Me vs An Post
February 24, 2018 3:06 AM   Subscribe

Everyone needs a hobby. Dave Curran's is trying to drive the Irish postal service mad. Me versus An Post: Featuring bricks, puzzles, hand drawn maps, invisible ink, scratch offs, cheerful and accommodating ringmasters (literally) and an attempt to resolve a territorial dispute between Canada and the US via postcard.
posted by Diablevert (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
To be honest, this guy seems like a bit of a jerk. I think it's his writing style more than this undertaking, though.

I did learn that Ireland introduced postal codes in 2015, but I'm not clear on why they decided they needed them. Sounds possibly that it was to make sending junk mail easier, which seems mind-boggling. (Wikipedia tells me Ireland didn't introduce automated sorting machines until the 1990s, at which point, the machines could OCR the whole address and sort that way, so no need to simplify the problem with postal codes.)
posted by hoyland at 5:59 AM on February 24, 2018

My family has had no problems communicating with the relatives in Ireland by post for a century. The address consists of a family name, street name, the village, nearest big town, that's it. It works fine, now if only they would put street name signs on the rural streets, and make some of those very narrow roads where tour buses go actually the width of a bus!

Sending anything to our son in Vancouver Canada from the US is whole other issue, takes a month for a post card to arrive, if it gets there at all. I have given up trying to post anything. However old fashioned the Irish system actually worked without numbers.
posted by mermayd at 6:46 AM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I lived in Ireland in 2011. Coming from a place with numbered houses and postal codes, it blew my mind that the only number on my new Irish address was a number after the city: "Dublin 9". HOW COULD THE POST POSSIBLY REACH ME? Well, it did.
posted by Xere at 7:17 AM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

This guy seems pretty pleased with himself.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 7:55 AM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Previous experiments by the Annals of Improbable Research people.
The USPS appears to have some collective sense of humor, and might in fact here be displaying the rudiments of organic bureaucratic intelligence.
posted by whir at 8:10 AM on February 24, 2018

It still makes sense for Ireland to have postcodes even if An Post already had the database and no one seems to use them anyway*.

And even if this guy's being a dick about it there's something pretty satisfying in seeing An Post playing the role of a smart and efficient national institution that Royal Mail used to play in the UK, to me as a English person who really dislikes what's happening in the UK and has a sibling who's lived in Ireland all their adult life. At least partly because there's nothing that shuts up my English parents as quickly as saying "X works better in Ireland" when they're saying the UK is fine because The Telegraph told them so.

*I saw a job ad on an Irish Government website that had a Dublin postcode mangled into the format of a UK one - it was printed something like DT8 4VE and the actual address was D08 T4VE
posted by ambrosen at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I wasn't too sure about eircodes when they were first introduced, but I have to say that living in the countryside makes them really really useful as I can just give that to delivery drivers and they can find my house no problem.
My address consists of my name, Housename, Townland, Nearest Village, Nearest Town, County, Eircode.
A townland name is an incredibly inefficient way of describing where your house is as it may only be on one side of the road and yet encompass a fair distance. It means that the postman pretty much has to be local and know the area, which is fine, apart from when they go on holiday and the replacement doesn't know who anyone is. Although I have heard it said that An Post still don't actually use the eircodes when delivering. Not sure if that is true.

Dave Curran's hobby seems a bit mean to me though.
posted by Fence at 8:40 AM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

Looking at the Eircodes website, it looks as is the system's partly owned by Capita (the r is silent), the UK's ‘favourite’ still-extant PPP provider. The data are very closed source.
posted by scruss at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

So, is this officially the Age of the Asshole now?
posted by Laotic at 9:28 AM on February 24, 2018

An Post themselves seems to be taking Curran's antics in stride.

What struck me about the tumbler was how his harmless pranks revealed the human side of what could sometimes seem a faceless institution. Part of of the civic furniture. But if you can get a postcard delivered to a circus ringmaster in the middle of a parking lot, there's a human hand in it, one which cares about doing the job right, and is willing to apply more than a bit of ingenuity in order to make sure it gets done.

It also seemed revealing to me about Ireland itself. The Christmas card addressed "To your wan who" or the one to the Rubberbandit, delivering those isn't just a matter of deciphering an address, it's a matter of knowing your community and the people in it extremely well. Limerick's a city of 200,000 people. "Blind boy Boatclub" is the nickname of a half of a comic duo who only appear in public wearing masks. Postie delivered no problemo.
posted by Diablevert at 11:16 AM on February 24, 2018 [6 favorites]

seconding Diablevert--tales of heroic postal deliveries come up a lot in Irish journalism and anecdotage. This, for example.
posted by Morpeth at 11:29 AM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

This seems pretty charming. It doesn't seem mean-spirited, and the people at An Post seem to be in on the joke anyway. From the outside, it seems to say good things about the strength of communities in Ireland.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:35 PM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is marvelous. Haters gonna hate.
posted by soakimbo at 9:55 PM on February 25, 2018

« Older What's there to say about silent movies?   |   words words words Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments