Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Let Gifts Turn Into Dead Letters

Christmas is the busiest time at the U.S. Postal Service's mail recovery center in Atlanta according to a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dsipatch

Formerly known as the "dead letter office," items end up there when they can neither be delivered nor returned because the recipient's and return addresses are missing, incorrect or illegible writes reporter Paul Hampel.

Paul pens, "At Christmas time, poor packaging makes dead letters out of many gifts."

Beverly Lambert, the postal service's consumer affairs manager, is quoted  in the article as saying, ""I don't think the general public quite understands how mail travels through the processing center. Fancy wrapping paper can get ripped to shreds, and the address gets lost in the process."

Last year, the mail recovery center handled 68 million pieces of mail out of 177 billion that were mailed. If the mail cannot be delivered or returned, and the item is worth less than $25, it is destroyed. If it is worth more than that, it will be held for at least 90 days.

Paul also points out, "The recovery center holds regular auctions of items that it cannot deliver. The postal service keeps the auction proceeds. It also keeps undeliverable cash. Last year, about $1.7 million in cash ended up at the dead letter center, despite admonitions against sending cash in the mail. Only $300,000 was returned to the proper owners."

Shown above, recovery center employee sorting the mail.

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