I mailed a small box to Florida from the post office in Central Square, Cambridge a bit over a week ago, on a Thursday morning. Using the USPS online package tracking site, I saw it accepted at Cambridge around noon, and arrive in Nashua, NH that evening. I guessed (and later confirmed) that Nashua is a sort of hub facility processing mail for several states.
And then, things started to get weird
Thursday night, Nashua sent it to Boston, where it arrived overnight.
Friday morning, Boston sent it to Nashua, where it arrived in the afternoon.
Friday night, Nashua sent it to Boston, where it arrived overnight.
Saturday morning, Boston sent it to Nashua, where it arrived early evening.
Sunday morning, Nashua sent it to Boston, where it arrived Monday morning.
I know that sometimes packages get accidentally misrouted. Sometimes a box has an extra old barcode still visibile that gets mistakenly scanned. Random errors can cause a package to be sent to the incorrect next post office. But this didn't seem random at all:Boston(Cambridge)->Nashua->Boston->
Nashua->Boston->Nashua->Boston. Boston always sends it to Nashua. Nashua always sends it to Boston. There's no breaking out of this loop. (unlike TCP packets, postal mail packages have no TTL field :)
In the meantime, a package I mailed to Volcano, Hawaii on that same trip to the post office on Thursday, was delivered to its desitnation :)
Monday morning, seeing that it had just arrived in Boston yet again, and expecting it to go back out to Nashau by that afternoon, I called USPS customer service. When I gave the tracking number, not only did they see the problem right away, but they also told me the correct Florida address it was supposed to go to. Their system knows.
And then, no more tracking updates on Monday. Tuesday was the snowstorm and I didn't expect any. Wednesday, a new line appeared: Still in Boston, but now "Processing Exception".
BOSTON, MA, USA Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:46 PM PROCESSING EXCEPTION
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:36 PM DEPARTED USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
Monday, January 26, 2015 4:31 AM ARRIVED AT USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
NASHUA, NH, USA Sunday, January 25, 2015 4:56 AM DEPARTED USPS FACILITY
Saturday, January 24, 2015 6:57 PM ARRIVED AT USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
BOSTON, MA, USA Saturday, January 24, 2015 3:35 AM ARRIVED AT USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
NASHUA, NH, USA Friday, January 23, 2015 4:26 PM ARRIVED AT USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
BOSTON, MA, USA Friday, January 23, 2015 8:32 AM DEPARTED USPS FACILITY
Friday, January 23, 2015 3:43 AM ARRIVED AT USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
NASHUA, NH, USA Thursday, January 22, 2015 7:26 PM ARRIVED AT USPS ORIGIN FACILITY
CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA Thursday, January 22, 2015 12:07 PM ACCEPTANCE
Saturday evening, that's still the latest update. 5 days looping between Boston and Nashua, and now it's been in Boston all week, "processing exception".Edit
: Friday, February 6th: It got to Florida today!