Ever noticed this? Junk mail can arrive at your door bearing the most egregious, hideous misspelling of your name. I have a friend named Weatherwax; he regularly receives junk mail from a firm that spells his name Weutheucaux. Lest we think it's simply spam, I should point out that such mail has followed him through three different change-of-address moves. Mail misspelling my name by one, two, three or even five letters (out of nine!) has followed me across change-of-address moves.

This would seem to imply that the U.S.P.S. (I don't know if this applies to other nations' postal services) is actually applying some deductive reasoning to the routing of this mail. Normally, this would be cause for gratitude and appreciation. However, here's the fly in the ointment:

They only use this magic skill to route junk mail!

It's true. I've had important mail (like, say, paychecks) that got my address perfectly correct but missed one or two letters of my name never arrive. Bills likewise; until I called up American Express to see where the heck my bill was after 90 days, they didn't know and I didn't know they'd got my name wrong on the billing address...by one letter. It never came.

I can maybe understand paychecks not being delivered unless the name absolutely matched. But bills? Magazine subscriptions that I'd actually paid for? Come on.

Perhaps it's all connected. Perhaps this is why junk mailers continue to flood the postal service with dead tree scrolls, and the PS doesn't ever seem to stop them. It's because the junk mailers are paying through the nose. Even aside from the postage, maybe they're offering bribes to the PS to make sure their mail gets through, even if you've moved three times in the space of a month and now live in the basement of the Denny's over near the freeway, while birthday cards from your family end up in Anchorage, Alaska instead of Boston, Massachusetts.

Neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night shall stay these couriers from their appointed rounds. Unless, of course, it's after 5pm, or on a banking holiday, or the slightly misspelled item is actually important.

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm...

This is probably because the bulk mailers use carrier route sorting and all that other fancy shit, whereas important mail might not have it.

Another item to ponder is the fact that a lot of mail is lost. Poof, just disappears. Now if its junk mail, you probably won't notice it. But if it's some important letter, parcel, package, kidney, or what have you, you'll be expecting it, and you'll notice when it doesn't arrive.

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