I was a postal worker 26 years, 1990 – 2016. These are some postie peeves and other information that I have learned over the years.  

Have you ever wondered why some posties are disgruntled??  Well, the following are a few pointers just for me to vent. Truthfully, a lot of people just don’t realize these pointers until they actually have to deal with them as a postie. So here goes……

—First and foremost please keep a clear path to your mailbox.  Letter carriers require at least a three foot width to get through.  We carry a mail satchel that makes us a little on the hefty side:)  Often we have to deal with parked cars blocking our way, or things such as garden tools, toys, etc, and snow and ice. ( Ice, by the way, is the worst to deal with!!  Even spikes and good footwear won’t help!). Hanging baskets, untrimmed branches and even decorations sometimes get in our way, too.

—Make sure your house number is visible from any angle on the street in front of your house. This is not only a good idea for delivery people, but also for emergency vehicles.

—Every now and then check your mailbox hinges and lubricate when necessary. Also check for any rough edges that might catch our poor fingers and rip them to pieces.

—When mailing parcels and using felt tip marker for addressing…. cover the addresses with clear tape. In shipping, there is always a chance for a little moisture to get near parcels (waiting to be loaded on trucks or planes) and the felt could get smudged and illegible. 

—Also, when mailing pictures or x-rays, wrap in plastic, then add a stiff piece of cardboard to prevent bending. This won’t add much to postage… if anything. ( we do our best…. but the shipping process can be damaging even at the best of times)

—Another important mailing tip…. Don’t forget the postal code!!! Did you know that most of the major centres in Canada rely on optical sorting machines to sort most of the billions of pieces of mail going through the system??? These machines read the postal code and sort accordingly. Be especially careful when giving your postal code out verbally.  A misunderstood first letter could send your mail to the other side of the country! The first letter represents the province…or area of province, the first three letters combined designate the city or area of city. The combined six letter/numeral combination of the postal code will sort your mail to the right or left of a city block. Just a few first letter codes that I know are: ‘V’ goes to British Columbia; ‘T’ to Alberta; ‘S” to Saskatchewan; ‘R’ to Manitoba; ‘P’ to Quebec; ‘K, L, M, N’ all to Ontario; ‘E’ to New Brunswick and ‘B’ to Nova Scotia. 

—Please do not expect counter staff to “just go get” your check. Canada Post handles millions of pieces of mail every day, and sometimes your check really may be in the mail, and not quite in the office yet.

—For your own security please clear mail from community mail boxes 

—If you happen to have a friend who is a postie, please don’t get them a musical card for any special occasion.  Sometimes in normal mail processing, a musical card in the mail is set off just by being bumped.  You have no idea how annoying a haunting rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ is until you have to listen to it for a couple hours until that particular piece of mail gets delivered.

Tips For Reducing Clutter in your Mailbox:

Although a mail carrier’s job depends on the volume of mail, I have heard enough complaints over the years to add a page here of tips on reducing the clutter in your mailbox.  Studies have proven that information overload and paper clutter can add to the stress in a person’s life. Too often our mailboxes are cluttered with tons of paper mail that really has no meaning to us. There is also a concern for the safe, secure, and environmentally friendly methods of disposal of this clutter. The following are just a few tips I’ve compiled to help reduce that clutter and leave room for the important stuff.  Some of these tips may save you money and/or save your senders’ money in printing and publishing costs…these savings may be passed on to you in lower prices on goods and services you buy.

1. The first culprit of course is unaddressed admail/householders, more commonly known as “flyers” or “neighborhood mail”. For advertisers, these are a very effective way to reach potential customers. Not all consumers appreciate this type of mail though. A few years ago Canada Post introduced a “consumer choice” option. To suspend delivery of flyers, a customer needs to submit a request to the local post office to suspend delivery. Because advertisers pay to have flyers delivered to each household, Canada Post must have a customer request on file for each household which does not want flyers. This option will suspend all flyers except political and Canada Post flyers. Update June 2006: Thanks to new technology and data systems, it is no longer necessary to write a letter to suspend delivery. A simple note on the mailbox “no flyers” is sufficient. The mail carrier will record the information to turn in to the supervisor.

2.The next culprit is addressed admail. Write directly to senders to ask to be removed from their mailing lists, or at least reduce duplicate copies being sent to your address. (Many companies will gladly reduce duplicates– it saves their printing costs).  If you can’t seem to find the time to write… jot down pertinent information (addresses, account numbers, etc.) during your morning coffee or evening tea, then carry envelopes, paper, stamps, and pens with you and take advantage of waiting room time or bus rides, etc. Many reputable companies now offer contact preferences online.

3. Officially cancel any accounts and subscriptions that are no longer of interest or use to you. For important but little used accounts, have senders send statements only periodically, or receive these online. (check out Canada Post’s E-POST).

4. Get government cheques direct deposited– not only will you save the trip to the bank, but your money is in your account the morning of release…not days later when the actual cheque arrives. This also avoids any type of potential postal delays, or waiting for afternoon delivery.

5.  Personally I agree with the consumer choice option and being environmentally friendly. I have had so many times that I have handed someone their mail only to have them dump several pieces i the garbage right in front of me. What a waste!

6. Check out www.catalogchoice.org  This is a site where you can sign up to have them make sure that companies comply with your wishes to be on or off their mailing lists.

These tips will significantly reduce the clutter in your mailbox and leave room for receiving the stuff most people enjoy getting…like postcards, and letters from Grandma. To ensure that you get these, and to keep your friendly posties coming to your door, get busy writing some personal notes to friends and family so they also have some treasures to store in shoe boxes under the bed.

What is Admail?

There are two types of admail, unaddessed and addressed. (Otherwise now known as Neighborhood mail and Personalized mail).

Unaddressed admail is better known as flyers. Advertisers pay Canada Post to deliver their advertisements to every household. This is a good way for these advertisers to reach their potential consumers. Some people appreciate these flyers to use coupons and comparison shop, or just find out information about companies in their area.  Other people find these flyers annoying. They may think of these as just information overload, and paper clutter.  It is because of complaints from these type of people that Canada Post developed a ‘consumer choice’ policy a few years ago. Those people who do not wish to receive flyers can simply write a letter to the local letter carrier supervisor to have this type of delivery suspended. This request must be dated, have the name and the address of the customer, and be signed by the customer. This request will suspend delivery of all flyers delivered by Canada Post except government flyers and flyers from Canada Post itself. This policy also gives advertisers a better idea of potential customers. 

Addressed admail is mail addressed to a particular resident of an address. This mail, instead of having a first class stamp, will have a meter type stamp that has ‘bulk’, ‘admail’, ‘third class’ or even ‘catalogue rate’ written on it.  Advertisers use this type of mail to reach millions of potential customers.  They receive a discounted postage rate because of the volumes of mail they send per year. Also, much of this kind of mail, in the event that it is undeliverable for some reason, is not returned to the company, unless requested by the sender. It is simply sent to recycling. Many people are annoyed with receiving so much ‘junk mail’. It’s not hard to get on these mailing lists. Anytime you apply for credit, place a catalogue order, sign up for a subscription, or enter a contest, (practically anything you can put a name and address on) very often these advertisers keep your name on file. This information is kept for future mailing from that particular advertiser, and sometimes sold to other advertisers too.  To avoid this happening, read the fine print on anything that you sign that has your name and address on it. Often there will be a clause giving permission to use this information for advertising. Many reputable companies have started to ask permission on their membership renewal forms to continue sending newsletters and advertising material to their members.