Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Netflix works on holidays even though the USPS doesn't deliver

A Netflix fan reader wrote me with an interesting theory. The idea is that if Netflix has a mail drop near a USPS "sectional center facility," then they will process mail on holidays and weekends. I think that this is partly true. I believe it works this way: every morning, Netflix brings an empty truck to the USPS and exchanges it for a full truck which the UPSPS filled up the night before, so even on holidays, Netflix can pick up a full truck and process it. Each evening, Netflix drops off the full truck of outgoing mail at the USPS distribution center, and the USPS works through the night, so that it is ready to be delivered to your home the next day.

This reader thinks that, if you live near an SCF, your Netflix discs are processed faster than if you do not. I have posted the list of Netflix distribution centers with the nearby sectional center facilities indicated, if you would like to test this theory.


  1. Here's what I noticed this holiday weekend:

    I put a movie in the USPS box on Sat. -- Netflix reported it rcvd on Mon.

    I put a movie in the USPS box on Mon. -- Netflix reported it rcvd on Tue.

    Netflix reported movies sent on Tue. -- they arrived on Tue.

  2. Here's my amazing weekend experience:

    Saturday - Mailed 3 DVDs
    Monday - Netflix received all 3 and sent out 2 new DVDs (each with an estimated arrival of Wednesday)
    Tuesday - Received those 2 DVDs. Netflix sends out the 3rd DVD (estimated arrival on Thursday)

    Although I regularly receive 1-day delivery from my distribution center (which is near an SCF), having it happening on the way back to the DC is quite rare, and just recently it was taking from 4 days to a full week.

  3. Here is my experience from this past Monday, Presidents Day.

    I mailed a DVD on Saturday - NF received it Monday.

    NF mailed my next DVD on Monday - I received it Tuesday.

    (I live near the Milwaukee, WI DC which is near a SCF.)

    I recall having a similar experience last month for MLK Jr. Day.

  4. This is definitely true. I live in NY and I get movies from all 3 listed by me on Long Island. Netflix recieved movies on Monday which was a holiday. So if they didn't work Saturday or Holidays it shouldn't have registered until Tuesday. They obviously just don't mail out those days.

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  6. I think they are able to send mail out on those holidays too. How else could I get a DVD in the mail on Tuesday that they said they mailed on Monday?

  7. Correction- Netflix sent my movies out on Monday, not Tuesday.

    What really amazes me is not that Netflix is processing mail in/out on a postal holiday, but that USPS is actually doing something on the holiday. They're obviously collecting mail since movies that I put in the mail on Monday got to NFLX on Tuesday and likewise the movies sent to me by NFLX on Monday arrived on Tuesday. It's possible that the movies received by NFLX on Monday were actually delivered by USPS on Saturday and waiting there when the shiny, happy NFLX DC elves got there Monday morning.