Have you seen my mail

Moving to a new place highlights differences in everyday life.  And moving to a new country brings to life many changes.  One that I noticed is the delivery of mail.  In the US I’ve either had a mailbox affixed to my house or a locked mailbox in the lobby of my apartment building.  My mailbox in Boston was a locked one in the lobby of my apartment.

A couple of years ago I experienced some trouble with my mail.  My name fell off of the box and the carrier stopped delivering my mail.  I don’t know how much mail I missed.  I started to figure it out when I didn’t receive any of my tax information.  I contacted the post office and found out the reason.  Then I had the pleasure of tracking down all of my tax information, which involved calling or emailing several different companies including my own payroll department.  I made sure that my name would not fall off the box again.

When I arrived at my new flat in London I walked into the lobby and saw a long table with mail spread out on it.  At the time, I didn’t have time to really consider this.  I briefly thought, well that’s odd and turned my attention to other matters.  After several days in the new place, when I would take Miles, my dog, for a walk I noticed that the mail for our building was not sorted.  The carrier puts a rubber band around a stack of mail and pushes it through a slot.  I have started to pick it up each day and sort it on the table.

It is quite a difference experience.  There are four flats in my building.  But I’ve seen mail for many more individuals.  Some of the mail has been sitting on the table for over two months.  This system would drive my carrier in Boston bonkers.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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26 Responses to Have you seen my mail

  1. Ghafla!Guy says:

    Yeah quite a different experience. Compared to my location where you have to go to the capital city of your country to get your mail!

  2. Palm Trees & Bare Feet says:

    Isn’t it amazing how different even just the little things are in other cultures?! I loved this post, it made me remember why I love to travel so much! And, it’s nice that you and your neighbors all trust each other to sort one another’s mail. That could be a problem in the States.

    I enjoyed reading this, TBM! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      Thanks! It is funny how you notice the little things. And yes, traveling is a great way to discover these differences. I’m finding that moving to a new country is a great way to discover and appreciate the little differences.

      In the States we couldn’t even have packages delivered to our apartment since they would disappear before we got home from work. We had all of our packages delivered to our work and then we had to haul them home on the subway. Not convenient at all.

      So far the system here in London is working. And I’m expecting some packages soon so hopefully it will continue to work.

      Have a great weekend!

  3. I really enjoy your posts every day. They are interesting and unique. Thanks!

  4. TBM says:

    Thanks! You have great photos each day!

  5. frizztext says:

    this system seems to be chaotic … a non-system 🙂

  6. niasunset says:

    Ah, this post service… In the past everything was so nice… The postman always carried our mails to the address… But todays world seems different. The postman leaves the mails under the door of the apartment… and they are spread out on the floor… so many mails disappeared because of this, some of them didn’t reach the right address… So now, I don’t use my home address for my mails… I use my love’s office address, that’s better than home address… So I can almost understand you. By the way we have our own post box too as all other families in the same apartment. But postman doesn’t put them to these boxes… Thank you dear TBM, Have a nice day, with my love, nia

    • TBM says:

      Such a shame that you have to use your love’s office address and that your mail started to disappear. I can remember the postman from when I was a kid. He was also so nice and prompt and if my memory serves me correctly his name was Larry. Times have changed a lot since I was a kid. These days customer service is lacking. Have a lovely day!

  7. Fergiemoto says:

    Hmmm…interesting, but that’s an unusual delivery system.

    • TBM says:

      I thought so too, especially coming from a place where they just stopped delivering my mail when my name fell off the box. Here they don’t care. They just shove it through the slot and that’s all.

  8. IsobelandCat says:

    All our post for six flats here in London comes through the front door and we collect/distribute it. But if there’s post for someone who has moved, or sometimes for people who have never lived here, we either forward it or return to sender. We never have post sitting around for more than a few days. And flyers are recycled daily!

    • TBM says:

      We have a container to recycle the flyers. I wish I knew the people better so I would know who to forward or return the mail for. I’ve only seen two people in the building and they live in the same flat. And they have said they don’t know the other people. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with forwarding mail. I am amazed by how many flyers our building gets each day.

      • IsobelandCat says:

        Do you have a residents’ association? or a management company? I am amazed you don’t know your neighbours. The block must be so unlike the one where I live!
        I think if I were you, I’d leave a note saying you intend to return uncollected mail to senders, so could everyone who lives in the block leave their details on the table so you know what to send back. Then I think I’d suggest all meeting up for a pre-Christmas neighbourly drink and chat!

  9. The Hook says:

    So much for security/privacy!
    Thanks for the lesson, though.

  10. Quite the system! But, I must say…the table is a wonderful place to separate the mail. It’s much better thant he large, half-rusted mailbox in my front yard!

    • TBM says:

      The table is quite big, which is good since sometimes it gets pretty full. Be care with your half-rusted mailbox! I hope all is well. Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. TBM says:

    That’s a good idea Isobel–the drinks with neighbors. In our last apartment building we knew most of our neighbors and would have occasional parties. Each year we had a large party to celebrate the Boston Marathon. We were right on the route and it was fun.

    Yesterday when I went into the lobby half of the mail that has been sitting on the table was gone. Maybe someone was out of town. It was a relief. I hated wondering if people were missing important notices. And hopefully someone just didn’t get mad and toss it. I didn’t see it in the recycle bin though so here’s hoping for the best.

  12. IsobelandCat says:

    It’s actually illegal to destroy the post, so I hope it’s not been chucked in the bin!
    I’m still getting my head round the idea of not knowing who else is living in the block. I know it happens, but I’ve not experienced it.

    • TBM says:

      I figured it was wrong to get rid of the mail. I know in the US it is a federal crime to mess with someone’s mail. Is it more normal in England for people to know their neighbors? In the US the trend is becoming the opposite, which is sad. During my childhood, we always knew our neighbors. But today so many people don’t even know their neighbor’s names. In fact, I thought it was odd in my last place that I actually knew my neighbors, but all of us were dog people and we would see each other in the backyard with our dogs and we would get to talking.

  13. Kristina says:

    It’s not nice not getting your mail, especially if you are waiting for something important! I don’t think postmen care much in big cities about people’s mail; it’s different in smaller towns. How nice of you to sort out mail. I had the same situation, when in my previous place a pile of mail was pushed through the hall in the wall; yours at least had a rubber band! 😀 I would sort it out from time to time 🙂 I bet the neighbours love you for that! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I haven’t lived in a small town yet. I would like to at some point, but I wonder how I will react to having more people in my business. I don’t mind sorting the mail since it isn’t a lot. If I don’t get there first, someone else will sort it so we all take turns, which is nice. So far I haven’t noticed someone leaving it for someone else to sort. I like it when everyone acts nice and like adults.

      I think that was the problem in Boston since I wasn’t expecting any mail so I didn’t notice until my tax stuff didn’t show up. Then I was in trouble. I don’t think the IRS would accept, well I didn’t get my tax information so I didn’t file.

  14. I suppose I’m pretty fortunate I’ve never had this issue/problem. At least we can comfort ourselves into thinking that a system still exists – looks like a spread of delectably-assorted cheeses on the table! Haha. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I hope you never have to experience losing your mail. Such a pain tracking stuff down. I wish it was a spread of cheeses. I would sort it several times a day!

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