Tuesday, September 20, 2016

a little experiment

Because I can't just let these things lie.

I have acquired roughly a dozen addresses from Twitter followers and Ravelry friends - people all across the US. And I'm going to buy a bunch of cards this afternoon and mail them out. One-third will be mailed from the mail slot at the post office, one-third from a street postal box (one of the "blue boxes"), and the final third from my home mailbox. (Those will be sent on different days, not all at once, just to add some variability).

I've asked all the recipients to let me know when they get their card. (A few have promised to reciprocate, which is nice but not necessary). That way, if the cards all sent from my personal mailbox fail to reach their destination, I will know there's some jerk who's coming through my neighborhood and picking stuff out of mailboxes (which I slightly suspect; some days it seems like all I have is either the junkiest of junk mail or bills, and there are a few issues of magazines that seem long delayed). If it's a random sample, that tells me it's someone in the system.

Not that this will matter in the least to the USPS as cards are cheap. (My secretary, who has relatives in law enforcement, tells me that USPS puts "dummy packages" into the package stream to try to catch in-house thieves. But I bet people lifting cards wouldn't be punished much, not unless there was a big monetary claim made by an Important Person).

My suspicion is that the cards are going missing because a thief somewhere figures they might contain cash (when I was a kid, my grandparents' birthday SOP was to stick a five-dollar bill in the birthday card. They all reached us intact but that was a more innocent time) or because there might be a gift card in there (which makes me worry then for the future of credit cards being replaced...you can feel it in the envelope).

I SUPPOSE it could be simple coincidence, that two cards got eaten by sorting equipment, but it seems awfully coincidental that it was two cards, sent 2 months apart, to the same zip code. (one was my dad's Father's Day card, the other was a greeting card to a friend living in the same town). And yes, I'm sending a Halloween card to my parents as part of the test....that's going to be one of the Post Office ones because I also slightly wonder if there's someone in the central-Illinois mail-sorting facility with some sticky fingers.

But it makes me both angry and sad. Just one more thing in the modern world we can neither trust nor count on. Why, when I was a kid....like I said, my grandma sent me $5 on my birthday in the form of a $5 bill stuck in the greeting card, and they ALWAYS reached me.

(Now I wonder: did my grandma even HAVE a checking account? I wonder how she paid her light bill and phone bill if she didn't.....maybe there were offices in her little town where she paid in person, in cash?)

And yeah, this will cost me money, but I don't care. For one thing it satisfies my curiosity and for another, if the cards make it, it will make people happy and I enjoy doing that.


Charlotte said...

Would it be helpful to mail a card to yourself to determine where the problem lies?

Joan said...

I like the way your mind works!