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Baby Black Bear by Chuck Wiser

Wiser’s Wramblings-Tracking a Package or the USPS History


Tracking issues explained via wrambling ?

By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

My “Index Insert” is a reminder to myself to stay on track. As I note that, I will Wramble toward a different track generated by trying to capture the image of the Index. As I write this, I have my Laptop Computer on my lap. This is my “go to” device for anything that approximates attempting to “write/type” or communicate where that/those tasks are required. Paraphrasing the quote of “beating a dead horse,” I guess it’s time to “shoot the nearly dead horse” of my office desktop computer which now only gets used as a link to my scanner when I need a copy of an illustration, picture, or document which I cannot conveniently obtain via a photographic copy from my camera or Kindle Fire.

It took almost a half hour to scan and save the image of the Index shown. I keep telling myself that it’s time for a new desktop computer and scanner but a voice in my ear keeps saying “You don’t need that.” I’m not sure if the computer operating system is the problem or the embedded programs therein have morphed into data eating and regurgitating viruses. Suggestions for “fixes” pop up from Adobe, AGV and McAfee, all telling me that I have a “problem that needs fixing” and would I like to download the program now or later.

The tracking theme for today’s Wrambling came to mind yesterday in the Scio Post Office as I was trying to “track down” a recently ordered item package which, upon checking its tracking number, advised that it was out for delivery by USPS. Our mail is usually delivered sometime between 9:15 and 10:30 AM. As of 2:00 PM (1400), the mail had been delivered several hours previously and there wasn’t any package there. I even checked back at the mailbox several times after that, to see if perhaps the mail carrier had stopped back later. As of then, he hadn’t so I headed for the post office (PO), with a copied photo of the delivery notice including the Tracking Number, to see if it was by chance there. Upon arrival at the PO at 2:15 the inner door was locked, and the sign listed “office hours” showing that the PO was closed from 2 – 3 PM.

Not making any headway with that, I decided to make a quick shopping trip to Wellsville, stopping first at The Store in Scio to look for a copy of the Sunday Spectator. They did have copies available but when I picked one up intending to make the purchase, it was notably a mere “ghost” of Spectator publications of the past. It was not worth the purchase price. Following my shopping trip and returning to Scio a little after 3:00 PM, I stopped by the Scio PO to check on the status of my package. The postal worker asked if I had the tracking number and I whipped out my phone, opened the Photo’s and handed the phone to her. She departed stating that she would check the GPS Coordinates of the package. I stood awaiting her return pondering the meaning of her comment about the GPS Coordinates. When she returned, she showed me a printed copy of an aerial view of a map showing a “dot” on the map located at my address, opposite the cut off road (Charles Young Street) that connects County Rte. 31 with Back River Road. It noted time of delivery at 2:19 PM. I returned home, noted the mud tracks of a “turn around” at the end of the driveway, checked the mailbox yet again and found my package.  Lo and behold, “I had mail.

As I contemplated that series of events I started thinking about the apparent versatility and power of the use of the Tracking Number. The Post Office was able to obtain an aerial view of the location of the package (my mailbox) based upon that number. I never would have imagined that it would be possible to track the actual current physical location of an item assigned a number. How powerful that is. Deeper thought into that however and given my history of reading “fiction” novels and the stories contained therein, I contemplated how the information obtainable from that tracking number could be misused or abused by nefarious characters or corporations if they had access to that number, and were so inclined.

As a detracted, but related side note, it was obvious that the mail carrier had overlooked the package at the time of his initial delivery, and apparently, upon discovering the package later, returned to the house and put the package in the mailbox. I do appreciate that.

History Lesson 101 and 101A: Tracking Numbers and The U.S. Postal Service.

Tracking Numbers: Initially “tracking” was merely the identification by the sending date and the addresses of the sender and intended recipient. The first attempts at “shipment tracking” started with the domestication of horses in 4000BC and the establishment of trade between people. The domestication of horses comes to play in that it began the movement of goods between people and places. The method of communicating that information was via smoke signals. The first “wheeled vehicle,” thus convenient carrying and delivering, was invented in 3200 BC. In the 24th century the Egyptians invented or utilized the first “courier service.”

In 1775, the U.S. postal system was created with Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster. Shipment tracking began then. In 1860 the Pony Express was established as a commercial means of package delivery. In 1907 the United Parcel Service, now known commonly as UPS was created. In 1970, which was eye opening to me, the United States Postal Service (USPS) became the “official” mail courier in the country. Following the invention and use of the phone, it had become the primary method of “shipment tracking. The invention and development of the internet became the convenient “tracking method” via email.

Tracking Numbers became the convenient method of identifying individual packages and shipments and there are both standard and company specific methods of assigning the numbers. The USPS tracking number is usually composed of 22 digits and starts with 9, with the first 2 to 4 digits indicating the type of USPS service used. The types of services as indicated by the 1st four digits would include: 9205 Priority Mail, 9407 Certified Mail, 9270 Priority Mail Express, 9303 Collect on Delivery-Hold for Pickup, 9208 Registered Mail and 9202 Signature Confirmation. So, there you have it. If you have a 9202 Tracking Number, that is why you had to sign for the package. I did not know that, but now I do.

UPS Tracking numbers can include 7 to 20 characters, but typically 18  depending on the type of shipments and typically begin with “IZ.” Federal Express (FedEx) can include between 12 and 14 digits. Schools over, you can wake up now 😉.  On to the intended schedule.

You couldn’t ask for a better segway. As I “turned the page,” I sensed motion with a view looking over my glasses. There on the feeder, 20 feet away, sat two male Orioles, a few of which are still around. The numbers dwindle but there are some beautifully colored males and a couple of females that continue their visits. One, whose gender is yet undetermined, has its back colored more toward the female species but its belly and chest are a little more “orangish” than normal and if the light strikes at a certain angle the breast appears nearly red.

As noted, we still have some Orioles. We haven’t seen any Grosbeaks for a couple days. As of the weekend there were still some juvenile Grosbeaks and one adult male at the feeders. The “herd” of Cardinals (Northern Cardinals I should add in case “photog” Dan Jordan reads this) looks extremely promising if the quantity we now have, including this years fledged offspring, will keep us making trips to Tractor Supply for the Sunflower seeds. Thankfully the price has gone down a little and upon last purchase had gone down to $21.99 for a 40 Lb. bag at Tractor Supply.

Having finished that last sentence I saw movement, once again with my ** “over the glasses vision,” and there on the oranges, which heretofore had pretty much been ignored by the Orioles, were these two orioles plus another male waiting in the wings, and out of frame. This picture was taken as I started this paragraph.

** Since I’ve mentioned my “over the glasses vision” a couple of times, it might be easier to make up my own word to suit that phrase. If “peripheral” means vision pretty much described as “out of the corner of your eye” then perhaps I could use the word “optipheral” as meaning “over the glasses.” Having previously thought I created a new word only to find out it had already been defined I did a double check after naming my word. My consultation with “Webster, Google and Edge,” which sounds like a law firm, there doesn’t seem to be any history (etymology) of that word. I will add it to the Glossary of “Wiser’s Wrambling Words of Wit and Wisdom”.

Before I exceed my allotted space, herein or in your indulgence, I need to mention and publicly thank a couple of individuals that reached out with comments via the Editor. That is typically the prescribed method of contacting the Wellsville Sun writers. I have been known to sneak my name into a writing and to invite a direct reach out for those wishing to point out grievous errors or suggestions for topics, but most people follow protocol and contact the Editor.
Former Allegany County Chairman Philip Stockin, who granted permission to use his name, reached out to me after reading last weeks comments about my early exposure to The Grit. Turns out that he was previously one of those individuals that delivered the “door to door” issue of said weekly paper. Setting a new record of two comments to the same article, another individual, who was a descendant of the owners of Buzzard Chevrolet, a pre-70’s car dealership in Friendship, NY reached out with her recollection of memories awakened by my Wrambling.

I expressed to both of those individuals: “That is why I write, and, just hearing a kind word, expression of gratitude, or even criticism, of my writing, that is my just reward and all of the compensation I need to keep me writing and sharing. My signature note says it all.

“I write to share what my eyes see and my heart feels,” and I am blessed, and thankful, to be able to do so.

BTW…I will have to save my Table of Contents/Index shown above, as my Wrambling’s overflowed, and I didn’t get to them all this week. 

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