At the heart of all international post is ... a spreadsheet
October 8, 2017 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Christmas is only eleven weeks away. But how will your card, letter or present get to you from your relative or partner or MeFite crush in distant lands, and who pays who? These questions are periodically asked [1] [2] by MeFites. As explained by Josh Urich, the answer lies in the Universal Postal Union, a Switzerland-based agency of the United Nations, and their lovely spreadsheet you can download and play with.
posted by Wordshore (9 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
posted by The otter lady at 4:51 PM on October 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

Christmas is only eleven weeks away.

I will cut you.
posted by slipthought at 4:58 PM on October 8, 2017 [18 favorites]

Also, I just spent the past ten minutes explaining this spreadsheet to my SO. That was fun.
posted by slipthought at 5:00 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have always been very fond of these Universal Postal Union commemorative stamps, which came out when I was a girl stamp collector.
posted by JanetLand at 7:09 PM on October 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Now explain what a stamp is to anyone under 30.
posted by adept256 at 8:11 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

They couldn't work the muted post horn into the logo?
posted by ctmf at 10:43 PM on October 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Just last night I was wondering if the people at the post office would sell me postage for an overnight package in stamps and whether or not it would be legal to label it with airmail labels for that real old time "important package" look and feel.
posted by wierdo at 3:03 AM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Way back in the spring of 2002, I had some time to kill between my masters and PhD programmes, so I spent a few weeks working as a temp admin cover for the finance department of the Dutch postal service. (This was just a few weeks before the organisation changed names from PTT to TPGPOST, so my parting gift when I left was a bunch of old-logo promotional material they couldn't use anymore.)

Every week, we'd get a BIG stack of mail from other national postal services all over the world, with the tally of how many letters they had received from the Netherlands, so that they could reclaim some of the costs that they had incurred in delivering the mail from the country that had sold the stamp.

I remember this in part because there was one guy in the office who collected the international stamps from the envelopes of the letters we got.
posted by easternblot at 4:35 AM on October 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been kinda obsessed with well-meaning bureaucracy since reading Malka Older's sf novels (Infomocracy and Null States) so I just spent an hour happily browsing
posted by moonmilk at 5:32 AM on October 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

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