Each time I move, my mailbox moves further away


When I was growing up, the mailman letter carrier came right to our front door. The mailbox was mounted on the front of the house right next to the front door. You could check the mail without even getting dressed; just open the door a crack and stick out your hand. Approximate distance from front door to mailbox: less than 1 foot.

In the next house I lived in, the mailbox was no longer mounted on the house. Instead, it stood at the end of the driveway. Approximate distance from front door to mailbox: 55 feet.

My next house was in a neighborhood which grouped its mailboxes in clusters. The cluster of about eight mailboxes which served my house (and my immediate neighbors) was two houses down from mine. Approximate distance from front door to mailbox: 120 feet.

My current house is in a small neighborhood which groups all the mailboxes together into a single cluster. The mailbox cluster is at the entrance to the neighborhood, approximately 540 feet from my front door.

This is why I have time to read junk mail. I need to pass the time on the way back from the mailbox.

Bonus chatter: Since I moved, I have to go through the whole process of opting out of phone book delivery once again.

Comments (27)
  1. John says:

    Why opt out of phone book delivery?  Free packing material!

  2. Jay says:

    It makes me feel lucky to be in England; the junk mail is posted directly through the door for my dog to 'read'!

  3. Austin Donnelly says:

    One place I lived clustered the mailboxes as you describe.  But the planners added one more optimisation: they placed a recycling bin near the mailbox cluster, so you could easily discard junk mail.

    In my case, I ended up digging out my mailbox almost directly into the recycling bin since I never seemed to get any real mail.

  4. kinokijuf says:

    What are “feet”?

  5. Guy says:

    @kinokijuf: 30.48cm.  Or, alternatively, the things at the end of your legs.

  6. Jack B Nimble says:

    @John – I believe Raymond once said that a phone book left on your porch is a great way for burglars to know you aren't home yet. I used to collect phone books from the apartment building hallway and stack them on friends' doors so that when they opened them in the morning a pile of phone books would fall into their place.

  7. Tom says:

    It's because you keep moving into newer developments.  The US Postal Service is requiring clusterboxes for new developments.  Existing mailboxes are grandfathered.

  8. @Austin Donnelly: That's what I'd like to do.

    But real world example: every apartment complex (I have a sample of 3 complexes I lived in various states) has some moron(s), who put their domestic thrash into the paper-only mail spam bin, because they are lazy to walk 100 more yards to the big domestic thrash container. This sabotages recycling, but also almost immediately entirely fills the spam thrash can. After that people still try to stuff their spam next to the domestic bag => ThrashCanOverflowException. The System.Environment.Wind automatically handles the ThrashCanOverflowException and blows the spam sheets all around the mail box area. (I wish there was a handler for the moron who puts the domestic thrash there: the handler would kick that person's butt (at minimum).)

    Some apartment complex's management have an extra handler, and after several failed notices for the dear moron, they remove the spam collector thrash can, because they don't want the spam all around. End result: opposite. After not having a container for the spams many of the people just drop their spam onto the ground at the mailbox cluster.

    Just as in source code, I cannot stand negligence.

  9. Random832 says:

    I got an email a couple weeks ago from my apartment complex (where the mailboxes are by the doors) saying the postal service has demanded that all apartment complexes change to have mailboxes clustered together outside, and will at some point apply this to housing divisions as well as apartments.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If the trend continues, his next "mailbox" will probably be a PO box down the road.

  11. John says:

    >Anonymous: If the trend continues, his next "mailbox" will probably be a PO box down the road.

    Isn't this how it was originally (as in, back in the 1800s)?  You had to go to your local post office to pick up your mail.  Like client-server computing, everything old is new again!

  12. Tim says:

    I have had the same experience in a different order. Growing up in Utah, all the mailboxes were at the end of the driveway. When I moved to Nebraska and rented a house, the mail was delivered through a slot in the door. It was a novelty for me to see a mail carrier walking from house to house. When I bought a house about 2 years ago the mail is delivered to a cluster of boxes about 500 feet (152 meters) away. I only go to pick up the mail about once a week. The mail carrier does deliver packages too big to fit in the boxes along with the rest of my mail to the house.

  13. ErikF says:

    Canada Post is wanting me to pay $30/month for the privilege of getting my junk mail scanned and sent to me in e-mail/PDF form. I'm not sure if this is progress or not.

  14. Nick says:

    > they placed a recycling bin near the mailbox cluster

    My apartment complex has not done this, but I'm about 80% of the way to just going and buying a garbage can and sticking it next to the mailboxes.  I'm pretty sure the maintenance people will start emptying it, once it gets full/overflowing :)  Not very nice, maybe, but I'm so tired of carrying garbage back to my apartment that I then need to carry back across the complex to throw away into the big dumpster.

    Growing up we always had a mailbox at the end of our driveway so that's what I'm more accustomed to, but clustered mailboxes don't bother me a lot.  My only real complaint is that it makes dealing with larger packages a pain in the butt, because if they don't fit in your box and you don't have a parcel box (or it's full), you're pretty much SOL.  And of course UPS/FedEx can't access the parcel box and won't usually leave things outside an apartment.

    It's funny what you take for granted growing up in a more rural area.

  15. Maurits says:

    > My apartment complex has not done this

    What did they say when you asked them to do it?

  16. "If the trend continues, his next "mailbox" will probably be a PO box down the road."

    If the trend continues eventually the whole region of houses, then the whole city, the whole county will have only one giant cluster of mailboxes. Saves time for the postal service.

  17. @tocsa says:

    Conveniently the giant cluster of mailboxes are collectively called a postal office.

  18. Marcel says:

    In Germany I can put a "No junkmail" sticker to my mailbox which must be obeyed by law. It actually works except for the occasional pizza flyer now and then. No need for a trashcan at least :-)

  19. Daniel Neely says:

    @tosca  Only if the postal office closing trend doesn't strike his neighborhood first.

  20. 640k says:

    @kinokijuf: What are “feet”?

    Even when the mailbox is moved parsecs away, americans will still measure it in feet and inches.

  21. hawkse says:

    @Marcel: Same here in Sweden. In my apartment block, more than 80% have such a sticker. Not that it helps much. The advertisers have mostly moved to distributing "free newspapers" which are classified as "community information" and thus exempt. The remaining garbage now instead gets distributed tucked into my newspaper (for which I still pay a subscription) and thus, bypass my sticker. Some advertisers even went as far as starting to sending me junkmail as regular mail (adressed to me as opposed to mass distributed).

    The basic problem is advertising. The Postal service still want to enjoy the income but no-one wants to schlepp the tons of junk around. Why not simply connect the advertisers with the waste disposal services? Problem solved.

    (Actually, when I was a kid I knew quite a few friends that made some money distribution junk mail around the block. Some of them optimised the process by promptly dumping the whole lot in the garbage bin. Everything old is new!)

  22. Anonymous Coward says:

    Where I live, we have NO-NO stickers that are supposed to prevent you from getting junk mail. Think is, it didn't and complaining didn't seem to help at all. So at some point some inhabitants of the flat came together and collectively decided to just dump all junk mail on the floor below the mailboxes. Within a few days the entire floor was covered… and then we miraculously stopped receiving junk mail, apart from the occasional take-out flyer every few months.

  23. hawkse says:

    Yeah, I've been pondering getting all my neighbours to agree that we put the sticker up on the front door instead of the apartment doors. Saves the junk deliverer some time as well.

  24. Drak says:

    I have a NO-NO sticker too, but apparently the state-run lottery has found a way around it: if the spam is addressed to 'the owner of <Street><#>' it is not spam, it is an addressed letter and must be delivered :(

  25. Julian says:

    Currently in the UK, the mail is actually pushed through the letterbox in the front door in most places (flats are a typical exception). However, as Royal Mail is probably going to be privatised in the near future, I can see this going away to be replaced by delivery to a central block of mailboxes.

    Of course, we get the junk mail too :(

  26. SI says:

    I use my phonebook to prop open my window. Works just fine.

  27. Cheong says:

    @Anonymous Coward: Suspect that the company on the Ad has to pay the littering fine.

    Afterall, with that many spam mail on floor I don't think the police (if someone report the "littering" to them) can find out which mailbox owner dump the thing on the floor. The only logical thing to do is to go after the only identifable infomation on the spam – the company on the Ad.

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