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A Postal Post: 6 Crazy Stories of Mail Bonding

The postal service, both in the US and elsewhere, makes their best effort to deliver mail, despite how difficult we make it. Some deliveries are just short of miraculous!

1. A postcard from Krakow that was addressed to:
Khumi
Yellow Door
Wilmslow England
nevertheless made it to its destination. Local postman Paul Gardiner knows his houses... and their doors!

2. Paul Bates didn't know his friend Peter O'Leary's address, but knew where he lived, sort of. So he addressed a Christmas card with a map! The card somehow arrived at the right office in Cornwall, where a postal worker recognized the name, and the card was delivered—in time for Christmas.435_MFmapletter.jpg

3. Where I live, people without stamps sometimes put change in their mailbox to buy stamps from the mail carrier. That's hard to do if you don't have a large horizontal mailbox. What happens if you just attach the money to the letter instead of a stamp? This guy tried the experiment.

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4. This postcard had a proper address, and proper postage, and it made it to it's destination ...90 years late!

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5. Manuagua, Nicaragua stopped using formal street addresses after the 1972 earthquake leveled much of the city. Now, letters find their way via a local system that gives directions and landmarks on letters and packages. An example:

Donde fue Lacmiel, 2 cuadras arriba, 1/2 cuadra al sur (translated: where previously was located Lacmiel 2 blocks east, 1/2 block south).

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6. If you are looking for a different way to mail a letter, you could mail one from underwater. Yes, there are post offices and mailboxes underwater. Gadling lists five of them. This Post Office is off the coast of Vanuatu. You could also mail a postcard from underground at Carlsbad Caverns.

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USPS's 'Informed Delivery' Service Will Email You Pictures of the Mail You're Getting Today
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In the world dominated by email, you may not always be excited to check your physical mailbox. But USPS’s Informed Delivery could change that. The service can tell you whether you want or need to check your mail that day, according to the Daily Dot, because it emails you images of every single piece of mail you’re scheduled to receive.

Once you opt into the service—which recently became available nationwide—USPS will send you an email each day before 9 a.m. with scanned images of every piece of mail you are due to receive. If you don’t receive the letter that you’re scheduled to get that day, you can immediately notify USPS by checking a box on the webpage. The service doesn’t show you images of anything bigger than a large envelope, so you can’t see your packages. However, it will give you status updates for them and allow you to leave delivery instructions.

If there’s a blizzard and you really don’t want to go outside for anything less than a paycheck or your long-awaited tax refund, you’ll know whether or not the slog to the mailbox is worth it. Informed Delivery is also a good way to make sure you’re actually getting the mail you’re scheduled to receive, potentially foiling mail thieves looking to steal your identity—or just mail carriers who lose your letters. The service lets you track mail for the whole week, showing you scans of the letters you received each day for the past seven days.

As of now, it seems like USPS still has a few kinks to work out. In some cases, the service not only shows the user mail for direct members of their household, but also possibly a neighbor’s mail, too, if the user is in an apartment building—meaning the service might not be as private as it should be. (This happened to me, although not to other Mental Floss staffers who use the service.)

According to an automated email from the USPS explaining this mishap, it could be because the "unit/complex is not coded down to a unique delivery point barcode, which is a requirement for this service.”

So for some apartment buildings, this may be an accidental spying tool. The images are only of the outside of the envelope where the address window is, so at least it’s not revealing much. It’s clear that the service isn't perfect yet, but it’s still pretty useful in the meantime.

[h/t Daily Dot]

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There's an Easy Way to Rid Your Mailbox of Catalogs and Other Junk
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You've signed up for paperless billing. You've opted in on e-statements for your credit cards. But your mailbox is still filled to the brim with envelopes full of useless credit card offers, catalogs, coupons, and charity solicitations. Thankfully, there is a way to take back your mailbox from unwanted junk mail—if you know where to go. According to The New York Times, there is a relatively painless way to reduce the amount of unwanted paper piling up in your mailbox.

DMAChoice.org is a website run by the DMA, or the Data & Marketing Association, a New York-based lobbying organization for data-based marketing and advertising that represents around 3600 companies that send direct mail to consumers, i.e., the sources of your junk mail. In order to try to keep consumers happy (and thus, more amenable to marketing), the website lets consumers opt out of certain categories of unsolicited mailings.

For a $2 registration fee, you can remove your name from mailing lists for catalogs, magazine offers, and other direct mail advertising. Your can opt out of offers from specific companies, like say, the magazine Birds and Blooms or the AARP, or you can opt out of all companies in a category. If you don't want to get any mail from DMA-affiliated businesses, you have to separately opt out of all three categories: magazine offers, all catalogs, and all "other" mail offers.

Compared to ripping up AARP offers every single day, the effort is worth it. For less than the price of a few stamps and a few minutes of your time, you can vastly cut down on your junk mail. While the opt-out only applies for companies that find their direct-mail potential customers through DMA lists, you'll still be eliminating a huge swath of your unwanted mail.

As for those annoying "prequalified" credit card offers, you'll have to go to a different website, but this one, at least, is free. OptOutPrescreen.com, run by the four major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Innovis, Experian, and TransUnion—lets you opt out of all of credit card offers originating from the customer lists provided by those four reporting agencies. You can either file a request to opt out on the website to free yourself of credit card mailings for five years, or mail in an opt-out form to stop receiving them permanently. The site does ask you for your Social Security number, but it's legit, we promise. It has the FTC's stamp of approval.

[h/t The New York Times]

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