Monday, April 23, 2007

'Dead Letter' office is no more

Nearly 100 million letters and packages get lost in the mail and wind up at what used to be known as the "dead letter office".

According to an article that appeared recently in the San Diego Union-Tribune, "In the mid-1990s, officials decided 'dead' sounded too negative and bestowed a more Martha Stewart-worthy makeover title: Mail Recovery Operations."

The paper reports, "Mail gets lost generally for two reasons: mechanical error when the postal machinery damages the envelope and addresses get mixed, or human error – wrong address, wrong postage, no return address."

In the article, Susan Tedrick of the Mail Recovery Program headquarters in Washington, D.C. is quoted as saying, "Postal recovery operations manage to return 68 percent of mail considered of obvious value. What doesn't get returned gets auctioned off to the public at the centers in a grab-bag style of huge lots, where the buyers generally take their chances on what is inside, raising some $8.2 million for postal operations."

According to the paper, lost mail deemed worth more than $10 gets shipped to a Mail Recovery Center, either in Atlanta, Georgia or St. Paul, Minn. and individuals can reclaim such items by calling (800) ASK-USPS.

Shown above in a Union Tribune photo is USPS employee Lori Ferguson-Costa as she attempts to find owners of undeliverable mail in San Diego County.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM