It’s That Time of Year

The catalogs have been arriving in the mail for months, because it’s that time of year.  The solicitations for charitable and political donations come in multiples every day, and even a few early holiday cards, letters, and invitations are trickling in.  The holiday season is upon us! The best holiday mail, of course, is personal:  the letters and cards that keep us in touch with family and friends, near and far.  I treasure these communications, and have trouble recycling them, even years after receipt.  The typical holiday letter has evolved over time.  These days, few people…

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Underwater Post Offices Throughout the World

Post offices around the world can be charming, unique, or simply functional, but few places feature underwater post offices.  Swimming and letter writing are some of my favorite pastimes, but not necessarily together!  Only a few underwater post offices have survived, but they have their place in history. Twenty years ago, the small town of Risør, located in the south of Norway, constructed an underwater post office as a novelty for tourists.  Established by the local scuba diving club, it was billed as the only dry underwater post office in the world.  Constructed in the form…

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Scams and Fraud

Despite spam filters on our email and posted warnings from banks and other financial institutions, scams and fraud seem more prevalent today than ever.  Clearly, scams would not exist if they were not successful. Newly released (Feb. 2023) Federal Trade Commission data shows that consumers reported losing nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, an increase of more than 30% over the previous year.  Topping the list are investment scams, followed by imposter scams. Scams and fraud seem to be hitting home.  Those poorly written, error filled emails such as the Nigerian Prince scam, which has…

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Free Stuff in the Mail

The holidays will soon be upon us, and already the pitches for non-profit donations are on their way, so expect to receive a lot of “free” stuff in the mail. Within the past two weeks, free items in my mail included one memo pad, one pack of tissues, return address labels from two different charities, one 2024 calendar featuring adorable dogs and puppies, and one set of six birthday cards with assorted designs.  I even received a solicitation that included a one-dollar bill.  Most of these gifts are from charities that I have never donated to,…

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What’s in Your Mail?

National Postal Worker’s Day was July 1, which seemed like a good time to check out what’s in your mail. As people have moved from doing business through the mail to electronic communications, first class mail has declined.  Banking, including bill paying, and personal communications have largely moved online.  Only occasionally do I receive handwritten notes, cards, letters, or postcards, and I suspect that I am not alone.  Even event invitations are conveyed electronically, through sites that track responses (RSVPs) and comments from invitees. Since 1926, the USPS has tracked mail volume by type of mail.…

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Slower delivery, higher costs projected for holiday mail

Holiday mail in 2021 will have slower delivery, higher costs, especially if you are shipping gifts or letters and cards across the country.  Global supply chain issues, elimination of most air mail delivery, and labor shortages due to the pandemic all add up to slower processing and delivery times.  Industry experts project that states west of the Rockies and mainland extremities states, including Texas and Florida, will be the hardest hit.  But according to the USPS, new high speed package sorting equipment and facilities will improve service reliability and efficiency (albeit at higher cost and slower…

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Pandemic Pen Pal

Many of us are experiencing a new normal – perhaps working from home, avoiding theaters, dining outdoors – and with these new Covid restrictions, what better time than now to develop a written correspondence with a pandemic pen pal? Commonly, pen pals are people who seek friendships and new experiences through the exchange of letters, often among people who have no previous connection.  Many people favor international correspondence in order to learn and better understand the culture and customs of another country.  In the early days of Social Correspondence, I often read sweet stories about long-term…

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Lost and Found Letters

The percentage of letters lost in the mail is relatively small, but still there are times one wishes for a Lost and Found Letters Department. Sometimes you either sense or know that something is missing. That promised invitation to a literary event that never arrives. The letter listed in Informed Delivery that does not materialize. Where do these letters go? Were they delivered by accident to the wrong house? Perhaps they fall on the ground and get swallowed up in the trash. Technically, there is a Lost and Found Letters Department.  It is called the Mail…

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The Ten-Year Plan

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS revealed a new ten-year plan on March 21, 2021 aimed at reinvigorating the postal service.  Parts of the plan are ready to be implemented, including increasing the cost of stamps, slowing down first-class mail delivery in favor of more lucrative package delivery, closing selected facilities, and cutting back post office hours and staffing.  Such changes are subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent Federal agency. First-class stamps are currently 55 cents First-class mail volume has decreased by 28% over the past 10 years, one of the…

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A Random Letter in the Mail

Have you ever received a random letter in the mail?  Random, as in an unanticipated, handwritten note or letter? The use of first-class mail has been in decline for decades, and letters have become almost rare.   Any letter or note in the mail is a gift, whether it be a thank you note, a birthday card, a holiday greeting.  But most of our communications today are virtual, via social media, email, text messaging, and more, using multiple platforms. Given the shift in how we communicate, a random letter in the mail is a welcome surprise.  Within…

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