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Sunday, June 22, 2008

USPS, You've Done It Again!

Strolled out a little while ago to get the mail. Yes, I know it's Sunday, but I don't get much real mail, so I don't bother to pick it up every day.

Anyway, the sole piece of mail was not really for me. This isn't too unusual; I haven't lived here long, and I get mail for three or four people who may or may not have ever lived in this apartment before me.

But this mail -- which was something from Citibank, something important-looking -- was for someone on another street.

In another city.

In another state.

In short, it was for someone in Los Angeles, three time zones away. The street name is not remotely similar. The name of my town does not look remotely like "Los Angeles". The zip codes are not remotely similar, either -- no one mistook a 9 for a zero or an 8 for a 3.

The only reason this ended up in my mailbox is that the apartment numbers are -- sort of -- the same.

I want to know how it came to be that no one in the local PO took a look at that letter, and said, "What street? In Los Angeles?? California???" No, they just ignored the zip code, the state, the town, and the street, and dumped it in my mailbox.

There are no words.

Since it looks important, I should take it down to the post office in person and hand it in. I won't have much time on Monday, though.

I guess we're supposed to be grateful that things don't go astray more often, what with the volume of mail that the Post Office has to handle -- including vital credit card offers and advertising circulars and whatnot.

I've been reading Victorian novels where characters write a letter one day and have the reply waiting for them at breakfast the next morning. This is not only an impressive tribute to the Royal Mail (or whatever it was called then -- which, of course, didn't have so many credit card offers to transport), but to Victorian correspondents, who didn't have much else to do with their time.