The Disappearing Corner Mailbox

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I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find a street mailbox. Granted, I don't need one often. That's actually the problem. Neither does anyone else, apparantly.

Thanks to e-mail and online bill paying, among other digital culprits, the U.S. Postal Service has yanked more than 180,000 public mailboxes off our nation's streets over the past decade. That is just over 50% of the total number of street mailboxes.

Remember the public phone booth? Uh huh! That's where it seems the public mailbox is headed to, as well; the trash heap of the forgotten including the slide rule, the typewriter and the sundial.

In case you're wondering, the U.S. Postal Service's official policy is removing mailboxes that recieve on average less than 25 pieces of mail a day. At that point, it goes in the removal crosshairs and a 10-day warning of removal is posted on said mailbox.

If they get enough public blowback, they reconsider.

There have been a number of highly publicized battles to save the neighborhood mailbox.

Otisfield, Maine (population 1,700) was down to its last mailbox when the townspeople rallied.

Add to that, Montgomery County, Maryland also fighting to save their mailboxes.

Why we will miss the corner mailbox when its gone:

1. It's one of the last avenues to anonymously dissent. Every computer has a traceable IP address. Every phone has a traceable number (since the public telephone is a virtual goner) to its owner. This is feeling a little too 1984 to me.

2. If your mail is picked up at 10 a.m., what are you supposed to do if you need to get something out before 5 p.m.? If you're like me, you avoid going to an actual post office at all costs.

3. Have you ever tried to leave 150 holiday cards in your personal mailbox for pickup?

Last updated: Sep 15, 2009




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