Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-26-1999, 10:09 AM
Athena Athena is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: May 1999
Location: da UP, eh
Posts: 13,135
I used to live in a neighborhood that if you parked your car directly in front of a mailbox, you didn't get mail that day. The mail delivery person just skipped those mailboxes rather than park his/her car, get out, and fill the boxes on foot. I never knew if this was a postal or traffic regulation, or if I just had a lazy mail carrier. Regardless, I've since altered my behavior so that I always avoid parking in front of mailboxes during the day.

This morning, my boyfriend came over to have coffee with me before work, and also to trade out his car for his motorcycle which he stores in my garage. He parked in front of my mailbox. As his car would be parked there for 2-3 days, I asked him to move it. He did, but he also expressed the opinion that a mail carrier's duty was to deliver the mail regardless of whether or not someone was parked in front of the mailboxes.

My question is - do I exhibit this behavior because of an unfortunate experience with a lazy mail carrier early in my life? Or is there some truth to my phobia? Is it kosher to park in front of mailboxes is residential neighborhoods during prime mail-deliver times? Settle this for me, dopers!
Old 10-26-1999, 10:24 AM
Yossarian Yossarian is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 1,557
Assuming that we both didn't "used to" live in the same, pissy-postal place, I'd have to hypothesize that it must be a postal perogative to not deliver the mail if the box is blocked. Whenever I'd park in front of the box, I'd recieve a nasty note from the letter carrier stating that if he found my car there tomorrow--no mail. And sure enough...

Now: two data points isn't enough to confirm that this is generally true, but I'm suspecting it is.
Old 10-26-1999, 10:37 AM
metroshane metroshane is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: dallas, tx, usa
Posts: 966
me too! i get nasty notes when i park in front.

i've always wanted to turn my mailbox around to face the house. a lot easier for me to check. you would think that with all the competition, and the post office being self funding, it would have better customer svc. i want my mailbox on my door and have him come up to deliver it, like in the old days.

We're all here, because we're not all there!
Old 10-26-1999, 10:37 AM
KCB615 KCB615 is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Southcoast Massachusetts
Posts: 880
I asked my letter carrier this particular question about 3 years ago. We have the same problem..."rural" delivery (mailboxes are at the street, not on the houses themselves). If a car blocked the box, or if the snow wasn't removed from in front of the box (ironic, given their motto), they wouldn't deliver said mail. The carrier said that rural delivery regulations say that they cannot leave their vehicles when making the deliveries. He didn't know why, just that those were the rules. Maybe a trip to the USPS web is in order....


I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine - Kurt Vonnegut
Old 10-26-1999, 11:14 AM
StrTrkr777 StrTrkr777 is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,597
The not leaving their vehicles cannot be completely true, since on a number of occasions if I am being delivered something that is too large for my mailbox, the carrier leaves the mail truck and walks to my door and delivers it personally.

They probably just do not like it and say that it is a rule.

Old 10-26-1999, 11:21 AM
UncleBeer UncleBeer is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: NAC: 8104J PWQ7X
Posts: 11,969
Postal carriers who can't leave the vehicle? Anybody ever get a certified letter?

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind." - Humphrey Bogart
Old 10-26-1999, 11:29 AM
David B David B is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 7,263
I had the same experiences when I was on what was considered a "rural" route. In my case it was worse, because we had a park across the street at which many baseball games were played -- so people would routinely park in front of our mailbox or those of our neighbors. People finally started calling the police, who began handing out tickets for parking in front of a driveway, on crosswalks, etc. Then we moved, so I don't know what the final resolution was (or if there was one).

But anyway, there does seem to be some postal regulation that they aren't supposed to get out of their vehicles to deliver regular mail.
Old 10-26-1999, 11:38 AM
andros andros is offline
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Dejagore
Posts: 9,516
you would think that with all the competition, and the post office being self funding, it would have better customer svc
Ummm . . . I hate to rain on anyone's pity party, but we pay about dick for postage in the US compared to many other countries (yes, numbers are out there, but I don't have them handy. I'm sure someone will make me find them).

Whether parking in from of a mailbox is acceptable to the USPS or not, it's rude. I like getting my mail on time (nearly) every day. I don't want to miss a day because Joe Mailman had to get out of his truck every two mailboxes.

Old 10-26-1999, 11:50 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 19,565
Parking in front of the mailbox might irritate the postal carrier. From whence, do you suppose, does the phrase "going postal" arise?

Designated Optional Signature at Bottom of Post
Old 10-27-1999, 01:44 AM
evilbeth evilbeth is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Northeast Tennessee
Posts: 4,091
I just went to the site (Postal Employee's Guide to Safety) and it says that a postal carrier should never deliver or collect mail from a box that would require them to stand in the street so maybe that is where it comes from.

Born O.K. the first time...

If you are born again, do you have two belly buttons?
Old 10-27-1999, 07:38 PM
{:-Df {:-Df is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Fremont, CA
Posts: 185
Good sig line, evilbeth.

We just moved to a new house with a "street mailbox" and parked in front of it due to driveway being full of cars, duffel, etc. We got a little form the first time telling us "our mailbox needs attention" with the explanation "blocked by car" under the Other category. The next couple of times we blocked it, we got our mail anyway.

All of which is to say, the USPS does NOT guarantee a "delivery-within" period for regular mail, even First Class letters. The 1-3 day figure is just a good faith guesstimate.

If you make it tough for your postal person to deliver, exactly WHOM do you think should shoulder the blame if your mail doesn't get delivered until the situation improves? (They DO have schedules to keep.) As I see it, the postal people don't need to make excuses if I block my box despite knowing better. As long as they're polite, hard-working, and unarmed, I can wait a day.

Now, GARBAGE men, on the other hand...
Old 10-27-1999, 08:56 PM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 324
I thin your right they are just lazy and make their own rules.

But don't complain we only get 5 day mail delivery in Canada and now they are putting community boxes at the end of the street in new sub-divisions and people must walk to the end of the street each day to pick up their own mail. Now with email and paying bills on web-banking I only send mail about once a month anyway.

But I notice in some areas in the US they deliver mail right to the door, my sister lives in Michigan and she enjoys that service. I don't know what the urgency is to receive all that junk mail anyways.

Please feel free to email me
and visit my homepage.
Old 10-27-1999, 10:44 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
I live in Chicago, we must have the worst mail service ever. It is a miracle to get anything delivered. I complained and talked to the Post Master. She seemed sympathetic. And for awhile I got my mail and everyone else's as well.

Now it's back to calling the phone company and finding out how much I owe and paying it w/o waiting for the bill.

Today I went to the PO and waited in line 40 minutes and why? Because my neighborhood is about 80% Hispanic and 15% Polish and no one at the PO speaks either of those languages so it takes forever. I realize that they shouldn't have to speak a second language but really it just makes sense to put a few people there who can translate.

The PO seems to be digging its own grave.

Thank you for listening to me gripe. I'm done.
Old 10-27-1999, 11:33 PM
KCB615 KCB615 is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Southcoast Massachusetts
Posts: 880
Postal carriers who can't leave the vehicle? Anybody ever get a certified letter?
Not from the normal mailperson. I get a green piece of paper that says "please go to the post office and pick up your certified mail." Same goes for packages that are too large to fit in the box. If they can't tie it up to the front of the box or stuff it inside, I get that same green slip asking me to go pick it up. I've never not picked it up, so I don't know if they'd deliver it to me if I didn't go and get it.


I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine - Kurt Vonnegut
Old 10-28-1999, 04:01 PM
DougC DougC is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: IL, USA
Posts: 5,209
- - - Sending a letter in the US isn't [relatively] any cheaper than anywhere else; it just seems so. The effect of government subsidies in the US is that a larger percentage of the cost of mail service in the US is spread out over the general population, whether they use the mail service or not. - European countries do with less government subsidies and charge more for the stamp (-last time I looked-).
- Since I don't often do a lot of bulk mailings, I'd prefer the European system to what we have now, but that's just my opinion. - MC
Old 10-28-1999, 06:03 PM
{:-Df {:-Df is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Fremont, CA
Posts: 185
Government subsidies? Do you have references for that?

It's common knowledge that the USPS is 100% self-supporting - which doesn't mean it's true, but does mean that contrary evidence isn't too easy to find.
Old 10-29-1999, 07:46 AM
pldennison pldennison is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 7,493
MC, the Federal Government ended the public service subsidy to the Postal Service all the way back in 1983. All the revenue for the USPS is provided through the sale of stamps, P.O. boxes, express mail, and other services.

"I love God! He's so deliciously evil!" - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:56 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017