The vast majority of mail arrives at its destination without incident. Whenever a package goes missing, almost all cases can be attributed to one of two causes: improper packaging and mail carrier error.
As a buyer, I tend to have around one lost package per year on average. After questioning the sellers of the missing packages, I usually learn that envelopes were used. While envelopes work for many sellers, they do significantly raise the chance that something will go wrong. If the edge of the envelope gets torn, the book can easily fall out.
I have received packages successfully that barely arrived due to various seller errors. I have had several instances of sellers using very small pieces of tape on the shipping label. I recall one seller who mentioned in her listings that she had recently had many lost packages and proclaimed that the missing packages were not her fault. As soon as my package arrived, I knew why she was losing so many packages. She only used small one-inch strips of tape centered on each side of the shipping label. Her labels were most likely getting ripped off of the packages.
I had a recent package for which the seller used small pieces of tape. I made marks next to the tape in the below picture so that you can clearly see the length of the tape.
While not as bad as the seller who used one-inch strips, this seller did not affix the label to the package adequately. The label could have been ripped from the package.
The other primary cause of lost packages is mail carrier error, especially when the mail carrier is a substitute. I have had a series of substitute mail carriers in recent months, and my patience is really wearing thin.
These carriers are scanning the packages as delivered either at the post office or in the mail truck. Okay, fine. While I don't approve, I can see where that would be easier. But if you are going to scan a package as delivered ahead of time, make absolutely darned certain that you drop the package off at the correct house. That's the problem.
The above pictured package was scanned as delivered at 10:50 AM on August 8. Another package, also expected that day, was scanned as delivered at 10:52 AM. The above package arrived with the mail sometime around 11:20 AM, which proves that the delivery confirmation was scanned ahead of time. The other package that was scanned as delivered at 10:52 AM did not arrive on that day, and in fact, has never arrived.
That day's substitute mail carrier must have dropped the other package off somewhere else. I have some bitter, hateful neighbors who go out of their way to be mean. Most likely, they received the package. Several weeks later, Amazon sent a notice that the package had been returned opened and undeliverable. The hateful neighbors are the type of people who will make sure a package is returned to sender instead of bringing it over. At least they didn't throw the package away.
In the end, the missing package did not turn out to be a loss. However, the whole problem would have been avoided if the substitute carrier had not been so careless.
On August 19, I had a package scanned as delivered at 5:00 PM. On that day, the mail arrived at around 5:10 PM. The package was not delivered. I can tell you that I just about had a fit, since the incident from August 8 was still upsetting me. Also, on August 19, I did not yet know what had happened to the package from August 8, since I had not heard from Amazon.
I was very upset. Fortunately, on August 20 the package was dropped off by the mail carrier around 30 minutes after the mail delivery. I believe that the package had been delivered the day before to somebody else, who then placed the package back in their mail box. The carrier picked it up and brought it over to me. At least the mean people did not receive the package that day.
I have not made many purchases in the last couple of months, which has been fortunate. The endless stream of substitute carriers is continuing. All I can hope is that when I have incoming packages that whoever is delivering the mail chooses to be careful.