mail carrier from 1800s standing in front of mail carriage
Curiosities

My web “tour” of the USPS

There are certain sites that are really easy to navigate or you just get lucky and manage to find what you want fairly easily. I was on the USPS website looking for rates to ship my book out (I should receive my books on Monday, the 28th). I was all over the place and then I had a squirrel moment looking at stamps (totally getting the working dog stamps) and had to refocus. When I went to the calculate the price page…there’s a checkbox for shipping live animals πŸ˜– I understand that animals need to be shipped, but it was still a little horrifying seeing it in print, so to speak. My blood went a little cold because in my mind I thought there’d be specific shippers or truckers who handle live animals (I can barely type that) and the post office wasn’t one of them. The government doesn’t incentivize workers to take extra care like a private agency might. I’m not sure any big business is giving anyone any incentives to do anything, but that’s an aside along with all the woes the post office is currently burdened with. Don’t get in a twist for me saying this because I’m not finger-pointing at the USPS for failing to do a job. I’m saying that a random box of chicks could easily be set aside through a series of unfortunate events and that it could happen anywhere. Especially if you’re not used to handling live animals–take Koi for example. They don’t make noise! They’re shipped from Japan. How long can they survive? I’ve only had to drive my Koi across town–30 minutes in the blazing AZ heat, tops. From The Backyard Pond to my home. That’s plenty harrowing for me. So do you see where I’m coming from now? I sweat thinking about that and then seeing it action made me sweat a little more. It’s something I’ve never really had to think about. I was also under the false assumption the USPS no longer handled live creatures.

I say creatures because when the boys were in middle school we had a big discussion about how the post office has changed over the years. When the post office began offering the option of mailing parcels over 4 pounds, there were some cases of children being mailed. My kids were fascinated by this. Here’s a brief History.com article on it–it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, but still. This is also a very good case of either people seeing a great opportunity (way cheaper to mail their kid than to buy a train ticket) or people taking advantage, depending on your world view and experiences (of the moment or otherwise). I wonder what Joe my mail carrier would do if I weighed myself, pinned the cost in stamps to me and jumped into his truck to be “shipped” somewhere. Scratch that–that’d be more expensive in my case. At any rate, it was definitely a case of needing clear rules. I do love the end of the article quoting the first assistant postmaster as saying that children could not be “classified” as “harmless live animals.” πŸ˜‚ Depends on who you ask, I suppose.

With that said, I’ve loved all my mail carriers. I’m always chatting them up (Surprise! I know, not really). It’s a valuable service they offer, so let’s use it. Write a letter, send a card or a package! Buy those cute stamps–there are some awesome stamps to entertain your envelopes and recipients. Please, try to avoid mailing live animals…

Give me a shoutout! 🀠

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