't expecting anything, and it was cold enough for lambic to freeze.
    • USPS tracking sucks. Regularly, packages are delivered before they even show that they are in the country. Another box i sent last week never even received an acceptance scan at the post office. Nothing. Then 4 days later, it scanned for the first time in San Francisco.
    Essentially, their systems are antiquated and give you no accurate visibility or control.

    EDIT: And then there is the potential for *massive* delays. USPS just sat on 2 of my boxes for almost 2 weeks each during the holidays because it wasn't sent express (only priority) and their system is backed up.
  15. oldp0rt

    oldp0rt Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2011 Quebec (Canada)

    This could easily happen with any carrier. There's horror stories with all of them. At the end of the day, choose the one that's been working for you.
  16. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Initiate (0) Apr 9, 2009 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    Actually, I always USPS for overseas stuff, cheaper and relatively quick. UPS lately for domestic only because FEDEX in my region has gotten quite snoopy and openned boxes and returned them because of the dreaded alchohol violation on more than one occasion.
  17. Duffman929

    Duffman929 Aspirant (279) Nov 27, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Searched for "Dick Move". Had hours of lulz. Highly recommend!

    P.S. Searching for the same thing on the internet will get you a whole different set of results.....
  18. Duffman929

    Duffman929 Aspirant (279) Nov 27, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Internet beer warriors are the best. I don't even drink Pliny any more. It is old even when it is fresh. I just end up putting various Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops in my mouth....with ground up malt balls....and swish it around with some water to get max freshness.
  19. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (945) Mar 17, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Other than USPS being the worst courier on earth I dont think it really matters if you use it over FedEx/UPS. People use it for international trades. Everyone gets their Euro webshop orders via USPS. What's the difference?
  20. KevSal

    KevSal Champion (889) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    ive sent over 200 boxes or possible more through usps (many of you can probably vouch for this) with little trouble, but there have been some breakages and such (although most breaks have still been mailed to sender even when the box was soaked. ill post a picture of a good one soon) i think ive had 4 or 5 breaks and 3 returns.

    the benefit is the flat rate and 3 day shipping to all 50 states

    the bad part which is a huge compromise is the limited amount of space even in the largest box. sometimes it pays just to move to a bigger box and ship fedex.
  21. tewaris

    tewaris Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2009 Minnesota

    While I am nowhere close to the 200 mark, did you mean 4/5 breaks and 3 returns on top of that (i.e. 7 or 8 incidents total)? That seems rather high based on the feedback I have received from traders more active than me who go with other carriers (Fedex/UPS).
  22. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Isn't it correct that USPS uses Fed Ex to handle express packages?
  23. KevSal

    KevSal Champion (889) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    yea looking through my records its about 4 or 5 incidents total. the return boxes however still had valid postage.
    tewaris likes this.
  24. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Yeah that seems like reason alone to switch to me. I've done probably around 75 boxes in each direction (sending and receiving, so 150 total), 95% of which are Fedex, and I've had a grand total of one incident (bottles breaking on their way to me).
  25. tofuspeedstar

    tofuspeedstar Initiate (185) Jul 12, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Wanna break federal law? Ship USPS.

    Wanna break company policies? Ship UPS or FedEX.

    Just a matter of which one you feel like breaking.

    Personally I wouldn't fuck with any federal law or trying to break it. I don't want to risk even the slightest chance of being sent to a federal pound me in the ass prison. [​IMG]
  26. ales4baldo

    ales4baldo Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2011 California

    Why so ain't USPS??? Homie, do you wanna become someone's bitch in federal prison?

    Ya, I didn't think so.

    I'd take the slap on the hand by FedEx or UPS instead anyday son.
  27. HenrikO

    HenrikO Initiate (0) Jun 19, 2011 Sweden

    Is it also a federal crime to ship alcohol OUT of the US?
    In Europe, the legalities of course vary from country to country but in many cases it is perfectly legal to ship alcohol for personal consumption (i.e. not truckloads of it) across borders (though some postal systems may have policies against it as they would with anything that could break and potentially harm their employees). When I have things shipped from Etre (Belgium) or bierkompass.de (Germany) to the UK and Sweden, that's legal - as far as I know you're not even evading customs charges if it is for personal consumption.
  28. mulder1010

    mulder1010 Meyvn (1,019) Aug 29, 2008 Australia

    That is a different ball of wax. USPS does not care if it is leaving the country. Much like not having to go through immigration at LAX to leave the US when flying abroad.

    Have to agree with Forgetfu on the tracking part. Just abysmal. Then again I have had worse tracking with Australia Post, Norway and Netherlands post.
  29. KevSal

    KevSal Champion (889) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    heres a trade that went south, and instead of turning me in to the police they contined to wrap up my box and ship it to its destination. half the items made it surprisingly. happened 01/2011

    the way it was on the front door

    the way fedex wrapped the soaking box up

    the contents... it doesnt look like it but some bottles actually made it.

    if i didnt get in trouble for this i dunno what id have to do to get in trouble. this is the reason i no longer over pack
  30. creepinjeeper

    creepinjeeper Champion (840) Nov 8, 2012 Missouri
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    C'mon! If anyone would respect the beer, it's gotta be Cliff!
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.