Author Topic: Mail  (Read 3331 times)

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CakeEater

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Mail
« on: November 02, 2011, 12:49:11 AM »
How do you mail a letter in the US? I get the impression that you can put things in your mail box at your own house and the postal service picks it up. Is that right?

violinp

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Re: Mail
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 01:00:46 AM »
We paperclip our mail to the outside of our mailbox - It looks like this:



The postal service takes it and puts the mail they're giving inside the box. With traditional mailboxes, yes, people just put the mail in the mailbox and it is taken out and the postal service worker puts that day's recieved mail inside.

Now, you can have packages shipped through the postal office if you're sending Christmas gifts, etc, but mail is generally taken care of in the first way.
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jmarvellous

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Re: Mail
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2011, 01:18:17 AM »
I can either leave my mail sticking slightly out of my mailbox (on the side of my house), or I can put it in a common post office box like one of these, found on many streetcorners, or outside of the post office, which also has indoor mail receptacles and a place to pay to mail packages:


Mail boxes that people receive mail in vary a lot. You can either pay for a post office box (commonly called a P.O. box) at the post office or a mail center. These are small boxes opened with keys. Not all packages can be sent to P.O. boxes, but they're frequently used by businesses.


Some residential streets have a common, freestanding box at the end of the street for all homes on the street, to which the postal carrier delivers everyone's mail, aside from larger packages. It resembles the P.O. boxes. Each household has a key to open its box. Apartments may also have a centralized mailbox area.

Still other people have a mailbox on the street. I have always wanted one and never had one. This is one example:

(And no, most people's mailboxes don't look like fish.

Still others have a mail slot in the door (not super common in newer homes, in my experience). I think they're cool, but then you do kinda walk in your front door and right on top of your mail sometimes, I'd guess:


Then there are private shipping companies (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) that offer varying degrees of service nationally and internationally, at fees they set.

CakeEater

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Re: Mail
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 03:12:42 AM »
Wow, I would love that system!

Ereine

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Re: Mail
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 06:46:19 AM »
Is theft of mail common? It seems like a very handy way to send mail, but I'm not sure that I'd be able to be trusting enough to send important mail that way.

(In Finland mail boxes are most commonly lockable and have a slot for letters, though some older ones don't have locks.  Packages are never just left at the house. Apartments often have a slot in the door, I have that and don't remember stepping on my mail.)

camlan

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Re: Mail
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 07:40:48 AM »
In the US, in a situation like an apartment building, where there are many mailboxes all together, the mailboxes usually lock and each person has a key for their own mail box. But on a residential street with individual homes, the mailboxes usually don't lock.

Surprisingly, there is very little theft of mail. Many years ago, I know that people receiving government checks, like retired people on Social Security, had to take precautions to keep their checks from being stolen--it was pretty common knowledge when the checks were mailed, so thieves could determine what day to rob the mailboxes. But I haven't heard of anything being stolen from a mailbox recently. I'm sure it happens, but it's not a major crime wave type of thing.

My last house had the mail slot in the door. But postal regulations must have changed or something, because we had to have a mail box on the wall right beside the door. When I was in the UK, I saw that they have little wire baskets that catch the mail put through a slot in the door, which seemed a lot more practical.

It seems that the Post Office tries these days to speed up the delivery of mail as much as possible. They try to have routes done completely by truck as opposed to having mail carriers on foot. Many large apartment complexes have all the mailboxes outside, right at the entrance to the complex. The mail carrier can pull up in the mail truck, and deliver all the mail in a short amount of time. They look a bit like this: http://store.classymailboxes.com/Commerical-Mailboxes-Cluster-Gang-CBU-s-and-4C-s/3.htm
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Two Ravens

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Re: Mail
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 08:19:44 AM »
It's also worth noting that the US Postal Service has been cutting mail delivery.  It used to be that mail was delivered everyday but Sunday.  Now some regions are down to only 4 days a week.

Luci

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Re: Mail
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2011, 08:24:04 AM »
Central US rural

We have mailbox like the fish one without the fish. If we have outgoing mail, the red flag goes up so the carrier stops even if there is no incoming, then when the mail is picked up, the carrier puts the flag down.

I won't buy prescriptions through the mail but don't worry about theft otherwise.

We can also put a hold on the mail if we willl be gone for three days or more. It will then be delivereed or we can pick it up at the post office.

Bethczar

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Re: Mail
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2011, 03:13:31 PM »
We paperclip our mail to the outside of our mailbox - It looks like this:



The postal service takes it and puts the mail they're giving inside the box. With traditional mailboxes, yes, people just put the mail in the mailbox and it is taken out and the postal service worker puts that day's recieved mail inside.

Now, you can have packages shipped through the postal office if you're sending Christmas gifts, etc, but mail is generally taken care of in the first way.
I live in a unit of 8 condos. We have a space where we can put outgoing mail but I've never felt comfortable leaving out int he open like that. I'd rather drive by a mailbox & put it in myself.

Now that I think about it, we never put outgoing mail in the mailbox when I was growing up either. Matbe I come from a paranoid family?

SamiHami

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Re: Mail
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2011, 03:44:08 PM »
We have a mailbox at the end of our driveway. The mail carrier comes by daily and delivers. If I want to send something, I can place it in the box and put the red flag up as a signal to the carrier that there is mail to be picked up, even if I don't have any incoming mail that day.

It hardly ever comes up in conversation, so I have to add this to the thread...my great-great-grandmother was the first female mail carrier in the US. I think that's pretty cool!

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violinp

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Re: Mail
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2011, 03:45:43 PM »
We have a mailbox at the end of our driveway. The mail carrier comes by daily and delivers. If I want to send something, I can place it in the box and put the red flag up as a signal to the carrier that there is mail to be picked up, even if I don't have any incoming mail that day.

It hardly ever comes up in conversation, so I have to add this to the thread...my great-great-grandmother was the first female mail carrier in the US. I think that's pretty cool!

That IS cool, SamiHami!  ;D
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Twik

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Re: Mail
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2011, 04:07:03 PM »
No pickup at home at all in Canada. Must lug stuff to a mailbox, or postal outlet.
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HorseFreak

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Re: Mail
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2011, 04:26:33 PM »
I haven't been aware of anyone having mail stolen from their box, but there have been a few reports of various postal employees stealing the conspicuous envelopes from online DVD rental services such at Netflix. I personally have a locking box in a group and packages are dropped at my doorstep since I don't live in a high crime area.

My parents had a couple problems with young hooligans smashing metal mailboxes with baseball bats and when they replaced it with a plastic version they resorted to makeshift fire bombs and firecrackers. We don't have any enemies that we're aware of, but there are some nasty people out there. Usually the worst thing that happens is slow or misdirected mail or the occasional envelope that gets caught in the machinery and partially shredded.

arkzak

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Re: Mail
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2011, 04:31:01 PM »
Denmark here - most house owners have a locked post box outside their house, with just a slot to put letters in. It is mandatory to have your name on your mail box (and on or beside your front door if you live in an apartment) or your post will not be delivered.

I have a question about the little red flag on U.S. mailboxes. A previous poster mentioned that she would raise it to let the postman/woman know that there is outgoing mail. I always had the impression that it was the person delivering mail who raised it, to let the homeowner know that there was new mail in there. Or can both be true?

SamiHami

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Re: Mail
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2011, 04:35:05 PM »
No. The flag up means outgoing mail. The postal workers put the flag down when they pick it up. They do not put the flag up to indicate that we have mail.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!