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Ballston Mall Chosen for Site of New USPS Service

by Katie Pyzyk April 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm 7,207 63 Comments

Your days of waiting in long lines to pick up and send packages at the post office could be over. Ballston Common Mall is one of the first commercial locations in the country to debut a new program from the United States Postal Service called gopost.

The service is designed to make sending and receiving packages easier, because they’re delivered just like regular mail. There’s no need to bring a slip to the post office and wait in line to receive the item. Postal carriers pick up and drop off items at the boxes just like a regular mail box. There’s no additional fee to use the service.

Users set up an account online and choose which location they’d like a package sent to. They’ll receive an email or text message that their package has arrived. At the gopost site, customers check in on a computer and receive their items from the designated post office box. If a signature is required, the customer simply signs the computer screen with a finger.

Users who want to send a package will print postage from their home computers, attach it to the package and drop the package off at a gopost site. The onsite computer informs the postal service that a package needs to be picked up.

USPS spokeswoman Laura Dvorak believes the program will be popular because it’s convenient.

“Why do you want to wait for your package, when your package can wait for you?” Dvorak said. “This way, you don’t waste your time.”

Several post offices throughout Northern Virginia, including the Arlington South Post Office (1210 S. Glebe Road), have installed gopost boxes. Ballston mall is the first non-post office site to feature the service. Dvorak says the location was chosen due to its proximity to many businesses and hotels in the area, as well as the mall being open to the public most hours of the day. It has 80 lockers of three different sizes.

“It’s a matter of convenience,” Dvorak said. “Customers would have access nearly around the clock.”

Customers will need to make one trip to a post office while setting up their registration. A USPS employee will validate the person’s identity and give more information about what items are allowed to be shipped. When the user logs in from a personal computer, the postal services knows who’s requesting shipping services.

“We know the account, we know who that person is,” Dvorak said. “It’s a very important security feature for gopost.”

The service kicked off at Ballston mall last week. It will be expanding throughout Northern Virginia this year. Future gopost locations include grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation hubs and other shopping centers.

Courtesy photo

  • Neat


  • South Arlington

    There’s been one of these at the Glebe Road South Arlington post office for months now.

    • Mark P.

      Someone didn’t read the article…

      • Dr. Freud

        (Or just wanted to demonstrate their specialness….)


    Too bad they don’t have a scale and way to print postage at the actual gopost. I don’t have an accurate enough scale at home to weigh my packages so printing postage at home won’t work. Without that I have no reason to use it, as I already have a secure way to receive pacakges.

    • drax

      You use the flat rate boxes. No need to weigh them.

    • LP

      Or you can just use the automated machines at all Post Office’s which allow you to do what you just stated.

    • CW

      Go to a grocery store and use the produce scale! Ignore the funny looks!

      • JNCJJ

        Yes, but the post office isn’t always open…even if the front door is, they often lock the package drop-off bin afterhours so if I wanted to mail the package on a Sunday (a day when the bin is usually locked) I’d have to go to the post office, weigh the package, then go to Ballston Mall to drop off. The bin is also rather small so packages of certain sizes won’t fit. I run into this problem all the time which is why I read this entry hoping it would eliminate the problem.
        Flat Rate boxes are a rip-off for most things and I’d still have to go to the post office to get one that fits my needs at that time. I could order a bunch online but I don’t have the storage space to keep spare boxes that could be too big, small, etc.
        Grocery scale is a good idea..but still necessitates two trips (grocery then gopost)
        If they had a scale and printer at the gopost the same that they have at post offices that would truly be a convenience. It’s only convenient now if I have a postage paid return label.

    • PikerGirl

      You can buy a digital postal scale for less than $20 on Ebay that would probably meet most of your needs. I have been using one for years for weighing packages I send for my Ebay sales. I print my shipping labels at home and generally use the 24-hour package drop box at the USPS station at Culmore shopping center. Postal scale is a very useful tool and worth the money. I will be checking out this gopost service.

  • Arlingtony

    Is it just me or does anyone else hear “gopost” and immediately think “go postal?”

  • pumped that something is actually coming to ballston mall. doesn’t matter that i’ll probably never use it.

  • SouthPikeGuy

    The failing postal business coming to the failing mall. A perfect fit. What’s next, a VHS rental store?

    • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

      I’ll respond to that question by telegram.

    • drax

      The Postal Service isn’t failing.

      Here, this explains it:


      • SouthPikeGuy

        The Nation? LOL, it must be true if the leftist flagship tabloid says so.

        It has lost its market. Just like most of the sad stores in the mall, a very few people need to make the trudge over there to patronize it.

        It is entirely fitting that the post office set up shop in Ballston Mall. Such a depressing venue.

        • drax

          Major cop-out.

        • sunflower

          and of course you actually read the article and gave it some thought

          • drax

            He wouldn’t want his little bubble to be popped. Simple answers are easier.

          • SouthPikeGuy

            I’ve read tons of articles about the postal service. There is a common thread in most of them, and that is that the postal services market is evaporating, hence the business model is failing.

            Not all articles get it right, and The Nation, not surprisingly, has missed the forest because of the trees.

            So the answer is yes, and yes.

          • drax

            “Common thread?” Seriously?

            Common threads are worthless. Numbers matter. Yes, the PS has some losses – like many businesses lately – but when you remove the pointless pre-funding requirement, the losses get ALOT smaller, and in some recent years disappear.

            Don’t let real numbers get in your way, just keep on keeping things simple.

          • drax

            Some actual numbers, not threads:

            Pre-funding requirement (required of no other business or agency): $5.5. billion a year

            Overfunding of USPS pensions – $50-75 billion

            Americans with no internet access at home: 28% (40% with no broadband)

            Get out of your bubble.

          • SouthPikeGuy

            Here is a number: projected to lose $18.2 billion in 2015.

            Failing Business.

            Also, check out Clifford Prout’s post above all yours. Try a little sense of humor now and then. You don’t need to win ArlNow everyday.

          • drax

            See, SouthPikeGuy, this is why you desperately need to come out of your bubble and actually educate yourself – you’re saying things that reflect your stunning ignorance.

            The USPS is not going to lose $18.2 billion. That’s absurd.

            I have explained this to you and given you sources. My facts are undisputed by anyone who knows the details. But you just can’t help yourself. You cling to your lack of knowledge.

          • SouthPikeGuy

            The $18.2 billion loss estimate came from the Postmaster General. Why would you question his projections?

            I’m not making any of this up, and you are still not fooling anybody.

          • drax

            The Postmaster General ALSO said that most of that is due to the pre-funding, and called for Congress to end the pre-funding. But you left out that detail, because you’re busy cherry picking numbers without actually understanding what they mean, because you can’t stand educating yourself out of your little bubble.

          • jackson

            “My hobby is reading articles about the postal service!”


        • Josh S

          I’ll tell you this – every time I do go the post office these days, there is always quite a line – Glebe, George Mason, Westover, 14th St in DC, Constitution Ave in DC. I have no doubt that business is down for the USPS, but it’s a tad early to declare it dead or outdated.

          I don’t know about you, but I’m always far more excited to get a letter in the mail than an email.

  • Sam

    Where in the mall is this located?

    • JohnB2

      2nd floor next to the skywalk bridge. It’s been there for a few months now, I didn’t realize it hadn’t officially opened yet.

  • KalashniKEV

    Why is the government still trying to deliver mail??? What is this, Pony Express times?

    • drax

      Because people still want to mail stuff? As evidenced by their continuing use of mail?

      • KalashniKEV

        When I need stuff to, like… actually get there I use UPS.

        • drax

          So you admit there is a market for getting stuff delivered to you?

          • KalashniKEV

            Yes, and I want the government OUT of it.

          • drax


            It doesn’t cost you a dime. USPS doesn’t take tax money. USPS delivers the final leg of many UPS and FedEx shipments because it is cheaper. It has a universal delivery network that no other shipper has. Why don’t you focus on government services that actually cost the taxpayers money and worry about this some other time? You’ve got 66% to cut – that’s alot of savings to find. Get to work.

          • KalashniKEV

            The cutting is every bit as important as the savings. (But don’t worry, I’m cutting ALL the nonsense as well)

      • sunflower

        even ups uses usps for that last mile

        • drax

          Good point.

          And try getting UPS to guarantee delivery of a letter to any address in the U.S. for 45 cents. Not happening.

          As for packages (which are UP at USPS), who cares who delivers them? USPS doesn’t take tax money, so why care who brings it?

          • SouthPikeGuy

            Does not take tax money, but gets a $12 billion loan direct from the Treasury Dept to keep a legally protected monopoly afloat.

            You’re not fooling anybody.

          • Josh S

            Not sure about the monopoly claim. There are plenty of competing businesses that will deliver things that you want delivered. They (along with email) are commonly cited as reasons why the Post Office is struggling financially. So yes, the federal government is supporting the USPS, helping to keep it afloat, but it’s hardly a “legally protected monopoly.”

          • drax

            It is a legally protected monopoly for 1st class mail (letters).

            However, that comes with a mandate to deliver them to every address in America, at a low, regulated rate (the cost of a stamp).

            No private company would do that.

          • Arlwhenver

            No monopoly? Well Josh, set up your very own letter delivery business — then you had better hire a lawyer familiar with Title 18 of the US Code. It’s a crime.

          • SouthPikeGuy

            Look, it is impossible to have a discussion if you do not understand where the postal service has a monopoly over the handling of mail.

            It is exactly why the examples you gave above about UPS do not hold water.

          • drax

            It’s irrelevant anyway. No other shipper wants to deliver letters. That’s not the growth industry, which is why the USPS is struggling. Package deliveries are going up, with the economy and internet sales, and that’s true for all shippers, including USPS.

          • SouthPikeGuy

            Haha. Now it’s “irrelevant”. Nice tap out.

          • drax

            So now you’re finally starting to check the numbers, huh?

            Funny how Treasury extends a line of credit, which is only loaned (you realize that, right?) and at the same time, Treasury takes USPS cash and holds it in the pre-funding account, for no good reason except to make the deficit look smaller.

            So Treasury loans money to USPS so it can give money back to Treasury so Treasury can give it back later, but that counts as a loss to the USPS.

            Yet you still think the main problem is mail volume.

          • SouthPikeGuy

            The clock is ticking drax. USPS needs to get those billions lined up to make their retirement payments by the end of the summer.

            Insolvency awaits. 🙂

    • novasteve

      US constitution REQUIRES the postal service.

      • dk

        +1 to novasteve!

  • x

    if you have a home, why do you need this? Been a long day so pls dont yell at me.

    • LP

      Because people steal packages that our left in front of doors.

      • Stroker Ace

        So? Roving bands of conquistadors will be plundering this thing in no time.

  • dallynd

    I’m sure it will ever so convenient to park for $10 to get a package wrapped.

    • JohnB2

      Plenty of people live or work within walking distance of the mall. I’m happy to see it as my building does not have a front desk to accept packages.

    • Arlingtonian


      • drax

        All kinds of insane figures flying around on this thread.

    • Chris DeRosa

      Good idea. But I won’t use it. I’d have to drive into that horrible parking lot and pay just to retrieve/mail the package. Hope it comes to a more convenient location.

  • the albatross

    I just love the reference to Ballston Common Mall being a “commercial location”.

  • Gormley

    The U.S. Postal Service said its quarterly loss grew by $1 billion from a year ago and continues to warn that without legislative action it will face default.

    The Postal Service had a fiscal second-quarter net los of $3.2 billion, compared with a net loss of $2.2 billion a year earlier.

    WBJ / 5/10/12


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