United Parcel Service, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services I
Letters and Packages

United Parcel Service
United Parcel Service (U.P.S.) competes with the U.S Postal Service (called U.S.P.S.--don't get them confused) in delivering packages, though the post office still has a legal monopoly on delivering letters. Most businesses ship packages U.P.S. U.P.S. can be less expensive than the post office, and for an extra charge they will come get the package from you. For an extra fee, you can have packages shipped U.P.S. from a private packing and shipping service. U.P.S. also competes with the express services by offering next day service at an additional charge. Express services like Federal Express and DHL now compete with U.P.S. by offering regular ground delivery services.

When you order a product by mail or on the telephone, you usually have a choice as to how it will be shipped to you. If U.P.S. comes to your home and you are not home, they will keep the package and come again the next day. After three unsuccessful tries, they'll send the package back to the shipper. If the U.S. postal service mail carrier comes with a package and finds you're not home, he or she will leave a slip of paper in your mailbox which you will bring to the post office the next day and exchange for the package. Thus, receiving parcel post rather than U.P.S. is often more convenient for working people who aren't home during the day. U.P.S., on the other hand, especially the economical second day service, is the faster service.

U.P.S. vans are always brown, as are the uniforms of their drivers. There is no way to prove this, and certainly there are exceptions, but there is a popular perception that U.P.S. delivermen, especially those wearing short pants, are sexy. You must determine this for yourself, of course.


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