By testing the limits
March 16, 2001 9:36 AM   Subscribe

By testing the limits of what the USPS will actually deliver, scientists at the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) have answered an age-old question: "How patient is the US Postal Service when it comes to unwrapped packages?" (via Useless Pages)
posted by samsara (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I found this particularly interesting because of all of the financial problems the USPS is having. A good portion being problems within the ranks of leadership (which often lead to high-priced, meaningless lawsuits). But also stemming from slow adaptation to the digital era. Along with raising the cost of stamps here and there, they are also cutting back on the workforce (mostly on the carrier level) to save money....thus causing even more tension when people want to take off a day. I can see the sense of humor had while handling these items.
posted by samsara at 10:00 AM on March 16, 2001

Reminds me of a chapter I wrote for my one print publication about the practice of mailing children. Back in the late 19th century, more than a few families tested the limits of the new and largely unregulated US Parcel Post system by mailing their little ones across country.

Postage apparently was cheaper than a train ticket.
posted by ratbastard at 10:05 AM on March 16, 2001

This is the best read I've had on the net in a while.
posted by mblandi at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2001

Rat, have you seen this?

Years ago, as a teenager, I remember reading an article in Seventeen magazine, about unusual ways to say Happy Valentine's Day. They advised girls to mail a coconut to their beloved, with the name, address, postage, and "I'm nuts about you!" affixed to the nut. Another idea was to mail an old shoe, with the legend, "My sole belongs to you."

I always wondered if that would really work. Guess now I know. Thanks, AIR.
posted by acridrabbit at 10:21 AM on March 16, 2001

What surprised me was the mailing of the unwrapped coconut from Hawaii.

That simply isn't allowed. I know, I tried several times when I lived there (though I wrapped them).
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:53 AM on March 16, 2001

I thought this looked familiar. It had a brief mention once before.
posted by Hankins at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2001

last easter i mailed a package of "peeps" to a friend with postage and a mailing label affixed to the cellophane.

it got there.
posted by Stagecoach at 11:11 AM on March 16, 2001

Peeps rock.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2001

One of the problems the USPS has in adapting to the digital era is that its competitors (UPS, FedEx, Airborne) are starting to complain that it has unfair advantages, ranging from paying no taxes to an ability to park delivery vehicles almost anywhere with impunity.
posted by kindall at 3:56 PM on March 16, 2001

Been there, done that. My personal favourite is the piece of toast.
posted by Monk at 6:56 AM on March 19, 2001

The meme seems to be spreading: My acquaintance Marc Bishop is holding an entire contest under the ægis of Volt. I wonder if he'll break any laws by so doing.
posted by joeclark at 4:03 PM on March 27, 2001

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